Once upon a time, in a poky half-up, half-down house, there lived an old man with the lady of his heart. They were as poor as anyone can be and their only wealth and joy was a stubborn horse that hobbled every third step. And outside the confines of the poky house, a thief conspired to steal the horse. So one foggy evening, the thief squatted in the shadow of the house, waiting for the night and the right moment to pounce.
It was a capricious autumn day and it was pouring. And inside, the rain came down through the shady roof, pitter-platter in one corner, dibble-dibble-dopp-dopp in another. The old man and his lady were moving their sheets from one corner of the house to the next, in search of a dry spot. But the rain kept striking through the roof.
-What a terrible monster this Pitter-Platter, the old lady lamented, it`s scarier than the tiger and greedier than the wolf.
-Yes, it is, said the old man, there isn`t a beast in this world more atrocious than her. And there isn`t a place in this world where you could hide from her if she wanted to get you.
But under the window, there sat the greedy wolf who heard their words and whitened by fear, he thought to himself: “I thought there isn`t a single beast on these lands stronger than me. And now the ruthless Pitter-Platter is here. I think I`d better run before she catches me!”
The wolf started running in high hops. In the foggy shadow, the horse-thief-wannabe only heard clippity-clop and thought “The horse got loose in the rain! I`d better catch it!”. So he started running tabdak tabdak after the wolf and jumped on his back. The wolf desperately thought “I`ve escaped men traps and now, Pitter-Platter is on my back! I`d better run for my life!”. And the thief confusedly thought: “I thought this was an old horse and there he goes: sprier than the mightiest steed! I`d better hold on tight”.
And as the wolf kept running for his life with the man on his back, dawn came and a monkey that snoozed in a tree said, quite amused:
-What an amazing thing! A man riding a wolf! You could just die of laughter!
In that exact moment, the thief saw he was riding a wolf and in complete panic, he jumped off his back straight into a wolf trap. “Well, at least I didn`t break my neck”, he thought, as he fumbled in the trap, trying to find a way up.
-What man? What are you talking about? I was caught by the mighty Pitter-Platter! I barely made it out alive!
-But I`m telling you: a man was on your back. I saw it with my own eyes! He mounted you like you were a common hoofed animal. Hi-hi-hi! Just wait a second and I`ll prove it. He rolled into the trap right over there.
In those times, monkeys had very long tails and our goody lowered hers into the trap, swoosh-swooshing it around. The thief contently thought:”A rope! A rope to pull me out! I`m saved!”, and firmly grabbed the monkey`s tail.
-Aaugh! Aaugh! cried the monkey, wolf! The atrocious Pitter-Platter is there! He grabbed my tail!
The wolf swiftly ran away, clippity-clop, in high hops.
-Wait! Don`t leave me here! Help me and my tail!
As the monkey struggled to get away, her face turned red and she lost her tail. Ever since then, monkeys are red-faced and short-tailed.
A Japanese folk story.