TALE OF A TORTOISE AND A MONKEY 333
questions, he only said to their mother: ' I've called for my barrel of meal.'
' Why, you gave it to me to make cakes of!' cried the mother.
' If I can't get my barrel of meal, I shall take one of your children,' answered the monkey. ' I am in want of somebody who can bake me bread when I am tired of fruit, and who knows how to make cocoanut cakes.'
' Oh, leave me my child, and I will find you another barrel of meal,' wept the mother.
' I don't want another barrel, I want that one,' answered the monkey sternly. And as the woman stood wringing her hands, he caught up the little girl that he thought the prettiest and took her to his home in the palm tree.
She never went back to the hut, but on the whole she was not much to be pitied, for monkeys are nearly as good as children to play with, and they taught her how to swing, and to climb, and to fly from tree to tree, and everything else they knew, which was a great deal.
Now the monkey's tiresome tricks had made him many enemies in the forest, but no one hated him so much as the puma. The cause of their quarrel was known only to themselves, but everybody was aware of the fact, and took care to be out of the way when there was any chance of these two meeting. Often and often the puma had laid traps for the monkey, which he felt sure his foe could not escape ; and the monkey would pretend that he saw nothing, and rejoice the hidden puma's heart by seeming to walk straight into the snare, when, lo ! a loud laugh would be heard, and the monkey's grinning face would peer out of a mass of creepers and disappear before his foe could reach him.
This state of things had gone on for quite a long while, when at last there came a season such as the oldest parrot in the forest could never remember. Instead of two or three hundred inches of rain falling, which they