The Monkey's Heart
A Bena Story
Before you read the story
- Sometimes you have to think quickly to escape from a difficult situation. Has this ever happened to you?
- How did you escape?
Now read the story
A monkey once lived on a small island in the middle of a river. There was a big tree on the island and beautiful fruit grew on the tree.
One day, the monkey was eating a piece of fruit. A crocodile was watching her.
"Monkey," said the crocodile, "please give me a piece of your fruit. It looks very good to eat."
So the monkey threw a piece of fruit to the crocodile.
"Mm," said the crocodile. "This is delicious. Please give me another, dear Monkey."
The monkey gave the crocodile another piece of fruit, and the crocodile took it to his wife.
"Eat this, my dear," he said to her.
His wife ate the piece of fruit.
"Mm," she said. "This is wonderful. Where did you find it?"
"That clever monkey gave it to me," said her husband.
"I want to meet that clever monkey," his wife said. "Let's go and see her."
So the crocodile and his wife went to see the monkey. She was sitting in her tree.
"Please, Monkey, give us more of your delicious fruit," the crocodiles said.
The monkey threw more pieces of fruit to the crocodiles, and they ate them.
At last, the crocodile's wife said to the monkey, "Thank you for your kindness, Monkey. Now you must come to our house across the river. We will make a delicious lunch for you."
The monkey looked down at the crocodiles. They were smiling at her, and their teeth were long and sharp.
"I can't go across the river," she said. "I can't swim."
"Oh, that's all right," the crocodile said. "I will carry you on my back."
"Well - " said the monkey. "I - "
"But you must come," said the crocodile's wife. "You invited us, and now we are inviting you."
At last, the monkey agreed. She came down from the tree, and jumped on the crocodile's back. He carried her across the river to his house.
The crocodile's wife went out to cook the lunch. The crocodile followed her. They talked quietly together.
"What are they saying?" thought the monkey. "What are they planning?"
At last the lunch was ready, and the crocodiles and the monkey ate it.
"That was very nice," said the monkey. "Thank you very much. I want to go home now."
"Home?" said the crocodile. "Oh no, you can't go home. We're going to eat you for our dinner."
"What?" cried the monkey. "You want to eat me? But I gave you my fruit, and we have just eaten lunch. You're not hungry now."
"No, no," the crocodile's wife said. "Please understand, dear Monkey. We're not hungry. We don't want to eat your meat. We only want to eat your heart."
"My heart?" said the monkey. "Why?"
"Because you are so clever," said the crocodile. "If we eat your heart, we will be clever too."
The monkey smiled.
"Oh," she said. "I see. You don't want to eat me. You only want to eat my heart."
"Yes, yes!" said the crocodiles.
"But my heart isn't here," said the monkey. "I never carry it with me. I keep it on the island, in the big fruit tree. If you want my heart, you must take me home first."
"All right," said the crocodile. "Let's go now."
So the monkey jumped on the crocodile's back, and he carried her across the river to the island. She jumped off the crocodile and ran up the tree.
"Where's your heart? Have you found it?" the crocodile shouted. "Throw it down to me!"
The monkey laughed and laughed.
"You stupid animal!" she said. "My heart is in my body. How can I live without it? If you want my heart you must catch me first. Come on, crocodile! Climb my tree and catch me!"
And she laughed and laughed again.
Exercises for The Monkey's Heart
Listen to the story: