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Chapter 21

A Sweet Tooth

After his ride on old dog Spot, Major Monkey went to the henhouse for eggs even oftener than he had gone before.

Perhaps he had become fonder of eggs. Or perhaps he had become bolder. Anyhow, he noticed that old dog Spot gave him a wide berth. Whenever old Spot saw him he tucked his tail between his legs and ran, yelping, into the house.

Now, Johnnie Green soon discovered that something--or somebody--was frightening old Spot almost every day. And having nothing else to do one morning, he made up his mind that he would watch and see what happened. So he climbed to the cupola on top of the big barn. And there he stayed for a long time, keeping a sharp eye on old Spot as he wandered about the farm buildings.

It was a good while before anything happened. But Johnnie Green did not mind that. He had brought plenty of cookies to munch. And he pretended that he was a sailor in the crow's nest of a ship, on the lookout for a sail.

After a while he almost forgot what he was really doing. He was leaning far out of the cupola, shading his eyes with one hand, and stuffing a cookie into his mouth with the other, and gazing off across the meadow, when all at once he heard old Spot yelping.

That sound brought Johnnie to his senses. And glancing down, he saw Spot tearing across the barnyard, making for the woodshed door in great bounds. And behind him, perched on the roof of the henhouse, Johnnie saw a familiar figure.

"It's the monkey again!" Johnnie Green cried. And he clambered quickly to the ground.

But when he reached the henhouse Major Monkey had fled. Johnnie could see his red coat flickering among the leaves in the orchard. But he knew it was useless to follow.

Although Major Monkey was aware that Johnnie Green had seen him again, he did not stop visiting the henhouse. To be sure, he became somewhat more wary. He never went inside the henhouse for eggs without first looking around carefully, to make sure that Johnnie Green wasn't watching him. And for a time the Major kept an eye out for traps.

He saw nothing of the sort anywhere. But one day when he leaped to the window-sill of the henhouse he was delighted to find a lump of maple sugar, which some one had carelessly left there.

At least, that was what the Major supposed. And with something a good deal like a chuckle he ate the dainty greedily. It was the first bit of sugar he had tasted since he came to Pleasant Valley. And Major Monkey was very fond of sweets.

Johnnie Green, or his father, or the hired man seemed all at once to grow terribly careless with maple sugar. The Major hardly ever visited the henhouse without finding a lump somewhere. And if his liking for eggs hadn't brought him thither daily, his taste for sugar would have been enough to make him continue his visits.

At last there came a day when Major Monkey discovered a thick pitcher on the henhouse floor. A chain was looped through its handle and nailed to the wall.

The Major grinned when he saw the chain.

"They don't want this pitcher to run away," he said to himself.

Being of a most curious turn of mind, he looked into the pitcher. And then he promptly thrust in a hand.

There was a good-sized lump of sugar inside. And Major Monkey's fingers closed upon it greedily.

His queer face wrinkled with annoyance when he found that he could not withdraw his hand. Empty, it could easily have slipped through the mouth of the pitcher. But with the sugar clutched in it, his hand stuck fast.

Arthur Scott Bailey

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