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CHAPTER I

I SUPPOSE you thought the monkey I told you about before was dead. But my opinion is that he is still alive. At least, I am pretty sure it is the same monkey that I have now to tell you about, though I cannot be quite sure. In the first place this new monkey was very like Tricky, and in the second place it was a monkey that would not kill. Now, I never heard before of any monkey that would not kill except one, and that was Tricky.

Another thing that makes me think it is the same monkey is that Tricky disappeared from the island where we saw him last. No one knows how it happened, but there was a coincidence about the time which I must relate. One morning a boat’s crew landed on the island where Tricky lived with the lighthouse-keeper, to fill their water-kegs. The lighthouse keeper was kind to them, for they were foreigners, and showed them all over the lighthouse, and when they got to the very top they found the monkey dusting the lamps just like a human being. The sailors were much astonished, and one of them, who could speak a little English, wanted to buy Tricky for two pounds. When the lighthouse-keeper heard this he was very angry, and ordered them all down the ladder. This made the men angry in turn, for they did not know the reason why the lighthouse-keeper loved the monkey, and they told him they would not forget the way he had insulted them. Of course he had not insulted them at all, but foreign sailors are sometimes quick-tempered, and these men came from a country where slights are easily felt. The sailors spent the whole day on shore, as the wind was unfavourable for getting out to sea, but no one saw them enter the lighthouse again. Next morning, all that the lighthouse-keeper saw of the sailors and their ship was the tips of their top-gallants dipping over the horizon edge. And all that he saw of the monkey that—would—not—kill, after searching night and day for a week was—nothing.

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