Naughty Jocko by Louisa M. Alcott
"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 monkey in his blue and
red suit, with a funny little cap, and the long
tail trailing behind. But he did n'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 would n'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 monkey.
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 off the shawl; for
he was not much hurt, only tired and hungry, and
dreadfully afraid of the cruel man who beat and
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.
"My 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, holding 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
on a 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 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 things.
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 to
a load of hay passing underneath. Here he
danced and pranced, 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 did n't care a bit; he sat high up
in a tree, and chattered and scolded, and swung
by his tail, and was so droll that people could n'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.
As soon as he was alone Jocko came skipping
along, and jumped on his back, and peeped at
him, and patted his cheeks, and was so cunning
and good Neddy could n't whip him; but he
shut him up in a 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
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
"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.
"Sit quietly down somewhere and wait till he
is tired; then he will come to you, and you can
hold him fast," said Aunt Jane.
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 could n'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 was n't afraid, however; and
presently he crept to the table, stele 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,
"You rascal, how dare you!"
But Jocko tossed the paper in his 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 cackled with wrath and fear at such a dreadful prank.
"Now, that's too bad; I will slap him this
time," said Neddy, running to save his
handsome bird from destruction. But before he got
there poor cocky had pulled his fine tail-feathers
all out in his struggles, and when set free
was so frightened and mortified that he ran
away and hid in the bushes, and the hens went
to comfort him.
Neddy gave Jocko a good whipping, and left
him looking as meek as a baby, all cuddled up
in a little bunch, with his head in his hands as
if crying for his naughtiness. But he was n'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 chain, was
sitting on the chimney-top of a neighbor's house,
"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 care of," said the poor lady,
in despair, as she saw Jocko throw his corncob
down on the minister'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 is gone!
What shall I do? oh, what shall I do?"
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; it's in my dolly's bed,--I
found it there, and darling Maudie 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
all around lay the ruins of custards, tarts,
biscuits, and sauce, not to mention nice napkins
made into hay-cocks, spoons, knives, and forks,
on the floor, and the best silver teapot in the
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 him
if 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
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 this terrible monkey
away. I can't live with him a week; he will
cost me a fortune, and wear us all out," said
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 wall,--
"If you want to act like naughty Jocko, say
so, and I 'll tie you up. One monkey is enough
for this family."