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

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

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The first Europeans who visited some of the large islands lying close to the Equator—Borneo, Sumatra, and several more—were astonished at finding the woods full of a huge creature which they took for some time to be a man. It was very shy, and disappeared into the thick, dark depths of the forest directly it caught sight of a human being, so it was not very easy to make out exactly what it was like. However, the white men were curious, and also persevering, and at length they were rewarded by seeing one of the largest kind pass by, while they were peeping from behind a bush. No, it certainly was not a man, not even a savage; but how very like one ! To begin with, the animal as often as not walked on two legs, and had no tail, while the palms of its hands and the soles of its feet were hairless. The arms were immensely long, and could be used as legs, and the height of a full-grown specimen was sometimes as much as eight feet. This is the animal now known as the Orang-outang.
The whole tribe are wonderfully quick in their motions, and when they are put on board ship can swing themselves about the ropes and rigging in a way that surprises even a skilful sailor. They are affectionate and good-natured, and very intelligent, being able to copy the actions of their masters so closely that, at a little distance, you could not tell which was which. A small orang­outang was brought over to Holland in 1776, but died
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