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Main > Japanese folktales > Fairy tale "The jelly fish and the monkey"

The jelly fish and the monkey

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"Why is my liver so important to you?" asked the monkey.

"Oh! you will learn the reason later," said the jelly fish.

The monkey grew more and more curious and suspicious, and urged the jelly fish to tell him for what his liver was wanted, and ended up by appealing to his hearer's feelings by saying that he was very troubled at what he had been told.

Then the jelly fish, seeing how anxious the monkey looked, was sorry for him, and told him everything. How the Dragon Queen had fallen ill, and how the doctor had said that only the liver of a live monkey would cure her, and how the Dragon King had sent him to find one.

"Now I have done as I was told, and as soon as we arrive at the Palace the doctor will want your liver, so I feel sorry for you!" said the silly jelly fish.

The poor monkey was horrified when he learnt all this, and very angry at the trick played upon him. He trembled with fear at the thought of what was in store for him.

But the monkey was a clever animal, and he thought it the wisest plan not to show any sign of the fear he felt, so he tried to calm himself and to think of some way by which he might escape.

"The doctor means to cut me open and then take my liver out! Why I shall die!" thought the monkey. At last a bright thought struck him, so he said quite cheerfully to the jelly fish:

"What a pity it was, Mr. Jelly Fish, that you did not speak of this before we left the island!"

"If I had told why I wanted you to accompany me you would certainly have refused to come," answered the jelly fish.

"You are quite mistaken," said the monkey. "Monkeys can very well spare a liver or two, especially when it is wanted for the Dragon Queen of the Sea. If I had only guessed of what you were in need. I should have presented you with one without waiting to be asked. I have several livers. But the greatest pity is, that as you did not speak in time, I have left all my livers hanging on the pine-tree."

"Have you left your liver behind you?" asked the jelly fish.

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