Jataka Tales – The Noble Monkey
Kindness never goes unnoticed.
A long time ago, deep in the forests there lived a large group of monkeys. The monkeys had a king who was big and strong and ruled over them very wisely. The monkeys had discovered a mango tree that grew on the banks of the river. It had big, delicious mangoes. The wise monkey king cautioned all the monkeys saying
Monkey King: Don’t let a single mango fall into the river. If you do, the river will carry it to places where the humans live. And once they get to know about this fruit, then we will not be safe here anymore, for they will come here in search of the fruit and destroy us to keep it for themselves.
So the monkeys were very careful and were always on the lookout for ripe mangoes on branches at the edge of the river.
But one day, a big, ripe and tasty mango fell into the river without their knowledge. The mango floated on the water and reached the other side of the stream. The royal washerman was washing clothes. He found the mango. It appeared to be very juicy and sweet. He decided to gift the mango to the king.
Washerman: Your majesty, I have found this ripe golden mango on the bank of the river in the forest. I thought you will like to see such an extraordinary mango. So, I have brought it to you.
The king ate the mango. It was the sweetest mango he had ever tasted. He wanted to have more of such mangoes. He thought,
King: The washerman found it floating on the waters of a river. Surely, it must have floated from the other bank of the river. There must be a mango tree on that side of the river.
So he decided to find out the source of the mango. He took some soldiers with him and rode a boat to the other side of the stream.
From the boat, they could see the mango-laden trees. The king was very happy. Now he could enjoy the mangoes.
Meanwhile, some monkeys saw the men coming that way. They ran to their king and informed him that some men were coming toward the orchard in boats.
Monkey King: We must get out of the orchard.
Monkey King: Now, all of you, swing on the vine and reach the other bank of the stream. I will follow you when all of you have reached safety on the other side.
He helped the old and baby monkeys to swing to the other side.
When he was sure that all the monkeys had reached the other bank safely, he got ready to swing to the other side. All his subjects were waiting for him on the other bank of the stream. But the vine was now too weak to bear the weight of the monkey king. It broke and the monkey king fell into the stream. Seeing him falling into the stream, all his subjects began to cry for help.
The king was watching all this. He was impressed by the way the monkey king had sent all his subjects to a place of safety. Seeing him falling into the water, he ordered his soldiers to rescue the monkey king.
The king welcomed the monkey king and said
I am much impressed by your sense of responsibility. Your subjects are now all safe on the other side. You are very tired. I invite you to my palace to spend a few days with me.
Monkey King: Your majesty, thank you for your kind invitation. But I cannot come with you. My place is with my subjects. I have to stay with them.
King: You are really a great king. You know very well the responsibilities of a king towards his subjects. I am also a king and cannot harm you or your subjects. I had come here to get the golden mangoes. However, now I shall not touch these mangoes. This is your kingdom. I cannot cause any harm to it. Please continue living here with your subjects.
Monkey King: Thank you so much for sparing my kingdom and saving my life. I cannot let a friend go away without a gift. Please accept some of these juicy mangoes and take them with you to your palace. Every year, I will send some of these sweet mangoes to your palace. It will make our friendship everlasting.
The king’s men took some mangoes and returned to their palace. The monkeys kept on living in the forest.
So dear children, did you see how noble the monkey was, how responsible he was and how affectionate he was to his subjects? That is the way you will have to treat your co friends and everybody else. The moral of the story is be Be kind to others.