#FolktalesWednesday: Tortoise and Monkey


One day the monkey was walking along the road to his house when he met Tortoise limping along the road, bruised and bloodied, to his own house. Shocked at the Tortoise’s appearance,  Monkey asked him: “what happened to you? Why are you all bruised and bloodied like this?” the Tortoise sighed and said, “May a matter you know nothing about, not become your burden.” On hearing that, Monkey burst into a long bout of  laughter, then he said: “ I know you were up to no good as usual, and the reason you are now saying prayers for everyone is that you were caught and punished.” The Tortoise shook his head in pity for the monkey and replied: “Monkey when I say that sort of prayer for you, you should say Amen.”  The monkey burst into another round of laughter “well I am not careless and I don’t go around causing trouble like you, so there is no way a matter I don’t know anything about can become my problem.”  With that Monkey went home, laughing at the foolish and careless Tortoise as he went. The Tortoise went to his own home.

A few weeks later when Tortoise’s injuries had healed, he took a large goat, killed it and fried its meat. He seasoned the meat with a lot of spices so that it gave off an extremely delicious aroma. He took it  to the Tiger’s house and said “ Tiger! I have some good news for you, I found a treat that you will surely like.” He passed a piece of the meat to the tiger. The Tiger ate it and loved it, so he asked for more, which Tortoise, obligingly gave to him. Surprised that he had never tasted such great food before, Tiger asked Tortoise, “where did you get this delicious food from?” Tortoise replied, “what you have just eaten is Monkey’s faeces.” “Really! You mean it is the same Monkey you and I see every day that his faeces tastes like this?” Tiger asked in astonishment. “Of course it is. But if you meet him and he tells you he cannot defecate this sweet excreta, he is only lying to you. You should force him if necessary.”  With that, the Tortoise went back home.

A few days later, Tiger met Monkey along the road. He called to Monkey: “They say your faeces are a delicacy, I would like you to defecate some for me if you don’t mind.”  Monkey burst out laughing “that is the most preposterous lie I have ever heard in my life. Who told you that?” but Monkey’s laughter was soon replaced  by shock when Tiger grabbed him and started to hit him repeatedly in the stomach saying “defecate some sweet excreta for me.” Pain shot through the monkey’s insides and hot faeces came out of his anus. But when Tiger tasted the faeces, it tasted like normal faeces and was not sweet at all. Tiger said: “They told me that I will have to force you to excrete the delicious faeces, and I must get some of that delicious excreta of yours even if I have to kill you.” He continued to hit Monkey in the stomach and  Monkey defecated as much as he could. But he did not excrete any sweet faeces. When Monkey could not take the pain anymore, he fainted. Tiger thought he was dead and disappointed that he did not get any of the delicious excreta, left him and went home.

After a while, the monkey regained consciousness. He stood up and started limping towards his home, bruised and bloody. Then he met the Tortoise, who said with a triumphant smirk: “May a matter you know nothing about, not become your problem.” The monkey said “Amen!” so many times that he lost count. If you even have the opportunity to study a monkey closely you will observe that at a point its mouth will form the words “Amen!” That is the monkey still saying Amen to the Tortoise’s prayer till today.

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