Once there were two cats. One was white, the other was black. They were friends. One day they went for a walk. The white cat saw a roll near the road.
“Ah,” said the white cat. “There’s a roti there. How nice!”( Roti: round, baked at cake made of wholemeal bread, chapatti)
The black cat ran and picked up the roti. She opened her mouth to eat it, for she was hungry.
“Stop !” said the white cat. “I saw the roti first, so I shall eat it.”
“But I picked it up and so I shall eat it,” said the black cat.
Both wanted to eat the roti. So they said, “Let us go to the monkey who lives on the mango tree. He will tell us what to do.”
The two cats went to the monkey. He was sitting on the mango tree. Uncle, said the cats, “please come down from the tree. We want to ask you something.”
“Why don’t you both come up then ?” asked the monkey.
“How can we do that, Uncle ?” said the cats. We have this roti. If we come up, the roti will fall.”
“Oh, very well,” said the monkey. He came down and sat on the ground. “Now what’s the matter”, he asked.
“Uncle,” said the white cat, “this black cat is very greedy. to eat the full roti. But I saw the roti first, so it is mine.
“But I picked up the roti from the road,” said the black Cat. “So it is mine.”
“You tell us who should eat this roti,” said both the cats together.
“Hm,” said the monkey. “Let me think.” He closed his eyes for a minute. Then he said, “Give me the roti. I shall break it into two pieces. Then you can eat one piece each.”
The black cat gave him the roti. The monkey tore it into two pieces. Then he looked at the pieces in his hands and said, “Oh, one of the pieces is bigger than the other. Let me make it equal to the other piece.”
The monkey took a bite from the bigger piece. He looked at the two pieces again and said,
“Oh, now the other piece is bigger. I shall make both equal.” And he took a bite from the second piece.
The cats got worried. They did not want the monkey to eat up their entire roti. So they said, “Uncle, give us the two pieces now. Never mind if they are not equal.”
“How can I do that ?” he said. “That would be cheating. I must give an equal piece to both of you.”
The cats just sat and watched. They saw the monkey take a bite from the two pieces, turn by turn. At last the monkey said, “It’s no use giving you the two pieces now. They are too small.” And before the cats could stop him, he ate up both the pieces.
The poor cats were very hungry. But their roti was gone. They said, “We will not fight again. If we find some more food, we shall shan’t equally.” And they both went away to look for a mouse to eat.