The Monkey And The Crocodile

Scene 1

(By a river.  Two trees stand on the riverbank, some distance apart)

(Monkey enters and climbs tree)

MONKEY:  This jamun tree is the best tree I've ever lived in.  (Picks a jamun fruit)  These fruits are delicious!

(Mr. Crocodile swims up river to tree)

Mr. CROCODILE:  Hello, monkey!

MONKEY:  Hello, Crocodile!

Mr. CROCODILE:  Do you know where I can get some food?  I'm hungry!  I haven't found a fish all day.

MONKEY:  Well, there's lots of delicious jamun fruit in this jamun tree.  But crocodiles don't eat fruit.

Mr. CROCODILE:  I'm so hungry I'll eat anything.

MONKEY:  (picking and throwing jamun fruits) Great!  Here, have some of these!

Mr. CROCODILE:  Wow!  These are good!  I never ate fruit before.

MONKEY:  Here!  (throws more fruit)  Have some more!

Mr. CROCODILE:  (eating)  Yum!  Thank you!  (more eating)

MONKEY:  Have you had enough?

Mr. CROCODILE:  Yes, thanks.  I think I must be going home now.

MONKEY:  Come back when you want more.  There's plenty.  Good bye!

(Mr. Crocodile swims across stage)

(Mrs. Crocodile enters)

Mr. CROCODILE:  Hello, wife!

Mrs. CROCODILE:  Where have you been?  You smell funny.

Mr. CROCODILE:  I've been eating jamun fruit with my friend the monkey!

Mrs. CROCODILE:  A she-monkey, or a he-monkey?

Mr. CROCODILE:  It's not that kind of relationship.  I was hungry, and the monkey gave me jamun fruit.

Mrs. CROCODILE:  Crocodiles don't eat fruit!

Mr. CROCODILE:  It was good.

Mrs. CROCODILE:  (flirtatiously) You do smell kind of sweet.  Bring me some, will you, please?

Mr. CROCODILE:  Certainly, my dear.

(Mr. Crocodile swims back to tree)

MONKEY:  Hello, again, Crocodile!

Mr. CROCODILE:  Can you give me some more jamun fruit for my wife?

MONKEY:  Sure!  Take heaps!  (throws jamun fruit to Mr. Crocodile)

Mr. CROCODILE:  Thanks!  (carries jamun fruit)(swims back to Mrs. Crocodile)  Have some jamun fruit, my dear!

Mrs. CROCODILE:  (eating)  Thank you.  These are really sweet.  (more eating)  Does the monkey eat these?

Mr. CROCODILE:  The monkey eats nothing else!  Lives in the jamun tree and eats jamun fruit all day.

Mrs. CROCODILE:  (still eating) That monkey will taste sweet, from eating all those jamun fruits.  (finishes eating) Those were good, but I'm still hungry.  Husband, go get me that monkey's heart!  It must be full of jamun juice.

Mr. CROCODILE:  Oh, come on!  The monkey is my friend!

Mrs. CROCODILE:  Listen.  We are crocodiles.  Crocodiles don't make friends with monkeys.  Crocodiles eat monkeys!

Mr. CROCODILE:  Not this monkey.  This one gave us jamun fruit.

(Mrs. Crocodile sinks down to the floor, pretending to be sick)

Mrs. CROCODILE:  Oh - I'm sick!  I'm dying!

Mr. CROCODILE:  Oh, dear!  What is wrong?

Mrs. CROCODILE:  My heart!  My stomach!  My poor head!

Mr. CROCODILE:  Oh, dear!  What can I do?

(Mrs. Crocodile sits up, obviously well, not sick)

Mrs. CROCODILE:  Go get me the Monkey!  I will eat its heart and that will cure me.  (To audience) And it will taste so nice and sweet!

Mr. CROCODILE:  How can I do that?  The monkey lives in the tree.  We are Crocodiles.  Crocodiles don't climb!

Mrs. CROCODILE:  Use your wits.  You'll think of a way.  Maybe invite the monkey over for dinner.  Now go!

Mr. CROCODILE:  Yes, dear.

(Mrs. Crocodile exits.  Mr. Crocodile swims back to tree.)

MONKEY:  Hello, again, Crocodile!

Mr. CROCODILE:  O dear friend, my wife thanks you for all the jamun fruit you gave her.

MONKEY:  You are both welcome.  There's plenty.  Want more?

Mr. CROCODILE:  No, thank you.  My wife insists that you come to us for dinner.

MONKEY:  (flattered) Thank you, but I cannot.

Mr. CROCODILE:  Why not?

MONKEY:  I cannot swim.

Mr. CROCODILE:  That is no problem - I can.  Come ride on my back and I will take you home with me.

MONKEY:  Okay. 

(Monkey climbs down from tree, sits on Mr. Crocodile's back.  Depending on the size of the actors, Monkey may squat over Mr. Crocodile and move along while Mr. Crocodile "swims", or Monkey may ride piggyback on Mr. Crocodile, or Monkey may just walk along behind Mr. Crocodile).

(Mr. Crocodile swims down river, with Monkey perched on back)

Mr. CROCODILE:  Now have a swim!

(Mr. Crocodile dumps Monkey off his back)

(Monkey splutters, pretends to be drowning)

MONKEY:  Why did you throw me off?  I can't swim!

Mr. CROCODILE:  I am carrying you to my wife.  She wants to eat your heart, and I must give it to her!

MONKEY:  (Still spluttering) Well, that is unfortunate.

Mr. CROCODILE:  Yes, it is hard to keep her happy.

MONKEY:  I don't mean that.  I wish I had known you wanted my heart.  Then I could have brought it with me!

(Mr. Crocodile quickly picks Monkey back up)

(Monkey stops drowning)

MONKEY:  Thank you.

Mr. CROCODILE:  Not at all.  What do you mean, you didn't bring your heart?

MONKEY:  (Wiping eyes and face) We monkeys don't keep our hearts with us when we go jumping among the tree-tops.  It would get all knocked to pieces!

Mr. CROCODILE:  Well, where do you keep it?

MONKEY:  Over there, on yon fig tree.  See how the figs look like small hearts?  We hide our hearts among the fruit.

Mr. CROCODILE:  If you will show me your heart, then I won't kill you.

MONKEY:  Take me over there, then.

(Mr. Crocodile and monkey swim over to fig tree)

MONKEY:  Right there, by that branch.  See?


MONKEY:  Go closer!

(They move closer to the Fig Tree)

(Monkey leaps off Mr. Crocodile's back and climbs partly up fig tree)

MONKEY:  Silly Crocodile!  How could you believe that any creature keeps its heart in a tree-top!  You are a fool, and I have outwitted you!


Rose-apple, jack-fruit, mangoes too across
the water there I see;
Enough of them, I want them not; my jamun fruit
is good enough for me!

Great is your body,
but tiny is your wit!
Go away, Sir Crocodile,
for I have had the best of it!


(Monkey climbs to very top of fig tree)

MONKEY:  My heart is way up here! If you want it, come for it, come for it!

Mr. CROCODILE:  Drat!  What ever am I going to tell my wife!

End of Scene 1

Scene 2

(By the river.  This time the monkey is on an island.  The river is narrower, and there's a stone in the middle of the river, between the island and the riverbank.  The monkey needs to be able to jump from island, to stone, to other riverbank.  On the riverbank is a climbable tree)

(Mrs. Crocodile enters, staying in the river)

Mrs. CROCODILE:  My husband is such a fool.  Imagine!  Being outwitted by a monkey.  And I did so want to eat some monkey heart.

(Monkey enters, staying carefully out of the river)

MONKEY:  (singing)

Sir Crocodile, he went away
for he was nothing but a twit!

Mrs. CROCODILE:  (Angry, to herself)  Arrgh!  I hate that monkey.  How can I catch it?

(Monkey continues to sing.  Monkey jumps from island, to stone, to other riverbank)

Mrs. CROCODILE:  (To audience) The monkey never goes in the water.  I've been watching it for days.

(Monkey continues to sing.  Monkey jumps back across from riverbank, to stone, to island)

Mrs. CROCODILE:  (To audience) I know!  I'll lie down on the rock!  The monkey won't see me in the dark, and next time it jumps, I'll be there to eat it!

(Mrs. Crocodile lies down on rock)

(Monkey returns to riverbank)

(Monkey gets ready to jump to the rock, then stops.)

MONKEY:  What is the matter with the rock?  (Pause while Monkey peers and moves around, examining the rock) 

MONKEY:  Something is different about the rock.  (Monkey continues examining the rock)

Mrs. CROCODILE:  (chuckles) (Monkey doesn't hear)

MONKEY:  The rock is higher than before.  (Monkey continues examining the rock)

Mrs. CROCODILE:  (chuckles again) (Again, Monkey doesn't hear)

(Monkey suddenly spots Mrs. Crocodile, stops still, turns, and faces audience)

MONKEY:  (To audience)  There's a croc on the rock!

(Monkey turns toward rock)

MONKEY:  (To  rock)  Hello, Rock!

(Mrs. Crocodile says nothing)

MONKEY:  (To  rock)  Hello, Rock!

Mrs. CROCODILE:  (to herself) I guess the rock answers back to the Monkey.

MONKEY:  (To  rock)  Hello, Rock!

Mrs. CROCODILE:  (to herself)  Maybe I'll answer for the rock, this time.

MONKEY:  (To  rock)  Hello, Rock!

Mrs. CROCODILE:  Yes, Monkey! What is it?

MONKEY:  (laughs)  Oh, it's you, Mrs. Crocodile, is it?

Mrs. CROCODILE:  Yes!  I am waiting here for you. I am going to eat you.

MONKEY:  Oh!  You have surely caught me in a trap this time!

(Mrs. Crocodile, feeling very clever, smiles a big hammy smile at the audience)

MONKEY:  There is no other way for me to go home. Open your mouth wide so I can jump right into it.

(Mrs. Crocodile opens her mouth very wide, and tilts her head back very far)
(Mrs. Crocodile is facing in such a way that she can't see Monkey)

MONKEY:  (To audience)  Notice.  Crocodiles' mouths are so big, when they open them up, they can't see a thing!

(Monkey jumps onto rock next to Mrs. Crocodile, then onto riverbank)

(Mrs. Crocodile hears Monkey and closes her mouth)

Mrs. CROCODILE:  Monkey, you have great cunning.  And you know no fear.  I'll let you alone after this.

MONKEY:  Thank you, Crocodile, but I shall be on the watch for you just the same.



Monkey (male or female)
Mr. Crocodile
Mrs. Crocodile

If you need to cast more than three actors, you may cast different players for the monkeys in scenes 1 and 2.  However, the monkey in scene 2 has far fewer lines.

Some versions of the Indian story call for many monkeys goofing around in the tree, and many crocodiles swimming in the river.  You may add these nonspeaking parts.


Scene 1:  A tree by a broad river

Scene 2:  A tree by a rock in a river.


India, by a river.


Lots of jamun fruit (see description below in Audience Notes - anything small and dark purple or blue will do)
Two trees (they will both need to be onstage in scene 1)
River - you may use a wide piece of blue cloth
Large stone big and strong enough to jump onto.  In scene two, Monkey will need to jump onto stone while Mrs. Crocodile is lying on it.


In scene two, the Indian story actually calls for Monkey to jump onto Mrs. Crocodile's back.  Depending on the actors' size, skill, and health, you could have Monkey carefully step onto Mrs. Crocodile's back.


About The Story:

There are very many variations of this classic story from India.  The script being performed today combines ideas from 7 of them.  In some versions, the second alligator is the monkey's wife, while in others it is his mother.  In some versions the second crocodile is sick and needs monkey heart for medicine; in others, the second crocodile just wants the monkey's meat, figuring it'll be sweet because of the monkey's diet of fruit.  Sometimes the fruit is mangoes, sometimes apples, sometimes jamuns.  Sometimes there's a "second scene" with a rock, sometimes not.

About Jamun Fruit:

The jamun fruit grows along riverbanks in the wild, in India and other countries.  It is related to the plum, and is sometimes called the "Java Plum".  In the Tamil language it is known as the naaval, naaval pazham, or naga pazham.  Other names for it include jambul, jaman, black plum, faux pistachier, Indian blackberry, jambol, doowet, and jambolan.  Think the Indian names sound hard?  Try saying the botanical name:  "Syzygium Cumini L."

The jamun tree is an evergreen, growing to a height of 30-40 feet. The leaves are 3-4 inches long, ovate, opposite with an acute apex. The veins are close to one another and all the branch veins growing from the midrib join a marginal vein, lending to the leaf a characteristic appearance. When crushed, the leaves give off a faint smell of turpentine.  The bark of the tree is used in dyeing and tanning processes.  The fruit is oval to round in shape.  When ripe it is dark purple or almost black in color, and has an irresistible succulence with a sweetish taste.  It is said to be a favorite of the Hindu God Ganesh.  Kids love it as much for the way it darkens their lips and tongues as for its taste.  When the tree is in fruit, you can see hordes of monkeys exhibiting a very obvious relish as they gluttonously feed on it.  And children have a good time pelting stones at the monkeys, which, enraged, shake the branches - which is exactly what the children want, for the ripe fruits fall off the branches at the merest whiff.

Here is a story about the jamun fruit:

Once Saint Avaiyaar was traveling by foot.  She got tired and sat under a naaval tree.  She had written a lot of poems and had developed a big ego.  Lord Muruga wanted to remove this.  He appeared like a shepherd.  He was sitting on top of the tree.  He asked Avaiyaar, “Grandma, you look so tired; do you want some naaval fruits?”  When she answered yes, He asked, “Do you want Sutta pazham or Sudatha pazham?” (Sutta has two meanings: one cooked and the other hot.)  Saint Avaiyaar laughed and thought, "This boy is kidding. How can a fruit on the tree be cooked?"  So she said "Give me cooked fruit (Sutta pazham).  When the boy shook the tree, the fruits fell down onto the sandy ground.  Saint Avaiyaar picked up the fruits and started blowing the sand off them.  Immediately the boy asked, “What grandma, are the fruits very hot?”  She was shocked to hear this, and realized that he was not an ordinary boy.  She bowed before Him and Lord Muruga took His form and blessed her.

Here are some photos of jamun
Jamun leaves
Split Jamun Fruit
Unripe Jamun Fruit
Ripe Jamun Fruit




Leo Heska


Many versions of a traditional story from India

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