Once upon a time, a long, long time ago there was a wild and wonderful garden with all the animals you can imagine and all the trees and plants you couldn’t believe. The trees and plants offered every kind of fruit, of every kind of colour of every kind of size and every kind of taste. One tree had luscious little lilac Lilly Pillies while the plant next to it had gorgeous golden Grand Granadilla and yet another tree had juicy Jaboticaba.
The animals in this garden were free to eat whatever fruit they wanted whenever they wished so long as they followed two very important rules. The first rule said that upon approaching the tree they had to bow down low and address it like this “O Jaboticaba tree, o Jaboticaba tree, please give me a taste of your fruit!”
The other rule was that they could eat the fruit, but they had to leave enough left on the tree for other passing animals and so that it looked beautiful and could provide seeds for future trees. So long as the animals followed these two rules they could do as they pleased.
In the middle of the garden was the most impressive tree you have ever seen in your life, or the most impressive tree you could ever hop to see. It was tall and wide with branches flowing out from the trunk and leaves of every colour under the sun. It was always heavy with the most beautiful orange fruit that tempted animals from near and far. But no animal had ever eaten the fruit because no animal could remember its name.
In a tiny wooden house on the edge of the garden lived an old and wise woman. This woman knew all the names of all the trees and plants as well as the names of all the animals in the garden. The animals often asked her the name of the impressive tree with beautiful orange fruit so that they could try it, but by the time they had travelled from the old and wise woman’s house to the centre of the garden they always forgot its name, because it had a long and most difficult name to remember.
One day they monkey thought up a cunning plan. Perhaps you have never heard this, but the monkey is the most talented of musicians. He can play the guitar or the whistle or the fiddle, and he has the most wondrous voice in the garden. So the monkey decided to ask the old and wise woman the name of the tree. Right there and then the monkey sat down with his guitar and wrote a song all about the tree and its name. He them went walking through the garden singing his song quietly to himself so that none of the other animals would hear him.
When he arrived at the tree he looked around to make sure nobody was listening and then bowed and said the long difficult name twice and asked for the fruit making sure to say “please.” The monkey then scampered up into the tree and was in raptures at the beautiful orange fruit with the sumptuous smell. “Surely,” the monkey thought to himself, “there has never been a better looking nor better smelling fruit in the whole garden!” With that he took a big bite of the beautiful orange fruit with the sumptuous smell. And what a face he made! The beautiful orange fruit with the sumptuous smell tasted bitter and sour and had a the nastiest taste ever. It was thoroughly disgusting!
The monkey never forgot the name of the tree, nor his little song that he had made up about the tree. He also never forget how bad the fruit tasted and he never ate the fruit again. He took great pleasure, though, in tricking the other animals in the forest into taking a bit of the fruit, just so he could see the looks on their faces.
And that is how the monkey became a trickster.
You can find a slightly different version of this fairy tale at Fairy Tales and Folklore. You can also hear a recording of this different version on youtube below.
This is part of a project from Kid World Citizen to share Fairy Tales from around the world based on the idea of ‘Trickster’.