The troop of monkeys lived in the branches of those trees. There also lived a parrot in the tree. The parrot, Kismat had made her home in one of the holes in the tree trunks. The monkeys did not like Kismat. They saw her as a competitor. She ate the same fruits that they ate. Nevertheless, they did not disturb her as there were plenty of fruits to be had.
The rains came and the skies became cloudy. The sun did not show itself for many days. Every day, by late afternoon, it would be dark. The monkeys sought shelter under the branches of the trees during the incessant showers. They could not go about their normal routine of scampering around in the trees. They were gloomy and depressed.
While they were thus seated in the branches, a firefly flew across the trees. A firefly is an insect which glows in the dark. It appears as bright spot of light as it flies in the night. The firefly flew in circles close to the branches. The monkeys had never seen a firefly before. They thought it was a spark of fire. They were struck by the light that shone out of the firefly.
The boldest of them, a young monkey, tried to catch it. The monkey, Vinu jumped from branch to branch as it chased the firefly. The firefly flew in even bigger circles to the monkey’s dismay. Finally, after a long time Vinu finally managed to catch the firefly. The monkeys were excited. Every one of them wanted to see and feel the firefly for himself. The poor firefly, passed from monkey to monkey, was almost dead.
One of the monkeys, named Vinu had an idea. Vinu told the others of how many years ago he had seen humans in the forest trying to start a fire. “The men put a bright spark in their firewood and blew into it. Soon, it became a big fire.” he said, “We have got a spark here and we can do the same.” The other monkeys looked in awe. “Is it really possible?”, they asked.
“Why not?” said a confident Vinu, “If they can do it so can we.” The monkeys were impressed. It would surely be nice to have a fire that could keep them warm in the cold weather. So saying, the monkeys began to collect firewood and put it in a pile at the foot of a tree where the ground was dry. The foolish monkeys did not know the difference between a spark and a firefly.
They put the half-dead firefly in the pile of firewood and began to blow into the pile. The parrot, Kismat was watching the drama from its warm home in the trunk of the tree. She was amazed at the ignorance of the monkeys. Kismat flew down to where the monkeys were conducting their grand exercise of starting a fire. “Friends”, she said, ”This will never work. A firefly cannot produce a fire. It is an insect. There is no spark in it.”
Vino the monkey was angry at the parrot’s words. How dare the insolent bird make a fool of him in front of his friends. He turned to the monkeys and said, “Friends, this bird is jealous of our success. He does not want us to improve our living.” The other monkeys too, agreed. They ignored the bird and continued with their exercise.
The parrot felt sorry for the monkeys. It flew down closer to them and told them again of their foolishness. “A firefly can never produce fire”, she said. But the monkeys scowled at her and continued with their efforts. They went for about half an hour. But to no avail. There was no fire.
Still, the monkeys continued with their efforts. Kismat felt sorry for the poor monkeys. She flew down one last time to explain to them. “Friends, you are fooling yourselves”, she said. There will be now fire.” This time, the monkeys had had enough. One of them caught hold of poor Kismat and threw her with great force against the tree. Kismat’s head hit the trunk of the tree and poor bird was dead.
The foolish monkeys continued with their futile exercise for many hours and they went back one by one as they grew tired.
Children, this story teaches us not to spend our time with people who will not listen to us when we tell them when they are wrong. It is our duty to warn our friends when they make a mistake. But we should not persist with our warning if they do not listen to us.