The Animal Story Book - online children's book

Edited By Andrew Lang And With Numerous Illustrations By H. J. Ford

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Some monkeys are cleverer and more civilised than others, and the chiefs have their followers well in hand; every monkey having his own especial duties, which he is very careful to fulfil. When the stores of food which have been collected are getting low, the elders of the tribe grey beards with long manes meet together and decide where they shall go to lay in fresh supplies. This important point being settled, the whole body of monkeys, even down to the very little ones, leave the woods or mountain ravine where they live, and form into regular order. First scouts are posted; some being sent on to places in advance, others being left to guard the rear, while the main body, made up of the young and helpless monkeys, follow the chiefs, who march solemnly in front and carefully survey every precipice or doubtful place before they suffer anyone to pass over it.
It is not at all easy, even for an elderly and experienced monkey, to keep order among the host of lively chattering creatures for whose safety he is responsible, and indeed it would often be an impossible task if it were not for the help of the rear-guard. These much-tried animals have to make up quarrels which often break out by the way; to prevent the greedy ones from stopping to eat every scrap of fruit or berry that hangs from the trees as they pass, and to scold the mothers who try to linger behind in order to dress their children's hair and to make them smart for the day.
i Naturalist'I s Note-book.
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