84 THE SWISS FAMILY ROBINSON
lay near him. Francis offered him a fig, which he first turned round and round, then smelt, and finally ate with pleasure.
' Bravo Mr. Monkey!' exclaimed the boys, clapping their hands.
My wife had made a fire by this time, and put on the pot to prepare our dinner. The tiger-cat was given to the dogs, who tore it to pieces. While our dinner was being made ready, I employed my time in making packing-needles with some of the quills of the porcupine, which I had pulled out. I heated a large nail red-hot ; then pierced the thick end of the quills with it, and soon had presented my wife with a large packet of long, stout needles, which she was delighted with, as she meant to make some better harness for our animals. I recommended her to be careful in the use of her packthread, for I saw we should want it to make a ladder for ascending the tree when we began to live there.
For this purpose I had chosen the highest fig-tree ; and while we were waiting for dinner I made the boys try how high they could throw a stick or stone into it. I also tried myself; but the lowest branches were so far from the ground that none of us could touch them. I saw, therefore, that we