The Monkey and the Crocodile


We started with a very interesting ice breaking exercise. Padmanabh asked all the kids to make a lot of noise. The level of noise was directed by him by raising or lowering his hands. The next ice breaking exercise was to wash your hands with air. The last activity was to put your hands together in a namaste. Close your eyes. And based on instructions press and relax the hands. Next you take them apart and you get them back together. Padmanabhan did the session by getting feedback from students about how they felt after these activities.

Next he moved on to a story session. Started by asking students: ‘How would you like to listen to a story?’ Every student raised his hand. Then Padmanabh went on to narrate the story of the monkey and the crocodile.

The story was done with a fair amount of interactivity. For example questions would come in like what happens when we take out a heart. After the story telling students were broken into groups of 3 and they were asked to discuss why did they think this story was told to them.

Student responses:

To entertain us.

Don’t lie to your friends

Don’t lie

Don’t trust others

Don’t underestimate anyone

The story was then revised again by ferreting out the details out from the students by asking questions: What did the crocodile tell the monkey? Is lying good? Did the monkey do the right thing by lying? An interesting kaizen: Those who want to answer, don’t raise your hands, but sit with your hands folded.

We then moved on to the philosophical discussion: When do we lie? The answers were interesting:

When we are in trouble

When we want something.

To escape punishment.

When we make a mistake.

When we don’t want to do something.

To make fun

Sometimes we also lie when you want to threaten others

Then another question was asked by the moderator: Do we lie to make others happy? Students came up with responses that even if the food cooked is bad, they still praise their mom.

Next moderator question: How do you feel after you lie? The response was: we feel bad and possibly afraid. One suggestion from students was that we should lie to friends not parents. Because parents can scold you. One student confessed that when they have a toilet break he goes to play. And when the teacher asked him why he took more time. He mentions that he had to go to number 2 in toilet.

The assignment that was given to students during the week was to ask observe when did they lie? When is it bad to lie? One week later another session is planned where students will discuss their experiences.

A very interesting way of taking feedback was we use the same hand tricks that had been used at the start of the session. An upheld hand meant a good session; a horizontal hand meant a bad session; a hand held down meant a bad session. They were asked to close their eyes for this exercise. Only one student give an average report the rest thought it was great.

  1. Practise the calming and focusing
  1. Remind children of last week’s game and recall the discussion. Has anyone played it since? Did they find any new strategies?
  1. Read ‘The Monkey and the Crocodile’, then arrange the pupils into groups of four or five. In the same manner as the previous pair work, one child should begin to articulate the meaning of the story – what is it saying? Next, the other three briefly say what they agree or disagree with, before the second pupil gives their opinion and Again, the other three evaluate, and so the process is repeated until each child has had a turn.
  1. Ask each group to choose, through discussion, the opinion and reasoning (from 3) they enjoyed the These should then be reported back to the class, and a list made on the board.
  1. Draw everyone’s attention to the points on the board, then move to the dialogue through the ‘Questions for Thinking’.
  1. Ensure children understand the ‘Thought for the Week’.

The Monkey and the Crocodile

A folk tale from Kenya

Once Monkey and Crocodile were really good friends. Monkey lived in a tree right on the banks of the river. It was cool in among the lush green leaves and from there he could look down and watch what was going on. Every day he scampered down the trunk to the ground and drank from the river.

Crocodile lived in the river and often came to lie on the bank and bask in the hot sunshine

One day when the two friends were talking, Crocodile said, ‘How would you like to come to my home for a feast? We are going to have all sorts of delicious food and I would like to invite you as my friend.’

‘Thank you very much,’ said Monkey. ‘But there’s just one problem. I can’t swim. How can I get there?’

‘No problem,’ said Crocodile. ‘I shall give you a ride on my back.’

So the next day Monkey scrambled onto Crocodile’s back and they set off into the river. When they reached the middle of the river Crocodile said,

‘Our king is very ill. He has been told that the only thing that will make him well again is to eat a monkey’s heart. I am going to take you to him so your heart can be removed and the king will recover.’

Monkey was very frightened at what Crocodile had said. He looked out over the vast water. How could he escape? He couldn’t swim. He must think hard.

At last he said, ‘I would like to help your king but there is a problem. Didn’t you know that monkeys leave their hearts at the top of the tree in which they live? If you take me back I will get it for you.’

So Crocodile turned round and swam back towards the shore. As soon as he was close enough, Monkey leapt off his back and scampered up his tree. Then he picked a raw yage fruit and shouted down to Crocodile, ‘Open your mouth, Crocodile, and I will throw my heart down to you.’

Crocodile opened his mouth wide and Monkey threw down the hard fruit that smashed Crocodile’s teeth.

Monkey laughed. ‘You fool! How could you believe that story! Surely you know that no-one can live without their heart inside them!’


1.  If monkey was a friend of crocodile’s, why did crocodile plan to give monkey’s heart to the king?

2.  What is a conflict? (Note: This may need some scaffolding)

3.  Crocodile had a conflict between being friends to both monkey and his king. Do you ever have a conflict between being friends to two people? Does anyone have an example?

4. How do you resolve it – how do you deal with it?

5.  Monkey had to use his thinking skills to get out of a tough situation. Was his plan a good plan? How do you know?

6.  Do you think monkey was wise? Is there any evidence?

7.  Do you think crocodile was wise? Is there any evidence?

8.  Did crocodile know a lot? How do you know?

9.  What is being wise?

10.  Is knowing a lot, the same as being wise? Are they connected? How?