There was a Jamun (Black-berry) tree on the bank of a river, which was full of sweeet Jamun fruits throughout the year. This tree was home to a monkey called Raktamukha. He used to pass his days happily by playing and jumping, and used to eat the sweet Jamun fruits.
One day, a crocodile named Karalamukha came out of the river to take some rest under the Jamun tree. When Raktamukha saw him from the tree, he said, “O Crocodile, this tree is my home and you have come under this tree to take rest. This makes you my guest. Please accept some Jamun fruits.”
Raktamukha plucked lots of fruits and threw them in the crocodile’s mouth. Karalamukha loved the sweet fruits, and became friendly with Raktamukha. Karalamukha left in the evening after thanking the generosity of the monkey.
Karalamukha started coming to the Jamun tree every day, and they became good friends. They would talk for a long time and enjoy eating the sweet Jamun fruits together.
One day, Karalamukha said to Raktamukha that he wanted to take some of the Jamun fruits for her wife to let her know of the sweetness of these fruits. So, the monkey happily plucked more fruits for the crocodile to take home.
Karalamukha took those fruits and offered his wife to eat them, and narrated the story of his friendship with the monkey who lives on the Jamun tree. The crocodile’s wife was overjoyed on eating those sweet fruits.
She said, “O Dear, these fruits are as sweet as nectar. If the monkey eats these fruits every day, I wonder, he would be even tastier. Please bring the monkey’s heart for me.”
Karalamukha was astonished on hearing this. He said, “O Dear, I cannot kill or deceive the monkey for his heart. He is my friend. It is unfair to think of such a thing.”
But his wife pleaded for the monkey’s heart. When she could not convince the crocodile of doing it for her, she stopped eating, and insisted that we would rather die if the crocodile refused to do as she wished.
Karalamukha was left with no other choice but to succumb to her wishes. Although he was sad, he devised a plan to catch his friend and went to Raktamukha.
He said, “O Friend, my wife love the fruits very much and I told my wife about our friendship. Now, she is anxious to meet you. She is angry on me for not introducing you with her earlier. So, she has invited you to our home for dinner. Please accept our invitation.”
The monkey accepted at once, but how could he go to the crocodile’s home? I could not swim. The crocodile said, “Sit on my back, and I shall carry you to my home.”
And so Raktamukha sat on Karalamukha and they entered the water of the river. Karalamukha took him to deeper water where he planned to kill him. At the same time, Raktamukha got very scared with so much water all around him. he pleaded his friend to move slowly.
At this moment, the crocodile knew that he had succeeded in his plan and had the monkey totally under his control. He thought that it was not possible for the monkey to escape from him so he revealed his plan, “O monkey, the truth is I am taking you to make my wife happy. She wishes to eat your heart. She believes that the taste should be even better than the Jamun fruits you have all the time.”
Upon hearing this, Raktamukha was taken aback. But he did not panic. Instead, he wittingly said, “O Friend, Why didn’t you say that before? It would be my priviledge if I could serve your wife with my heart. You are such a good friend, and you should have told me earlier. I keep my heart in the burrow of the Jamun tree. Let us go back and bring my heart at once.”
The foolish crocodile believed him, and turned around. Karalamukha took Raktamukha to the Banyan tree believing the monkey to bring his heart from the tree. But as soon as Raktamukha jumped down from the crocodile’s back, he climbed up the tree and sat on a high branch. He had finally saved himself from the crocodile’s evil plan.
Karalamukha wanted to know, “What is causing this delay? We are getting late, and my wife has been waiting.”
Raktamukha answered, “O foolish friend, how can one take out his own heart and keep it in the burrow of the tree? You deceived me to kill me, and in return I tricked you in saving myself. Let this be a lesson to you for being so unfaithful. Go away, and never return back.”
The crocodile knew he had been tricked, and felt ashamed for his actions. He went away.
The wise indeed say: Use intelligence to win in difficult situations.