A long, long time ago, on a winter’s day, a crab was walking to the seashore carrying a rice ball, one of his favorite foods, when he met a monkey who was known throughout the village for his nasty ways. Eyeing the tasty-looking rice ball, the monkey said, “Hey, you’d better swap this persimmon seed for that rice ball!” and held out a dirty persimmon seed that he’d picked up on the road.
At first the crab didn’t want to do as he’d been ordered, but the monkey told him that “If you plant the seed, it will grow into a tree, and then you’ll have lots of sweet persimmons!” So the crab swapped his rice ball for the persimmon seed.
The crab went straight home and planted the seed in his garden. After only two or three days, a young tree appeared. Then the crab started to pray for the rapid growth of the tree, singing, “Dear persimmon tree with fruit that grows quickly, if you don’t produce some fruit soon, I’ll chop you down with some scissors!” Perhaps as a result of this threat, in no time at all a large number of persimmons burst into fruit on the tree.
Then the crab tried to climb the tree to get the persimmons. But, since crabs can only crawl sideways, he couldn’t manage to climb the tree. Just then, the monkey, who’d been observing this scene, came along looking very pleased with himself. Saying, “I’ll pick them for you,” the monkey scooted up the tree in a flash. However, all the monkey did was to eat all the persimmons he could himself, and he didn’t give even one to the crab. The crab said, “Give me one too!” but the monkey just threw a green, unripe persimmon down at him, saying, “OK, then, how about this one?” The persimmon landed right on the poor crab, killing him instantly.
The dead crab’s children were overcome with sadness about losing their father, and told the chestnut, the mortar, the bee, and the cowpat exactly what had happened. They all agreed that something must be done to wreak revenge on the monkey, on the crab’s behalf. So the chestnut, the mortar, the bee and the cowpat all went to the monkey’s house and sneaked inside.
The chestnut hid inside the fireplace, the bee hid inside the water barrel, the cowpat hid in the dirt floor, and the mortar hid inside the roof.
When the monkey came home, he started to warm himself by the fire. But the chestnut jumped out of the ashes and landed on the monkey’s body. The monkey got burned and hurried to the water barrel to cool off his burning skin. But the bee flew out of the barrel and stung him. When the surprised monkey rushed outside, he slipped on the cowpat hidden on the dirt floor. And then the mortar that had been hiding in the roof dropped out on to the monkey, who was crushed to death.
So revenge on the monkey had indeed been thoroughly carried out.