Jocko the Monkey, Mouser–his chum,
the Cat, Had the same master.
Both were sleek and fat,
And mischievous. If anything went…
Jocko, ’tis said was something of a thief;
Mouser, if truth be told, would just as lief
Much stolen cheese as chase the midnight mouse.
The praise bestowed on either must be brief.
One day these rogues, stretched flat before the fire,
Saw chestnuts roassting. “Ah! Could we conspire
To jerk them out,” said Jocko, “from the coals,
We’d smash the shells and have our heart’s desire.
“Come, Brother Mouser! This day ’tis your turn
To do some bold and desperate thing to earn
A reputation. You, who are so quick,
Snatch out the nuts before they start to burn.
“Alas! That I, a Monkey, was not made
To play with fire. But you are not afraid.”
So Mouser–pleased, like many a cat or man,
With pretty words–sly Jocko’s wish obeyed.
Into the fire he put a practiced paw:
Out came a chestnut clinging to his claw–
Another and another. As they dropped
Jocko devoured them, whether roast or raw.
A servant enters. Off the robbers run.
Jocko, you may be sure, enjoyed the fun.
But Mouser’s paw is sadly singed–for what?
Just to get nuts for Jocko. He got none.
Fables in Rhyme for Little Folks
Adapted from the French of La Fontaine.
Written by, W. T. Larned
Illustrated by, John Rae.
New York, July 1918.