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Main > Brazilian folktales > Fairy tale "Why the Monkey Still Has a Tail"

Why the Monkey Still Has a Tail

Once upon a time the monkey and the rabbit made a contract. The monkey was to kill all the butterflies and the rabbit was to kill all the snakes.

One day the rabbit was taking a nap when the monkey passed that way. The monkey thought that he would play a trick on the rabbit so he pulled the rabbit's ears, pretending that he thought they were butterflies. The rabbit awoke very angry at the monkey and he plotted how he might revenge himself on the monkey.

The rabbit and the armadillo are very good friends. The armadillo is very, very strong, you know, so it was he whom the rabbit asked to help him.

One day the rabbit caught the monkey napping. He had watched and waited a long, long time to catch the monkey napping, but at last he succeeded. Even the monkey sometimes takes a nap. The rabbit called the armadillo at once and together they rolled a big stone upon the monkey's tail. The monkey pulled so hard to get his tail out from under the stone that it broke off. The cat, who at that time had no tail of her own, spied the tail and ran away with it. The monkey was very angry at the rabbit. "O, we thought it was just a snake lying there," said the rabbit. "When you pulled my ears, you know, you thought they were butterflies."

That did not help the monkey to feel any better. How was he to live without his tail! How could he climb without it! He simply had to have it back so he at once set out to find the cat.

At last he found the cat and said to her, "O, kind cat, please give me back my tail."

"I will give it to you," replied the cat, "if you will get me some milk."

"Where shall I get the milk?" asked the monkey.

"Go ask the cow for some," replied the cat.

The monkey went to the cow and said, "O, kind cow, please give me some milk that I may give the milk to the cat so that the cat will give back my tail to me."

"I will give you the milk," replied the cow, "if you will get me some grass."

"Where shall I get the grass?" asked the monkey.

"Go ask the farmer," responded the cow.

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