The Stupid Monkeys, Re-told by Ellen C. Babbitt
Once upon a time a king gave a holiday to all the people in one of his
The king's gardener thought to himself: "All my friends are having a
holiday in the city. I could go into the city and enjoy myself with
them if I did not have to water the trees here in this garden. I know
what I will do. I will get the Monkeys to water the young trees for
me." In those days, a tribe of Monkeys lived in the king's garden.
So the gardener went to the Chief of the Monkeys, and said: "You are
lucky Monkeys to be living in the king's garden. You have a fine place
to play in. You have the best of food—nuts, fruit, and the young
shoots of trees to eat. You have no work at all to do. You can play
all day, every day. To-day my friends are having a holiday in the
city, and I want to enjoy myself with them. Will you water the young
trees so that I can go away?"
"Oh, yes!" said the Chief of the Monkeys. "We shall be glad to do
"Do not forget to water the trees when the sun goes down. See they
have plenty of water, but not too much," said the gardener. Then he
showed them where the watering-pots were kept, and went away.
When the sun went down the Monkeys took the watering-pots, and began
to water the young trees. "See that each tree has enough water," said
the Chief of the Monkeys.
"How shall we know when each tree has enough?" they asked. The Chief
of the Monkeys had no good answer, so he said: "Pull up each young
tree and look at the length of its roots. Give a great deal of water
to those with long roots, but only a little to those trees that have
Then those stupid Monkeys pulled up all the young trees to see which
trees had long roots and which had short roots.
When the gardener came back the next day, the poor young trees were