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〜ます forms where 〜ました expected

frog

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I am making my way through ASK's "Japanese Graded Reader" series (which I highly recommend as worth the investment to learners!) and the way tenses are used sometimes mystifies me. The stories are told as if in the past, most verbs are conjugated with -ました, but there are a smattering of -ます forms thrown in as well, and I'd be glad to hear some input on this.

Ex1: In story A, every verb except one uses -ました. Here is the context:
亀は、 竜宮城の中へ入りました。 猿は、 外で持ちます
Ex2: In story B, after a certain point, the verbs switch from ーました to ーます, but then switch back for the last sentence.

It's hard to illustrate this without just showing the entire book. My question is: what secret use does the Japanese "present tense" (-ます) form have? Can it be used to describe events in the past?

My one inkling is, as these are the lowest level books (level one of four) which have not yet introduced the -ている form, is the use of ーます maybe to fill the gap left by the missing progressive/imperfective?

Thanks for any input!
 
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frog

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So the use of the tense is purely stylistic, and does not have any grammatical encoding?
 

Toritoribe

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In that case, yes.
 
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