Select the desired text size
A Story for children age 4 to 6.
The jellyfish and the monkey.
From Japanese Fairy Tales.by Yei Theodora Ozaki.
Start of Story
"Well," said the chief steward, "if you depend on your strength or
dexterity you will never catch a monkey. The only way is to play a
trick on one!"
"How can I play a trick on a monkey? I don't know how to do it," said
the perplexed jelly fish.
"This is what you must do," said the wily chief steward. "When you
approach the Island of Monkeys and meet some of them, you must try to
get very friendly with one. Tell him that you are a servant of the
Dragon King, and invite him to come and visit you and see the Dragon
King's Palace. Try and describe to him as vividly as you can the
grandeur of the Palace and the wonders of the sea so as to arouse his
curiosity and make him long to see it all!"
"But how am I to get the monkey here? You know monkeys don't swim?"
said the reluctant jelly fish.
"You must carry him on your back. What is the use of your shell if you
can't do that!" said the chief steward.
"Won't he be very heavy?" queried kurage again.
"You mustn't mind that, for you are working for the Dragon King,"
replied the chief steward.
"I will do my best then," said the jelly fish, and he swam away from
the Palace and started off towards the Monkey Island. Swimming swiftly
he reached his destination in a few hours, and landed by a convenient
wave upon the shore. On looking round he saw not far away a big
pine-tree with drooping branches and on one of those branches was just
what he was looking for--a live monkey.
"I'm in luck!" thought the jelly fish. "Now I must flatter the creature
and try to entice him to come back with me to the Palace, and my part
will be done!"
So the jelly fish slowly walked towards the pine-tree. In those ancient
days the jelly fish had four legs and a hard shell like a tortoise.
When he got to the pine-tree he raised his voice and said:
"How do you do, Mr. Monkey? Isn't it a lovely day?"
"A very fine day," answered the monkey from the tree. "I have never
seen you in this part of the world before. Where have you come from and
what is your name?"
"My name is kurage or jelly fish. I am one of the servants of the
Dragon King. I have heard so much of your beautiful island that I have
come on purpose to see it," answered the jelly fish.
"I am very glad to see you," said the monkey.
"By the bye," said the jelly fish, "have you ever seen the Palace of
the Dragon King of the Sea where I live?"
"I have often heard of it, but I have never seen it!" answered the
"Then you ought most surely to come. It is a great pity for you to go
through life without seeing it. The beauty of the Palace is beyond all
description--it is certainly to my mind the most lovely place in the
world," said the jelly fish.
"Is it so beautiful as all that?" asked the monkey in astonishment.
Then the jelly fish saw his chance, and went on describing to the best
of his ability the beauty and grandeur of the Sea King's Palace, and
the wonders of the garden with its curious trees of white, pink and red
coral, and the still more curious fruits like great jewels hanging on
the branches. The monkey grew more and more interested, and as he
listened he came down the tree step by step so as not to lose a word of
the wonderful story.
"I have got him at last!" thought the jelly fish, but aloud he said:
"Mr. Monkey. I must now go back. As you have never seen the Palace of
the Dragon King, won't you avail yourself of this splendid opportunity
by coming with me? I shall then be able to act as guide and show you
all the sights of the sea, which will be even more wonderful to you--a
"I should love to go," said the monkey, "but how am I to cross the
water! I can't swim, as you surely know!"
"There is no difficulty about that. I can carry you on my back."
"That will be troubling you too much," said the monkey.
"I can do it quite easily. I am stronger than I look, so you needn't
hesitate," said the jelly fish, and taking the monkey on his back he
stepped into the sea.
"Keep very still, Mr. monkey," said the jelly fish. "You mustn't fall
into the sea; I am responsible for your safe arrival at the King's
"Please don't go so fast, or I am sure I shall fall off," said the
Thus they went along, the jelly fish skimming through the waves with
the monkey sitting on his back. When they were about half-way, the
jelly fish, who knew very little of anatomy, began to wonder if the
monkey had his liver with him or not!
"Mr. Monkey, tell me, have you such a thing as a liver with you?"
The monkey was very much surprised at this queer question, and asked
what the jelly fish wanted with a liver.
"That is the most important thing of all," said the stupid jelly fish,
"so as soon as I recollected it, I asked you if you had yours with you?"
"Why is my liver so important to you?" asked the monkey.
"Oh! you will learn the reason later," said the jelly fish.
The monkey grew more and more curious and suspicious, and urged the
jelly fish to tell him for what his liver was wanted, and ended up by
appealing to his hearer's feelings by saying that he was very troubled
at what he had been told.