Jataka: The Crocodile and the Monkey

There was once a monkey who lived in a tree by a river, and in the river there lived a crocodile and her son. One day, the mother said, "Darling, I crave the heart of a monkey. Please go catch the monkey who lives in the tree and bring his heart to me for supper."

Wanting to please his mother, the crocodile swam up to the river bank and shouted, "Monkey, are you there? I am inviting you on a journey to the other side of the river. There we will find trees full of ripe fruit that I know you will enjoy."

"But I don't know how to swim," replied the monkey.

"Just hop on my back," said the crocodile, smiling. "It will be my pleasure to carry you." The monkey was very hungry, so he gladly jumped down on the crocodile's back, looking forward to eating the fruit.

Instead of swimming across the river, however, the crocodile started swimming downstream. The monkey was alarmed and shouted, "Crocodile, what are you doing?"

"I'm taking you to my mother," said the crocodile, "so that she can eat your heart for supper."

"Oh," said the monkey, "then I should have brought my heart with me."

The crocodile was surprised. "Do you not have your heart with you now?"

The monkey replied, "No, I left my heart at home. If you want, we can go back there and I'll get it."

The foolish crocodile agreed and swam back towards the monkey's home. As soon as they neared the bank, the monkey leaped up and landed in the tree.

"And now, crocodile," the monkey shouted, laughing, "go away and leave me alone! You won't be able to trick me into getting on your back ever again."

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