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6. THE LETTER
“Oh where, oh where could my monkey be?” Mary sang as she walked home from school one day. She sometimes wondered about her little friend Mikey, whom she and her father had given away to the zoo. She missed him dearly, but she certainly was glad to have come through her illness which she’d caught from him.
For almost three weeks, Mary had lain ill with fever, followed by nasty bumps and scars all over. If that monkey had stayed any longer than the twelve days he had lived with them, Mary may never have recovered from the monkeypox. Yet she still dreamed, whether asleep or walking along the sidewalk as she was now, about how her dear friend was doing . . . and how he’d gotten to her house one stormy night.
When she got home, her father handed her a letter.
“For you from the zoo,” he said. “I suppose it’s about Mikey. I hope he hasn’t caused any more trouble, and now they want us to take him back!”
Mary replied, “He would not cause trouble!”
“Well, he certainly never kept his place when he was here.” Mary couldn’t deny that. Mikey was always escaping his cage to be with her. And how could she deny the dear little companion?
She went to her room and opened the letter.
“Dear Mary,” it read. “We know how fond you are of your friend Mikey the monkey, so we thought we’d give you an update on how he is doing.” A photo of Mikey himself hanging from a tree branch was folded into the letter. Mary hugged it to her heart tightly. She read on, “He is doing very well, and has made many new friends. He is very sweet. We also found out that he can do tricks. He can play dead, he can do backflips, cartwheels, and somersaults, and he can walk a tightrope! The visitors love him, and we do too! We hope you and your father can visit soon. Have a fantastic day!”
Mary sat in surprise. What a different perspective they had from her and her father! Her father was very angry at how Mikey never left her alone, and so endangered her life, but the zookeepers and the public and the other monkeys clearly thought he was great! How interesting, also, that the monkey had shown other ricks he could do. Where on earth did Mikey come from?
Mary wanted to visit him more than ever. Still, she thought, what if he infects her again? What if he would want to go home with her when he saw her and he couldn’t? Mary sighed. Anyhow, she supposed Mikey couldn’t possibly be as bad as all what her father said he was, but not so good as what the zookeepers said either. How happy he must be there, swinging in the trees!
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