How Did Monkey Trick Shark According To West African Mythology?

Monkey lived in a tall tree by the ocean. Bushels of sweet fruit called mangoes grew in the tree.

Whenever he was hungry, Monkey hopped through the branches and ate the delicious fruit.

Sometimes, he threw the mangoes into the ocean and was delighted by the giant splash. Swimming beneath the waves, Shark enjoyed eating the fruit.

One day, he rose to the ocean surface and asked Monkey to come with him to his home.

Monkey looked nervously at Shark’s razor-sharp teeth and told him that he hated to get wet. Shark told Monkey to grab his fin and ride on his back.

That way, he promised, not a drop would touch him. Reluctantly, Monkey agreed, and soon the two were racing across the ocean.

When land had disappeared from sight, Shark told him that his chief was sick.

The sharks had given the chief everything to eat, but nothing made him better.

Finally, they had agreed that a monkey’s heart would be the cure. When he heard this, Monkey clutched his chest and groaned.

“I didn’t bring my heart!” he cried. Shark was stunned and asked where it was.

Monkey told him that it was back in the tree, where he had hung it up for safekeeping. Monkey convinced Shark to return to shore, where Monkey would get his heart and climb back onto Shark’s back to help the king.

But when Monkey jumped into the tree, he didn’t reappear for several hours. Tired of waiting, Shark asked Monkey what took him so long.

Safe among the tree branches, Monkey mocked Shark, telling him that his heart had been in his chest all along.

Shark returned without a cure for his chief. Since then, monkeys never swim in the ocean.