Painting of a monkey gathering peas.

The Fable of the Monkey & the Peas (Leo Tolstoy)

Leo Tolstoy is a renowned Russian writer, most famous for War & Peace and Anna Karenina, which are often used to torture youths. He also wrote a book of fables, in which this one was found. This is a retelling by Juan Artola Miranda.

Once upon a time, in a dense forest, a monkey discovered a handful of peas. Delighted with her find, she sat down to enjoy the delicious treat. As she was eating, she dropped one of the peas on the ground. A dastardly bird flying by noticed the fallen pea and swiftly picked it up in its beak.

The monkey, upon realizing the bird had taken the pea, became enraged. Her anger clouded her judgment, and she decided she could not let the bird get away with this theft. In her fury, the monkey began to throw the remaining peas at the bird, hoping to scare it away or perhaps hit it.

The bird, however, was much too quick for the monkey’s attacks. As the monkey hurled the peas, the bird simply darted around and picked them up, enjoying the unexpected feast. Finally, the monkey had thrown all the peas, leaving herself with nothing.

Note: In Tolstoy’s version, there is no bird. Instead, when the monkey drops a pea, it remains there on the ground, unmolested. However, when the monkey goes to pick up the pea, he drops the others. At that point, the monkey loses his temper, scattering the peas. He leaves in a rage.

Juan Artola Miranda

I am Juan Artola Miranda, a fabulist living in the Mexican Caribbean. My friends know me by the name of my father's father, but that name grew into something bigger, my writing reaching tens of millions of readers. It was too strong for me to control. Artola Miranda is the name of my mother's mother. It's a better name for a fabulist.

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