The Red Book Of Animal Stories - online children's book

Stories of Animals, Fantastic and Mundane, Edited By Andrew Lang

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by trying to play tricks on the monkey, with a view to discovering how much sense and cleverness he had. To test this his captor would put some fruit in his pocket, and climb up to the mast-head as if to take observations. But anyone who attempts to match himself with a monkey is sure to get the worst of it. As if by instinct, up came the orang-outang, and grasping the ropes with the long toes of one of his feet, he would hold fast his master's legs with the other, and with one of his hands, while the other hand was searching in every pocket. On other occasions he would drop on his master from a height, which must have been very dangerous, or meet him at the bottom, from which there was no escape. Once the man really seemed too clever for the animal, and that was when he tied an orange to the end of a rope, and jerked it up and down, out of the creature's reach. After clutching at it repeatedly without success, the orang-outang pretended complete indifference, and, turning his back, climbed slowly up the rigging. Then he suddenly turned, and springing forward, seized the rope. When this failed, he lost his temper and shrieked with rage, and at length dashing at the man who held the rope, he held his arms tightly, till the coveted treasure was hauled up.
The boatswain was his chief friend on board, and they used to ' mess' together, although neither gratitude nor good manners hindered the guest from sometimes stealing his host's grog and biscuit. After dinner he left the table and sat at the door of his cabin, like a Frenchman on the boulevards enjoying the coffee.
Towards some little monkeys that came on board at Java the orang-outang gave himself great airs—at least as long as any of the sailors were by. Indeed, it was generally thought that he felt a great hatred towards them, especially after he had been one day caught (just in time) in the act of throwing a cage, with three of them in it, overboard. But that was most likely because he could not get hold of some food that had been given
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