The Monkey and the Shark

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Monkey Shark

A monkey and a shark strike up an unlikely friendship. Can it last? This story introduces a second story which you can listen to here. Come back SOON for the conclusion.

Read by Richard Scott.
Lightly adapted from George Bateman's Zanzibar Tales 1901.
Illustrated by Walter Bobbett.

Proofread by Jana Elizabeth.


Once upon a time, Kima the monkey, and Papa the shark, became great friends.

The monkey lived in an immense mukuyu tree which grew by the edge of the sea - half of its branches being over the water and half over the land.

Every morning, when the monkey was breakfasting on the kooyoo nuts, the shark would put in an appearance under the tree and call out: “Throw me some food, my friend." With which request the monkey complied most willingly.

This continued for many months, until one day Papa said: “Kima, you have done me many kindnesses. I would like you to go with me to my home, that I may repay you.”

“How can I go?” said the monkey, “We land beasts can not go about in the water.”

“Don’t trouble yourself about that,” replied the shark. “I will carry you. Not a drop of water shall get to you.”

“Oh, all right then,” said Kima, “let’s go.”

When they had gone about half-way, the shark stopped and said: “You are my friend. I will tell you the truth.”

“Why, what is there to tell?” asked the monkey, with surprise.

“Well, you see, the fact is that our Sultan is very sick, and we have been told that the only medicine that will do him any good is a monkey’s heart.”

“Well,” exclaimed Kima, “you were very foolish not to tell me that before we started!”

“How so?” asked Papa.

But the monkey was busy thinking up some means of saving himself, and made no reply.

“Well?” said the shark, anxiously. “Why don’t you speak?”

“Oh, I’ve nothing to say now. It’s too late. But if you had told me this before we started, I might have brought my heart with me.”

“What? Haven’t you your heart here?”

“Huh!” exclaimed Kima. “Don’t you know about us? When we go out, we leave our hearts in the trees, and go about with only our bodies. But I see you don’t believe me. You think I’m scared. Come on, let’s go to your home where you can kill me and search for my heart in vain.”

The shark did believe him though, and exclaimed: “Oh, no. Let’s go back and get your heart.”

“Indeed, no,” protested Kima. “Let us go on to your home.”

But the shark insisted that they should go back, get the heart, and start afresh.

At last, with great apparent reluctance, the monkey consented, grumbling sulkily at the unnecessary trouble he was being put to.

When they got back to the tree, he climbed up in a great hurry, calling out: “Wait there Papa, my friend, while I get my heart, and we’ll start off properly next time.”

When he had got well up among the branches, he sat down and kept quite still.

After waiting for what he considered a reasonable length of time, the shark called: “Come along, Kima!” But Kima just kept still and said nothing.

In a little while he called again: “Oh, Kima! Let’s be going.”

At this the monkey poked his head out from among the upper branches and asked, in great surprise: “Going? Where?”

“To my home, of course.”

“Are you mad?” queried Kima.

“Mad? Why, what do you mean?” cried Papa.

“What’s the matter with you?” said the monkey. “Do you take me for a washerman’s donkey?”

“Why should you be like the washerman’s donkey?”

“I'm not,” said the monkey. “And I shall tell you the story that explains why.”

And that was the story of The Monkey and the Shark. If you would like to hear the monkey’s story of The Donkey and the Lion, be sure to drop by soon at Storynory.com