A Folk Tale from South Africa
Marvin's Good Deed
It was a chilly winter's day, but fortunately the sun was shining. The troop of monkeys had climbed to the top of a large tree and was sitting up in the canopy, soaking up the sun's rays and trying to thaw out from the equatorial chill.
After a while, the younger monkeys became bored and decided they wanted to play.
They started to scramble through branches and chase one another. They were having such fun. Marvin was a naughty little monkey that liked to show off, but he had a kind heart. He was busy swinging from branch to branch when he came across a bird's nest. Inside were three delicious looking eggs. As Marvin put his hand into the nest to grab one, he heard a cry.
"No, please Master Monkey, leave my eggs alone!" shrieked a worried Mrs. Bird.
"But I want to eat the eggs!" shouted Marvin.
"I know," said Mrs. Bird "but I've been incubating them and they're due to hatch soon. I can't wait to see my little chicks. Please leave them alone and then one day I may be able to help you."
Marvin hesitated, but decided that he would leave the eggs alone. He forgot about the incident and continued with his monkey business in other trees.
A few months later, the troop of monkeys was having barrels of fun trying to catch termites that were emerging from a termite mound on the savannah. The monkeys leaped down to try and catch the tasty morsels as they exited their mound. If the young monkeys were successful, they would shove the tasty insect into their mouth and crunch on it.
The monkeys were so intent on the termites, that they didn't realize that they were in grave danger. A spotted leopard was inching up on them, hoping to catch a monkey for dinner that evening. The leopard was crouched low, stalking closer and closer towards the troop of monkeys. Just then Mrs. Bird happened to be kiting overhead and noticed the leopard. She yelled down to the monkey, "There's a dangerous leopard! Run for your lives!"
Marvin and the other monkeys leaped to safety just in time. Mrs. Bird had saved their lives. Marvin thought back to the eggs he had spared and realized that the good deed had been returned.
Submitted by the following South African au pairs living in Massachusetts, 2004