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MAPPO IN A BOX

from Good Stories For Children





Poor Mappo was not a merry monkey just then. Usually he was a jolly
little fellow, laughing and chattering in his own way, and playing
tricks on his brothers and sisters. Now he felt very little like doing
anything of that sort.

"And to think that I was going to play a trick with the empty cocoanut
shell, just a little while before this happened to me," thought Mappo,
as he tried very hard to get loose from the net in which he was all
tangled up. "I wonder what has happened to me, anyhow," said Mappo to
himself.

And, as Mappo did not find out for some little time I will tell you. He
had been caught by a native hunter, in a net made from long pieces of a
trailing vine, which was as strong as a rope.

In the country where Mappo lived there were many people called
natives--that is they had never lived in any country but their own, and
they were a queer sort of people.

They wore very few clothes, for it was too hot to need many. They were
a black, savage people, and they lived by hunting with their spears, and
bows and arrows. They hunted wild animals--lions, tigers, elephants and
monkeys. Some of the wild animals they used for food, and others they
sold to white men who wanted them for circuses and menageries. And
monkeys were generally the easiest to catch.

Some of these black, half-clothed, savage natives had spread a vine net
in the forest. The net, being made of vines, could not be seen until
some animal got close to it. And to make monkeys come close to the net,
so it would fall down over them, when one end was pulled loose by a
native (hidden behind a tree) bits of cocoanut were sprinkled about.
Monkeys are very fond of cocoanut, and the natives knew, when the little
long-tailed creatures went to pick up the white pieces, that they would
come nearer and nearer to the trap-net, until they were caught. That was
what had happened to Mappo.

The little monkey tried and tried again to break out of the net, but he
could not. It was too strong. Tighter and tighter it was pulled about
him, until he could struggle no more. He lay there, a sad little lump of
monkey in the net.

Then some black men, with long sharp sticks, or spears, gathered about
him, and talked very fast and loud. You would not have understood what
they said, if you had heard them, any more than you can understand dog
and cat talk, but Mappo knew some of what they were saying, for he had
lived in the jungle all his life, and these were natives, or jungle men.

"Ha! We caught only one monkey!" exclaimed one tall, black man, with a
long spear.

"Well, but he is a good one," another man said. "We will take him to the
coast in a box, and sell him to the white men who will take him away in
a ship. We will get many things for him, lots of beads to put around our
necks, some brass wire to make rings for our noses and ankles, and red
cloth to wear."

The natives, you see, did not want money. They wanted beads and bits of
shiny brass wire, or gay-colored cloth, to make themselves look, as they
thought, very fine. They even put rings in their noses, as well as in
their ears, to decorate themselves.

"Ha! So this is not the end of me!" thought Mappo, when he heard the
black men thus talking. "I am to be put in a box, and taken to a ship,
it seems. I wonder what a ship is like. Well, as long as I am not to be
hurt, perhaps it will be fun after all. But I wish they would let my
mamma and papa, and sisters and brothers come with me. It is no fun
being all by yourself."

But of course Mappo's folks were, by this time, a long way off in the
jungle woods, wondering where Mappo himself was. If they had seen him in
the net, they might have tried to get him out, but they did not see him.

The net was now pulled so tightly about the little monkey, that he was
in some pain.

"Bring up the box, and we'll put him in it," said one of the black men.
Another native came up with a box made of tree branches nailed together.
It was what is called a crate--that is, there were spaces between the
slats so Mappo could look out and get air.

"Look out. He may bite you!" called one native to another, as the crate
was placed near the net.

"Oh, I won't give him a chance!" the other native said.

"Ha! I won't bite!" chattered Mappo, but the natives did not understand
him. They knew very little of monkey talk. Mappo made up his mind that
he would be good, for his mamma had often told him that was the best way
to get along in this world. "But I'm sure she never thought I would be
caught in a net," said Mappo to himself. "I wonder if she would mean me
to be good now; and not bite. I guess she would, so I won't nip
anybody."

Mappo had very sharp teeth, even if he was a monkey, and he could give
some good hard bites. But now he was going to be good.

The net, with poor Mappo in it, was dragged up close to the crate, and
a door in the crate was opened. Then part of the net was pulled to one
side, and Mappo saw a hole where he thought he might slip out. He gave
a jump, hoping he could get back into the tall trees again.

"And if I do, I'll never eat any more cocoanut, unless my mamma or papa
gives it to me!" thought Mappo.

So he gave a jump out of the net, but, in a second he found himself
inside the wooden crate, or box. He had gone into it when the net was
open opposite the door of the crate. In another second the door was shut
and fastened, and Mappo was a prisoner in a new prison. He could not get
out, no matter how hard he tried.

"There he is, safe and sound!" chattered the natives, in their queer
language, which was as much like monkey talk as anything else. "Now we
can carry him to the coast, and sell him to the white men. Come on."

"I wonder where the coast is," thought Mappo, and I might tell you,
in case you don't know, that the coast is the seashore.



The ships, in which white men come to the jungle countries, go only as
far as the seashore. They cannot go on the land, or into the interior,
where the wild animals live. So when the natives catch monkeys, or other
creatures, they have to carry them to the coast.

"Well, this isn't very nice," thought Mappo, as he looked at the little
crate, inside of which he now found himself. "I haven't much room to
move around here, and I don't see anything to eat, or drink."

He was not very hungry, for he had eaten a lot of the cocoanut just
before being caught in the net. But he was thirsty. However, he saw no
water, and, though he chattered, and asked for it as nicely as he knew
how, he got none--at least, not right away.

Mappo's fur was all ruffled by being caught in the net, and he now began
to smooth that out, until he looked more like himself. He peered through
between the slats of his cage with his queer little eyes, and there was
a sad look in them, if any one had noticed. But no one did. The natives
were getting ready to carry Mappo to the coast.

Poor Mappo looked out on the green jungle where he had lived ever since
he could remember. He did not know that he was never to see it again.
He would never climb the big trees, and swing from one branch to
another. He would not play tag with his brothers and sisters, nor would
he open cocoanuts on a sharp stick and by dropping them on a stone.
Mappo was to be taken away from his nice jungle.

Of course he did not know all this at once. All he knew now was that he
was in a little crate, where he had hardly room enough to turn around,
and no room at all to hang by his tail.

"Come on--let's start with him!" called one of the black men. "We'll
take him to the white people, and come back and catch some more
monkeys."

"Oh, I hope they catch some of my folks!" thought Mappo. He did not wish
any harm to happen to his father or mother, or sisters or brothers, you
know, but he was so lonesome, that he wanted to see some of them.

The natives thrust long poles through the slats of Mappo's box, and,
putting the poles over their shoulders, off through the jungle they
started to march.

Poor Mappo was very thirsty by this time, but though he chattered very
hard, and cried "Water!" over and over again, in his monkey language,
no one paid any attention to him.

On and on went the natives, carrying the little monkey in a crate.
After a while some other black men came along another path, and they,
too, had boxes slung on poles, and in the boxes were other animals. In
one was a big striped tiger, and when Mappo saw him, the monkey crouched
down in a corner of his box and covered his eyes with his paws.

"Oh, maybe it's the same tiger that tried to catch me, and whom I hit on
the head with the empty cocoanut," thought Mappo. "If it is, he'll be
very angry at me, and try to get me.

"Oh dear! This is too bad. I guess this is the end of me!" Mappo cried.

The natives carrying Mappo, in his box, ran forward with him, and as he
looked out, he saw that his crate was close to the one in which was the
growling, striped tiger.

"Oh! Oh! Oh!" thought poor Mappo. "He'll get me sure!"





Next: MAPPO ON THE SHIP

Previous: MAPPO IN A NET



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