Image from Natural Habitat Adventures – http://www.nathab.com/south-america/brazil-adventure/itinerary/
Today’s story comes from Brazil and it’s another story about monkeys. “How the Monkey Became a Trickster” was retold by Elsie Spicer Eells in Fairy Tales from Brazil, 1917.
Once there was a beautiful garden where all kind of fruits grew. A wide variety of animals lived in the garden and they were allowed to eat any of the fruit they wanted, as long as they followed a couple of rules. First they always had to be respectful and ask politely, calling the tree by name. For example, when they wanted an orange they had to say, “O, orange tree, O, orange tree, please give me a taste of your fruit.” It was also important not to be greedy and to leave plenty of fruit for the other animals and for the tree to keep and furnish seed so other trees could grow.
In the corner of the garden grew the most beautiful tree of all and it had tempting, rosy-cheeked fruit, but none of the animals could remember the tree’s name. A little old woman lived in a cottage in the garden, and she knew all the trees’ names. The animals would often ask her that tree’s name, but it was so long and difficult to remember that by the time they got to the tree they had forgotten.
At last the monkey came up with an idea. The monkey could play the guitar and often entertained the other animals. He went to the old woman, learned the name of the tree, and made up a little tune to go with it. He played the tune on his guitar and sang the name softly as he made his way across the garden to the tree. The other animals asked him what song he was singing, but he just ignore them.
Finally, he got to the tree, asked the tree politely by name for a taste of its fruit. Then he took a bite of the lovely, sweet-smelling fruit - and it was bitter and sour and nasty-tasting. He threw the rest of the fruit far away from him.
But he always remembered the tree’s name and his little tune. He never ate the fruit again, but from then on his favorite trick was to get the fruit for the other animals, just to see the horrible faces they made when they bit into it.
I thought it was a cute little story, with a couple good points. First, sometimes reality just doesn’t meet your expectations, but you can still make the best of it. Second, if a food’s name is too long and complicated to remember, maybe you just shouldn’t eat it.
Thursday’s Tales is a weekly event here at Carol’s Notebook. Fairy tales, folktales, tall tales, even re-tellings, I love them all