The greedy monkeys story
A family of monkeys lived in a forest in south China. They often came out to play. They liked to drink wine and wear red shoes. A hunter knew they lived in the forest and wanted to catch them. The monkeys were very clever, they always ran away when they saw him coming.
One day, the monkeys were all playing together. Suddenly one of them thought he could smell some wine.
“Ai-yaah! What a lovely smell! Where is it coming from?” he cried.
The monkeys soon found that it was coming from a large jar at the side of the path. There were several pairs of red shoes also next to the jar. The leader of the monkeys said, “We must be careful. I’m sure the hunter is playing a trick on us.”
Another monkey asked, “Why should he place such beautiful shoes by the side of the jar?”
As he spoke, he scratched his foot which began to itch. Yet a third monkey advised them, “We have not so far been caught by the hunter because we have been careful.” The old monkey who was their leader said “You’re right.”
We must be very careful. We don’t want the hunter to catch us.
“stupid old hunter” he cried out loudly. “Do you really think you can catch us?”
All the other monkeys started to shout, “Silly old hunter! Stupid old hunter!” until their throats were quite dry. They all stood in a circle around the wine jar and red shoes. They did not know what to do. No one wanted to leave. Some of them licked their lips. Others scratched their feet.
“Can we taste just a little of the wine?” one of the monkeys asked.
Without saying any more, all the monkeys rushed towards the wine jar and opened it.
“Ai-yaah! What a marvelous smell! We’re really very lucky! What wonderful wine!”
At first the monkeys tasted the wine with their tongues only. Soon they started to swallow large quantities of it.
Some of them put on the red shoes and jumped and danced in them. Others who had drunk too much wine fell to the ground.
Suddenly there was a loud noise from the forest. It was the hunter.
Some of the monkeys tried to run away. But they could not do so because the shoes were tied together.
It was very easy for the hunter to catch them. He tied all of them up.
“we’re really very unlucky.” One of the monkeys said.
Another monkey answered, “We can only blame ourselves. We were too greedy.”