The Monkey’s Heart

Morale of the story – INTELLIGENCE WINS OVER MIGHT.

Panchtantra - The monkey's heart

Image source – Panchtantra

Once upon a time in a dense jungle near a river there lived a clever monkey named Sundar, on a jamun (Plum) tree. Whenever the monkey felt hungry he used to eat jamun from that tree. He was passing his time happily by enjoying nectar filled fruit trees all around him in that jungle. In that river there lived a crocodile named uglymukh. One hot day the crocodile swam ashore and rested under that jamun tree where Sundar lived.

Seeing uglymukh under his tree Sundar inquired,”Dear Friend I have never seen you here before, what brings you here?” The Crocodile replied,” Me and my wife live in this river, and I am moving about in search of food.” Monkey too was looking for a friend and seeing uglymukh he decided to develop a friendship with him. 

Sundar said, ” Welcome to my place and since you are under my tree you are my guest! There’s a lot of jamuns and juicy fruits around here which I’ll pluck for you.” Sundar threw jamuns down the tree and uglymukh ate them until his stomach was filled. He then thanked the monkey and said , “Will you treat me the same way if I come again?”  Sundar gleefully replied,”Certainly! You are my friend now,come daily and we will have fun.”

Uglymukh returned home happily. This kept on going for months and they both enjoyed each others company. This became a daily routine. One day when uglymukh came ashore, Sundar said, “Dear friend, we have been friends for so long, today I’m going to send sweet jamuns for your wife.” Uglymukh was elated to hear this, Sundar gave him sweet Jamuns for his wife. The crocodile took them to his wife and said , “It’s a gift to you from my friend.” The wife enjoyed the Jamuns and said, ” How sweet they are! Get me some more of these tomorrow!”

Panchtantra - The monkey's heart

Image source – Panchtantra

One day the wife inquired,”Who’s the friend that gives you such sweet jamuns daily?” Uglymukh said,”Well, he’s a monkey and he lives on that Jamun tree.”

Clever wife thought to herself, “If the jmauns are so sweet, how sweet would be the heart of that monkey who always eat them?” She said to her husband,” Why don’t you ever invite your noble friend to our place? I would love to see him.” The crocodile said,”O.K. I’ll invite him to our place one day.” Uglymukh understood his wife’s intentions and avoided inviting the monkey.But everyday his wife eagerly awaited the monkey’s arrival.

Her desire to eat monkey’s heart grew so strong that she posed to be ill one day and started crying in pain when uglymukh came. Crocodile took her to be really ill and said, ” Oh dear, I am prepared to do anything to restore your good health!”  Clever wife seized this opportunity and said,”Only a monkey’s heart can save me. But I know you love your friend so much that you’ll never bring him here.”

Seeing his wife’s condition poor crocodile thought that he will do anything to cure his sick wife. He said, “All right, today I’m going to bring him here!”  That day Sundar was waiting for his friend eagerly. On seeing him he inquired,” Friend, why are you so late today?”

Panchtantra - The monkey's heart

Image source – Panchtantra

Uglymukh replied, “Nothing serious, but a quarrel with wife. She says I enjoy your hospitality everyday without showing the courtesy to invite you for dinner.” The monkey said,”She is right, but I don’t know how to cross these waters.” Crocodile said,”Water is no problem, dear friend! I’ll carry you safely if you ride on my back.” Sundar frightfully said, “Okay Friend, but kindly swim slowly as I’m very frightened and please do not dive.” Uglymukh assured him and Sundar climbed on his back. 

When they were half way through Uglymukh thought its the right time to disclose his intentions to his friend. He said,” Dear Friend I have brought you here to kill you at the suggestion of my wife.” At first the monkey got scared but he was very intelligent and resourceful as well. So he said in a composed voice, “Why do you wish to kill me?”

Panchtantra - The monkey's heart

Image source – Panchtantra

The crocodile said, “Well, my wife is ill and she can only be saved if she gets a monkey’s heart. Where else could I get it except from you?” Sundar was startled on hearing this but he remained calm and immediately thought of an idea, he said calmly,”Oh, my dear, if this is the matter why didn’t you tell me earlier? I would have gladly given you my heart to save your beloved wife.But we have to go back to my place as I always put my heart in a safe place on that tree. Had you asked for it there I would have certainly given it to you on the spot. Now we’ll have to turn back to my tree to take it with us. Hurry up. We’ve no time. Her life is very precious!” 

Uglymukh was very happy to hear this, he turned back and swam speedily. The moment they arrived at the bank of the river Sundar jumped over the tree and said from there, “Good bye, Stupid creature! Now you go home and tell your wife that you are the stupidest of all living creature. How could you believe that a heart could be separated from a body? You are the most ungrateful friend, I helped you when you were in need and now you deceive me.”

The crocodile was disappointed. He said, “Oh dear friend, I was just joking. Come on let’ s go to my place!” But the monkey said,”Enough of it now. It’s truly said – Never trust a betrayer or else you’ll put your life in danger. Now go on and never come again.”

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