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The Monkey and the Crocodile

Aleen Adams, Illustrated by Nofio Pecoraro

The Monkey and the Crocodile by Nofio Pecoraro and Rachel Kessler published by Jackson Fish Market 1-2 Along the left bank of a lazy river lived a clever monkey. He spent his days up in the trees swinging from branch to branch and watching the river and eating delicious fruit. He had a good life, but he lived alone and had no friends or family nearby, so he sometimes got lonely. He often wished that he had a friend to talk to. 3-4 One day a crafty crocodile came to rest on the riverbank below the clever monkey’s favorite tree. The crocodile had spent a frustrating morning trying to catch fish. He was very tired, but not so tired that he hadn’t noticed the plump monkey swinging up in the trees. He knew that monkeys were clever and curious creatures, so he decided to nap with one eye, just in case the monkey came close enough to catch…. 5-6 Now this monkey was no dummy. He was clever enough to know that a sleeping crocodile was never truly sleeping, but just waiting for the right moment to bite! The monkey was lonely, though, and really wanted someone to talk to. “Crocodile, crocodile under my tree, wake up, wake up, and talk with me!” cried the monkey. But the crocodile did not stir. “Crocodile, crocodile under my tree, wake up, wake up, and talk with me!” cried the monkey. But still the crocodile did not move. 7-8 The monkey was determined to wake up the crocodile, so he started throwing fruit down on top of him! Mango after mango came raining down on the crocodile’s head. The crocodile couldn’t pretend to be sleeping anymore. 9-10 “Hey! Monkey! Stop that! What do you think you are doing?! Stop throwing fruit on my head! Don’t you know that I am a big hungry crocodile who can eat you up in one bite?!” said the now angry crocodile. “Oh yes, I know that you could eat me in one bite. You are such a big beast. And, my, what big teeth you have, by the way… It’s just that I have no one to talk to. And monkeys are very social creatures, you know,” said the monkey, chattering safely out of reach of the crocodile’s jaws up in the trees. 11-12 The crocodile could not believe this, but covered with fruit for the first time in his life, he was also able to taste it for the first time. It was delicious! He had never tasted anything so sweet and yummy in his life. “Monkey, what is this fruit? It’s the sweetest thing I’ve ever tasted,” said the crocodile, now so distracted by eating fruit that he forgot all about being angry. “Mangoes. Better than bananas, eh?” said the monkey smiling. 13-14 “Well, I wouldn’t know about bananas, because I can’t climb trees,” said the crocodile. “But, I’ll make you a deal, monkey. I’ll talk with you if you share your mangoes with me.” “That’s a deal! I have plenty of mangoes to share,” said the monkey. And so began their unlikely friendship. 15-16 Every day the crocodile would swim to the riverbank by the monkey’s mango tree. The monkey would talk and talk and talk from the trees while the crocodile listened below, and the monkey would throw him fruit to eat. The monkey and the crocodile could have continued like this, day after day for days on end. Soon, however, the crocodile’s wife became suspicious about what her husband was doing all day long because he brought home so few fish. One day the crocodile wife decided to follow her husband to see what he was doing all day long. She slunk along behind him, low and slow in the water so he wouldn’t see her. Only her snout and one eye was visible above the surface. 17-18 When they arrived at the left bank of the river, she could not believe her eyes. A crocodile talking to a monkey! Eating mangoes! How could this be?! None of the other crocodiles could know about this. What would the neighbors think?? She decided that she must do something to get rid of this monkey. 19-20 One day when her husband was actually out fishing, she decided to pay a visit to the monkey. “Monkey, monkey, up in the tree, come on down and swim with me!” said the crocodile wife. The monkey was surprised to see this crocodile he had never met before. “I don’t swim,” said the monkey. “I can show you how,” purred the crocodile wife. 21-22“But how do I know that you don’t just want to eat me?” said the monkey. “My husband comes to visit you every day. Why would I want to hurt one of his friends?” cooed the crocodile wife. “Monkey, monkey up in the tree, come on down and swim with me!” The monkey thought to himself. The day was hot. And swimming did look like a lot of fun. 23-24 The monkey jumped on the crocodile wife’s back and away she swam into the deep middle part of the river. “Now I will show you how to dive, monkey!” cried the crocodile wife as she dove below the surface of the water. The monkey hung on tight to the crocodile wife – what else was the poor monkey to do? Since he could not swim, he gripped her back with one hand and started hitting her with the other. 25-26 The crocodile wife finally surfaced and said, “What’s the matter monkey, don’t you like diving under?” “No. No. No! I don’t like it at all! I shall drown if you hold me under like that,” sputtered the monkey, trying to catch his breath. “That is exactly the point! And then I can eat your heart out! I’ve heard that monkeys have the tenderest of hearts,” said the crocodile wife, grinning a toothy grin. Now the monkey knew he was in terrible danger. The riverbank was far away and he could not swim. “Crocodile wife, if you really want to eat my tender heart, then you will need to take me back to the shore. You see, I always leave my heart at home, hanging in that tree. See over there?” said the monkey, pointing back to the trees on the shore. The crocodile wife looked over at the shore where the monkey was pointing. She thought she could make out something hanging from a branch. And she was very tempted by the thought of a delicious monkey meal, heart and all. “Okay, monkey, let us go back and get your heart,” she said. v 27-28 The crocodile wife swam the monkey back to the left bank of the river. “Be right back,” sang the monkey as he jumped quickly off of her back and up into the trees. “Silly crocodile!” yelled the monkey. “Don’t you know that we carry our hearts inside of us? Now go away and never come back, or I shall tell your husband that you tried to eat me!” The crocodile wife realized that she had been tricked. “Monkey, you are a clever creature. If I hadn’t been so full of greed, I would have seen,” said the crocodile wife, admitting her defeat. “I will leave you alone for the sake of my husband,” she said as she swam away. 29-30 The next day, the crocodile returned to the left bank to visit his monkey friend and nap under the mango tree. “Monkey, monkey up in the tree, come on out and talk with me!” yelled the crocodile up into the trees. The monkey peered out between the branches to see if it really was his friend below. “Crocodile, crocodile, down below, how I missed you so!” cried the monkey. 31-32 The monkey and the crocodile smiled at each other. They began to talk and eat mangoes in the shade of the tree. They continued like this, day after day, for days on end. THE END