Talking Thrush, The: And Other Tales from India | Annotated Tale

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Monkey and the Crows, The

IN A certain land, a flock of Crows built their nests in the branches of a huge cotton-tree.

               In that country, the climate is not the least like ours. It is hot all the year round, and for eight months the sun blazes like a fiery furnace, so that the people who live there are burnt as black as your boot; then after eight months comes the rain, and the rain comes down in bucketsful, with lightning fit to blind you, and thunder enough to crack your head. These Crows were quite happy in their nests, whatever happened; for when it was hot, the leaves of the trees sheltered them from the sun, and in the rainy season the leaves kept them pretty dry.

               One evening there came a terrible storm, with torrents of rain like Noah's flood. In the midst of it, the Crows noticed a Monkey sliding along, drenched and draggle-tailed, looking like a drowned Rat. The Crows set up a chorus of caws, and called out--

               "O Monkey, what a fool you must be! Look at us, dry and comfortable, in our nests of rags and twigs. If we, with only our little beaks to help us, can make comfortable nests, why can't you, with two hands and two feet and a tail?"

               You might have thought the Monkey would take this advice to heart. But not a bit of it. Monkeys are naturally a lazy tribe, and they are full of envy, hatred, and malice. What they like best is destroying whatever they can lay their hands on; and when I look upon some of the nations of this globe, I cannot help thinking that they really must be descended from Monkeys. So this Monkey snapt and snarled, and said to the Crows--

               "Just wait till morning, and then we'll see what a Monkey can do."

               The simple birds were delighted to hear this, and looked forward to seeing the Monkey do something wonderfully clever, with his tail and his two hands and two feet.

               Morning came, and the rain was over. The Monkey climbed up into the tree, and in his rage and envy he tore all the Crows' nests to pieces.

Then the Crows were sorry they spoke, and determined           
for the future to mind their own business,           
and let fools alone. For, as the wise man           
said, "To give good advice to a fool           
is like pouring oil upon           
the fire."           


Told by Sariju Prasád, teacher of the school at Subhikha, Bahraich district, Oudh.

Crows build nests in a cotton-tree (semal)—In the rains a Monkey arrives soaking—Said the Crows, "We build nests with only a beak: can you not make a better with two hands and two feet?" "Wait till morning"—Then he tears down their nests—"Good advice given to a fool only kindles his malice."

Bibliographic Information

Tale Title: Monkey and the Crows, The
Tale Author/Editor: Crooke, W. & Rouse, W. H. D.
Book Title: Talking Thrush, The: And Other Tales from India
Book Author/Editor: Crooke, W. & Rouse, W. H. D.
Publisher: E. P. Dutton & Co.
Publication City: New York
Year of Publication: 1922
Country of Origin: India
Classification: unclassified

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