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again, but once more he caught hold of another branch below. Thus in stages the poor animal
fell lower and lower, until it finally hit the ground heavily near us. I rushed up to give it the
coup de grĂ¢ce with my machete, but when I saw that it was a mother monkey with a baby
hanging on her back I hesitated. Both looked at me in terror, and I felt ashamed of the crime
I had committed. Presently the baby monkey let go its dying mother and climbed some ten
feet up a creeper where it started to howl and lament like a human being. The mother monkey
looked at me and then at her young one, all the time moaning and gasping for breath. I could
no longer stand this horrible sight, and to finish this pitiful scene I stepped forward and with
a sharp blow put the poor animal out of misery. I shall never forget the expression of terror in
her eyes and the way she held up her hands to protect herself against the deathblow.
The men picked up the dead and slit their tails to make a loop which they slipped over the
monkeys' heads in order to be able to carry them by their tails as if on rifle-slings. Then we
started our weary and tiring journey back towards the hut. I had no idea where we were, for
with all the twisting about, and the excitement, I had completely lost my bearings. The jungle
people have a wonderful sense of direction and never lose themselves, even in parts where
they have never been before. Every time I looked at those large black monkeys on the men's
backsIfeltmoreandmorelikeacommonmurderer.Theirlongarmsweredanglingaboutand
their open, glassy eyes seemed to be staring at me with reproach, whilst their open jaws gave
themahorriblegrinningexpression.Ifirmlymadeupmymindneveragaintoshootmonkeys,
unless out of direst necessity.
THE HUT OF A PANAMANIAN JUNGLE DWELLER
 
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