The Goblin in the Pool
Animals in the forest have no bottles and glasses to drink out of, so if they are thirsty they have to go down to a pool. Now in a certain great forest there was a pool, in which lived a horrible Goblin. He was big and black, like an immense monkey, with an immense mouth, and four rows of sharp teeth; but he could not come out of the water, because he had no nose, but only gills like a fish. So if any animal came down into the water to get a drink, he pounced upon him at once and gobbled him up; but he could not touch the animals while they remained on the bank.
One year there was a great drought, and the sun was so hot that it dried up all the water in that forest for many miles round, except the pool where this Goblin was; but this pool was very deep and cool, under the trees, and therefore it was not dried up. There was a herd of monkeys who had been wandering about for a long time in search of water, but found none, until they came to this pool. But the King of the Monkeys was very clever, and he noticed that there were a great many footprints going down to the water, and none coming away. So he warned his Monkeys not to go near that pool. However, one of them was very thirsty, and ran down into the water; but as soon as he got into the water, and was having a delicious drink—suddenly he disappeared! There were some bubbles, and no more was seen of the Monkey. The other Monkeys watched for a long time, wondering what had become of their friend; and then another, who was so thirsty that he could not help it, stepped quietly into the water and began to drink. In an instant he gave a shriek and threw up his hands, and the others saw him dragged down below the water! A few bubbles came up to the top and burst, but the poor Monkey was gone.
What were they to do? They were dying of thirst, and yet they were afraid to drink; the banks were high, and they could not reach the water from the top. So they all sat round the banks, looking at the water, very unhappy.
By-and-by a man came down to the side of the pool. He wanted a drink of water, but he had no glass. So he looked round, and then he saw the Monkeys sitting on the bank, very unhappy.
“What’s the matter?” said he.
“Don’t go into that pool!” said the King of the Monkeys. “If you do, you will be drowned, like our two poor friends!”
Then they told him how their friends had gone into the water to drink, and how they had both been pulled underneath and drowned, none of them could tell how.
The man understood at once that it was a Goblin. So he pulled up a long reed that was growing on the bank of the pool and cut off the ends, and then he put down one end of it into the water and sucked at the other end, and the water came up from the pool into his mouth. At this the Monkeys were delighted, and they all pulled up reeds from the bank (for you know a monkey always imitates what he sees men do), and sucked up the water through them, and so quenched their thirst without going into the pool. And the Goblin, finding that no more food was to be got, died of starvation; and a good thing too.