Jataka Tales
Re-told by Ellen C. Babbitt
1:19 h Children Lvl 1.35 42.2 mb
The Jataka tales are a voluminous body of literature native to India concerning the previous births of Gautama Buddha in both human and animal form. This edition of Jataka Tales was retold by Ellen C. Babbitt and published in 1912. Often, Jātaka tales include an extensive cast of characters who interact and get into various kinds of trouble - whereupon the Buddha character intervenes to resolve all the problems and bring about a happy ending.

Jataka Tales

Re-told by
Ellen C. Babbitt

With Illustrations
by Ellsworth Young

Jataka Tales

The Monkey and the Crocodile

Part I

A monkey lived in a great tree on a river bank. In the river there were many Crocodiles.
A Crocodile watched the Monkeys for a long time, and one day she said to her son:
“My son, get one of those Monkeys for me. I want the heart of a Monkey to eat.”
“How am I to catch a Monkey?” asked the little Crocodile. “I do not travel on land, and the Monkey does not go into the water.”
“Put your wits to work, and you’ll find a way,” said the mother.

And the little Crocodile thought and thought.

At last he said to himself: “I know what I’ll do. I’ll get that Monkey that lives in a big tree on the river bank. He wishes to go across the river to the island where the fruit is so ripe.”
So the Crocodile swam to the tree where the Monkey lived. But he was a stupid Crocodile.
“Oh, Monkey,” he called, “come with me over to the island where the fruit is so ripe.”
“How can I go with you?” asked the Monkey. “I do not swim.”
“No — but I do. I will take you over on my back,” said the Crocodile.

The Monkey was greedy, and wanted the ripe fruit, so he jumped down on the Crocodile’s back.
“Off we go!” said the Crocodile.
“This is a fine ride you are giving me!” said the Monkey.
“Do you think so? Well, how do you like this?” asked the Crocodile, diving.
“Oh, don’t!” cried the Monkey, as he went under the water. He was afraid to let go, and he did not know what to do under the water.

When the Crocodile came up, the Monkey sputtered and choked.
“Why did you take me under water, Crocodile?” he asked.
“I am going to kill you by keeping you under water,” answered the Crocodile. “My mother wants Monkey-heart to eat, and I’m going to take yours to her.”

“Why did you take me under water, Crocodile?” he asked.“Why did you take me under water, Crocodile?” he asked.

“I wish you had told me you wanted my heart,” said the Monkey, “then I might have brought it with me.”
“How queer!” said the stupid Crocodile. “Do you mean to say that you left your heart back there in the tree?”
“That is what I mean,” said the Monkey. “If you want my heart, we must go back to the tree and get it. But we are so near the island where the ripe fruit is, please take me there first.”

“No, Monkey,” said the Crocodile, “I’ll take you straight back to your tree. Never mind the ripe fruit. Get your heart and bring it to me at once. Then we’ll see about going to the island.”
“Very well,” said the Monkey.

But no sooner had he jumped onto the bank of the river than — whisk! up he ran into the tree. From the topmost branches he called down to the Crocodile in the water below: “My heart is way up here! If you want it, come for it, come for it!”

Part II

The monkey soon moved away from that tree. He wanted to get away from the Crocodile, so that he might live in peace. But the Crocodile found him, far down the river, living in another tree.

In the middle of the river was an island covered with fruit-trees. Half-way between the bank of the river and the island, a large rock rose out of the water. The Monkey could jump to the rock, and then to the island. The Crocodile watched the Monkey crossing from the bank of the river to the rock, and then to the island. He thought to himself, “The Monkey will stay on the island all day, and I’ll catch him on his way home at night.”

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