Saturday, August 11, 2012

etiological fairy tale: Why the Monkey's Rear End is Red

An adult Korean ESL student of mine wrote a cute etiological fairy tale as a writing exercise. The term "etiological" means "having to do with causes." An example of such a fairy tale might be something like Rudyard Kipling's "How the Rhinoceros Got His Skin" from his Just So Stories. Kipling's tale provides a humorous explanation for the rhino's thick, wrinkled skin. The story answers the cause-related question, "How did the rhino's skin get that way?"

Without further ado, then:


Once upon a time, there was a monkey. When the monkey was eating a banana on a tree, a crab came to the monkey. The crab said, "Monkey, can you give a banana to me?" The monkey ignored him and continued eating his banana.

The crab really wanted that banana, so he said, "If you rest the banana on the tree and eat it, the taste would be much better." So the monkey put the banana on the tree. Suddenly, wind blew and the banana fell to the ground. The crab picked it up quickly, and he went into his small house, laughing all the way.

The monkey, furious, came down and said, "If you don't give me my banana, I will poop on your house!" Then the crab pinched the monkey's butt with his powerful claws. The monkey's rear end turned red as the crab pulled out all of his butt hair.

And that is why a monkey's rear end is red and hairless, and a crab's claws are hairy.

I will never look at crabs and monkeys the same way again.