Filipino Tales: The Monkey and the Turtle

This story is part of the Filipino Tales unit. Story source: Filipino Popular Tales by Dean S. Fansler (1921).

The Monkey and the Turtle

Narrated by Bienvenido Gonzales of Pampanga. He heard the story from his younger brother, who heard it in turn from a farmer. It is common in Pampanga.

Once there lived two friends — a monkey and a turtle. One day they saw a banana-plant floating on the water. The turtle swam out and brought it to land. Since it was but a single plant and they had to divide it, they cut it across the middle.

“I will have the part with the leaves on,” said the monkey, thinking that the top was best. The turtle agreed and was very well pleased, but she managed to conceal her joy. The monkey planted his part, the top of the tree — and the turtle planted hers, the roots. The monkey’s plant died, but that of the turtle grew, and in time bore much fine fruit.

One day, since the turtle could not get at the bananas, she asked the monkey to climb the tree and bring down the bananas. In return for this service, she offered to give him half the fruit.

The monkey clambered up the tree, but he ate all the fruit himself; he did not give the turtle any. The turtle became very angry, waiting in vain, so she collected many sharp sticks and stuck them in the trunk of the tree. Then she went away. When the monkey slid down to the ground, he injured himself very badly on the sharp sticks, so he set off to find the turtle and to revenge himself.

The monkey looked for a long time, but finally found the turtle under a pepper-plant. As the monkey was about to strike her, she said, “Keep quiet! I am guarding the king’s fruits.”

“Give me some!” said the monkey.

“Well, I will; here are some!” said the turtle. “But you must promise me not to chew them until I am far away, for the king might see you, and then he would punish me.” The monkey agreed.

When the turtle was a long way off, he began to chew the peppers. They were very hot and burned his mouth badly. He was now extremely angry and resolved that it would go hard with the turtle when he should catch her.

He searched all through the woods and fields for her. At last he found her near a large snake-hole. The monkey threatened to kill the turtle, but she said to him, “Friend monkey, do you want to wear the king’s belt?”

“Why, surely! Where is it?” said the monkey.

The turtle replied, “It will come out very soon: watch for it!” As soon as the snake came out, the monkey caught it, but the snake rolled itself around his body and squeezed him nearly to death. He finally managed to get free of the snake, but he was so badly hurt that he swore he would kill the turtle as soon as he should find her.

The turtle hid herself under a coconut-shell. The monkey was by this time very tired, so he sat down on the cocoanut-shell to rest. As he sat there, he began to call loudly, “Turtle, where are you?”

 The turtle answered in a low voice, “Here I am!”

The monkey looked all around him, but he saw nobody. He thought that some part of his body was joking him. He called the turtle again, and again the turtle answered him.

The monkey now said to his abdomen, “If you answer again when I don’t call you, stomach, I’ll punish you.” Once more he called the turtle, and once more she said, “I am here!”

This was too much for the monkey. He seized a big stone, and began to hit his belly with it. He injured himself so much that he finally died.

(600 words)

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