The monkey and the tortoise

The Seychelles, in the Indian Ocean, are made up of 115 islands, the largest being Mahé. The monkey and the tortoise have lived here for a long time.

The monkey was a very cunning animal indeed. The tortoise didn't want to know anything about him. The monkey lived happily amongst the branches of the trees. Having food readily at hand, he didn't have to tire himself at all. The tortoise, on the other hand, had to travel far and wide in search of something to eat.

One fine day, the tortoise went off early in the morning to buy rice. In the afternoon, coming back laden with rice, he suddenly remembered he didn't have any wood at home to light the fire. He put the load of rice down on the path and began to collect twigs and branches. The monkey, from his branches, could see the spot where the rice was. When the tortoise appeared with a load of wood, he met the monkey with his sack on his back at the place where the rice was.

“Look what I've found on the road!”, the monkey said.

“It's my rice”, the tortoise replied, alarmed.

“Your rice?”, replied the crafty monkey, “it's mine — I found it on the road”.

The tortoise began to cry.

But the monkey carried the rice off in his sack, to have it for dinner with his friends.

The tortoise had to search night and day for food for its children.

One day, he saw the monkey asleep on a branch and with his tail trailing down to the ground. So the tortoise sunk his teeth into the monkey's tail and didn't leave go. The monkey woke up with a fright.

“What's that? Who's biting my tail?”, screamed the monkey.

“It's not yours”, replied the tortoise. “This is my tail, I found it on the road.”

The monkey tried to climb up the branches of the tree but the tortoise held on tightly to his tail. Little by little, he dragged the monkey to the courthouse.

“The rice was mine!”

“It's my tail!”

“The rice was mine!”

“It's my tail!”

The judge eventually realised what had happened. And he called the soldier who was standing guard at the gate and commanded,

“Cut off this cunning monkey's tail!”

The monkey started shrieking,

“Mercy! Have pity! A monkey without a tail! Everyone will laugh at me! Mercy!”

But the magistrate ordered the monkey to be quiet,

“If what the monkey finds on the path belongs to the monkey, then what the tortoise finds on the path belongs to the tortoise”.

And since then they call the monkey “the thief with no tail”.

Text: Koldo Izagirre

Translation: Joe Linehan

Voice: Tim Nicholson

This is the story about the monkey and the tortoise — springing from tree to tree all the way from the Seychelles in the Indian Ocean

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