The tortoise and the monkey found once a banana tree floating admidst the waves of a river. It was a very fine tree, with large green leaves, and with roots just as if it had been pulled off by a storm. They took it ashore. “Let us divide it,” said the tortoise, “and plant each its portion.” They cut it in the middle, and the monkey, as the stronger, took for himself the upper part of the tree, thinking that it would grow quicker for it had leaves. The tortoise, as the weaker, had the lower part, that looked ugly, although it had roots. After some days, they met.
“Hello, Mr. Monkey,” said the tortoise, “how are you getting on with your banana tree?”
“Alas,” said the monkey, “it has been dead a long time! And yours, Miss Tortoise?”
“Very nice indeed, with leaves and fruits. I cannot climb up to gather them.”
“Never mind,” said the malicious monkey, “I will climb up and pick them for you.”
“Do, Mr. Monkey,” replied the tortoise gratefully. And so they walked toward the tortoise’s house.
As soon as the monkey saw the bright yellow fruits hanging between the large green leaves, he climbed up and began plundering, munching and gobbling, as quick as he could.
“But give me some, too,” said the tortoise, seeing that the monkey did not take the slightest notice of her.
“Not even a bit of the skin, if it is eatable,” rejoined the monkey, both his cheeks crammed with bananas.
The tortoise meditated revenge. She went to the river, picked up some pointed shells, planted them around the banana tree, and hid herself under a coconut shell. When the monkey came down, he hurt himself and began to bleed.
After a long search he found the tortoise.
“You must pay now for your wickedness; You must die. But as I am very generous, I will leave to you the choice of your death. Shall I pound you in a mortar, or shall I throw you into the water? Which do you prefer?”
“The mortar, the mortar,” answered the tortoise; “I am so afraid of getting drowned.”
“O ho!” laughed the monkey; “indeed! You are afraid of getting drowned! Now I will drown you!”
And going to the shore, he slung the tortoise and threw it in the water. But soon the tortoise reappeared swimming and laughing at the deceived, artful monkey.
Note: This is a specimen of Dr. Rizal’s English. This story was published in a London magazine in 1889.
Rizal’s compassion and affection for the youth are reflected on the numerous stories he created for the kids. The school he built for the kids in Dapitan and the worksheets that he wrote for his students to practice and learn on are just few of the things that would remind us how much Rizal valued the youth.