MAPPO AND THE COCOANUT





Once upon a time, not so very many years ago, there lived in a tree, in

a big woods, a little monkey boy. It was in a far-off country, where

this little monkey lived, so far that you would have to travel many days

in the steam cars, and in a steamship, to get there.



The name of the little monkey boy was Mappo, and he had two brothers and

two sisters, and also a papa and a mamma. One sister was named Choo, and

the other Chaa, and one brother was called Jacko, and the other Bumpo.

They were funny names, but then, you see, monkeys are funny little

creatures, anyhow, and have to be called by funny names, or things would

not come out right.



Mappo was the oldest of the monkey children, and he was the smartest.

Perhaps that was why he had so many adventures. And I am going to tell

you some of the wonderful things that happened to Mappo, while he lived

in the big woods, and afterwards, when he was caught by a hunter, and

sent off to live in a circus.



But we will begin at the beginning, if you please.



Mappo, as I have said, lived in a tree in the woods. Now it might seem

funny for you to live in a tree, but it came very natural to Mappo. Lots

of creatures live in trees. There are birds, and squirrels, and

katydids. Of course they do not stay in the trees all the time, any more

than you boys and girls stay in your houses all the while. They go down

on the ground to play, occasionally.



"But you will find the safest place for you is the tree," said Mappo's

mother to him one day, when he had been playing down on the ground with

his brothers and sisters. And, while they were down playing a game,

something like your game of tag, all of a sudden along came a big

striped tiger, with long teeth.



"Run! Run fast! Everybody run!" yelled Mappo, in the queer, chattering

language monkeys use.



His brothers and sisters scrambled up into the tree where their house

was, and Mappo scrambled up after them. He was almost too late, for the

tiger nearly caught Mappo by the tail. But the little monkey boy managed

to get out of the way, and then he sat down on a branch in front of the

tree house where he lived.



"That wasn't very nice of that tiger to chase us!" said Mappo, when he

could get his breath.



"No, indeed," said Mrs. Monkey. "Tigers are not often nice. After this

you children had better stay in the tree--until you are a little larger,

at least."



"But it's more fun on the ground," said Mappo.



"That may be," said Mrs. Monkey, as she looked down through the branches

to see if the tiger were still waiting to catch one of her little ones.

"But, Mappo, you and your brothers and sisters can run much better and

faster in a tree than on the ground," said Mrs. Monkey.



And this is so. A monkey can get over the ground pretty fast on his four

legs, as you can easily tell if you have ever watched a hand-organ

monkey. But they can travel much faster up in the trees. For there is a

hand on the end of each monkey's four limbs, and his curly tail is as

good as another hand for grasping branches. So you see a monkey really

has five hands with which to help himself along in the trees, and that

is why he can swing himself along so swiftly, from one branch to

another.



That is why it is safer for monkeys to be up in a tree than on the

ground. There are very few other animals that can catch monkeys, once

the five-handed creatures are up among the leaves. And monkeys can

travel a long way through the forest without ever coming down to the

ground. They swing themselves along from one tree to another, for miles

and miles through the forest.



"Is it safe to go down now, Mamma?" asked Mappo of his mother, in monkey

talk. This was a little while after the scare.



"No, not yet," she said. "That tiger may still be down there, waiting

and hiding. You and Jacko and Bumpo, and Choo and Chaa stay up here, and

pretty soon I will give you a new lesson."



"Oh, a new lesson!" exclaimed Jacko. "I wonder what kind it will be. We

have learned to swing by our tails, and to hang by one paw. Is there

anything else we can learn?"



"Many things," said the mamma monkey, for she and her husband had been

teaching the children the different things monkeys must know to get

along in the woods.



So the four little monkeys sat in the tree in front of their home, and

waited for their mother to teach them a new lesson.



If you had seen Mappo's house, you would not have thought it a very nice

one. It was just some branches of a tree, twined together, over a sort

of platform, or floor, of dried branches. About all the house was used

for was to keep off some of the rain that fell very heavily in the

country where Mappo lived.



But this house suited the monkeys very well. They did not need to have a

warm one, for it was never winter in the land where they lived. It was

always hot and warm--sometimes too warm. There was never any snow or

ice, but, instead, just rain. It rained half the year, and the other

half it was dry. So, you see, Mappo's house was only needed to keep off

the rain.



Mappo and the other monkeys did not stay in their houses very much. They

went in them to sleep, but that was about all. The rest of the time they

jumped about in the trees, looking for things to eat, and, once in a

while, when there was no danger, they went down on the ground to play.



"I guess that tiger is gone now," said Jacko to Mappo. "Let's go down on

the ground again, and get some of those green things that are good to

eat."



The little monkeys had been eating some fruit, like green pears, which

they liked very much, when the tiger came along and frightened them.

Tigers would rather eat monkeys than green pears, I guess.



"Yes, I think we can go down now," said Mappo, looking through the

leaves, and seeing nothing of the savage, striped tiger.



"You'd better ask mamma," said Choo, one of the little girl monkeys.



"Indeed I will not! I can see as good as she can that the tiger isn't

there!" exclaimed Mappo.



You see monkey children don't want to mind, and be careful, any more

than some human children do.



Mappo started to climb down the tree, holding on to the branches by his

four paws and by his tail. He was almost to the ground, and Jacko and

Bumpo were following him, when, all at once, there was a dreadful roar,

and out sprang the tiger again.



"Oh, run! Run quick! Jump back!" screamed Mappo, and he and his brothers

got back to their tree-house not a second too soon. The tiger snapped

his teeth, and growled, he was so mad at being fooled the second time.



"Here! What did I tell you monkeys? You must stay up in the tree!"

chattered Mrs. Monkey, as she jumped out of the house. She had been

inside shaking up the piles of leaves that were the beds for her family.



"We--we thought the tiger was gone," said Mappo, who was trembling

because he was so frightened.



"But he wasn't," said Bumpo, shivering.



"No, he was right there," added Jacko, looking around.



"Yes, and he'll be there for some time," said Mrs. Monkey. "I told you

to be careful. Now you just sit down, all of you, and don't you dare

stir out of this tree until I tell you to. I'll let you know when the

tiger is gone," and she looked down through the leaves toward the

ground.



"He is still there," said Mrs. Monkey, for she caught sight of the

stripes of the tiger's skin. She had very sharp eyes, and though the

patches of sunlight through the jungle leaves hid the bad creature

somewhat, Mrs. Monkey could tell he was there, waiting to catch one of

her little children.



"Your father will be coming along, soon," said Mrs. Monkey, to her

children. "The tiger may lay in wait for him. I'd better let him know he

must be careful as he comes along through the woods."



So Mrs. Monkey raised up her head, and called as loudly as she could, in

her chattering talk. You would not have understood what she said, even

if you had heard it, though there are some men who say they can

understand monkey talk.



But the other monkeys in the woods heard what the mother of Mappo was

saying, and they, too, began to shout, in their language:



"Look out for the tiger! There is a tiger hiding down under the bushes!

Look out for him!"



Soon the whole jungle was filled with the sound of the chattering of the

monkeys, as, one after another, they began to shout. It was a warning

they shouted--a warning to Mr. Monkey to be careful when he came near

his home--to be careful of the tiger lying in wait for him.



My! what a noise those monkeys made, shouting and chattering in the

jungle. You could hear them for a mile or more. It was their way of

telephoning to Mappo's papa. Monkeys cannot really telephone, you

know--that is, not the way we do--but they can shout, one after another,

so as to be heard a long way off.



First one would chatter something about the tiger--then another monkey,

farther off, would take up the cry, and so on until Mr. Monkey heard it.

So it was as good as a telephone, anyhow.



As soon as Mappo's papa, who had gone a long distance from the

tree-house to look for some bananas for his family--as soon as he heard

the shouting about the tiger, he said to himself:



"Well, I must get home as quickly as I can, to look after my family. But

I'll be careful. I hope Mappo and the others will stay in the tall

trees."



For Mr. Monkey well knew that if his wife and little ones stayed up in

the high trees the tiger could not very well get at them, though tigers

can sometimes climb low trees.



Meanwhile Mrs. Monkey was keeping good watch over her little ones. They

had no idea, now, of going down on the ground to play--at least as long

as the tiger was hiding near them in the bushes.



"But I wish we had something to do," said Mappo, who was a merry little

chap, always laughing, shouting, running about or playing some trick on

his brothers and sisters. Just then he thought of a little trick.



He went softly up behind Jacko, and tickled him on the ear with a long

piece of a tree branch. Jacko thought it was a fly, and put up his paw

to brush it away. Mappo pulled the tree branch away just in time, and

while Jacko was peeling the skin off a bit of fruit, to eat it, Mappo

again tickled his brother.



"Oh that fly!" chattered Jacko. "If I get hold of him!" and again he

brushed with his paw at what he thought was a fly.



This made Mappo laugh. The merry little monkey laughed so hard that the

next time he tried to tickle Jacko, Mappo's paw slipped, and Jacko,

turning around, saw his brother.



"Oh ho! So it was you, and not a fly!" cried Jacko. He dropped his

fruit, and raced after his brother. Up through the tree, nearly to the

top, went the two monkeys, as fast as they could. They laughed and

chattered, for it was all in fun.



Finally Jacko caught Mappo by the tail.



"Oh, let go!" begged Mappo.



"Will you stop tickling me?" asked Jacko.



"I guess so--maybe!" laughed Mappo, trying to pull his tail out of his

brother's paw.



"No, you'll have to say for sure, before I let you go!"



Jacko pulled pretty hard on Mappo's tail.



"Oh! let go! Yes, I'll be good! I won't tickle you any more!" cried

Mappo.



Then Jacko let go, and started to climb down the tree to the little

platform in front of the monkey house. But Mappo was not done with his

jokes. He scrambled down faster than did Jacko, and finally, when Jacko

was not looking, Mappo grasped the end of his brother's tail, and gave

it a hard pinch.



"Ouch! Oh dear! Mamma, the tiger's got me!" cried Jacko.



"Ha! Ha! That's the time I fooled you!" laughed Mappo in his chattering

way.



Then Jacko gave chase after Mappo again, and the two monkey boys were

having lots of fun in the trees, when Mrs. Monkey called to them:



"Jacko! Mappo! Come down here. It is time for your new lesson. And you,

too, Choo and Chaa! You'll have time to practice a little bit before

your father comes home," and she looked down to see if the tiger were

there.



But the bad animal had gone away. He had heard the monkeys talking about

him, and sending a warning all through the jungle where they lived. A

jungle, you know, is a great big woods.



"What lesson is it going to be, Mamma?" asked Mappo.



"You'll soon see," she said.



And Mrs. Monkey went into the tree-house, came out with a brown, shaggy

thing, about as big as a small football. Have you ever seen one of

those? Only, of course, it was not a football.



"Oh, what is it, Mamma?" asked Chaa.



"I know!" exclaimed Bumpo, as he tried to climb under a branch, and

bumped his head.



"Ouch!" he cried.



That was why he was called Bumpo--he was always bumping his head,

though it did not hurt him very much, for he was covered with a heavy

growth of hair.



"Well, what is it, if you know?" asked Mappo, for he was looking at the

big, round, brown thing, and trying to guess what it was.



"It's--it's a new kind of banana," said Bumpo, for he and his brothers

and sisters were very fond of the soft red and yellow fruit.



"No, it isn't a banana," said Mrs. Monkey. "It's a cocoanut."



"I never saw a cocoanut as big as that," spoke Mappo, for his papa had

brought some smaller, round nuts to the tree-house, and had said they

were cocoanuts. The little monkeys had not been allowed to eat any of

the white meat inside the cocoanut though, for they were too small for

it then.



"Yes, this is a cocoanut," went on Mrs. Monkey. "You are now getting

large enough to have some for your meals, and so I am going to give you

a lesson in how to open a cocoanut."



"I thought cocoanut was white," said Choo.



"It is, inside," said Mrs. Monkey. "This cocoanut I now have has the

outer shell still on it. That is why it is not round, like some you may

have seen. Inside this soft covering is the round nut, and inside that

round nut is the white meat. Now, Mappo, you are a smart little monkey,

let me see if you will know how to open the cocoanut. And, when you do,

you may all have some to eat."



Mappo took the cocoanut and looked at it. He turned it over and over in

his paws. Then, with his fingers, he tried to pull it apart. But he

could not do it. The nut was too hard for him. Next he tried to bite it

open, but he could not.



"Let me try. I can open it!" exclaimed Jacko.



"No, I'll do it," said Mappo.



"If you can't, I can," spoke Bumpo, and he gave a jump over toward

Mappo, and once more he hit his head on a branch, Bumpo did.



"Ouch!" he chattered, rubbing the sore place with his paw.



Mappo turned the cocoanut over and over again. He was looking for some

hole in it through which he could put his paw and get out the white

meat. But he saw none.



"Maybe I could open it," said Choo, gently.



"No, we must let Mappo have a good try," said Mrs. Monkey. "Then, if he

cannot do it, you may all have a turn. But it is a good lesson to know

how to open a cocoanut. When you get to be big monkeys, you will have to

open a great many of them."



Mappo was pulling and tearing at the hard husk of the cocoanut.



"If I had something sharp, I could tear it open," he said. Then he

happened to look up in the tree, and he saw where a branch had been

broken off, leaving a sharp point.



"Ha! I have it!" he cried.



He broke off the branch, and with the sharp point he soon had torn a

hole in the outer husk of the cocoanut. He pulled the round nut out.



"I have it!" he chattered.



"Yes, but it isn't good to eat yet," said Bumpo. "How are you going to

open the rest of it?"



Mappo did not know. Once more he tried to bite a hole, but he could not.

All of a sudden the nut slipped from his paws, and fell down toward the

ground.



"Oh!" cried Mappo, and he started to climb down after the nut. "My

cocoanut is lost!"



"Look out for the tiger!" cried Jacko. "Look out, Mappo!"





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