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Chapter 23

The Major Goes South

Out of one of his pockets the hand-organ man pulled a stout collar, from which dangled a long, thin chain. And Major Monkey made no protest when his master buckled the collar about his neck.

To tell the truth, the Major appeared to like being a captive. He was enjoying, especially, the maple sugar which the hand-organ man had turned out of the pitcher for him.

At the farmhouse, a little later, Major Monkey went through all his tricks for Johnnie Green and the rest of the family. Though he had once told Mr. Crow that he never wanted to hear the sound of a hand-organ again, the music that his master ground out while he himself capered about seemed to him the sweetest he had ever heard.

Of the Major's audience, the most astonished of all sat, unnoticed, in a tree in the dooryard and listened and looked on as if he could scarcely believe his eyes.

This one was Jolly Robin. And when, at length, the organ-grinder looped the long chain over his arm, slung the organ over his back, and went toiling up the road, with Major Monkey perched on top of the hand-organ, Jolly Robin had a very queer feeling. He flew down and alighted upon Farmer Greene's fence and trilled a quavering good-by. Major Monkey stood up and made a low bow to him. "He's going South, after all!" Jolly Robin said to himself. If that was so, old dog Spot must have been glad of it. Anyhow, he dashed out of the dooryard and ran a little way up the road, growling and barking, and telling Major Monkey exactly what he thought of him.

The Major seemed to enjoy old Spot's farewell. He danced up and down, and pulled back his arm, as if to throw something at Spot. But he changed his mind. He had a red apple, which Johnnie Green had given him. And instead of wasting it on old dog Spot, the Major took a bite out of it then and there.

Old Spot had trotted back to the farmhouse, looking very brave, in spite of the scolding Johnnie Green gave him. And Major Monkey was busily engaged with his apple, when he heard a sound that made him look up.

"Caw! Caw!" It was old Mr. Crow, whose keen eyes had caught sight of the hand-organ man plodding along with his precious load. Major Monkey whistled. And just for a moment, as he watched Mr. Crow sailing lazily overhead, he almost wished that he hadn't been quite so fond of sugar. For he knew that he could no longer wander through Pleasant Valley wherever his fancy led him.

But the hand-organ man began singing a merry song. And Major Monkey liked it so well that before he had gone a mile he wouldn't have turned back for anything. Now that his play-time had come to an end, he was eager to journey on, wherever his master might take him.

For Major Monkey--as he had told Mr. Crow in the beginning--was a great traveller.


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Arthur Scott Bailey

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