The Monkeys and the Dragon-Flies
One day, when the sun was at the zenith and the air was very hot, a poor dragon-fly, fatigued with her long journey, alighted to rest on a branch of a tree in which a great many monkeys lived. While she was fanning herself with her wings, a monkey approached her, and said, “Aha! What are you doing here, wretched creature?”
“O sir! I wish you would permit me to rest on this branch while the sun is so hot,” said the dragon-fly softly. “I have been flying all morning, and I am so hot and tired that I can go no farther,” she added.
“Indeed!” exclaimed the monkey in a mocking tone. “We don’t allow any weak creature such as you are to stay under our shelter. Go away!” he said angrily and, taking a dry twig, he threw it at the poor creature.
The dragon-fly, being very quick, had flown away before the cruel monkey could hit her. She hurried to her brother the king, and told him what had happened. The king became very angry, and resolved to make war on the monkeys. So he despatched three of his soldiers to the king of the monkeys with this challenge:
“The King of the Monkeys.
“Sir, — As one of your subjects has treated my sister cruelly, I am resolved to kill you and your subjects with all speed.
The monkey-king laughed at the challenge. He said to the messengers, “Let your king and his soldiers come to the battle-field, and they will see how well my troops fight.”
“You don’t mean what you say, cruel king,” answered the messengers. “You should not judge before the fight is over.”
“What fools, what fools!” exclaimed the king of the monkeys. “Go to your ruler and tell him my answer,” and he drove the poor little creatures away.
When the king of the dragon-flies received the reply, he immediately ordered his soldiers to go to the battle-field, but without anything to fight with. Meanwhile the monkeys came, each armed with a heavy stick. Then the monkey-king shouted, “Strike the flying creatures with your clubs!”
When King Dragon heard this order, he commanded his soldiers to alight on the foreheads of their enemies. Then the monkeys began to strike at the dragon-flies, which were on the foreheads of their companions.
The dragon-flies were very quick, and were not hurt at all, but the monkeys were all killed. Thus the light, quick-witted dragon-flies won the victory over the strong but foolish monkeys.