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Main > Brazilian folktales > Fairy tale "Why the Bananas Belong to the Monkey"

Why the Bananas Belong to the Monkey

Perhaps you do not know it, but the monkeys think that all the bananas belong to them. When Brazilian children eat bananas they say, "I am a monkey." I once knew a little boy in Brazil who was very, very fond of bananas. He always said, "I am very much of a monkey." If you are fond of bananas the Brazilian children would tell you that you are a monkey, too. This is the story they tell to show us how it all came about.

Once upon a time when the world had just been made and there was only one kind of banana, but very many kinds of monkeys, there was a little old woman who had a big garden full of banana trees. It was very difficult for the old woman to gather the bananas herself, so she made a bargain with the largest monkey. She told him that if he would gather the bunches of bananas for her she would give him half of them. The monkey gathered the bananas. When he took his half he gave the little old woman the bananas which grow at the bottom of the bunch and are small and wrinkled. The nice big fat ones he kept for himself and carried them home to let them ripen in the dark.

The little old woman was very angry. She lay awake all night trying to think of some way by which she could get even with the monkey. At last she thought of a trick.

The next morning she made an image of wax which looked just like a little black boy. Then she placed a large flat basket on the top of the image's head and in the basket she placed the best ripe bananas she could find. They certainly looked very tempting.

After a little while the biggest monkey passed that way. He saw the image of wax and thought that it was a boy peddling bananas. He had often pushed over boy banana peddlers, upset their baskets and then had run away with the bananas. This morning he was feeling very good-natured so he thought that he would first try asking politely for the bananas.

"O, peddler boy, peddler boy," he said to him, "please give me a banana." The image of wax answered never a word.

Again the monkey said, this time in a little louder voice, "O, peddler boy, peddler boy, please give me a banana, just one little, ripe little, sweet little banana.

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Torre Jeppe
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