The Louisa Alcott Reader for Children HTML version
"A music-man! a music-man! Run quick, and see if he has got a monkey on his organ,"
cried little Neddy, running to the window in a great hurry one day.
Yes; there was the monkey in his blue and red suit, with a funny little cap, and the long
tail trailing behind. But he didn't seem to be a lively monkey; for he sat in a bunch, with
his sad face turned anxiously to his master, who kept pulling the chain to make him
dance. The stiff collar had made his neck sore; and when the man twitched, the poor thing
moaned and put up his little hand to hold the chain. He tried to dance, but was so weak he
could only hop a few steps, and stop panting for breath. The cruel man wouldn't let him
rest till Neddy called out,--
"Don't hurt him; let him come up here and get this cake, and rest while you play. I've got
some pennies for you."
So poor Jocko climbed slowly up the trellis, and sat on the window-ledge trying to eat;
but he was so tired he went to sleep, and when the man pulled to wake him up, he slipped
and fell, and lay as if he were dead. Neddy and his aunt ran down to see if he was killed.
The cross man scolded and shook him; but he never moved, and the man said,--
"He is dead. I don't want him. I will sell him to some one to stuff."
"No; his heart beats a little. Leave him here a few days, and we will take care of him; and
if he gets well, perhaps we will buy him," said Aunt Jane, who liked to nurse even a sick
The man said he was going on for a week through the towns near by, and would call and
see about it when he came back. Then he went away; and Neddy and aunty put Jocko in a
nice basket, and carried him in. The minute the door was shut and he felt safe, the sly
fellow peeped out with one eye, and seeing only the kind little boy began to chatter and
kick off the shawl; for he was not much hurt, only tired and hungry, and dreadfully afraid
of the cruel man who beat and starved him.
Neddy was delighted, and thought it very funny, and helped his aunt take off the stiff
collar and put some salve on the sore neck. Then they got milk and cake; and when he
had eaten a good dinner, Jocko curled himself up and slept till the next day. He was quite
lively in the morning; for when Aunt Jane went to call Neddy, Jocko was not in his
basket, and looking round the room for him, she saw the little black thing lying on the
boy's pillow, with his arm round Neddy's neck like a queer baby.
"My patience! I can't allow that," said the old lady, and went to pull Jocko out. But he
slipped away like an eel, and crept chattering and burrowing down to the bottom of the
bed, holding on to Neddy's toes, till he waked up, howling that crabs were nipping him.
Then they had a great frolic; and Jocko climbed all over the bed, up on the tall wardrobe,
and the shelf over the door, where the image of an angel stood. He patted it, and hugged
it, and looked so very funny with his ugly black face by the pretty white one, that Neddy