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

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

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them. If he could get the cabin boys to play with he was perfectly happy, but if not (and nobody was looking on) he would put up with the little monkeys, though the games on his side were rather half-hearted. The little fellows, on their part, were much flattered at his notice, and whenever they were let out at once went to wherever their big cousin might be.
In general the orang-outang took all the strange sights and sounds that met him in his new life very coolly, but eight big turtles that were taken in off the Island of Ascension were too much for his courage. As soon as he caught a glimpse of them he tore up to the highest part of the rigging, uttering a squeak of fear, and though at length his curiosity brought him down low enough to catch a peep of them, nothing would persuade him to come quite close. The only other time that he showed any of the same sort of fear was when he saw white men naked (which was quite new to him) bathing in the sea.
Many are the stories of pet monkeys, both orang­outangs and other kinds—putting their masters to shame by sitting over their heads in church, while they were preaching, and imitating every movement, till the congre­gation was nearly beside itself with laughter. But per­haps no anecdote ever told about the species shows so much intelligence as one related by an Italian traveller of some orang-outangs who had had no intercourse with man. When tired of the mountain fruits, or there were no more to be had, they would come down to the sea-shore in search of shell-fish and particularly of oysters. Though apparently reckless in many ways, the monkey tribe have really a good deal of caution, and if, as often happened, the oyster shells were a little open, they were afraid of putting in their fingers lest the shell should suddenly close, as with a spring. To prevent this, the orang-outangs kept the two halves open by means of a stone, so that they could enjoy their oyster to their
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