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Story of The Heart of the Monkey
The Illustrated Jataka & Other Stories of the Buddha by C.B. Varma
|023 - The Heart of the Monkey|
there lived a big and strong monkey on the bank of a river. In the middle
of the river, there was an island, which bore seasonal fruits like mangoes
and jack-fruits. The island was at a distance of one-leap from a large
piece of rock, which lay in between the island and the bank. The monkey often used the rock as a spring-board to jump at
the island to enjoy its fruits.
crocodile also lived in the river with his wife. She was very dear to him.
One day, the female crocodile expressed the desire to eat the heart of the
monkey. So, she asked the crocodile to catch the monkey and bring her his
heart, if he loved her. The crocodile readily agreed and dipped into the
river to catch the monkey.
day, when the monkey was enjoying the fruits in the island, the crocodile
went to the lone rock, which the monkey used as a jumping pad to reach the
island, and cuddled about it. Upon his return the monkey noticed that the
rock looked bigger than its usual size. He instantly suspected that
something was amiss. He thought, “Perhaps, some crocodile was hiding
behind it!”. To verify the reality, he then spoke to the rock, “Dear
Rock ! Why are you silent, today? Why don’t you say hello to me,
today?” The crocodile thought that the rock, indeed, was a talking rock.
So he responded on behalf of the rock by saying, “Dear monkey, how do
you do?” Now, the monkey knew that his suspicion was not unfounded. To
further confirm the presence of the enemy, he shouted, “The rocks are
not supposed to speak. Now, I know somebody is behind it.
Would you come out and reveal your identity?”
The crocodile then came out
behind the rock and proudly declared his identity; and also his intention
to eat his heart. The monkey was caught into the devil and the deep sea!
Staying back in the island was not desirable because the place could
hardly provide him enough food to survive there much longer. So, he
decided to return to his abode on the bank. So, to devise his escape he
bluffed, “Sir! As I cannot escape now; I would like to offer my body to
you. Should you open your mouth, I would straight way jump into it”. The
monkey was wise, he knew that once a crocodile opened up its jaw, its eyes
would be closed. The crocodile agreed and no sooner than he opened up his
jaws his eyes were shut. Taking advantage of the situation the clever
monkey jumped upon the crocodile’s head and darted on the bank safely.
the crocodile opened up his eyes and saw the monkey safe on the bank he
praised the latter’s wisdom by saying:
O Monkey ! With the combination of the truth, foresight,
Strong determination and fearlessness one always routs
See Vanarinda Jataka Jataka Pali No. 56 (Some editions enlist it as No. 57)
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