Paulo Coelho

Stories & Reflections

The male monkey and the female monkey have an argument

Author: Paulo Coelho

By Paulo Coelho

The male monkey and the female monkey were sitting on the branch of a tree watching the sunset. At one point, she said:

‘What makes the sky change colour when the sun reaches the horizon?’

‘If we tried to explain everything, we wouldn’t be able to live,’ replied the male monkey.

‘Just sit quietly and let this romantic sunset fill our hearts with gladness.’
The female monkey grew angry.

‘You’re so primitive and superstitious. You’re not interested in logic any more, you just want to enjoy life.’

At that moment, a centipede happened to be walking past.

‘Centipede!’ called the male monkey. ‘How do you manage to move all those legs of yours in such perfect harmony?’

‘I’ve never really thought about it,’ came the reply.

‘Well, think about it! My wife would like an explanation!’

The centipede looked at its legs and began:

‘Well…first I move this muscle, no, no I don’t, first, I have to sway my body in this direction…’

The centipede spent half an hour trying to explain how it moved its legs, and the harder it tried, the more confused it became. Wanting to continue on its way, it found it could no longer walk.

‘See what you’ve done?’ it cried out in despair. ‘In my eagerness to explain how I work, I’ve forgotten how to move.’

‘Now do you see what happens when someone tries to explain everything?’ said the male monkey, turning to enjoy the sunset in silence.

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