The Tortoise that Befriends the Monkey

Here is a story:

There once was a Tortoise and a Monkey that became good friends and understood each other really well. One day, the Tortoise said to his friend, Monkey: I would like to visit you at your house. The Monkey agreed and told the Tortoise to come to his home on Sunday. Therefore, the Monkey told his wife about the visit and they prepared well to make a party for his friend, the Tortoise . The Monkey killed a great rooster. The Tortoise and his wife arrived at 8:00 that morning.

The Monkey saw them on the road and, in a hurry, went to greet them and received a basket of flour from the Tortoise’s wife. In the meantime, the Monkey’s wife set up the stools where they would be resting. When all of the greetings were through, the Monkey’s wife went off to the fire and was bustling about, cooking and preparing what was needed for the visitors.

When the food was all ready, the Monkey’s wife set the table for the two guests and called the Tortoise and his wife to the table. Since the Tortoise had short legs and arms, and the Monkey had gone outside, the Tortoise and his wife only twisted and turned on the stools unable to reach the mush on the table. They kept on twisting and trying until they were tired and the Tortoise ’s wife said to herself: They did not prepare this food for us since we cannot reach it! Finally, they went off on their way saying good bye to the Monkey and his wife. The Monkey, out of courtesy, walked them part of the way home. When the Monkey returned home, he found that the Tortoises had not eaten any of the food that was made.

One day, the Monkey sent the Tortoise some information to tell him that he wanted to come over to his house. They fixed a date. Finally, the day arrived. The Monkey, along with his wife, set off on their voyage (to see the Tortoise). They took some food, just as the Tortoise had done. As the Tortoise saw his friend approaching his house, he got ready to greet him.

Earlier that day, the Tortoise had burned all of the grass between his home and the nearby river, leaving the area where the Monkey would have to pass covered in ashes. They greeted each other warmly. Then the Tortoise’s wife ran very fast to the fireplace to prepare the last of the food. She cooked the mush and took it to the house, but she did not put out water for them to wash themselves with and she did that on purpose after talking with her husband about what the Monkey had done to them. The Tortoise’s wife went out and called them. When they entered, the Tortoise said to the Monkey: Forgive me, but there is no water here to wash with. Would you mind going to the river to wash and when you return, then you can eat? The Monkey agreed and went to the river to wash with his wife. He and his wife went to the river and washed themselves, and then on their way back they noticed that they were walking over burned grass. So, because of the grass burned by the Tortoise, they had dirty feet and they went back to the river and washed themselves. Finally, they became exhausted from the work and then the Monkey’s wife got angry and said: Let’s go, this is no place for us. And so they went off back home together – furious and hungry.

And that is the end of our story.


Written by William Nyondanyonda, 7th of September 1994. It is a second version of a folk-tale (28) The Monkey and the Tortoise written by Daniel England.