In a forest lived a stork and a monkey. They were friends and played together all day.
One day the stork and the monkey were sitting in a tree. They had nothing to do, so the monkey thought of a new game. “Let us have a shouting competition,” he said to the stork. “If I yell louder than you, I win. If you yell louder, you win.”
The stork thought it was a silly game, but still he agreed. “Very well,” he said, “you take your turn first.”
The monkey took a deep breath, and shouted as loud as he could. He was so loud that the branches shook with the sound. “Now it’s your turn,” he told the stork.
The stork opened his beak and gave a little cry. So little that not even a leaf was shaken. “Is that all you can do ?” asked the monkey. “I’ll give you another chance. I don’t think you can beat me, but you can try again.”
The stork was very angry. He opened his beak wide and shouted aloud. He was so loud that the tree shook with the sound. The monkey was so frightened that he fell right off the tree to the ground. The ground under the tree was soft and muddy. The monkey sank in the mud upto its nose. The stork just looked at the monkey and flew away.
The monkey was now in real trouble. He tried and tried, but could not get out of the mud. “Oh what shall I do ?” he cried. “If nobody pulls me out I shall die of hunger.”
After some time the monkey saw an elephant coming.”Please, Mister Elephant,” he called. “Please pull me out of the mud.” But the elephant did not even look at the monkey. He just walked on.
Soon there came a wild goat. The monkey begged of the goat to pull him out. “I would surely have pulled you out,” replied the goat, “but I’m too small. What can I do? But tell you what. There’s a leopard coming after me. Ask him to help you.” The goat then ran away.
Soon a leopard came through the forest. “Oh Mister Leopard, ” called
the monkey, “please pull me out of here. You can then eat me if you like.”
The leopard looked back, but he could not see anyone. Where had the voice come from ? He then came nearer and looked again. And then he saw two brown eyes peeping from the mud. He put out a paw and pulled the monkey out of the mud.
“Now I’m going to eat you,” said the leopard.
The monkey was very frightened. How could he save himself? Then he had an idea. “Sir,” he said to the leopard, “I’m all muddy, as you see. Why don’t you wash me first and cook me before you eat me ? You’ll find me much more tasty then.”
The leopard looked at the monkey, all covered with mud. Oh, how dim’ he looked! “Very well,” he said to the monkey, “Come with me. “
So the leopard took the monkey to a stream and gave him a good bath. He then put the monkey on a stone to dry. Next he began to dig a pit in the around to make a fire to cook the monkey.
While the leopard was thus busy, the monkey whispered to a tall bamboo growing nearby, “Bamboo, bamboo, please bend down and save me.” The bamboo never heard him but the leopard did. “What’s that you said ?. he asked.
“Oh, nothing,” replied the monkey. “I only said I’m dry on this side, so why don’t you turn me over ?” “Very well,” said the leopard. “But don’t you try any of your tricks with me !”
After some time the monkey again whispered, “Bamboo, bamboo, please bend down and save me.” Once again the bamboo did not hear, but the leopard did.
“What’s that you said ?” asked the leopard.
“Nothing,” replied the monkey. “All I said was that the pit is now big enough. So why don’t you collect some firewood to cook me ?”
The leopard started to collect dry sticks to make a fire. When the monkey saw that the leopard was busy, he again whispered to the bamboo, “Bamboo, bamboo, please bend down and save me.” This time the bamboo heard him and bent down. The monkey gave a big leap, caught the bamboo and climbed up. He was now safe.
The leopard roared in anger and leapt after the monkey. But the monkey had climbed up high and the leopard could not catch him.
“You cheat!” roared the leopard in anger. “I pulled you out of the mud. You said I could eat you. And now you have run away ! I shall never again trust a monkey. Next time I see a monkey I shall kill him !”
And that is why leopards are the greatest enemies of monkeys.