Sunday, December 25, 2016

THE TALE OF THE MONKEY AND THE HARE (Elementary-Intermediate level)

A monkey and a hare were great friends. They lived together, ate together, and walked about together. One day they saw a man from Darrang going to a feast and bearing plantains and betel-nuts, and they said to one another that they must contrive some plan to get hold of his load. So the monkey sent the hare to wait on the road, but himself hid in the jungle. And when the man came up and saw the hare sitting on the road, he put down his load, and ran after him. No sooner had he done so, than the monkey came and carried off the plantains and betel-nuts into a tree, and, for fear the hare should return, ate them all up in a great hurry, keeping only the skins of the plantains for his friend.
But when the man found that he could not catch the hare, he gave up the chase, and went home disconsolate; and so the hare went back, searching for his friend, and shouting his name. But when he found him and demanded his share of the spoil, the monkey offered only the skins of the plantains, and the hare, in his rage, said that he would have his revenge. So, first of all, he went and sat very quietly under some kachu plants. Then the monkey climbed down from the tree and began crying "My friend! My friend!" and the hare replied "Who are you calling friend? I am watching the king's sugarcane field. What do you want?" Then the monkey came forth and said "Ah, my friend, give me a little of the cane to suck." But the hare said "I cannot give you any. If the Raja were to hear, he would beat me." But as the monkey grew importunate, he said "Eat, then, if you will, and don't blame me." But when he ate, the acrid juice of the kachu caught his tongue, and he rolled on the ground howling. But the hare only said "It's your own fault. I told you not to." Then he went and sat beneath a wasps' nest. And the monkey, moaning and complaining, followed him and asked him what he was doing there, and the hare replied that he was watching the king's cymbals. "Let me play on them, only a little!" entreated the monkey. But the hare said "I daren't do it. The Raja would kill me." "I will only play very gently," said the monkey, and, prevailing by means of his importunity, clapped his hands on the wasps' nest and broke it, and straightway the wasps stung his mouth and face and body all over, so that he rolled on the ground crying out in agony. But the hare only said "I told you not to, and you would not listen, what could I do?" And then he went away to where a gowal snake lay. And again the monkey followed him, and asked what he was doing there. And the hare said that he was watching the king's sceptre. "Ah! Let me brandish it, do," said the monkey, and for all the hare's warnings would seize the sceptre. Whereby he got bitten, and was in greater pain than ever. Then the rabbit went away and sat down on a marsh, and the monkey followed him once more, crying as he went, and when he again questioned his friend, the hare said: "This is what they call the king's litter." "Let me sit on it for a moment," said the monkey. "I can't do it," said the hare, "what would the king say? I think you are a fool, my friend. I tell you not to do things and you will persist." But the monkey did not listen to him and jumped on to the marsh and stuck miserably in the mud. And then the hare said "Now, my friend, you give me plantain skins to eat, do you? You can stay where you are. I wish you good-day. I am off." And, so saying, he left the monkey and went his ways.
And first of all a rhinoceros came. But when the monkey begged for help, he said that he was hungry and thirsty, and really could not stop; he was very sorry; and, so saying, he too went away.
And when a buffalo presently came, the monkey addressed him, but he, too, had other business, and went away. Last of all there came a tiger, who was extremely hungry, and to him the monkey said, "My father, if you do not help me out of this scrape, I have no help left," and with such and such like words the monkey entreated him. But the tiger said "What good will it do me if I help you?" and was going away, when the monkey cried out "Father, father, take me out of the dreadful marsh, and then, if you like, clean me and eat me." And the tiger was so hungry that he said: "It is not so much that I want to eat you, but if I rescue one fallen into such calamity, it will be well with me hereafter. However, as you yourself have offered yourself to be eaten, I see no harm." So saying, he stretched out his tail into the marsh, and the monkey, grasping it, was drawn out. Then the monkey said: "Let me get dry in the sun, and when I am a bit cleaner, you can eat me." And so saying he sat him down in the sun and waited. But presently the tiger looked another way, and the monkey slipped up a tall tree. But the tiger, being in a great rage, waited two or three days at the foot of the tree. But, as the monkey would not descend, he lay at the tree's root as one dead, and opened his mouth with his teeth grinning, and the flies came and buzzed in his mouth, so that at last the monkey thought that of a verity he was dead. So finally he crawled down, and slowly inserted his tail in the tiger's mouth. But the tiger never stirred. Then he felt one of the tiger's great paws. But the tiger never stirred. Then the monkey said "Ah, you would scrunch my bones to make your bread, would you?" and danced about gaily, and cried "See if you can eat my head now," and, so saying, he put his head in the tiger's jaws. And then the jaws closed with a scrunch, and that was the end of the monkey. And that's all!

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