Once upon a time, there lived a happy monkey in a big forest. He would jump around all day and sleep under a large mango tree. After waking up in the morning, he would pluck 2 mangoes from the tree, relish them, and continue with his daily activities.
One day, a crocodile crawled into the forest. He felt hungry and looked around for food. He was excited to see a tree full of ripe mangoes, but couldn’t figure out how to climb it. Suddenly, he saw a monkey plucking two mangoes.
‘Hey, Mr. monkey. Can you share some mangoes with me?’ asked the hungry crocodile. ‘I have a huge stock of tasty bananas at my home. If you agree to share these ripe mangoes with me, I shall share those bananas with you.’
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On hearing about bananas, which were his favorite food, the monkey’s happiness knew no bounds and he readily accepted the offer. He plucked 4 mangoes, two for him and two for the crocodile, and jumped down to share it with his newfound friend.
From the next day onwards, the crocodile bought two bananas along with him and gave it to the monkey. As promised, the monkey gave two mangoes in return. Both of them relished their lunch and slept for hours under the cool shade of the large mango tree.
One day, the crocodile’s wife thought ‘The monkey feeds on sweet fruits. How sweet would his flesh taste?’ So she hatched a plan. As soon as her husband entered home, she started crying loudly.
‘What happened dear? Why are you crying? Is everything all right?’
‘I had intense chest pain in the morning. I went to the doctor and he said that my heart has become too weak. I may die any moment,’ said Mrs. Crocodile with fake tears running down her cheeks.
‘No! That can’t be. I cannot afford to lose you. I love you dear!’ said the sad Mr. Crocodile. ‘Is there no cure? What did the doctor say? Please tell me!’
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‘He said that only a monkey’s heart can cure me.’
‘Yes. You heard it right. If I eat a monkey’s heart, I will be cured. And then we can live happily ever after.’
‘This is nonsense. How can that be?’
‘Dear. Don’t you love me? Is my life not important to you? Do you want me to die?’
‘No. I cannot live without you. But from where do I bring a monkey’s heart?’ said Mr. Crocodile in grief.
‘It’s very easy dear. Kill your monkey friend and bring his heart. It is the only way to save me. Or else I shall soon die.’
‘No. I can’t kill him. He is my friend. How can you even think that?’
‘Okay then. I always thought that you loved me more than anyone. But I think I was wrong. It was all a farce. I am going to die now. Nobody can save me,’ cried Mrs. Crocodile.
Seeing his wife shed tears, Mr. Crocodile finally gave in to her feelings and accepted her demand. Mrs. Crocodile was extremely happy and smiled wickedly.
The next day, Mr. Crocodile swam across the lake and reached the mango tree. After eating mangoes, he said ‘My wife wanted to meet you. So she has asked me to invite you to dinner. Would you like to be our guest for the night?’
‘Thanks for inviting me. But I can’t swim. How will I cross the river?’
‘Don’t worry my friend. I will carry you on my back,’ said Mr. Crocodile.
‘That sounds great. Let’s sleep for a while and then we shall continue with our journey.’
Mr. Crocodile shook his head in affirmative and they took a good nap.
After waking up, the monkey packed his bag and sat on the crocodile’s sturdy back.
‘Ready my friend?’ asked Mr. Crocodile.
‘Oh yeah! I can’t wait to relish tasty cuisines,’ said the monkey while moving his tongue across his lips.
The crocodile zoomed past the lake and reached home within an hour.
‘Knock…Knock…‘ Mr. Crocodile banged the door. ‘Please open the door fast and welcome our guest dear.’
On hearing about the guest, Mrs. Crocodile rushed to open the door. As soon as she saw the monkey, she jumped and grabbed him.
‘Finally, I got the monkey,’ exclaimed Mrs. Crocodile.
‘What is going on?’ shouted the monkey while trying to rid himself from the crocodile’s clutches.
‘I am very sorry my friend, but there is no other way. My wife is severely sick. Her heart is very weak. The doctor has suggested that the only way she could get healthy is by eating a monkey’s heart. I love my wife very much and I can’t afford to lose her,’ said Mr. Crocodile regretfully.
‘Wait. The doctor has made a grievous mistake,’ declared the monkey.
‘How can that be? He has recently graduated from the best medical college in the forest. How can he be wrong?’ said Mr. Crocodile.
‘Since he has graduated recently, he doesn’t seem to have enough doctoral experience. He has told you the right solution but for a monkey, not for a crocodile,’ said the monkey with his eyes wide open.
‘How can you say that?’ asked Mr. Crocodile.
‘Well, I haven’t told you but I am a doctor.’
The crocodile couple looked at the monkey in awe.
‘I have been treating patients for more than a decade now, so I have a lot of experience in dealing with these things,’ said the monkey.
‘Now, let me tell you the correct way to heal your heart. Since you are a crocodile, you will have to eat the heart of a crocodile.’
Mrs. Crocodile was shocked to hear that. Suddenly, they turned their eyes on Mr. Crocodile, who was standing on the verandah with his eyes falling out of his sockets.
‘Why are you both looking at me? Do you plan to eat me for dinner?’
‘I am sorry my friend but there is no other way your wife can heal. And as luck may have it, you are the only crocodile over here. I am very sure that you love your wife, don’t you? Can’t you sacrifice yourself for your wife?’ said the monkey with a witty smile across his lips.
‘Wait. I would like to bring to your notice that my wife recently gave birth to many baby crocodiles. All of them have hearts, don’t they? She can eat one of them and we will still have ninety-nine of them left. Let’s go!’ said Mr. Crocodile.
Being a mother, Mrs. Crocodile couldn’t accept the fact that she would have to eat one of her children. But she didn’t want to be caught red-handed. She was utterly depressed but somehow gathered the courage to nod her head in affirmative.
‘There is a small problem,’ interrupted the monkey. ‘It’s a matter of fact that an adult crocodile’s heart is about a hundred times the size of a baby crocodile. So, I say this with deep sorrow that you need to eat all your hundred babies,’ said the monkey.
Mrs. Crocodile couldn’t bear it any longer and began thumping her chest in agony.
‘I am sorry dear. I don’t have any health issues. My heart is perfectly fine. I played a trick so that I could eat the sweet flesh of the monkey. Please forgive me, both of you. I made a grievous mistake. Please spare the life of my babies. They are very dear to me,’ cried Mrs. Crocodile.
Mr. Crocodile stood silent. He couldn’t imagine in his weirdest dreams that his wife would plot such a terrible plan.
‘Please forgive me, my friend. I swear I was unaware of all this,’ said Mr. Crocodile to the monkey with his head bowed down.
‘It’s okay. I can understand why it happened. It was because of her ignorance. She doesn’t know that one’s diet has nothing to do with the taste of their flesh. But don’t worry. I teach all the animals in the jungle for an hour every day. I invite both of you to attend my class. The knowledge that I share will let you know more about the jungle and enable you to make rational decisions,’ told the monkey.
The crocodile couple agreed and started attending the classes regularly. With time they made new friends, learned new things about the jungle, and adopted a rational outlook towards life.
Moral: To surrender ignorance, a rational outlook towards life is a must.