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

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

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KEES THE BABOON                    215
hearts' content without expecting to be held in a vice at every moment.
Seventy or eighty years ago, the mountain ranges of Cape Colony were infested by swarms of dog-faced baboons, which came, like locusts, to eat and carry away all the ripe fruit from the gardens and orchards. They are very quick, very impudent, and very cunning, and when they lay their plans to rob a garden, they tell off some of the band as sentinels, who give instant warning at the approach of danger. If they are left undisturbed they will not only make an excellent dinner, but will stuff the pouches they have in their cheeks with fruit, to be eaten quietly when they get home.
A traveller by the name of Le Vaillant, who was ex­ploring in South Africa, captured a dog-faced baboon which he called Kees. The two soon became very fond of each other,and were constant companions, for the ape was quick at seeing (or smelling) the presence of wild beasts when the dogs were quite unable to detect them. Le Vaillant turned his greediness and curiosity to account, and never allowed any of his followers to eat strange fruits or plants till Kees had first eaten them, as no ape can bear to pass by food, especially food of a kind he has never seen before. When he threw the fruit away, after merely tasting it, they knew that it was better left alone. Even out hunting, Kees' appetite proved too much for him. He would climb up trees in the hope of finding gum, and dive into hidden places in the rocks where experience had taught him that honey was sometimes to be got. If he could discover neither gum nor honey, he would search for roots, which were the next best thing. There was one in particular which his master enjoyed nearly as much as he did, and when Kees' sharp eyes beheld the leaves, he made all the haste he could to keep it all to himself. First, of course, he had to pull it out of the ground, and that was not so easy, He did not use his
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