Classic fables from Kaleela wa Dimna

There was an old monkey called Maher who was a king before a young monkey from his subjects attack him and strip him off his position. Maher managed to run away and ended up on a beach living on the top of a fig tree.
One day while eating a fig, it fell from his hand into the water making a sound that he enjoyed. Feeling amused, he repeated the action of eating and throwing into the water again and again.
During that time, there was a turtle swimming nearby who ate one of the figs thrown by the monkey. When the number of the figs thrown started increasing, the turtle thought that the monkey was feeding him and decided to befriend him.
He approached the tree and introduced himself to the monkey and they became friends instantly. The turtle had a wife waiting for him at home who got worried when he was late.
She went to visit her neighbour to share her concern to which the neighbour said: “Your husband had befriended a monkey on the beach. That’s where he spends all his time now and is never home! You must get rid of the monkey if you want him back!”.
The wife wondered how and the neighbour offered: “Pretend that you’re sick the minute he comes home. And if he enquires about your health tell him that the doctors had prescribed you a monkey’s heart for medicine.”
When the husband returned and saw his wife not looking well, he asked what was wrong and the neighbour answered: “Your poor wife is sick and her only cure is a monkey’s heart.”
The turtle wondered loudly: “But where would we get a monkey’s heart if we’re living in water?” and felt bewildered for a while before the answer struck him: he must betray his friend. Although it was unbearable, yet the price of not doing so was even higher: the life of his good wife.
He went back to the beach looking sad and perplexed. The monkey asked about the reason for his disappearance and the turtle answered that he was feeling shy for not being able to pay you back Maher’s kindness and would like to invite him to his house on the island.
The monkey felt flattered and hopped at once on the turtle’s back. On their way home, the turtle felt guilty and kept wondering how he’d betray his good friend for some words spoken by a foolish neighbour.
Maher sensed his friend’s confusion and asked him about it and the turtle answered: “I’m embarrassed as my wife is ill and I won’t be a gracious host.”
The monkey assured him that it was fine as the thought was what counted. The turtle swam on for an hour and stopped again and Maher started getting suspicious. He advised the turtle to end his worry by getting his wife the food and medicine she needed. The turtle agreed to that adding: “The doctors had prescribed her a monkey’s heart.”
The monkey was alarmed yet said calmly: “You should’ve told me earlier as we monkeys have a custom: when visiting our friends, we’d leave our hearts at home so that we don’t fall in love with their wives. Please take me back to bring it.”
The turtle felt happy as it meant that he didn’t have to deceive his friend after all. Once home, the monkey hopped off the turtle’s back, climbed up the tree and never came down. Moral of the story: keeping is harder than seeking. Hope you enjoyed the series as much as I did!
Rasha al Raisi is a certified skills trainer and the author of: The World According to Bahja.