The Heart of a Monkey

Project completed for the Green Valley Library, One World Many Stories.

Pen and ink with watercolor.  The borders are carved eraser stamps to replicate traditional Swahili Kangha cloth.

Monkey’s Invitation – “Beware of generous offers.”

Monkey’s Realization – “Life’s journey requires wit.”

Monkey’s Explanation – “Keep your heart safe.”

A crocodile craves a monkey’s heart.  He devises a plan to offer a trip to the monkey.  “I will take you to the mango tree so you can feast on something wonderful besides your everyday figs.”  The monkey decides this would be a great idea.  Half way on their journey, the crocodile reveals that he will not take him to the mango tree, but have monkey’s heart.  The monkey replies, “That would be fine except I left my heart in the fig tree for safe keeping.  If you return me to my tree, I will go get it for you.”  Of course once in the tree, the monkey does not return and crocodile was fooled.  

I’m looking forward to more black and white work in my next projects.


9 thoughts on “The Heart of a Monkey

  1. Donna, this is fanrastic! I hope you’ve added these to your portfoiio in print as they are great examples of storytelling and consistancy of character. PLUS, they are just beautifully done. Thank you for sharing.

  2. Pingback: Watercolor and Ink “The Jackal and the Spring” « Multiple Muse Disorder

  3. I don’t want to keep this going. I am a student of East Asian Studies at Chicago. Indian story was written about 1500 years before Swahili or any other version came into existence. It was only in 700 AD it was translated in Arabic. Indian story has crocodile. The fruit in this case is called Jamun (rose apple).
    Indeed, stories go around the world. As you can see, the Indian story is well referenced (it has about 100 sources in the Wikipedia page alone) as against the Swahili which is not dated let alone documented. One wouldn’t call “a” book has good reference.

    The original story name is Labdhapraṇāśam (in Sanskrit – Loss Of Gains) – The Monkey and the Crocodile not “heart of a monkey.” As you may know Sanskrit is the root for Indo-Germanic languages including English.

    Since I enjoyed your illustration, I just wanted to make sure you have correct information. Cheers, James.

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