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Main > Brazilian folktales > Fairy tale "How the Monkey Escaped Being Eaten"

How the Monkey Escaped Being Eaten

Once upon a time, ages and ages ago, people ate fruits and nuts. Then there came a time when the fruits and nuts became scarce. People had to eat meat. So they began killing the various beasts to see which ones were the best to eat. They skinned them and cut them in pieces and cooked them over the fire. Some of the beasts were good to eat and others were not good at all.

The ox was found to be very good, and so was the sheep, and the armadillo. Then one day a man thought that he would try to eat the monkey.

The monkey was playing his guitar. "Lee, lee, lee, lee, lee lay, lee lay, lee ray, lee ray." The man came close to him and said, "Come here, little monkey, and let me hear your music. I enjoy it very much." All the time the man was coming closer and closer to the monkey. Just as he was about to stretch out his hand and seize the monkey, the monkey gave a sudden leap to the tree and hurried away to the tree top.

After that every time the man heard the monkey play the guitar he would come near and try to catch him. The monkey grew afraid of the man, so afraid that he gave up playing his guitar at all. For a long, long time he did not play upon it. One day he felt that he just must have some music. He hid in a hole in the ground and there he played upon his guitar. He did not think that the man would hear him, but the man had very sharp ears. When he got through playing he started to come out of the hole in the ground. There was the man waiting for him! He crawled quickly back,—so far back that the man could not catch him. The monkey waited and waited for the man to go away, but the man did not go away.

After a while the man became thirsty and went to get a drink. He left his little boy in his place to watch for the monkey. After the man had gone away the monkey called out to the little boy, "O, little boy, O, little boy, don't you wish that you could see the monkey dance?"

The little boy replied that he wished he could.

"Just put your eyes down to the door of my little cave, and I'll let you see the monkey dance, little boy," said the monkey.

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