The Monkey’s Disgrace

Three monkeys sat in a coconut tree
Discussing things as they’re said to be.
Said one to the others: “Now listen you two,
There’s a certain rumour that can’t be true
That man descended from our noble race –
Why, the very idea is a disgrace!

“No monkey ever deserted his wife,
Starved her babies and ruined her life;
And you’ve never known a mother monk
Leave her babies with others to bunk,
Or pass them on from one to another
‘Til they scarcely know who is their mother.

“And another thing you’ll never see –
A monk build a fence round a coconut tree,
Forbidding all other monks to taste
And letting the coconuts go to waste.
Why! if I built a fence round a coconut tree
Starvation would force you to steal from me.

“Here’s another thing a monk won’t do:
Go out at night and get in a stew,
Or use a gun or club or knife
To take some other monkey’s life.
Yes, man descended, the ornery cuss,
But brother he didn’t descend from us!”

Author unknown

rumour (noun): a story or report that could be untrue
man (noun): human beings; the human race
descend 1 (verb): come from something that happened before; (you are descended from your parents and grandparents)
noble (adjective): of excellent quality
race (noun): a major division of living creatures
disgrace (noun): something regarded as shameful and unacceptable
desert (verb): abandon
starve (verb): cause (somebody) to die from having no food
ruin (verb): cause great damage to
monk (noun): [informal] – short for monkey
bunk (verb): sleep in a bunk or bed
forbid (verb): not allow; refuse to allow
starvation (noun): death or suffering caused by having no food
get in a stew (idiom): get into a difficult situation that causes great worry
descend 2 (verb): go down; decline or deteriorate in quality; degenerate
ornery (adjective): bad-tempered; difficult to deal with
cuss (noun): an annoying or unpleasant person

Comments from monkeys welcome below…


By Josef Essberger for EnglishClub May 2020
Josef started teaching English as a foreign language in 1991 and founded EnglishClub for learners and teachers in 1997.

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