Jataka tale: The Monkey and the Crocodile

Possum and his friends act out the Sumsumara-Jataka (no. 208):

Video still showing a monkey and a crocodile
Click on the photo above to take you to the video on Vimeo.

Full script is below the fold….

Possum: Hey, guys, let’s act out a Jataka tale.

Nanas: What’s a Jataka tale?

Sharpie: Buddhists believe that Jataka tales are stories about one of Buddha’s previous lives.

Elephant: But I don’t believe that people had previous lives.

Sharpie: Well, Jataka Tales are also just good, fun stories that can make you think.

Possum [as narrator]: A monkey lived in in a fig tree by a river, and in the river lived some crocodiles. One day, one of the crocodiles said to her son, “I want the heart of a Monkey to eat.” Now this little crocodile was stupid, but he came up with a plan. He swam to the tree where the Monkey lived.

Crocodile: Oh, Monkey, come with me to the other side of the river where the mangoes are ripe.

Nanas: But I can’t swim.

Crocodile: I’ll take you over on my back.

Possum: The monkey wanted some mangoes, so she jumped onto the Crocodile’s back.

Nanas: This is great!

Crocodile: Check this out!

Possum: And the crocodile dove under the water. The monkey didn’t like that at all.

Nanas: Don’t dive! I can’t breathe underwater.

Possum: Now remember, this crocodile was stupid. He said:

Crocodile: I’m going to drown you so my mother can eat your heart.

Nanas: Oh, that’s too bad. I didn’t bring my heart with me. It’s up there.

Possum: And the monkey pointed to one of the figs hanging way up high in the tree.

Crocodile: You mean you left your heart in your tree?

Nanas: Yes. If you want it, take me back to my tree. But first, take me to the island so I can get some mangoes.

Crocodile: No, monkey. Give me your heart first, then I’ll take you to the island.

Possum: But as soon as the monkey jumped onto land, she ran quickly up the fig tree, and she shouted down to the crocodile:

Monkey: O silly crocodile! Did you really believe there were animals who kept their hearts in a tree?

Possum: The crocodile went back sorrowing to the place he lived.

Elephant: I like the way the Monkey did not have to use violence to get herself out of trouble.

Possum: I like the way this is a religious story, but the Monkey does not call on a god or goddess to get herself out of trouble.

Sharpie: There are many ways to interpret this story. How do YOU interpret it?

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