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The Monkeys and the Dragonflies

Published January 15, 2014
Countries: Philippines
Age Levels: 5-6 and up

The noon sun shined own on the jungle.  It seemed like it could melt everything it touched.  On this day a dragonfly became tired from its long flight.  It stopped for a moment to rest on the branch of a tree where a family of monkeys lived.

The dragon fly was fanning its wings trying to cool down when it heard a voice.  "What are you doing here?" asked one of the monkeys.

"I am sitting and resting for a moment on this hot day, sir," said the dragonfly politely.  "When I cool down I will be on my way."

"Get off our tree right now," said the monkey.  "We do not allow weak creatures to sit on our tree."  Then the monkey threw a stick at the dragonfly.

The dragonfly was able to fly away quickly before the monkey could hurt her with his stick.  She hurried home to tell the king of the dragonflies, who just happened to be her brother.

The dragonfly king flew with three of his soldiers to where the monkeys lived.  He flew directly to talk to the king of the monkeys.  "King," said the dragonfly, "One of your subjects tried to hit my sister.  He needs to apologize for his bad behavior."

"Monkeys never apologize," said the monkey king.  "Go away before we declare war on you.  We are big, and you are little.  We are strong, and you are weak.  We will win, and you will lose if we have a war."

The king of the dragonflies and his three soldiers said, "We accept your challenge.  You are big, and you are strong.  But - you are wrong.  We are not afraid to fight you."

The monkey king called all of the monkeys.  He ordered the, to bring a heavy stick to the battle.  "Hit the dragonflies!" commanded the king of the monkeys.  Smash them with your sticks!"

The dragonflies were small.  The dragonflies were weak.  But, the dragonflies were smart.  The king of the dragonflies ordered his soldiers to land on the foreheads of the monkeys.  The monkeys swung their sticks and clubs at the dragonflies.  But the dragonflies were very fast.  Every time they saw a club swinging at them, they flew off the forehead of one monkey and landed on another monkey.  The monkeys beat each other silly.

Every monkey was covered in bruises before the fight was over.  The smart little dragonflies won the fight.  Now the monkeys share their trees with many animals of all kinds, and they are always very polite to dragonflies.

A delightful version of this story can be found in Filipino Popular Tales by Fansler (Lancaster, Pennsylvania and New York: American Folk-Lore Society, 1921), no. 57, pp. 379-82.