King from 871-901 A.D. The Danes were neighbors of the Norwegian Vikings, and like them were fond of the sea and piracy. They plundered the English coasts for more than a century; and most of northern and eastern England became for a ... Read more of Alfred the Great at Biographical.caInformational Site Network Informational
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MAPPO AND HIS TRICKS

from Good Stories For Children





Mappo, the merry monkey, gave one look at the big dog rushing at him,
and then, with a chatter of fright, sprang right up on the shoulder of
the circus man. There Mappo sat, shivering, and looking down at the dog
who kept on barking.

"Oh ho! So you're afraid, are you?" asked the man, as he put up his hand
and patted Mappo. "Well, you don't need to be, little chap. Prince
wouldn't hurt you a bit, would you, old chap?"

"Bow wow!" barked the dog, and I think he meant that he certainly would
not--that he loved monkeys. In fact, any one would have loved Mappo, he
was so kind and gentle, even though he had not had much training.

"Now, Prince, just show this monkey how you can stand on your head,"
went on the circus man. "Show him how it's done."

The dog kicked his hind legs up in the air, and there he was, standing
up partly on his head, and partly on his forepaws.

"That'll do, Prince!" the man called. "Down!"

"Bow wow!" barked Prince, as he turned a somersault, and stood on his
four feet.

"You'll soon be doing tricks like that, little monkey," went on the
circus man, speaking to Mappo, as though the little chap from the jungle
could understand and answer him.

And, as I have told you, Mappo could understand pretty nearly all the
man said, but he could not talk back to him, except in monkey language,
and that the man did not understand.

"Now, Prince," said the circus man, "Mappo is going to have a ride on
your back. I want you to go slowly with him at first so he will not fall
off. Later on, you may run fast, and we'll have a race, with other
monkeys on the backs of other dogs. And, when Mappo has learned to ride
dog-back, I'll teach him to ride pony-back."

"Bow wow!" barked Prince, just as though he understood it all.

A bright red blanket was strapped around Prince, like a saddle on a
horse, and over the dog's head were put some straps like the reins of a
horse. Those were for Mappo to take hold of, and pretend he was driving
the dog around the ring.

"All right now. Here we go!" cried the man. "Come, Mappo!"

Mappo, who had been watching Tum Tum learn to stand on his hind legs,
now looked at the man and dog. The man lifted up the monkey and set him
on the dog's back. He also put the reins in Mappo's little paws.

"Now go, Prince!" said the man, and he walked along with the dog,
holding Mappo on the back of Prince.

At first Mappo did not understand what was wanted of him, and when
Prince started off, the little monkey grew afraid, and tried to jump
down and run away. But the man spoke gently to him.

"There now, old fellow," said the circus man kindly. "No one is going to
hurt you. You'll be all right. Just sit on. Prince won't run away with
you."

Mappo was not so frightened now, and as the man held him on the dog's
back, he did not fall off. Around and around in a ring went Prince
carrying Mappo. Finally the monkey saw that he was in no danger of
falling, and he sat up straighter.

"I guess you can go alone now," said the man. "Go on, Prince!"

Mappo sat up proudly, holding the reins. He was riding alone, though of
course not very fast, for Prince only walked now.

For two or three days Mappo practiced this trick, and each day he did
it better. Each day, too, when he had finished it, he was given
something good to eat, and so was Prince.

"Now we'll try it faster to-day," said the man, after Mappo had been in
the circus about a week. "Run, Prince, and give Mappo a fast ride."

Off started Prince, almost before Mappo was ready for him. And, just as
you might expect, Mappo fell off and rolled over and over in the
sawdust.

"Chatter-chatter-chat! Bur-r-r-r! Buz-z-z-z-z! Wur-r-r-r-r!" went Mappo,
excitedly.

"Bow wow!" barked Prince, capering about.

"Hold on! That's not the way to do it! You must hold on tightly!" cried
the circus man.

"Did you hurt yourself, Mappo?" asked Tum Tum, the jolly elephant, who
was resting, after having stood up on his hind legs. He had seen Mappo
fall.

"No," answered the monkey, "I didn't hurt myself, but I don't like to
fall that way. I don't like that trick."

"Never mind," spoke Tum Tum kindly. "The next time you do it, and Prince
runs fast, just wrap your tail around him, as you used to wrap it around
a tree limb in the big jungle. Then you won't fall."

"That's a good idea--I'll do it!" cried Mappo.



"Now we'll try it again," said the circus man. "Go a bit slower this
time, Prince."

"Bow wow! I will!" barked the dog.

Once more Mappo took his place on the red blanket on the dog's back. He
took the reins in his little paws, that were almost like your hands, and
then, remembering what Tum Tum had said to him, Mappo wound his tail
around the neck of Prince, but not so tightly as to hurt him.

"Bow wow! What are you doing that for?" asked the dog. He knew how to
speak so Mappo would understand him.

"I am doing it so I will not fall off when you run fast, Prince,"
answered Mappo.

"Ha! Ha! Very good!" laughed Prince, in the only way dogs can laugh,
which is by barking softly. "That's a good trick, little monkey. If
other monkeys were as smart as you they would learn their lessons more
quickly. Now hold on tight, for I am going to run!"

"I will!" promised Mappo.

The circus man looked at what Mappo had done.

"That is a smart little monkey," he said. "Now he will not fall."

And this time, when Prince started off, and ran very fast around the
sawdust ring, Mappo did not fall off. His tail, which was as good as a
hand to him, was wrapped about the neck of Prince, and kept Mappo from
slipping.

Mappo could now do the dog-riding trick very well. No matter how fast
Prince ran, the monkey would not fall off. A few days later more dogs
and other monkeys were brought into the circus ring in the big barn, and
they, too, raced around. But none of them could go as fast as Mappo and
Prince, and, each time, they won the race around the sawdust ring.

"That certainly is a smart little monkey!" the circus man would say over
and over again. "I shall teach him many tricks. I will now see how he
can ride on the back of a pony, and, after that, I will teach him to
jump through paper hoops."

Mappo did not very well understand what this meant, but he made up his
mind he would do whatever was asked of him, and that he would do it as
well as he could.

A few days later some little Shetland ponies were brought into the barn,
and Mappo was placed on the back of one of them. The pony was a little
larger than Prince, and Mappo was farther from the ground. But the
little monkey had climbed tall trees in the jungle, and he was not
afraid of going up even on an elephant's back. So, of course, he was not
afraid on Trotter, the pony.

A blanket was strapped on Trotter's back, and as there was an iron ring
in the strap, Mappo stuck his tail through that, and so held on. The
other monkeys, who were also to ride ponies, saw what Mappo was doing,
and they did the same thing.

"Ha! It's good to have a smart monkey in the circus," said the man. "He
shows the others what to do."

Mappo was so smart, and such a good rider, that he easily took the lead
in the race, and kept it. The ponies ran faster than the dogs had done,
but, even then, neither Mappo nor any of the other monkeys fell off, for
their tails were in the iron rings of the straps.

"Well, how are you coming on?" asked Tum Tum of Mappo one day, when they
were resting after having eaten their dinners.

"Fine!" answered Mappo. "I can do many tricks now. What are you
learning?"

"Oh, many things," answered Tum Tum. "I have to play ball, grind a
hand-organ with my trunk and make music, I have to play soldier, march
around, and stand up on my hind legs and on my head."

"Is it hard work?" asked Mappo.

"Yes, but I like it," said Tum Tum. And some day soon, in another book,
I shall tell you the many adventures of Tum Tum, the jolly elephant.

"Well, now for a new trick," said the circus man to Mappo, one morning.
"Soon it will be time for the circus to go out on the road, under the
big tents, and I want you to do many tricks for the boys and girls."

"I'll do all I can!" chattered Mappo, in his monkey language.

This time, after he had ridden around the ring once or twice on the back
of Prince, the circus man brought out some big wooden hoops, covered
with paper.

"You are to jump through these, Mappo," said the man. "Come, let me see
how you can do it." Mappo was riding on Prince's back. All of a sudden,
as Prince went around the sawdust ring, he came near to one of the rings
the man held out. Mappo did not in the least know what he was to do,
but, all at once, the man caught him up off the dog's back, and fairly
tossed him through the paper ring. The paper burst with a crackling
noise, and Mappo felt himself falling.

"Oh dear!" thought the little monkey, "I wonder where I shall land!"





Next: MAPPO RUNS AWAY

Previous: MAPPO IN THE CIRCUS



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