Once upon a time, a tortoise was sunbathing by a river.
You might think a tortoise, with its thick shell, couldn't sunbathe.
But you'd be wrong.
The warmth comes up from the ground, and of course, the tortoise sticks its head out, and as much of its neck as it can.
It soon very warm indeed.
Well,this tortoise was almost asleep when she noticed a tree being carried downstream.
No ordinary tree.
It was a banana tree.
She dived in, swam to the tree, and began pushing it toward the bank.
But a banana tree is a very big tree.
And this tortoise was a fair-sized tortoise, she couldn't pull it up the bank.
The tree still had its roots and leaves, and they were heavy with water.
So the tortoise did the sensible thingーshe ran for help.
That's to say, she ran as a tortoise runs: a fairly slow business.
But not far along the road, she came across her neighbor, the monkey.
" I say ! Come and look ! " said the tortoise.
" I've found a banana tree. Help me carry it to my house so I can plant it there ! "
The monkey thought for a moment, as monkeys do, and then he said.
" Right you are ! "
" Of course, " said the tortoise.
So they went to the river, and, working together, just about managed to tug the tree up in the bank and then drag it to the tortoise's yard.
And the tortoise said " Right. Now we'll dig a hole and plant it.
But the monkey thought for a moment, as monkeys do, and said,
" You agreed we should share a tree, and I'm against planted it."
The tortoise said, " Of course, we'll plant it.Then we'll wait till bananas grow on it, and we'll share them. What else could be done on it ?
" What else ? " said the monkey.
" Well, to bigan with, we could divide it at once: half for you, half for me.
That's much better than hanging around waiting for bananas to grow on it. "
The tortoise grumbled, but the monkey said he wouldn't agree to anything alse, so the tree had to be sawn in two.
The monkey looked at the two halves and decided the top of tree looked the nicer half ーmuch greener, not those dirtyroots。
So he said, " I'll have the top half. ”
He seized the top of the tree, dragged it away to his back yard next door, and planted it there.
The tortoise was left with the bottom half of the trunk and the roots.
This she planted with great care, pressing the earth down all around and watering it with can after can of water.
THE TORTOISE, THE MONKEY, and THE BANANA TREE (3)
In the monkey's yard next door, the green top part of the banana tree soon turned brown, and the leaves dried and fell off.
The tree began to lean sadly to one side, and soon it was dead.
But the bottom half of the tree, in the tortoise's yard, put forth new leaves, and then flowers.
A slow smile began to spread across the tortoise's small, leathery face.
Soon, this tree was crowded with hands of ripening fruit, the clumps of bananas.
And the smile on the tortoise's face grew larger and larger, untilー
Until she began to wonder how she was going to pick the bananas.
I'm sure you see the problem.
Tortoise, as is well known, cannot climb trees.
From the beginning of time to the present moment, no tortoise has ever climbed a tree.
And I very much doubt if a tortoise ever will.
The tortoise thought and tought, and as she did so, her smile changed to a frown, and her frown to a glare.
She thought again, trying to think better thoughts than her first thought; but there was no way out of it.
She new only one creature able to climb the tree and picked the fruit, and that was her neighbor, the monkey.
THE TORTOISE, THE MONKEY, and THE BANANA TREE (4)
So she put on the best face she could and went to visit him.
" Well, I'll pick the fruit for you, " said the monkey, " butー"
" But what ? " asked the tortoise, nervously.
" But I'll want half the bananas for my trouble, " said the monkey.
Well, as they say, beggars can't choosers; so the tortoise had to agree.
And grinning broadly, the monkey shinned up the tree, and reaching the top, calmly began to eat the bananas.
Not one did he trow down to the waiting tortoise.
" Hi ! " cried the tortoise.
" Half for youーhalf for me ! Remember ? So every time you eat one, throw one down to me. "
But the monkey only laughedーthe sort of laugh you get from a monkey when its mouth full of delicious ripe bananas.
" No, " he said.
" No ! These are very good bananas, by the way. You must have looked after them very well ! No ! You cheated me when we divided the tree. You let me take the worthless half, though I'm sure you knew it wouldn't grow. So now I'm going to eat every single banana ! "
And it began to rain banana skins as the monkey tossed them down from his perch at the top of tree.
If tortoise could turn purple with rage, that tortoise would have turned purple with rage.
As it was, she did some thinking; and then she crawled off to the other end of the yard and gathered some blackthorn branches.
These she scattered on the ground under the tree.
Then she hide.
The monkey came to the end of his feast, and very much heavier than when he went up, leaped down from the tree.
He landed right in the middle of the thorns.
" Ow ! " he cried.
" Ouch ! Ow !"
And he leaped from foot to foot, and shrieked and screeched.
THE TORTOISE, THE MONKEY, and THE BANANA TREE (5) 完
The tortoise, watching from where she lay hidden, smiled, and then laughed, and if a tortoise could have split her sides, she'd have spiit her sides.
split ［burst, shake, hold］ one's sides
laughing ［with laughter］ 腹をかかえて笑う, 笑いこける
Which was the worst thing she could have done. That's to say, laugh.
For the monkey now knew where she was hidden, and he ran there.
While she was helpless with laughter, he picked her up and turned her on her back.
As you know, a tortoise on her back is useless tortoise. A tortoise on her back doesn't know how to get onto her front again.
" Now to punish you ! " cried the monkey.
" I'm not sure what's bad enough for you.
Shall I beat you with a stick ? No, that would be so kind !
Shall I put you in mortar, as if you were grain,and pound you to pieces ? No, that would be gentle.
He was still picking thorns out of his toes, and growing angrier and angrier.
" I think throwing you off the top of a very high mountain might be about right ! "
But the tortoise had been doing some upside-down thinking, and she said.
" Oh, dear, do whatever you like wit me: beat me with a stick, pound me to pieces in a mortar, throw me from the top of the highest mountain in the land."
"I don't mind, as lomg as you don't throw me in the water ! Oh, please, don't throw me i the water ! "
" Ho, ho ! " cried the monkey.
" So that's what you're most afraid of ! Right ! Into the water you shall go ! "
He picked up the tortoise, carried her to the river. up the tortoise, carried her to the river. and threw her in.
To the monkey's great delight, the tortoise disappeared under the water.
" That's the end of you, " he cried.
But at that very moment, here come the tortoise's head, above moment, here come the tortoise's head, above the water; and she was smiling.
Then, with quick little movements of her legs, off she swam.
The smiling tortoise said to the frowning monkey,
" Thank you, you extremely foolish creature ! I'd have though even you would have known that water is my second home ! "
And within a minute, or not much longer, she was out of sight.