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

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

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218                      KEES THE BABOON
all over, would creep between the legs of one of the men. After such a shock it was a long while before he was himself again. Being an ape, Kees was of course a terrible thief, and very clever he'was at stealing. It was difficult to know how to keep things out of his way, and punishment only made him more cunning. As for hanging up a basket containing milk or any kind of food for which Master Kees had a fancy, it was no good at all! One day, his master had boiled some beans for dinner, and had just put them on his plate, when his attention was attracted by the note of a strange bird just outside his tent. Le Vaillant jumped up, seized his gun and rushed off in search of the bird, which he secured in a few minutes. When he came back to his dinner neither beans nor Kees were to be seen. Of course, Le Vaillant knew what had become of both ; but he expected that Kees would appear at tea-time, as he always did when he had been stealing, and seat himself in his usual place with the most innocent face in the wrorld. However, this-particular evening nothing was heard of him, and when another whole day passed and no Kees, his master grew very anxious. At last, on the third day, a man, who had been sent to fetch water from the river, reported that he had caught a glimpse of Kees, but that directly the baboon had seen him he had hidden himself in the bushes. On this Le Vaillant called his dogs and went straight to the place where the truant had been hiding, but for a long while could find no trace of the creature. At length he heard a cry—just the sound of reproach that Kees always made when he had been left behind on a hunting expedition, but the animal himself was not visible. His master, in despair, was almost giving up the search, when he suddenly spied the baboon sitting overhead among the thick branches of a tree. Le Vaillant called to him in his friendliest tones, but Kees thought it was only a trap, and would not stir, though he made no attempt to move when his master climbed up after him and coaxed
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