Monkey loved mangoes, of course. Who does not? And his favorite mango tree had branches that reached out over a river, where a certain crocodile came quite often.
“Why do you come here, lurking and smirking?” Monkey asked one day, hanging just out of reach and eating a sweet piece of fruit.
“I come because one of these days you will slip,” Crocodile replied. “And I will catch you and take you to my king.”
Monkey laughed, and swung back up onto the branch. “Really? We’ll see about that!”
But Crocodile was patient, and one day, sure enough! – Monkey’s hands were slippery with mango juice and he fell sploosh! into the river.
“I have you now,” Crocodile said, tossing Monkey onto his bumpy back. “My king will be so pleased. A fortune-teller told him that if he ate a monkey’s heart he would live forever, and now I will be the one to deliver it to him!”
Monkey gasped. “Oh no! You’ve made a big mistake!”
“I’m sure you think so!” Crocodile said. “Now bid farewell to the world of trees and sky, and prepare to meet the world of mud and sunken bones at the bottom of the river.”
“You don’t understand,” Monkey continued, thinking fast. “I am honored to grant everlasting life to your king, but my heart is still in the tree!“
The crocodile hesitated. “What’s that?”
Quick as thought, Monkey climbed to the highest branch of the mango tree and laughed so hard he got an ache in his side. “You fool!” he mocked. “Whoever heard of a monkey with no heart! Your king will have to wait a long time before he ever gets mine!”
Angry and embarrassed, Crocodile sank below the surface, leaving a trail of bubbles behind. He never returned to that part of the river, because whenever he came anywhere near, he could hear Monkey laughing, laughing, laughing…