The Panchatantra stories are a treasure house of animal fables from India written about 18 centuries ago. They contain stories of immense moral values and wisdom that people of all ages can relate to. The story of “The Monkey and the Crocodile” is one of the many stories in the collection and talks about things such as generosity, friendship, greed, and deception. If you are looking to read the next moral story to your child during bedtime, then this one has plenty to tell.
Origin of the Story “The Monkey and the Crocodile”
“The Monkey and the Crocodile” story is a part of the Panchatantra series. The story originates from when folk stories were told orally without written records. The stories of the Panchatantra illustrate the morals or wise conduct of life. Panchatantra stories have undergone various modifications over the centuries as they were retold in more than 200 different versions. However, they still retain their essence, although translated into more than 50 languages.
Story of the Monkey and the Crocodile
Long back, a monkey lived on a berry tree by the side of a river. The monkey was smart and a quick thinker on his feet. Not too far from where the monkey lived, a crocodile and his wife lived in the river. One day, while on its quest to explore the region, the crocodile swam up the river and came to rest under the tree where the monkey lived. Since the crocodile was exhausted from his swim, he was also hungry for food. The monkey saw that the crocodile was tired and hungry and offered him some berries. The crocodile happily accepted the berries and relished their sweetness.
1 . Crocodile and Monkey Become Friends
The crocodile, who was very happy with the monkey’s generosity, went back to the tree again the next day. The monkey happily offered him more berries. They talked throughout the day. The crocodile ate all the fruits that the monkey offered. Soon they became great friends. They developed a trust and spent the days happily talking, playing, and eating all the delicious fruits that the monkey could gather. One day the monkey offered the crocodile some extra berries so he could take them home to his wife.
2 . The Greedy and Jealous Wife
The crocodile’s wife had heard about her husband’s friend before and longed to taste those delicious berries. When the crocodile brought them home, she gleefully ate the berries while listening to her husband talk about the monkey. The wife did not like that the monkey could get so many berries for himself, and her husband had grown fond of him. She became greedy for the delicious taste of the berries and thought of a wicked plan and said to her husband, “The berries are delicious, and I want more of these right now!” she continued, “Why haven’t you brought me these berries before?” and then, she poisoned her husband’s mind saying “If the berries are this delicious, how delicious would the heart of the monkey be, that he eats these every day?”
The shocked crocodile listened to his wife talk in complete disbelief. She demanded the monkey’s heart. The crocodile couldn’t accept the thought of killing his best friend, who trusted him more than anything. The crocodile declined her wish and offered her more berries instead. The wife was adamant and promised to starve until he brought her the monkey’s heart. The crocodile was torn between his wife and his best friend. He wondered if it was better to lose his friend and please his wife or keep his friendship and lose his wife. He swam back to the monkey, deep in thought.
3. The Crocodile Deceives the Monkey
On his way to the tree, the crocodile came up with the idea of deceiving the monkey and taking him home to his wife. The monkey, as usual, was happy to see the crocodile and greeted him happily. The crocodile greeted him back and said, “My wife is very pleased with the berries you offered to her. She would like to invite you home for dinner.” “She wants to meet my best friend and thank him for the delicious berries.” The monkey gleefully accepted the invitation.
The monkey cannot swim in the river to go for the invitation. So the crocodile agreed to carry the monkey on his back. Without a second thought, the monkey hopped on the crocodile’s back. The crocodile left for his den relieved that the monkey did not suspect anything.
4. The Monkey Outsmarts the Crocodile
However, the crocodile could not hold back his joy that his wife would be very pleased to have the monkey’s heart. He blurted out the truth to the monkey. The monkey was shocked at the betrayal of the crocodile but kept calm. Then he told the crocodile, “Why didn’t you say earlier that your wife wanted to taste my heart? I would have brought it along with me!” He continued, “I always keep my heart safe in the treetop.” “If you take me back to the tree, I will fetch the heart in no time and come back with you.” The foolish crocodile believed in the monkey’s story and took him back to the tree.
The monkey at once leaped onto the tree and climbed up high, away from the crocodile, and laughed hard at the crocodile’s foolishness. The crocodile realized his folly and returned to his wife empty-handed.
What Is the Moral of the Story?
The moral of the short story can be interpreted in different ways:
- Staying calm under pressure can help you make smart decisions to save your life.
- It is important to be careful while making new friends. Not everyone will be good to you.
“The Monkey and the Crocodile” is one of the most important fables in the Panchatantra. It teaches us to be careful about who we make friends with and to remain calm under intense pressure. Quick thinking saved the monkey’s life. Therefore it is important to develop abilities to think quickly under stressful situations.