TALE OF A TORTOISE AND A MONKEY 335
Soon the report went through the forest that a new animal had appeared from no one knew where, and that when somebody had asked his name, the strange creature had answered that it was Jack-in-the-Green. Thanks to this, the monkey was allowed to drink at the pool as often as he liked, for neither beast nor bird had the faintest notion who he was. And if they made any inquiries the only answer they got was that the water of which he had drunk deeply had turned his hair into leaves, so that they all knew what would happen in case they became too greedy.
By-and-by the great rains began again. The rivers and streams rilled up, and there was no need for him to go back to the pool, near the home of his enemy, the puma, as there was a large number of places for him to choose from. So one night, when everything was still and silent, and even the chattering parrots were asleep on one leg, the monkey stole down softly from his perch, and washed off the honey and the leaves, and came out from his bath in his own proper skin. On his way to breakfast he met a rabbit, and stopped for a little talk.
' I am feeling rather dull,' he remarked ; ' I think it would do me good to hunt a while. What do you say ? '
' Oh, I am quite willing,' answered the rabbit, proud of being spoken to by such a large creature. ' But the question is, what shall we hunt ? '
' There is no credit in going after an elephant or a tiger,' replied the monkey stroking his chin, ' they are so big they could not possibly get out of your way. It shows much more skill to be able to catch a small thing that can hide itself in a moment behind a leaf. I'll tell you what! Suppose I hunt butterflies, and you, serpents.'
The rabbit, who was young and without experience, was delighted with this idea, and they both set out on their various ways.
The monkey quietly climbed up the nearest tree, and ate fruit most of the day, but the rabbit tired himself to