There is this folklore made popular in the early eighties by music maestro Ebenezer Obey. It was about the tortoise and the monkey. You notice how most tales of the animal kingdom always revolves around the tortoise? I wonder what is special about that animal! It is famed that the tortoise is a cunning and often mischievous animal, and it is on one such ‘foxy’ escapades that it got its shell broken, but that is a story for another day. So back to this particular story.
Traditionally, when it is time for such ‘Tales by Moonlight’, the story teller will say “Hello children” but I think I will skip that one today. So here goes…
Story Story…okay, I couldn’t resist that one.
Once upon a time (you should say “time time” at this point) in the animal kingdom, in the not too distant century when animals could talk, and the world seems to be upside down and common sense scarce amongst men that such tales could fly, the tortoise and monkey were friends. The exact nature of their friendship and the sheer possibility of it eludes me too but so was the tale told. The tortoise as part of his many persona told in such animal tales decided to take on the religious persona for this particular tale. His friend, Mr. Monkey however was sort of an arrogant atheist. Such was the bizarre nature of their friendship as they had virtually nothing in common save that I suspect that Mr. Tortoise Prayer as I chose to call him was looking for a good sport and found Mr. Monkey Pompous, an easy prey.
Back to the story.
The tortoise being very religious prayed often and most of his prayers revolved around being saved from evil and his most uttered prayer point was “God deliver us from evil”. Time and again, Mr. Tortoise Prayer would chide agnostic Mr. Monkey Pompous over not saying “Amen” to his prayers. Mr. Tortoise would then launch into a monologue about how the world was evil and the need for prayers to God for protection from every single one of them and to deal with the evil men in the process. Mr. Monkey would simply laugh it all off.
When the religious tortoise could not take it any longer, he decided to teach his friend a lesson he would never forget. Although they were quite an inseparable lot, Mr. Tortoise Prayer was able to sneak off to the king’s palace late one afternoon when the sun was at its peak and all the animals stayed in their nests or under the big trees that provided succor from the scorching heat.
At the king’s palace, the tortoise told the king that he had come to share a secret with him. “The secret of the monkey” Mr. Tortoise continued sensing the king’s interest. And so was the folly of the king, to have believed the words of the tortoise. Not once did the dumb king question the tortoise’s motive for coming to share such a ‘secret’ with him when the tortoise could simply keep the pleasures to himself. After all, it was a well-known fact that the tortoise clan was the most stingy and greedy of all animals. The great grandfather of Mr. Tortoise had spotted a bald head on account of great greed. Now, that story is a hilarious one, one that had a grown up man in tears.
I digress again.
You see, Mr. Tortoise Prayer had told the king that Mr. Monkey Pompous had a well-guarded secret that made him feel and act like he was superior to the other animals. Perhaps, that was why the king believed such incredulous claims by the tortoise. It was indeed true that Mr. Monkey Pompous was pompous and haughty and looked down on all the animals. Mr. Monkey’s ancestors had been one of the few animals to have had access to the water that could turn an animal into a man and that was why they were so smart and looked like man the most. The well-guarded secret was that the monkey’s feces were honeyed and sweet to eat and very nutritious.
“Mr. Monkey Pompous will need some persuading” Mr. Tortoise added, he could see the gleam in the king’s eyes and could imagine him thinking of having honeyed monkey feces for dinner. The tortoise left the palace very satisfied with himself.
And true to Mr. Tortoise Prayer’s prediction, the king really could not wait to eat honeyed monkey feces, and sent for Mr. Monkey Pompous at once. Mr. Monkey Pompous oblivious of what lay in store for him strutted in before the Lion, the king of the animal kingdom.
Not known for his patience, the Lion went straight for the kill and ordered Mr. Monkey to deliver a large bowl of honeyed feces. The look of consternation on Mr. Monkey Pompous face was priceless; his eyes grew in his face to the size of saucers and he lost some of his swags and his hands began to tremble. When he spoke, his voice was trembling and his words came in stutters.
The king would none of his denials and waved all his pleas and swears of not having passed a honeyed feces in his life. He became livid when the monkey said maybe he was mistaken and gotten the wrong animal, and threw a stone at the monkey that hit him square in the gut. Mr. Monkey Pompous doubled over and groaned in pain.
Without warning, the Lion was upon him, nostrils flared and fangs bared. “Shit that honeyed feces now!” he roared and the monkey shivered. When Mr. Pompous opened his mouth to protest again, the Lion delivered a well-aimed blow to his gut. The force of the punch forced some feces out of Mr. Monkey’s anus which made him go hot with embarrassment and shame.
“Now we are talking” the Lion said, thinking how true Mr. Tortoise Prayer’s words were, that the monkey needed some convincing. With mouth salivating, the Lion put his hands to the feces and brought them to his mouth, his eyes closed, eager to sample the delicacy. As soon as his fingers touched his tongue, his eyes flew open and his face was contorted with disgust and he spat repeatedly.
“What is this?!” he bellowed and Mr. Monkey shrunk further. The Lion lifted the monkey up with his left front paw and with the right he delivered blow after blow into the monkey’s stomach till Mr. Monkey shit his pants again. When he tasted the feces again and discovered they weren’t honeyed, he continued the plummeting.
The circle of plummeting and shit tasting continued for the next one hour till Mr. Monkey Pompous fainted. The Lion’s anger was pacified at this and he probably realized that the chances of getting a honeyed monkey feces for dinner were slim to none. He asked his guards to take the monkey away from him and ordered his dinner of hyena meat marinated in goat’s milk brought to him.
Several minutes later, Mr. Monkey Pompous came to and found himself lying in a dumpster outside the king’s palace. He picked himself up and gingerly made his way home. After cleaning up and a hurriedly devoured meal, he narrated his ordeal to his supposed best friend Mr. Tortoise Prayer who listened with rapt attention and punctuated the narrative with well-timed exclamations.
At the end of the tale, Mr. Tortoise Prayer, sighed heavily and said “May God deliver us from evil”
“Amen. Amen” Mr. Monkey Pompous answered his two hands clasped in a supplicatory mode.
Mr. Tortoise Prayer smiled. Mission accomplished.
Now, what does this story teach us?
I can imagine somebody saying “it teaches us to keep a computer far away from the reach of a bored writer wannabe”
Okay, that is true, but what is the moral of the story?
I think it would be…wait, I have to think long and hard. Yes! It would be that adults should stop telling ridiculous stories to gullible children in the name of teaching morals, which by the way, I can’t find in this particular folklore!
And please somebody should not say, “It teaches us that we should always say ‘Amen’ to prayers.” Because if you say that, I would simply say this prayer: “The Lord will slap that your mouth” and you will be obliged to say…
Okay, please drop your comments in the comment box. Don’t just read and go…pleeeeease. Your feedback is highly solicited.
Happy new month!
And yes, lest I forget, I have posted 200 posts on this blog! How cool is that!!!
Thanks for your support all through and hoping for more.
Please share stories and posts you find interesting, your reward is in heaven. Really