The Monkeys and the Mango Tree: Teaching Stories of the Saints and Sadhus of India

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Authors
Johari, Harish
Issue Date
1998
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Book, Whole
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This book lies on the very edge, I would say, of a fable collection. It focuses on saints and saintliness. The back cover claims that the book can be read as an exotic 'Aesop's Fables,' as a source of classic wisdom, or as a simple and memorable introduction to the stories of the most spiritual civilization on earth. The sampling of stories I have read suggests that some stories at least may have a fable quality to them. The title story may come closest to being a fable among those I read. Monkeys eat mango but are assaulted by the tree owners. They meet and decide to create their own mango tree. So they get one piece of fruit intact and plant it. After watching for a few minutes, and then a few hours, and finally a few days and finding no tree coming up, they dig up the mango and learn that they do not have the patience to grow trees. The first story, The Bird of Prosperity (7), has elements of a fable but becomes too complex for a fable, I believe. A family from a starving town leaves but soon finds itself in the forest with no food. However, they work together to prepare the necessities for dinner and even capture a bird. The bird pleads for his life and promises food. He shows them to a mango tree and then gives them a huge treasure. The family returns to the town. The next day, the neighbors try the same approach, but they do not work together, and the bird of prosperity refuses them.
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Inner Traditions
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