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tale of a tortoise and of a mischievous monkey.

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The stag was afraid of the river; still, he was much more afraid of being laughed at, and he plunged in after the puma; but in an instant the current had swept him away, and if it had not borne him by accident to a shallow place on the opposite side, where he managed to scramble up the bank, he would certainly have been drowned. As it was, he scrambled out, shaking with terror, and found the puma waiting for him. 'You had a narrow escape that time,' said the puma. After resting for a few minutes, to let the stag recover from his fright, they went on their way till they came to a grove of bananas. 'They look very good,' observed the puma with a longing glance, 'and I am sure you must be hungry, friend stag? Suppose you were to climb the tree and get some. You shall eat the green ones, they are the best and sweetest; and you can throw the yellow ones down to me. I dare say they will do quite well!' The stag did as he was bid, though, not being used to climbing, it gave him a deal of trouble and sore knees, and besides, his horns were continually getting entangled in the creepers. What was worse, when once he had tasted the bananas, he found them not at all to his liking, so he threw them all down, green and yellow alike, and let the puma take his choice. And what a dinner he made! When he had QUITE done, they set forth once more. The path lay through a field of maize, where several men were working. As they came up to them, the puma whispered: 'Go on in front, friend stag, and just say "Bad luck to all workers!"' The stag obeyed, but the men were hot and tired, and did not think this a good joke. So they set their dogs at him, and he was obliged to run away as fast as he could.



'I hope your industry will be rewarded as it deserves,' said the puma as he passed along; and the men were pleased, and offered him some of their maize to eat. By-and-by the puma saw a small snake with a beautiful shining skin, lying coiled up at the foot of a tree. 'What a lovely bracelet that would make for your daughter, friend stag! said he. The stag stooped and picked up the snake, which bit him, and he turned angrily to the puma. 'Why did you not tell me it would bite?' he asked. 'Is it my fault if you are an idiot?' replied the puma. At last they reached their journey's end, but by this time it was late, and the puma's comrade was ready for bed, so they slung their hammocks in convenient places, and went to sleep. But in the middle of the night the puma rose softly and stole out of the door to the sheep-fold, where he killed and ate the fattest sheep he could find, and taking a bowl full of its blood, he sprinkled the sleeping stag with it. This done, he returned to bed. In the morning the shepherd went as usual to let the sheep out of the fold, and found one of them missing. He thought directly of the puma, and ran to accuse him of having eaten the sheep. 'I, my good man? What had put it into your head to think of such a thing? Have I got any blood about me? If anyone has eaten a sheep it must be my friend the stag.' Then the shepherd went to examine the sleeping stag, and of course he saw the blood. 'Ah! I will teach you how to steal!' cried he, and he hit the stag such a blow on his skull that he died in a moment. The noise awakened the comrade above, and he came downstairs. The puma greeted him with joy, and begged he might have some of the famous milk as soon as possible, for he was very thirsty. A large bucket was set before the puma directly. He drank it to the last drop, and then took leave.



On his way home he met the monkey. 'Are you fond of milk?' asked he. 'I know a place where you get it very nice. I will show you it if you like.' The monkey knew that the puma was not so good-natured for nothing, but he felt quite able to take care of himself, so he said he should have much pleasure in accompanying his friend. They soon reached the same river, and, as before, the puma remarked: 'Friend monkey, you will find it very shallow; there is no cause for fear. Jump in and I will follow.' 'Do you think you have the stag to deal with?' asked the monkey, laughing. 'I should prefer to follow; if not I shall go no further. The puma understood that it was useless trying to make the monkey do as he wished, so he chose a shallow place and began to swim across. The monkey waited till the puma had got to the middle, then he gave a great spring and jumped on his back, knowing quite well that the puma would be afraid to shake him off, lest he should be swept away into deep water. So in this manner they reached the bank. The banana grove was not far distant, and here the puma thought he would pay the monkey out for forcing him to carry him over the river. 'Friend monkey, look what fine bananas,' cried he. 'You are fond of climbing; suppose you run up and throw me down a few. You can eat the green ones, which are the nicest, and I will be content with the yellow.' 'Very well,' answered the monkey, swinging himself up; but he ate all the yellow ones himself, and only threw down the green ones that were left. The puma was furious and cried out: 'I will punch your head for that.' But the monkey only answered: 'If you are gong to talk such nonsense I won't walk with you.' And the puma was silent.



In a few minutes more they arrived at the field were the men were reaping the maize, and the puma remarked as he had done before: 'Friend monkey, if you wish to please these men, just say as you go by: "Bad luck to all workers." 'Very well,' replied the monkey; but, instead, he nodded and smiled, and said: 'I hope your industry may be rewarded as it deserves.' The men thanked him heartily, let him pass on, and the puma followed behind him. Further along the path they saw the shining snake lying on the moss. 'What a lovely necklace for your daughter,' exclaimed the puma. 'Pick it up and take it with you.' 'You are very kind, but I will leave it for you,' answered the monkey, and nothing more was said about the snake. Not long after this they reached the comrade's house, and found him just ready to go to bed. So, without stopping to talk, the guests slung their hammocks, the monkey taking care to place his so high that no one could get at him. Besides, he thought it would be more prudent not to fall asleep, so he only lay still and snored loudly. When it was quite dark and no sound was to be heard, the puma crept out to the sheep-fold, killed the sheep, and carried back a bowl full of its blood with which to sprinkle the monkey. But the monkey, who had been watching out of the corner of his eye, waited until the puma drew near, and with a violent kick upset the bowl all over the puma himself. When the puma saw what had happened, he turned in a great hurry to leave the house, but before he could do so, he saw the shepherd coming, and hastily lay down again.



'This is the second time I have lost a sheep,' the man said to the monkey; 'it will be the worse for the thief when I catch him, I can tell you.' The monkey did not answer, but silently pointed to the puma who was pretending to be asleep. The shepherd stooped and saw the blood, and cried out: 'Ah! so it is you, is it? then take that!' and with his stick he gave the puma such a blow on the head that he died then and there. Then the monkey got up and went to the dairy, and drank all the milk he could find. Afterwards he returned home and married, and that is the last we heard of him.

       



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