Reading Comprehension - Literature: Naughty Jocko

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This short story appeared in The Louisa May Alcott Reader: A Supplementary Reader for the Fourth Year of School in 1908.

"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 monke blue and red suit, le 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

2. 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.

ly 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, hol

g 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
rolled on the floor, and Aunt Jane laughed till her glasses flew off. By and by he came
down, and had a nice breakfast, and let them tie a red ribbon over the bandage on his neck.
He liked the gay color, and kept going to look in the glass, and grin and chatter at his own
image, which he evidently admired.
"Now, he shall go to walk with me, and all the children shall see my new pet," said Neddy,
as he marched off with Jock on his shoulder.
Every one laughed at the funny little fellow with his twinkling eyes, brown hands, and long
tail, and Neddy felt very grand till they got to the store; then troubles began. He put Jocko
ona table near the door, and told him to stay there while he did his errands. Now, close by
was the place where the candy was kept, and Jocko loved sweeties like any girl; so he
hopped along, and began to eat whatever he liked. Some boys tried to stop him; and then
he got angry at them for pulling his tail, and threw handfuls of sugarplums at them. That
was great fun; and the more they laughed and scrambled and poked at him, the faster he
showered chocolates, caramels, and peppermints over them, till it looked as if it had rained
candy. The man was busy with Neddy at the other end of the store; but when he heard the

3. noise, both ran to see what was the matter. Neither of them could stop naughty Jocko, who
liked this game, and ran up on the high shelves among the toys. Then down came little tubs
and dolls' stoves, tin trumpets and cradles, while boxes of leaden soldiers and whole
villages flew through the air, smash, bang, rattle, bump, all over the floor. The man
scolded, Neddy cried, the boys shouted, and there was a lively time in that shop till a good
slapping with a long stick made Jock tumble into a tub of water where some curious fishes
lived, and then they caught him.
Neddy was much ashamed, and told the man his aunt would pay for all the broken tl
Then he took his naughty pet, and started to go home and tie him up, for it was plain this

monkey was not to be trusted. But as soon as they got out, Jocko ran up a tree and dropped
on toa load of hay passing underneath. Here he danced and prance, and had a fine time,
throwing off the man's coat and rake, and eating some of the dinner tied up in a cloth. The
crusts of bread and the bones he threw at the horse; this new kind of whip frightened the
horse, and he ran away down a steep hill, and upset the hay and broke the cart. Oh, such a

time! It was worse than the candy scrape; for the man swore, and the horse was hurt, and
people said the monkey ought to be shot, he did so much mischief. Jocko didn't care a
he sat high up ina tree, and chattered and scolded, and swung by I, and was so droll
that people couldn't help laughing at him. Poor Neddy cried again, and went home to tell
his troubles to Aunt Jane, fearing that it would take all the money in his bank to pay for
the damage the bad monkey had done in one hour.

soon as he was alone Jocko came skipping along, and jumped on his back, and peeped at
, and patted his cheeks, and was so cunning and good Neddy couldn't whip him; but he
shut him up ina closet to punish him.

Jocko was tired; so he went to sleep, and all was quiet till dinner-time. They were ready for
the pudding, and Neddy had saved a place for a good plateful, as he liked snow-pudding,
when shrieks were heard in the kitchen, and Mary the maid rushed in to say,
"Oh, ma'am, that horrid beast has spoilt the pudding, and is scaring Katy out of her life!"
They all ran; and there sat that naughty monkey on the table, throwing the nice white snow
all over poor cook, till her face looked as if she was ready to be shaved. His own face looked
4. the same, for he had eaten all he wanted while the pudding stood cooling in the pantry. He
had crept out of a window in the closet, and had a fine rummage among the sugar-buckets,
butter-boxes, and milk-pans.
Kate wailed, and Mary scolded; but Aunt Jane and grandpa laughed, and Neddy chased
Jock into the garden with the broom. They had to eat bread and jelly for dessert, and it
took the girls a long time to clear up the mess the rascal made.
"We will put his collar and chain on again, and keep him tied up all the time till the man
comes," said Aunt Jane.
"But I can't catch him," sighed Neddy, watching the little imp whisk about in the garden
among the currant-bushes, chasing hens and tossing green apples round in high glee.

quietly down somewhere and wait
hold him fast," said Aunt Jane.
tired; then he will come to you, and you can

So Neddy waited; and though he was much worried at his new pet's naughtiness, he
enjoyed his pranks like a boy.
Grandpa took naps in the afternoon on the piazza, and he was dozing comfortably when
Jocko swung down from the grape-vine by his long tail, and tickled the old gentleman on
the nose with a straw. Grandpa sneezed, and opened one eye to brush away the fly as he
supposed. Then he went to sleep again, and Jocko dropped a caterpillar on his bald head;
this made him open the other eye to see what that soft, creepy thing could be. Neddy
couldn't help laughing, for he often wanted to do just such things, but never dared, because
grandpa was a very stern old gentleman, and no one took liberties with him. Jocko wasn't
afraid, however; and presently he crept to the table, stole the glasses lying there, put them
on, and taking up the paper held it before him, chattering as if he were reading it, as he
had seen people do. Neddy laughed out loud at this, and clapped his hands, Jocko looked so
like a little old man, in spite of the tail curled up behind. This time grandpa opened both
eyes at once, and stared as if he saw a hobgoblin before him; then he snatched off the
spectacles, and caught up his cane, crying angrily,--

5. "You rascal, how dare you!"

But Jocko tossed the paper face, and with one jump lighted on the back of old Tom,
the big yellow cat, who lay asleep close by. Scared half out of his wits, Tom spit and
bounced; but Jocko held fast to his collar, and had a fine race round the garden, while the
girls laughed at the funny sight, and Neddy shouted, "It's a circus; and there's the monkey
and the pony." Even grandpa smiled, especially when puss dashed up a tree, and Jock
tumbled off. He chased him, and they had a great battle; but Tom's claws were sharp, and
the monkey got a scratch on the nose, and ran crying to Neddy for comfort.

"Now, you naughty fellow, I'll chain you up, and stop these dreadful tricks. But you are
great fun, and I can't whip you," said the boy; for he knew what it was to enjoy a holiday,
and poor Jocko had not had one for a long time.

Jocko ate some lunch, took a nap in the grass, and then was ready for more frolics. Neddy
had fastened him to a tree in the garden, so that he could enjoy the sun and air, and catch
grasshoppers if he liked. But Jocko wanted something more; and presently Neddy, who was
reading in his hammock on the piazza, heard a great cackling among the hens, and looked
up to see the monkey swinging by his tail from a bough, holding the great cock-a- doodle by
his splendid tail, while all the twenty hens clucked and c
a dreadful prank.

ckled with wrath and fear at such

"Now, that's too bad; I _will_ slap him this time," said Neddy, running to save his
n. But before he got there poor cocky had pulled
struggles, and when set free was so frightened and mo
he ran away and hid in the bushes, and the hens went to comfort him.

ied that

Neddy gave Jocko a good whipping, and left him looking as meek as a baby, all cuddled up
ina little bunch, with his head in his hands as if crying for his naughtiness. But he wasn't
sorry. Oh, dear, no! for in half an hour he had picked every one of the sweet peas Aunt
Jane was so fond of, thrown all the tomatoes over the fence, and let the parrot out of his
cage. The sight of Polly walking into the parlor with a polite "How are you, ma'am?" sent
Aunt Jane to see what was going on, Neddy was fast asleep in the hammock, worn out with

his cares; and Jocko, having unhooked his ting on the chimney-top of a
neighbor's house, eating corn.

in, was
"We shall not live to the end of the week if this sort of thing goes on. I don't know what to
do with the little beast; he's as bad as an elephant to take id the poor lady, in
despair, as she saw Jocko throw his corncob down on the jer's hat as that stately
gentleman went by.

‘As none of them could catch him, Miss Jane let him alone till Neddy waked up and could go
and find some of the big boys to help him.
Jocko soon left the roof, and skipped in at a window that stood open. It was little Nelly
Brown's play-room, and she had left her pet doll Maud Mabel Rose Matilda very ill in the
best bed, while she went down to get a poppy leaf to rub the darling's cheeks with, because
she had a high fever. Jocko took a fancy to the pretty bed, and after turning the play-house
topsy-turvy, he pulled poor Maud Mabel Rose Matilda out by her flaxen hair, and stuffing
her into the water-pitcher upside down, got into the bed, drew the lace curtains, and
prepared to doze deliciously under the pink silk bed-cover.

Up came Nelly, and went at once to the dear invalid, saying in her motherly little voice,--
"Now, my darling child, lie quite still, and I won't hurt you one bit."
But when she drew the curtain, instead of the lovely yellow-haired doll in her ruffled
nightcap, she saw an ugly little black face staring at her, and a tiny hand holding the sheet
fast. Nelly gave one scream, and flew downstairs into the parlor where the Sewing-circle
was at work, frightening twenty-five excellent ladies by her cries, as she clung to her
mother, wailing,--

"A bogie! a bogie! I saw him, all black; and he snarled at me, and my dolly
shall I do? oh, what shall I do?"
is gone! What

7. There was great confusion, for all the ladies talked at once; and it so happened that none of
them knew anything about the monkey, therefore they all agreed that Nelly was a foolish
child, and had made a fuss about nothing. She cried dismally, and kept saying to her

"Go and see; in my dolly's bed,--I found it there, and darling Maudie is

is gone."

"We _will_ go and see," said Mrs. Moses Merryweather,--a stout old lady, who kept her six
girls in such good order that _they_ would never have dared to cry if ten monkeys had
popped out at them.
Miss Hetty Bumpus, a tall thin maiden lady, with a sharp eye and pointed nose, went with
her; but at the door that led to the dining-room both stopped short, and after one look
came flying back, calling out together,--
"Mrs. Brown, your supper is spoilt! a dreadful beast has ruined it all!"
Then twenty-five excited ladies flew across the hall to behold Jocko sitting on the great
cake in the middle of the table, his feet bathed in cream from the overturned pitcher, while
the ruins of custards, tarts, biscuits, and sauce, not to mention nice napkins
cocks, spoons, knives, and forks, on the floor, and the best silver teapot in

all around la

made into ha‘

the fireplace.
While Nelly told her tale and the ladies questioned and comforted her, this bad monkey
had skipped downstairs and had a delightful party all by himself. He was just scraping the
jelly out of a tart when they disturbed him; and knowing that more slaps were in store for
he stayed, he at once walked calmly down the ravaged table, and vanished out of the
window carrying the silver tea-strainer with him to play with.

8. The ladies had no supper that night; and poor Mrs. Brown sent a note to Aunt Jane, telling
her the sad story, and adding that Nelly was quite ill with the fright and the loss of dear
Maud Mabel Rose Matilda, drowned in the water-pitcher and forever spoilt.

"John shall go after that man to-morrow, and bring him back to carry thit
away. I can't live with him a week; he will cost me a fortune, and wear us all out,"
Aunt Jane, when Jocko was safely shut up in the cellar, after six boys had chased him all
over the neighborhood before they caught him.

Neddy was quite willing to let him go; but John was saved his journey, for in the morning
poor Jocko was found dead in a trap, where his inquisitive head had been poked to see
what the cheese tasted like.

So he was buried by the river, and every one felt much relieved; for the man never came
back, thinking Jocko dead when he left him. But he had not lived in vain; for after this day
of trial, mischievous Neddy behaved much better, and Aunt Jane could always calm his
prankish spirit by saying, as her finger pointed to a little collar and chain hanging on the

"If you want to act like naughty Jocko, say so, and I'll ti
for this family."
you up. One monkey is enough
[Illustration: Kitty laughed, and began to dance.
. Such twirlings and skippings as she