Tongo Bango lived in the vicinity of a wild beach, where magnificent trees grew full of rich fruit of precious colors and very tasty. They were huge trees and the trunk of some of them was hollow: inside, Tongo Bango was cool and sheltered. Karambé lived in the water and the two friends spent the day pleasantly. Tongo Bango, from time to time, would pick some ripe and very sweet fruit, and throw it to his friend, who really liked the taste of these foods so unusual for him.
One day, Karambé, while chatting with Tongo Bango, told him point-blank: “You continually show me your friendship. You keep me company and generously share with me the fruits of the trees, which I could never gather. Come here, to the water, and I will show you how wonderful my world is ”. “Water, dear shark friend,” replied the gorilla Tongo Bango, “is not exactly a thing for me.”
But the shark, without giving up, insisted:
“Come. I will carry you on my back and you will have absolutely nothing to fear. You will be able to reach that tiny island that you see there in the distance. In it, wonderful flowers grow, in which small hard-working bees live. These bees produce highly perfumed honey and deposit it in small, finely woven reed baskets. You can binge. On the island, there is also a wonderful mother-of-pearl palace, in which King Lirta, the lord of the waters, lives. The king has the face of a man and the body of a fish, and can live at the bottom of the sea or on land, depending on what he wants ”.
Tongo Bango was tempted by the invitation and, in the end, he accepted. He climbed onto a large log that was floating in the water and from there he jumped to reach Karambé’s back. He placed himself, as best he could, on the slimy body of his friend, trying to overcome the fear and mistrust that the water gave him. The shark cheered him happily and kept describing the extraordinary things that awaited him. In the end, he turned to his friend and said,
“Dear Tongo Bango, King Lirta will be very happy to see you.” “Happy?” Replied the gorilla. “And because? He doesn’t even know me and, perhaps, he finds me bland and even unfriendly ”.
“Dear Tongo Bango, this matters very little to the king. In his heart, the heart of a fish beats and he needs the heart of a mammal like you to be able to live long ”. Tongo Bango‘s blood literally ran cold in his veins. It was a trap! Now she explained all the kindness of Karambé, all the cuddles and her habit of inviting him for a walk in the water. He wanted to take her heart to give it to his lord and master. Luckily, in addition to having a heart, Tongo Bango also possessed a great brain. Only a clever move could save him … He thought feverishly for a few moments and then said:
“Dear Karambé, I appreciate your loyalty to King Lirta. His life is very valuable and, truly, it is worth the sacrifice of mine. However, dear friend, why didn’t you tell me before that you needed my heart? Surely, my hair and my legs are of no use to you ”.
“Of course not. But what is this about? “
“You should have told me before,” Tongo Bango continued lamenting. “You wouldn’t have come with me if I had told you!” “You’re wrong. I would have come anyway and now we would not find ourselves in this dire situation. You must know that I do not carry my heart with me, which is what your king needs. When I go to places that are far away, I always leave it at home, well hidden, because I am afraid that it will rust ”.
Karambé, startled by surprise, said:
“What are you up to? You tell me this to save my life! ” “No, believe me,” Tongo Bango played even more cunningly. “I am very sorry for not having my heart with me and the fact that you doubt my words offends me. Come, take me in front of Lirta: I myself will tell her to kill me and to take my heart. Worse for you and him, when you can’t find anything ”. Karambé became more docile and said to him: “If I take you ashore, will you take your heart and then will you come with me again?” Tongo Bango felt full of happiness (he was almost safe), but he hid his feelings very well and with a serious voice replied:
“If you think I am a liar, take me now before your king.” “Very well, I believe you, I believe you,” said Karambé. “Promise me that after taking your heart you will return to me and let me take you before King Lirta.”
“Count on it,” the gorilla told him.
Then, Karambé turned on the water and began to swim, eagerly, towards the beach where Tongo Bango lived. Tongo Bango was silent, and when the shark reached the shore, he jumped with all his might to catch up with it. “Hey!” Said the shark, “hurry up. My master is waiting for you and we are already late ”. “Take it easy,” replied Tongo Bango, “I’ll be delighted to greet your king.” Then he turned his back on her and quickly disappeared into the trees. Karambé waited for a while without caring. Later, seeing that the minutes passed and that Tongo Bango did not return, he began to get nervous.
“Tongo Bangooooo,” the shark yelled. “Where have you been?” Be quiet. Karambé felt the anger surge through his eyes and then invade the rest of his body. “Scoundrel! You liar! I should never have trusted you !!! ”, the shark shouted with a look injected with rage. From the top of a tree he heard Tongo Bango reply, who with a dry and ironic tone said in the direction of the shark:
“What would you have done in my place, tell me, trustworthy and kind friend?” Karambé felt defeated, but did not want to give up and decided to tempt the gorilla with another cunning trick. In a very soft voice, he said to Tongo Bango, who kept looking at him smiling from the top of his secure tree: “Come and bring the heart with you. But not to take it to the king. I want to take you to a beautiful place where beautiful gorillas live. Your heart will help you fall in love with one of them and make her your wife ”.
“You are a real fool,” Tongo Bango replied. “How can you think that I fall into the same trap a second time? I am not the goose ”. “Who is the goose? What does the goose paint in all this? ”, The shark was irritated. “How?” Said Tongo Bango. “Don’t you know the story of the goose?” “No,” said Karambé, who was a bit ignorant and was disgusted to have to admit it. “Good,” said Tongo Bango. “Then I’ll tell you.”
“But don’t get too long,” said Karambé, who was very curious about the story, but wanted to admit it not for the world.
And Tongo Bango began his story.