INDIAN FOLK TALES

The Monkeys Go Fasting

A group of monkeys decide to go on a fast one day.
"Before we begin, I think we should keep the food with which we'll break the fast ready," counselled the old monkey chief.
The monkeys nodded their heads in agreement. The youngsters were sent in search of food. They returned with huge hands of delicious-looking bananas.
"I think each of us should keep our share of bananas with us before we begin our fast, so that we don't spend time distributing them after we break our fast. You can imagine how hungry we all will be by then!" said the chief's wife.
The monkeys liked the idea and they collected their share of the bananas.
"Why don't we peel one banana and keep it ready to eat? " said one of the youngsters.
"Yes, let's do that," shouted a fat monkey in agreement. Just looking at the bananas was making him hungry.
"All right," said the monkey chief. "We shall peel the bananas but under no condition should we eat them."
So the monkeys peeled their bananas and carefully kept them ready for eating in the evening.
"Can I keep the banana in my mouth? I promise not to eat it till evening. Please!" a little monkey asked his father.
"Why don't we all put a banana in our mouth? That way we can chew it immediately when we break the fast," said his father, who had agreed to go on the fast only because his wife had not given him a choice. "As long as we don't eat it, it should be fine," he added.
So, the monkeys put the bananas in their mouths. One by one they eyed each other uncomfortably as they began their fast - and as you can imagine, within no time at all, the bananas disappeared down their gullets. And that was the end of their fast!

A folktale from Karnataka, retold by Meera Nair

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