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MAPPO PLAYS A TRICK

from Good Stories For Children





Mappo, who had started to climb down to the ground, to get the cocoanut
he had lost, stopped short when he heard his brother Jacko cry out about
the tiger.

"Don't be afraid," said Mrs. Monkey. "The tiger is not there now. He has
gone, or else I shouldn't have let you try to open the cocoanut, Mappo.
Go on and get it; don't be afraid."

So Mappo went on down to the ground. And, when he reached it, he saw
something that was very strange to him.

"Oh, Mamma!" cried Mappo. "The cocoanut is all broken to pieces. I can
pick out the white meat now. Oh, Mamma, it's all broken."

"Is it?" cried Bumpo, and he hurried down so fast that he hit his nose,
and sneezed.

"Yes, it's all cracked open," said Mappo. "Oh, goodie!"

Of course Mappo didn't just say that in so many words, but he talked, in
his monkey talk, just as you children would have done, had the same
thing happened to you.

"Maybe the tiger broke open the cocoanut for you," said Bumpo, as he
rubbed his hurt nose.

"No, the tiger is not there," said Mrs. Monkey. "You may all go down and
see how Mappo opened the cocoanut."

Down trooped all the five little monkeys, Mappo was the first to reach
his cocoanut.

"Why!" he cried. "It fell on a stone, and smashed open. That's what
cracked the shell, Mamma."

"Yes, I thought it would," said Mrs. Monkey. "And that is the lesson you
little ones are to learn. You cannot bite open a cocoanut. You must
crack it on a stone. Mappo dropped his by accident, but it can also be
dropped, or thrown, on purpose. So, when you get a cocoanut, the first
thing to do is to get a sharp stick, and take off the outer shell. Then,
go up in a tall tree, and drop the inside nut down on a stone. The fall
will break it, and you can then eat the white meat."

"Oh, isn't that a nice thing to know!" cried Choo.

"Yes, indeed," said her sister Chaa. "I wish we had a cocoanut to break
open."

"Come up in the tree and I'll give you each one," said Mrs. Monkey.

Up into the tree, where their house was, scrambled Mappo, and his
brothers and sisters. Mappo carried in his paws the pieces of white
cocoanut he had broken out of the round, brown shell. He nibbled at a
piece.

"Oh, doesn't that taste good!" he cried.

"Please give me some," begged Chaa, holding out one little, brown paw.

"No, I want it all," said Mappo.

"Oh, you must not be selfish!" said Mrs. Monkey. "Give your brothers and
sisters some, Mappo, and when they open their nuts, they will give you
some."

Mappo was sorry he had been a little selfish. He gave each of the other
monkeys some cocoanut. Mrs. Monkey went into the tree-house and came out
with four other cocoanuts. She gave one each to the other monkeys, and
soon they had torn off the tough, outer husk, or covering, with a sharp
stick, the way Mappo did.

Then they threw the round brown nuts down on a flat stone under the
tree, cracking the shell so they could pick out the white meat.

"Oh, but this is good!" exclaimed Mappo, as he chewed some of the pieces
his brothers and sisters gave him.

All of a sudden, as the little monkeys were eating away, there sounded a
rustling in the trees. Something was coming through the branches.

"Look out!" cried Jacko.

"Run!" shouted Mappo.

"Don't be afraid, children, it's only your papa," said a kind,
chattering voice, and Mr. Monkey, with a bunch of bananas slung over his
back, came scrambling up to the tree-house.

"Did you see the tiger?" asked Mrs. Monkey.

"No, but I heard the other monkeys calling out about him, so I was
careful," said the papa monkey. "Are you all right here?"

"Oh, yes. We saw him in time," spoke Mrs. Monkey.

"Oh, papa, I can open a cocoanut!" cried Mappo.

"So can I!" exclaimed Bumpo. "Look!" and he was in such a hurry to show
what he could do that he slipped, and bumped his head against Mappo,
nearly knocking him off the branch on which the monkey boy was sitting.

In fact, Mappo did fall off, but he had his tail tightly wound around
the branch, so he did not fall all the way to the ground, as he might
have done.

"Look out! What are you doing?" cried Mappo to Bumpo, after having swung
himself up on the branch again.

"Oh dear! I'm sorry. I didn't mean to," said Bumpo. "I just wanted to
show papa how I can open a cocoanut."



"We can all open cocoanuts! We've had our lessons," said Chaa.

"Good!" cried Mr. Monkey. "To open cocoanuts is a good thing to know.
And now here are some bananas I have brought you." He passed around the
yellow fruit from the bunch he had brought home. Then, having eaten
bananas and cocoanut, all the monkeys went to sleep.

That is about all monkeys in the jungle do--eat and sleep. Of course
some of the younger ones play tricks once in a while. Monkeys are very
mischievous and fond of playing tricks. That is what makes them so funny
in the circus, and with the hand-organ men.

When the monkeys awakened, they were thirsty. Mappo was going down,
right away, to the ground and get a drink at a water-pool near the
family tree.

"Wait!" called his father, stretching out his long, hairy arms. "I must
first look to see that the tiger is not there, Mappo."

But the tiger was far away, so the monkeys scrambled down and took long
drinks. Then they crawled back into their tree again.

For two or three days after this, Mappo, his brothers and sisters
practiced their new lesson of opening cocoanuts, until they could do it
as well as Mr. and Mrs. Monkey.

Meanwhile they had gone off together, a little way into the woods,
looking for different things to eat. Mappo used to go a little ahead of
the others.

"Be careful," his mother warned him. "If you get too far away from us,
the tiger will catch you."

Then Mappo would come back.

One day, after the monkeys had opened some cocoanuts and eaten out the
white meat, Mappo thought of a good trick to play on Bumpo or Jacko.

Down on the ground, under the family tree, were some empty cocoanut
shells. One was almost whole, with only a small piece broken out.

"I'll put that piece of shell back in the hole," said Mappo, "and it
will look as though it had not been opened. Then I'll give it to Jacko
or Bumpo. They'll think it's a good cocoanut, and try to break it open.
Then won't they feel funny when they see it's empty!"

Mappo was thinking so much about the trick he was going to play, that he
did not look about, as he ought to have done, for any signs of danger.
He was down on the ground, putting the piece of shell back in the hole
in the empty cocoanut, to play a trick on one of his brothers, when, all
of a sudden, there was a crashing in the bushes, right in front of
Mappo, and out jumped the big, yellow and black striped tiger.

"Oh my!" exclaimed Mappo, and he was so frightened that he could not
move.





Next: MAPPO IN A NET

Previous: MAPPO AND THE COCOANUT



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