Tales of the Supernatural
Tales of Laughter
Tales of Heroism

The First Monkey

There was a boy named Juan who was very lazy. He found it difficult to do even the simplest things, and he especially hated getting up in the morning. His mother did not know what to do with such an insensitive child. She knew she was spoiling him, but she did not know what else to do with him, as he was her beloved only child.

Juan’s mother did not know the limits of her own tolerance. One day, Juan was playing outside the house, and she called him in for a very simple task. "Juan!" she called out. "Come in here and find the ladle for me!"

"I’m coming, Mother!" Juan cried, but he did not bestir himself to even walk two paces toward the house.

After a while Juan’s mother grew suspicious, and when she saw that the boy was not obeying her, she dragged him into the house. "You find that ladle! I want you to hand it over to me by the time I get back from the marketplace!" Then she stormed off, leaving the lazy little boy to make or break his fate.

Juan did not try to find the ladle. He found instead a large wooden spoon that was too shallow for anyone to use as a good ladle. He said to himself, "This will have to do." He played again until his mother came home, and then he gave her the spoon, saying "I can’t find the ladle, Mother. I’m too lazy. This spoon will have to do!"

"Ooh, you tardy brat!" his mother cried, and she proceeded to beat Juan with his "makeshift ladle". Juan became so frightened that he ran out of the house. Ah, but Juan’s mother would not let him go scot-free! She threw the spoon at him, and it stuck to the base of his spine like a tail, to his mother’s surprise. Then, instead of running any further, Juan swiftly climbed a tree to escape his mother’s fury. Juan’s mother strode to the tree and cried out to her naughty child:

"Come down from there! I still have to punish you!"

But Juan did not make any more complaints, or excuses. Only harsh chirping sounds came from his throat. Hair had grown all over his little body and he could no longer speak a word. Juan had become the very first monkey! Apparently, Juan’s mother did not have to punish him. He had already brought the greatest punishment upon himself.