222 KEES THE BABOON
low branches of a tree, he was seen by a leopard, who happened to be wanting a dinner, and after creeping stealthily up, with one bound he landed on the baboon's neck, and there was an end of him.
The Namaquas used to complain that it was difficult to keep a child, for the baboons were sure to steal it, perhaps in revenge for some teasing on the part of the children.
One evening, some little Namaquas were sent out with bows and arrows to play in the woods just outside the village. When it grew dark they all came home again, and it was not until they were close to the huts that they missed the youngest of the party, a boy of five or six, who, being very tired, had lingered behind the rest. Seeing he was alone, a crowd of chattering baboons came swiftly down from their perches in the trees, and seizing the boy in their long arms, carried him off to the mountains.
Next day the whole village turned out as soon as it was light in search of the child, but neither boy nor baboons could be seen anywhere.
For a whole year the parents gave up the boy for lost, when one night a man from another tribe came riding through the village, and mentioned, during the course of conversation, that a long way off he had noticed the trail of baboons, and in the midst the footprints of a child. The villagers set out directly on hearing this news, and when they reached the place described by the hunter, they saw the little boy seated on a high rock, with a big baboon beside him. At the sight of the men the baboon caught up the boy and tried to make off with him, but after a hard chase he was at length surrounded, and forced to give up the child. Far from being pleased at his release from captivity, the boy, who had become quite wild, fought and cried, and even tried to get back to his long-armed friends. He had forgotten, too, how to talk, and it took him some time to pick up his own language again. When at last he had settled down to his old life,