The Monkey King & The Water Demon

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The Monkey King & The Water Demon

A Water Demon prowled the waters of a large blue Lake in the mountains of Northern India. No one could drink the cool blue waters of the Lake without being eaten by the Water Demon, but the Monkey King has a plan!

Long long ago, in the midst of a big blue mountain was a lush green forest. This forest had plants, trees and animals of all kinds. There were big Banyan trees, flowering bushes and creepers, Lions, Elephants, Snakes, Turtles, Bees, Birds and Butterflies! The forest was always bustling with activities and games of animals and birds and insects. It was a happy happy place.

In one corner of the forest was a Big Blue Lake with invitingly cool waters. But surprisingly no animals would come next to it. The animals whispered to one another “Did you hear? Yesterday, a little lamb was lost near the Blue Lake. I heard the Mother Sheep bleating for its little one. The lil lamb wont be found again. It must be the Water Demon”.

The animals in the Forest believed that the Big Blue Lake was home to a Water Demon. No one dared to go near it. Even the naughtiest little ones in the forest agreed that it was too much of a risk.

Everything was going well in the Forest till a very dry spell of the Summer came upon them. All the rivers and little streams dried up. The animals and birds of the Forest felt the scorching heat and were worried about their water needs. How will they bath or drink to quench their thirst? To add to the difficulties, the forest was hosting a large group of Monkeys, that Summer. The King of the Monkeys was a wiry young ‘Yogi’. He was very observant and knew about how the Nature worked. He was so clever that he knew about everything from small insects to the Stars and the Sun! The Monkey King claims “I just listen patiently to things and they reveal their secrets to me”. The guests were very much honored in the Forest.

However, the Elephant King of the Forest noticed that they did-not have enough water to survive the Summer. He called up a meeting of all the creatures of the forest. The Elephant King suggested “Let us move out of our Forest and go downstream the river. We will have water in the valleys”. All the animals were so disappointed. The birds started crying. They didn’t want to leave their Forest.. not even for a few months. They loved their Land!

Suddenly, the Monkey King asked the Elephant King’s permission to speak. He said “O Great Elephant King, why would you want to move out of this beautiful land of yours when you have the Big Blue Lake here?”. The Elephant King replied “Dear Monkey King, it is too risky. The Water Demon is real. It will not spare us if we take water from the Lake.” The Monkey King thought for a while and said “Please give me a day’s time before you decide to move downstream, O Great King”

The next day Monkey King thought of a plan and went down with his people to the Big Blue Lake. Big Blue Lake rippled with its cool blue waters. The Big Blue Lake was simply too Big to dry up during Summer! It looked very calm and silent. No animals went near it. No birds flew above it.

The Monkey King bravely went near to the edge of the Lake and bellowed “O Great Water Demon, show yourself”. The little monkeys accompanying the Monkey King were terrified. But No Water Demon came out of the waters.

The Monkey King merely touched the water with his toe and suddenly there were ripples in the middle of the Lake. The ripples grew and became waves. There emerged a funny-looking creature from the Lake. It had fins like a fish, but was slimy like an eel. It had the whiskers of an Otter and tentacles of an Octopus. It was big and blue and had two very large eyes. Have you noticed how the monsters often look funny more than they look scary? Honestly, our Water Demon looked more funny than scary! The monkeys laughed at it.

The Water Demon roared. It was not used to, being laughed at. “How dare you insult me, you little Monkey?” screamed the Water Demon while trying to grab the Monkey King. The Monkey King was too quick for him and jumped to the branch of a tree, out of reach. The Monkey King responded “O Great Water Demon, You have lived in these waters for so many years. We request you to please share your water with us. We will use it with care. The water in our rivers have gone dry.”

The Water Demon let out a loud laughter. “Ha ha ha.. serves you right! This is my Lake. My Water. I will eat you up if you drink from it.” The Monkey King pleaded again “O Great Water Demon, I request you again to please help us during this tough times”. The Water Demon again made fun of the Monkeys and laughed at them.

The Monkey King was ready for this. He and his people had collected some Bamboo sticks on their way to the Big Blue Lake. Now they took them out and started drinking water from the Lake right in front of the Water Demon. The Water Demon was helpless as he cannot come out of the water to harm the Monkeys. Only if the Monkeys get into the water can the Demon harm them. The bamboo straws helped the Monkeys to drink water from it without going into the water.

The Water Demon got so angry that he tried to do everything possible to harm the Monkeys. But the Monkeys were always too quick for the Demon. They ran around in the banks of the Lake and laughed at the Water Demon. It was too much for the Water Demon to handle and he swam away into the river downstream swearing never to return back.

The clever Monkey King sent word to the creatures of the Forest and they all came in jumping with joy. The animals and birds of the Forest jumped into the cool Waters of Big Blue Lake and played and drank water as much as they pleased.

The Elephant King thanked the Monkey King for his brilliant intervention. Monkey King proved that bullies are in real just cowards!

(This Jataka Tale has been edited to adapt to the taste of early readers)


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