Tales of Old Lusitania/The Monkey's Pomegranate Tree

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THE MONKEY'S POMEGRANATE TREE.




Once upon a time a monkey sat on an olive tree eating a pomegranate, and one of the seeds fell on the ground, and out of it there grew up a pomegranate tree. The monkey seeing that both trees could not flourish so near each other, went to the owner of the olive tree, and asked him to be good enough to remove it from where it stood, that his pomegranate tree might have room to grow.

The man said, "I will not root up a good old tree that has cost me years to grow to make room for yours that only sprang up yesterday. I'll see you hanged on the olive tree first."

Then the monkey went to a magistrate, and said, "Oh, magistrate, bid the man remove his olive tree to make room for my pomegranate tree to grow."

The magistrate replied, "The laws are made for men, and not for monkeys."

Then the monkey went to the king, and said, "Oh, king, punish the magistrate, who will not bid the man remove his olive tree to make room for my pomegranate tree to grow."

The king replied, "My magistrates never do wrong."

Then the monkey went to the queen, and said, "Oh, queen, scold the king for not punishing the magistrate, who will not bid the man remove his olive tree to make room for my pomegranate tree to grow."

The queen replied, "A wife should never scold her husband."

Then the monkey went to a rat and said, "Oh, rat, gnaw the queen's skirt, she will not scold the king for not punishing the magistrate, who will not bid the man remove his olive tree to make room for my pomegranate tree to grow."

The rat replied, "It would be rude to gnaw a lady's skirt."

Then the monkey went to the cat, and said, "Oh, cat, kill the rat, that will not gnaw the queen's skirt, who will not scold the king for not punishing the magistrate, who will not bid the man remove his olive tree to make room for my pomegranate tree to grow."

The cat replied, "Mice are easier to kill and nicer to eat."

Then the monkey went to the dog, and said, "Oh, dog, worry the cat, that will not kill the rat, that will not gnaw the queen's skirt, who will not scold the king for not punishing the magistrate, who will not bid the man remove his olive tree to make room for my pomegranate tree to grow."

The dog replied, "It is mean to change old friends for new."

Then the monkey went to the stick, and said, "Oh, stick, beat the dog, that will not worry the cat, that will not kill the rat, that will not gnaw the queen's skirt, who will not scold the king for not punishing the magistrate, who will not bid the man remove his olive tree to make room for my pomegranate tree to grow."

The stick replied, "You deserve a taste of me more than he does."

Then the monkey went to the fire, and said, "Oh, fire, burn the stick, that will not beat the dog, that will not worry the cat, that will not kill the rat, that will not gnaw the queen's skirt, who will not scold the king for not punishing the magistrate, who will not bid the man remove his olive tree to make room for my pomegranate tree to grow."

The fire replied, "It is a waste to burn a walking stick."

Then the monkey went to the water, and said,

"Oh, water, put out the fire, that will not burn the stick, that will not beat the dog, that will not worry the cat, that will not kill the rat, that will not gnaw the queen's skirt, who will not scold the king for not punishing the magistrate, who will not bid the man remove his olive tree to make room for my pomegranate tree to grow."

The water replied, "The fire is boiling me to cook the king's cabbages."

Then the monkey went to the ox and said, "Oh, ox, drink up the water that will not put out the fire, that will not burn the stick, that will not beat the dog, that will not worry the cat, that will not kill the rat, that will not gnaw the queen's skirt, who will not scold the king for not punishing the magistrate, who will not bid the man remove his olive tree to make room for my pomegranate tree to grow."

The ox replied, "The cabbages would burn, and the king's dinner would be spoilt."

Then the monkey went to the butcher, and said, "Oh, butcher, kill the ox that will not drink up the water, that will not put out the fire, that will not burn the stick, that will not beat the dog, that will not worry the cat, that will not kill the rat, that will not gnaw the queen's skirt, who will not scold the king for not punishing the magistrate, who will not bid the man remove his olive tree to make room for my pomegranate tree to grow."

The butcher replied, "You mayn't kill other people's cattle."

At last the monkey went to Death, and said, "Oh, Death, carry off the butcher who will not kill the ox, that will not drink up the water, that will not put out the fire, that will not burn the stick, that will not beat the dog, that will not worry the cat, that will not kill the rat, that will not gnaw the queen's skirt, who will not scold the king for not punishing the magistrate, who will not bid the man remove his olive tree to make room for my pomegranate tree to grow."

And Death said he would. When the butcher heard that, he turned pale and pleaded, "Don't carry me off, and I promise to kill the ox."

And the ox bellowed out, "Don't kill me and I will drink the water."

And the water bubbled over and hissed, "Don't drink me up and I will put out the fire."

And the fire stirred himself till he crackled, "Don't put me out and I will burn the stick."

And the stick stood up on one leg and said, "Don't burn me and I will beat the dog."

And the dog howled, "Don't beat me and I will worry the cat."

And the cat mewed, "Don't worry me and I will kill the rat."

And the rat squeaked, "Don't kill me and I will gnaw the queen's skirt."

And the queen shrieked out, "Don't gnaw my skirt and I will scold the king."

And the king whimpered, "Don't scold me and I will punish the magistrate."

And the magistrate went down on his knees and begged, "Don't punish me and I will bid the man remove his olive tree, or he shall hang on it."

The man said, "Oh, magistrate, don't hang me and I will remove my olive tree."

So the monkey had his way with his pomegranate tree, and I hope he will give us each a pomegranate off it.

Coimbra.


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