One day, a monkey carrying a persimmon seed noticed a crab with a rice ball in its claw. The monkey was very hungry, and so asked the crab to trade the rice ball for the seed. The crab thought this an unfair trade and refused. But the clever monkey said to the crab, "Once you eat the rice ball it will be gone forever, but if you plant the persimmon seed, it will grow into a tree and bear a never-ending supply of fruit." The crab was persuaded, and the monkey got the rice ball.
The crab planted the persimmon seed in the corner of her garden. She watered it daily, telling it, "If you don't bud quickly I'll dig you up with my hoe." The frightened seed quickly sprouted. Then the crab said, "If you don't hurry up and grow, I'll snip you in half with these scissors." The bud quickly grew into a big tree. Finally, the crab threatened the tree, "Bear fruit or I'll chop you down with an axe." The frightened tree promptly bore fruit.
By fall most of the persimmons had ripened bright red. The monkey noticed this and, climbing the tree, began eating the ripest fruit. Soon the crab came along and, unable to climb the tree, asked the monkey to bring some persimmons down to her. "Sure!" said the monkey, but instead, he grabbed a hard, unripe fruit and threw it down at the crab's head, injuring her. The crab was laid up in bed for many days.
Before long, the crab's children became worried about their bedridden mother and cried so much that, unable to stand it any longer, a bee, a chestnut, a sewing needle and a stone mortar got together and agreed to help the baby crabs get revenge on the monkey.
While the monkey was away from his house, they formed a plan of revenge: the chestnut hid in the ashes of the monkey's fireplace, the baby crabs in the water tub in the kitchen, the bee in the bucket of miso paste, a traditional seasoning made with soy beans, the needle in the monkey's bed, and the mortar above the doorway. Then they waited for the monkey to return.
In the evening, the monkey came home. "I'm so cold," he exclaimed, and just as he plopped down next to the fire, the chestnut burst up from the ashes, scalding the monkey's behind. The monkey ran yelping into the kitchen and dunked his hands in the tub to gather water to dowse his burning pain. The baby crabs jumped out and snapped at him with their claws. At this, the monkey dropped the jug and picked up the pail of soft miso to spread over his burn. The bee sprung out promptly and stung him left and right. The helpless monkey then retreated to his bed, but jumping into it, he was poked all over by the needle buried under the covers. Screaming "Ouch! Ouch!" the monkey finally made to flee the house, but just as he got through the doorway, the mortar clanged down on his head.
Groaning with pain, the monkey cried, "I promise I'll never misbehave again!"