The Story of Doctor Dolittle
Part 1 out of 3
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HISTORY OF HIS PECULIAR LIFE
AT HOME AND ASTONISHING ADVENTURES
IN FOREIGN PARTS NEVER BEFORE PRINTED.
CHILDREN IN YEARS AND CHILDREN IN HEART
I DEDICATE THIS STORY
There are some of us now reaching
middle age who discover themselves to be
lamenting the past in one respect if in none other,
that there are no books written now for children
comparable with those of thirty years ago. I
say written FOR children because the new
psychological business of writing ABOUT them as though
they were small pills or hatched in some
especially scientific method is extremely popular
today. Writing for children rather than about
them is very difficult as everybody who has tried
it knows. It can only be done, I am convinced,
by somebody having a great deal of the child
in his own outlook and sensibilities. Such was
the author of "The Little Duke" and "The
Dove in the Eagle's Nest," such the author of
"A Flatiron for a Farthing," and "The Story
of a Short Life." Such, above all, the author of
"Alice in Wonderland." Grownups imagine
that they can do the trick by adopting baby
language and talking down to their very critical
audience. There never was a greater mistake.
The imagination of the author must be a child's
imagination and yet maturely consistent, so that
the White Queen in "Alice," for instance, is
seen just as a child would see her, but she
continues always herself through all her distressing
adventures. The supreme touch of the white
rabbit pulling on his white gloves as he hastens
is again absolutely the child's vision, but the
white rabbit as guide and introducer of Alice's
adventures belongs to mature grown insight.
Geniuses are rare and, without being at all
an undue praiser of times past, one can say without
hesitation that until the appearance of Hugh
Lofting, the successor of Miss Yonge, Mrs.
Ewing, Mrs. Gatty and Lewis Carroll had not
appeared. I remember the delight with which
some six months ago I picked up the first
"Dolittle" book in the Hampshire bookshop at
Smith College in Northampton. One of Mr.
Lofting's pictures was quite enough for me.
The picture that I lighted upon when I first
opened the book was the one of the monkeys
making a chain with their arms across the gulf.
Then I looked further and discovered Bumpo
reading fairy stories to himself. And then
looked again and there was a picture of John
But pictures are not enough although most
authors draw so badly that if one of them happens
to have the genius for line that Mr. Lofting
shows there must be, one feels, something in his
writing as well. There is. You cannot read the
first paragraph of the book, which begins in the
right way "Once upon a time" without knowing
that Mr. Lofting believes in his story quite
as much as he expects you to. That is the first
essential for a story teller. Then you discover
as you read on that he has the right eye for the
right detail. What child-inquiring mind could
resist this intriguing sentence to be found on the
second page of the book:
"Besides the gold-fish in the pond at the bottom
of his garden, he had rabbits in the pantry,
white mice in his piano, a squirrel in the linen
closet and a hedgehog in the cellar."
And then when you read a little further you
will discover that the Doctor is not merely a
peg on whom to hang exciting and various
adventures but that he is himself a man of original
and lively character. He is a very kindly,
generous man, and anyone who has ever written
stories will know that it is much more difficult
to make kindly, generous characters interesting
than unkindly and mean ones. But Dolittle is
interesting. It is not only that he is quaint but
that he is wise and knows what he is about. The
reader, however young, who meets him gets very
soon a sense that if he were in trouble, not
necessarily medical, he would go to Dolittle and ask
his advice about it. Dolittle seems to extend
his hand from the page and grasp that of his
reader, and I can see him going down the
centuries a kind of Pied Piper with thousands of
children at his heels. But not only is he a
darling and alive and credible but his creator has
also managed to invest everybody else in the
book with the same kind of life.
Now this business of giving life to animals,
making them talk and behave like human
beings, is an extremely difficult one. Lewis Carroll
absolutely conquered the difficulties, but I
am not sure that anyone after him until Hugh
Lofting has really managed the trick; even in
such a masterpiece as "The Wind in the Willows"
we are not quite convinced. John Dolittle's
friends are convincing because their creator
never forces them to desert their own
characteristics. Polynesia, for instance, is natural
from first to last. She really does care about
the Doctor but she cares as a bird would care,
having always some place to which she is going
when her business with her friends is over. And
when Mr. Lofting invents fantastic animals he
gives them a kind of credible possibility which
is extraordinarily convincing. It will be
impossible for anyone who has read this book not
to believe in the existence of the pushmi-pullyu,
who would be credible enough even were there
no drawing of it, but the picture on page 145
settles the matter of his truth once and for all.
In fact this book is a work of genius and, as
always with works of genius, it is difficult to
analyze the elements that have gone to make
it. There is poetry here and fantasy and humor,
a little pathos but, above all, a number of
creations in whose existence everybody must believe
whether they be children of four or old men of
ninety or prosperous bankers of forty-five. I
don't know how Mr. Lofting has done it; I
don't suppose that he knows himself. There it
is--the first real children's classic since "Alice."
II ANIMAL LANGUAGE
III MORE MONEY TROUBLES
IV A MESSAGE FROM AFRICA
V THE GREAT JOURNEY
VI POLYNESIA AND THE KING
VII THE BRIDGE OF APES
VIII THE LEADER OF THE LIONS
IX THE MONKEYS COUNCIL
X THE RAREST ANIMAL OF ALL
XI THE BLACK PRINCE
XII MEDICINE AND MAGIC
XIII RED SAILS AND BLUE WINGS
XIV THE RATS WARNING
XV THE BARBARY DRAGON
XVI TOO-TOO, THE LISTENER
XVII THE OCEAN GOSSIPS
XIX THE ROCK
XX THE FISHERMAN'S TOWN
XXI HOME AGAIN
THE STORY OF DOCTOR DOLITTLE
THE STORY OF
THE FIRST CHAPTER
ONCE upon a time, many years ago when our grandfathers were
little children--there was a doctor; and his name was Dolittle--
John Dolittle, M.D. "M.D." means that he was a proper doctor
and knew a whole lot.
He lived in a little town called, Puddleby-
on-the-Marsh. All the folks, young and old,
knew him well by sight. And whenever he
walked down the street in his high hat everyone
would say, "There goes the Doctor!--He's
a clever man." And the dogs and the children
would all run up and follow behind him; and
even the crows that lived in the church-tower
would caw and nod their heads.
The house he lived in, on the edge of the
town, was quite small; but his garden was very
large and had a wide lawn and stone seats and
weeping-willows hanging over. His sister,
Sarah Dolittle, was housekeeper for him; but
the Doctor looked after the garden himself.
He was very fond of animals and kept many
kinds of pets. Besides the gold-fish in the pond
at the bottom of his garden, he had rabbits in
the pantry, white mice in his piano, a squirrel
in the linen closet and a hedgehog in the cellar.
He had a cow with a calf too, and an old lame
horse-twenty-five years of age--and chickens,
and pigeons, and two lambs, and many other
animals. But his favorite pets were Dab-Dab
the duck, Jip the dog, Gub-Gub the baby pig,
Polynesia the parrot, and the owl Too-Too.
His sister used to grumble about all these
animals and said they made the house untidy.
And one day when an old lady with rheumatism
came to see the Doctor, she sat on the hedgehog
who was sleeping on the sofa and never came
to see him any more, but drove every Saturday
all the way to Oxenthorpe, another town ten
miles off, to see a different doctor.
Then his sister, Sarah Dolittle, came to him
"John, how can you expect sick people to
come and see you when you keep all these animals
in the house? It's a fine doctor would have
his parlor full of hedgehogs and mice! That's
the fourth personage these animals have driven
away. Squire Jenkins and the Parson say they
wouldn't come near your house again--no matter
how sick they are. We are getting poorer
every day. If you go on like this, none of the
best people will have you for a doctor."
"But I like the animals better than the `best
people'," said the Doctor.
"You are ridiculous," said his sister, and
walked out of the room.
So, as time went on, the Doctor got more and
more animals; and the people who came to see
him got less and less. Till at last he had no one
left--except the Cat's-meat-Man, who didn't
mind any kind of animals. But the Cat's-meat
Man wasn't very rich and he only got sick once
a year--at Christmas-time, when he used to give
the Doctor sixpence for a bottle of medicine.
Sixpence a year wasn't enough to live on--
even in those days, long ago; and if the Doctor
hadn't had some money saved up in his money-
box, no one knows what would have happened.
And he kept on getting still more pets; and of
course it cost a lot to feed them. And the money
he had saved up grew littler and littler.
Then he sold his piano, and let the mice live
in a bureau-drawer. But the money he got for
that too began to go, so he sold the brown suit
he wore on Sundays and went on becoming
poorer and poorer.
And now, when he walked down the street
in his high hat, people would say to one another,
"There goes John Dolittle, M.D.! There was a
time when he was the best known doctor in the
West Country--Look at him now--He hasn't
any money and his stockings are full of holes!"
But the dogs and the cats and the children
still ran up and followed him through the town
--the same as they had done when he was rich.
THE SECOND CHAPTER
IT happened one day that the Doctor was sitting in his kitchen talking
with the Cat's-meat-Man who had come to see him with a stomach-ache.
"Why don't you give up being a people's doctor, and be an animal-doctor?"
asked the Cat's-meat-Man.
The parrot, Polynesia, was sitting in the window
looking out at the rain and singing a sailor-song to herself.
She stopped singing and started to listen.
"You see, Doctor," the Cat's-meat-Man went
on, "you know all about animals--much more
than what these here vets do. That book you
wrote--about cats, why, it's wonderful! I can't
read or write myself--or maybe _I_'D write some
books. But my wife, Theodosia, she's a scholar,
she is. And she read your book to me. Well,
it's wonderful--that's all can be said--wonderful.
You might have been a cat yourself. You
know the way they think. And listen: you can
make a lot of money doctoring animals. Do
you know that? You see, I'd send all the old
women who had sick cats or dogs to you. And
if they didn't get sick fast enough, I could put
something in the meat I sell 'em to make 'em
"Oh, no," said the Doctor quickly. "You
mustn't do that. That wouldn't be right."
"Oh, I didn't mean real sick," answered the
Cat's-meat-Man. "Just a little something to
make them droopy-like was what I had reference
to. But as you say, maybe it ain't quite
fair on the animals. But they'll get sick
anyway, because the old women always give 'em too
much to eat. And look, all the farmers 'round
about who had lame horses and weak lambs--
they'd come. Be an animal-doctor."
When the Cat's-meat-Man had gone the
parrot flew off the window on to the Doctor's table
"That man's got sense. That's what you
ought to do. Be an animal-doctor. Give the
silly people up--if they haven't brains enough
to see you're the best doctor in the world. Take
care of animals instead--THEY'll soon find it out.
Be an animal-doctor."
"Oh, there are plenty of animal-doctors," said
John Dolittle, putting the flower-pots outside on
the window-sill to get the rain.
"Yes, there ARE plenty," said Polynesia. "But
none of them are any good at all. Now listen,
Doctor, and I'll tell you something. Did you
know that animals can talk?"
"I knew that parrots can talk," said the Doctor.
"Oh, we parrots can talk in two languages--
people's language and bird-language," said
Polynesia proudly. "If I say, `Polly wants a
cracker,' you understand me. But hear this:
Ka-ka oi-ee, fee-fee?"
"Good Gracious!" cried the Doctor. "What
does that mean?"
"That means, `Is the porridge hot yet?'--in
"My! You don't say so!" said the Doctor.
"You never talked that way to me before."
"What would have been the good?" said
Polynesia, dusting some cracker-crumbs off her
left wing. "You wouldn't have understood me
if I had."
"Tell me some more," said the Doctor, all
excited; and he rushed over to the dresser-drawer
and came back with the butcher's book and a
pencil. "Now don't go too fast--and I'll write
it down. This is interesting--very interesting
--something quite new. Give me the Birds'
A.B.C. first--slowly now."
So that was the way the Doctor came to know
that animals had a language of their own and
could talk to one another. And all that afternoon,
while it was raining, Polynesia sat on the
kitchen table giving him bird words to put down
in the book.
At tea-time, when the dog, Jip, came in, the
parrot said to the Doctor, "See, HE'S talking to
"Looks to me as though he were scratching
his ear," said the Doctor.
"But animals don't always speak with their
mouths," said the parrot in a high voice, raising
her eyebrows. "They talk with their ears,
with their feet, with their tails--with everything.
Sometimes they don't WANT to make a
noise. Do you see now the way he's twitching
up one side of his nose?"
"What's that mean?" asked the Doctor.
"That means, `Can't you see that it has
stopped raining?'" Polynesia answered. "He
is asking you a question. Dogs nearly always
use their noses for asking questions."
After a while, with the parrot's help, the
Doctor got to learn the language of the animals
so well that he could talk to them himself and
understand everything they said. Then he gave
up being a people's doctor altogether.
As soon as the Cat's-meat-Man had told every
one that John Dolittle was going to become an
animal-doctor, old ladies began to bring him
their pet pugs and poodles who had eaten too
much cake; and farmers came many miles to
show him sick cows and sheep.
One day a plow-horse was brought to him;
and the poor thing was terribly glad to find a
man who could talk in horse-language.
"You know, Doctor," said the horse, "that
vet over the hill knows nothing at all. He has
been treating me six weeks now--for spavins.
What I need is SPECTACLES. I am going blind
in one eye. There's no reason why horses
shouldn't wear glasses, the same as people. But
that stupid man over the hill never even looked
at my eyes. He kept on giving me big pills.
I tried to tell him; but he couldn't understand
a word of horse-language. What I need is
"Of course--of course," said the Doctor.
"I'll get you some at once."
"I would like a pair like yours," said the
horse--"only green. They'll keep the sun out
of my eyes while I'm plowing the Fifty-Acre
"Certainly," said the Doctor. "Green ones
you shall have."
"You know, the trouble is, Sir," said the
plow-horse as the Doctor opened the front door
to let him out--"the trouble is that ANYBODY
thinks he can doctor animals--just because the
animals don't complain. As a matter of fact
it takes a much cleverer man to be a really good
animal-doctor than it does to be a good people's
doctor. My farmer's boy thinks he knows all
about horses. I wish you could see him--his
face is so fat he looks as though he had no eyes
--and he has got as much brain as a potato-bug.
He tried to put a mustard-plaster on me last
"Where did he put it?" asked the Doctor.
"Oh, he didn't put it anywhere--on me," said
the horse. "He only tried to. I kicked him
into the duck-pond."
"Well, well!" said the Doctor.
"I'm a pretty quiet creature as a rule," said
the horse--"very patient with people--don't
make much fuss. But it was bad enough to
have that vet giving me the wrong medicine.
And when that red-faced booby started to
monkey with me, I just couldn't bear it any
"Did you hurt the boy much?" asked the Doctor.
"Oh, no," said the horse. "I kicked him in
the right place. The vet's looking after him
now. When will my glasses be ready?"
"I'll have them for you next week," said
the Doctor. "Come in again Tuesday--Good
Then John Dolittle got a fine, big pair of
green spectacles; and the plow-horse stopped
going blind in one eye and could see as well as
And soon it became a common sight to see
farm-animals wearing glasses in the country
round Puddleby; and a blind horse was a thing
And so it was with all the other animals that
were brought to him. As soon as they found
that he could talk their language, they told him
where the pain was and how they felt, and of
course it was easy for him to cure them.
Now all these animals went back and told
their brothers and friends that there was a doctor
in the little house with the big garden who
really WAS a doctor. And whenever any creatures
got sick--not only horses and cows and
dogs--but all the little things of the fields, like
harvest-mice and water-voles, badgers and bats,
they came at once to his house on the edge of the
town, so that his big garden was nearly always
crowded with animals trying to get in to see him.
There were so many that came that he had to
have special doors made for the different kinds.
He wrote "HORSES" over the front door,
"COWS" over the side door, and "SHEEP" on
the kitchen door. Each kind of animal had a
separate door--even the mice had a tiny tunnel
made for them into the cellar, where they
waited patiently in rows for the Doctor to come
round to them.
And so, in a few years' time, every living
thing for miles and miles got to know about
John Dolittle, M.D. And the birds who flew
to other countries in the winter told the animals
in foreign lands of the wonderful doctor
of Puddleby-on-the-Marsh, who could understand
their talk and help them in their troubles.
In this way he became famous among the animals--
all over the world--better known even
than he had been among the folks of the West
Country. And he was happy and liked his life
One afternoon when the Doctor was busy
writing in a book, Polynesia sat in the window--
as she nearly always did--looking out at
the leaves blowing about in the garden.
Presently she laughed aloud.
"What is it, Polynesia?" asked the Doctor,
looking up from his book.
"I was just thinking," said the parrot; and
she went on looking at the leaves.
"What were you thinking?"
"I was thinking about people," said Polynesia.
"People make me sick. They think they're so
wonderful. The world has been going on now
for thousands of years, hasn't it? And the only
thing in animal-language that PEOPLE have
learned to understand is that when a dog wags
his tail he means `I'm glad!'--It's funny, isn't
it? You are the very first man to talk like us.
Oh, sometimes people annoy me dreadfully--
such airs they put on--talking about `the dumb
animals.' DUMB!--Huh! Why I knew a
macaw once who could say `Good morning!' in
seven different ways without once opening his
mouth. He could talk every language--and
Greek. An old professor with a gray beard
bought him. But he didn't stay. He said the
old man didn't talk Greek right, and he couldn't
stand listening to him teach the language wrong.
I often wonder what's become of him. That
bird knew more geography than people will ever
know.--PEOPLE, Golly! I suppose if people
ever learn to fly--like any common hedge-
sparrow--we shall never hear the end of it!"
"You're a wise old bird," said the Doctor.
"How old are you really? I know that parrots
and elephants sometimes live to be very, very old."
"I can never be quite sure of my age," said
Polynesia. "It's either a hundred and eighty-
three or a hundred and eighty-two. But I
know that when I first came here from Africa,
King Charles was still hiding in the oak-tree--
because I saw him. He looked scared to death."
THE THIRD CHAPTER
MORE MONEY TROUBLES
AND soon now the Doctor began to make money
again; and his sister, Sarah, bought a new
dress and was happy. Some of the animals
who came to see him were so sick that they had
to stay at the Doctor's house for a week. And
when they were getting better they used to sit in
chairs on the lawn.
And often even after they got well, they did
not want to go away--they liked the Doctor
and his house so much. And he never had the
heart to refuse them when they asked if they
could stay with him. So in this way he went
on getting more and more pets.
Once when he was sitting on his garden wall,
smoking a pipe in the evening, an Italian organ-
grinder came round with a monkey on a string.
The Doctor saw at once that the monkey's collar
was too tight and that he was dirty and
unhappy. So he took the monkey away from the
Italian, gave the man a shilling and told him
to go. The organ-grinder got awfully angry
and said that he wanted to keep the monkey.
But the Doctor told him that if he didn't go
away he would punch him on the nose. John
Dolittle was a strong man, though he wasn't
very tall. So the Italian went away saying rude
things and the monkey stayed with Doctor
Dolittle and had a good home. The other
animals in the house called him "Chee-Chee"--
which is a common word in monkey-language,
And another time, when the circus came to
Puddleby, the crocodile who had a bad tooth-
ache escaped at night and came into the Doctor's
garden. The Doctor talked to him in
crocodile-language and took him into the house
and made his tooth better. But when the crocodile
saw what a nice house it was--with all the
different places for the different kinds of
animals--he too wanted to live with the Doctor.
He asked couldn't he sleep in the fish-pond at
the bottom of the garden, if he promised not
to eat the fish. When the circus-men came to
take him back he got so wild and savage that
he frightened them away. But to every one in
the house he was always as gentle as a kitten.
But now the old ladies grew afraid to send
their lap-dogs to Doctor Dolittle because of the
crocodile; and the farmers wouldn't believe that
he would not eat the lambs and sick calves they
brought to be cured. So the Doctor went to
the crocodile and told him he must go back
to his circus. But he wept such big tears, and
begged so hard to be allowed to stay, that the
Doctor hadn't the heart to turn him out.
So then the Doctor's sister came to him and said,
"John, you must send that creature away.
Now the farmers and the old ladies are afraid
to send their animals to you--just as we were
beginning to be well off again. Now we shall
be ruined entirely. This is the last straw. I
will no longer be housekeeper for you if you
don't send away that alligator."
"It isn't an alligator," said the Doctor--"it's
"I don't care what you call it," said his sister.
"It's a nasty thing to find under the bed. I
won't have it in the house."
"But he has promised me," the Doctor
answered, "that he will not bite any one. He
doesn't like the circus; and I haven't the money
to send him back to Africa where he comes
from. He minds his own business and on the
whole is very well behaved. Don't be so fussy."
"I tell you I WILL NOT have him around," said
Sarah. "He eats the linoleum. If you don't send
him away this minute I'll--I'll go and get married!"
"All right," said the Doctor, "go and get
married. It can't be helped." And he took
down his hat and went out into the garden.
So Sarah Dolittle packed up her things and
went off; and the Doctor was left all alone with
his animal family.
And very soon he was poorer than he had
ever been before. With all these mouths to fill,
and the house to look after, and no one to do
the mending, and no money coming in to pay
the butcher's bill, things began to look very
difficult. But the Doctor didn't worry at all.
"Money is a nuisance," he used to say.
"We'd all be much better off if it had never
been invented. What does money matter, so
long as we are happy?"
But soon the animals themselves began to get
worried. And one evening when the Doctor
was asleep in his chair before the kitchen-fire
they began talking it over among themselves in
whispers. And the owl, Too-Too, who was
good at arithmetic, figured it out that there was
only money enough left to last another week--
if they each had one meal a day and no more.
Then the parrot said, "I think we all ought
to do the housework ourselves. At least we can
do that much. After all, it is for our sakes that
the old man finds himself so lonely and so poor."
So it was agreed that the monkey, Chee-Chee,
was to do the cooking and mending; the dog
was to sweep the floors; the duck was to dust
and make the beds; the owl, Too-Too, was to
keep the accounts, and the pig was to do the
gardening. They made Polynesia, the parrot,
housekeeper and laundress, because she was the oldest.
Of course at first they all found their new
jobs very hard to do--all except Chee-Chee, who
had hands, and could do things like a man. But
they soon got used to it; and they used to think
it great fun to watch Jip, the dog, sweeping
his tail over the floor with a rag tied onto it for
a broom. After a little they got to do the work
so well that the Doctor said that he had never
had his house kept so tidy or so clean before.
In this way things went along all right for a
while; but without money they found it very hard.
Then the animals made a vegetable and flower
stall outside the garden-gate and sold radishes
and roses to the people that passed by along the road.
But still they didn't seem to make enough
money to pay all the bills--and still the Doctor
wouldn't worry. When the parrot came to
him and told him that the fishmonger wouldn't
give them any more fish, he said,
"Never mind. So long as the hens lay eggs
and the cow gives milk we can have omelettes
and junket. And there are plenty of vegetables
left in the garden. The Winter is still a long
way off. Don't fuss. That was the trouble
with Sarah--she would fuss. I wonder how
Sarah's getting on--an excellent woman--in
some ways--Well, well!"
But the snow came earlier than usual that
year; and although the old lame horse hauled
in plenty of wood from the forest outside the
town, so they could have a big fire in the kitchen,
most of the vegetables in the garden were gone,
and the rest were covered with snow; and many
of the animals were really hungry.
THE FOURTH CHAPTER
A MESSAGE FROM AFRICA
THAT Winter was a very cold one. And one night in December,
when they were all sitting round the warm fire in the
kitchen, and the Doctor was reading aloud to them out of
books he had written himself in animal-language, the owl,
Too-Too, suddenly said, "Sh! What's that noise outside?"
They all listened; and presently they heard
the sound of some one running. Then the door
flew open and the monkey, Chee-Chee, ran in,
badly out of breath.
"Doctor!" he cried, "I've just had a message
from a cousin of mine in Africa. There is a
terrible sickness among the monkeys out there.
They are all catching it--and they are dying
in hundreds. They have heard of you, and beg
you to come to Africa to stop the sickness."
"Who brought the message?" asked the Doctor,
taking off his spectacles and laying down
"A swallow," said Chee-Chee. "She is
outside on the rain-butt."
"Bring her in by the fire," said the Doctor.
"She must be perished with the cold. The swallows
flew South six weeks ago!"
So the swallow was brought in, all huddled
and shivering; and although she was a little
afraid at first, she soon got warmed up and sat
on the edge of the mantelpiece and began to talk.
When she had finished the Doctor said,
"I would gladly go to Africa--especially in
this bitter weather. But I'm afraid we haven't
money enough to buy the tickets. Get me the
So the monkey climbed up and got it off the
top shelf of the dresser.
There was nothing in it--not one single penny!
"I felt sure there was twopence left," said the Doctor.
"There WAS," said the owl. "But you spent
it on a rattle for that badger's baby when he
"Did I?" said the Doctor--"dear me, dear
me! What a nuisance money is, to be sure!
Well, never mind. Perhaps if I go down to
the seaside I shall be able to borrow a boat that
will take us to Africa. I knew a seaman once
who brought his baby to me with measles.
Maybe he'll lend us his boat--the baby got well."
So early the next morning the Doctor went
down to the seashore. And when he came back
he told the animals it was all right--the sailor
was going to lend them the boat.
Then the crocodile and the monkey and the
parrot were very glad and began to sing,
because they were going back to Africa, their real
home. And the Doctor said,
"I shall only be able to take you three--with
Jip the dog, Dab-Dab the duck, Gub-Gub the
pig and the owl, Too-Too. The rest of the animals,
like the dormice and the water-voles and
the bats, they will have to go back and live in
the fields where they were born till we come
home again. But as most of them sleep through
the Winter, they won't mind that--and besides,
it wouldn't be good for them to go to Africa."
So then the parrot, who had been on long sea-
voyages before, began telling the Doctor all the
things he would have to take with him on the ship.
"You must have plenty of pilot-bread," she
said--"`hard tack' they call it. And you must
have beef in cans--and an anchor."
"I expect the ship will have its own anchor,"
said the Doctor.
"Well, make sure," said Polynesia. "Because
it's very important. You can't stop if you
haven't got an anchor. And you'll need a bell."
"What's that for?" asked the Doctor.
"To tell the time by," said the parrot. "You
go and ring it every half-hour and then you
know what time it is. And bring a whole lot of
rope--it always comes in handy on voyages."
Then they began to wonder where they were
going to get the money from to buy all the
things they needed.
"Oh, bother it! Money again," cried the
Doctor. "Goodness! I shall be glad to get to
Africa where we don't have to have any! I'll
go and ask the grocer if he will wait for his
money till I get back--No, I'll send the sailor
to ask him."
So the sailor went to see the grocer. And presently
he came back with all the things they wanted.
Then the animals packed up; and after they
had turned off the water so the pipes wouldn't
freeze, and put up the shutters, they closed the
house and gave the key to the old horse who
lived in the stable. And when they had seen
that there was plenty of hay in the loft to last
the horse through the Winter, they carried all
their luggage down to the seashore and got on
to the boat.
The Cat's-meat-Man was there to see them
off; and he brought a large suet-pudding as a
present for the Doctor because, he said he had
been told, you couldn't get suet-puddings in
As soon as they were on the ship, Gub-Gub,
the pig, asked where the beds were, for it was
four o'clock in the afternoon and he wanted
his nap. So Polynesia took him downstairs into
the inside of the ship and showed him the beds,
set all on top of one another like book-shelves
against a wall.
"Why, that isn't a bed!" cried Gub-Gub.
"That's a shelf!"
"Beds are always like that on ships," said the
parrot. "It isn't a shelf. Climb up into it and
go to sleep. That's what you call `a bunk.'"
"I don't think I'll go to bed yet," said Gub-
Gub. "I'm too excited. I want to go upstairs
again and see them start."
"Well, this is your first trip," said Polynesia.
"You will get used to the life after a while."
And she went back up the stairs of the ship,
humming this song to herself,
I've seen the Black Sea and the Red Sea;
I rounded the Isle of Wight;
I discovered the Yellow River,
And the Orange too by night.
Now Greenland drops behind again,
And I sail the ocean Blue.
I'm tired of all these colors, Jane,
So I'm coming back to you.
They were just going to start on their journey,
when the Doctor said he would have to go back
and ask the sailor the way to Africa.
But the swallow said she had been to that
country many times and would show them how
to get there.
So the Doctor told Chee-Chee to pull up the
anchor and the voyage began.
THE FIFTH CHAPTER
THE GREAT JOURNEY
NOW for six whole weeks they went sailing on and on, over
the rolling sea, following the swallow who flew before the
ship to show them the way. At night she carried a tiny
lantern, so they should not miss her in the dark;
and the people on the other ships that passed
said that the light must be a shooting star.
As they sailed further and further into the
South, it got warmer and warmer. Polynesia,
Chee-Chee and the crocodile enjoyed the hot
sun no end. They ran about laughing and looking
over the side of the ship to see if they could
see Africa yet.
But the pig and the dog and the owl, Too-
Too, could do nothing in such weather, but
sat at the end of the ship in the shade of a big
barrel, with their tongues hanging out, drinking
Dab-Dab, the duck, used to keep herself cool
by jumping into the sea and swimming behind
the ship. And every once in a while, when
the top of her head got too hot, she would dive
under the ship and come up on the other side.
In this way, too, she used to catch herrings on
Tuesdays and Fridays--when everybody on the
boat ate fish to make the beef last longer.
When they got near to the Equator they saw
some flying-fishes coming towards them. And
the fishes asked the parrot if this was Doctor
Dolittle's ship. When she told them it was, they
said they were glad, because the monkeys in
Africa were getting worried that he would never
come. Polynesia asked them how many miles
they had yet to go; and the flying-fishes said
it was only fifty-five miles now to the coast of
And another time a whole school of porpoises
came dancing through the waves; and they too
asked Polynesia if this was the ship of the fa-
mous doctor. And when they heard that it was,
they asked the parrot if the Doctor wanted
anything for his journey.
And Polynesia said, "Yes. We have run
short of onions."
"There is an island not far from here," said
the porpoises, "where the wild onions grow tall
and strong. Keep straight on--we will get
some and catch up to you."
So the porpoises dashed away through the
sea. And very soon the parrot saw them again,
coming up behind, dragging the onions through
the waves in big nets made of seaweed.
The next evening, as the sun was going down
the Doctor said,
"Get me the telescope, Chee-Chee. Our
journey is nearly ended. Very soon we should
be able to see the shores of Africa."
And about half an hour later, sure enough,
they thought they could see something in front
that might be land. But it began to get darker
and darker and they couldn't be sure.
Then a great storm came up, with thunder
and lightning. The wind howled; the rain
came down in torrents; and the waves got so
high they splashed right over the boat.
Presently there was a big BANG! The ship
stopped and rolled over on its side.
"What's happened?" asked the Doctor,
coming up from downstairs.
"I'm not sure," said the parrot; "but I think
we're ship-wrecked. Tell the duck to get out
So Dab-Dab dived right down under the
waves. And when she came up she said they
had struck a rock; there was a big hole in the
bottom of the ship; the water was coming in;
and they were sinking fast.
"We must have run into Africa," said the
Doctor. "Dear me, dear me!--Well--we must
all swim to land."
But Chee-Chee and Gub-Gub did not know
how to swim.
"Get the rope!" said Polynesia. "I told you
it would come in handy. Where's that duck?
Come here, Dab-Dab. Take this end of the
rope, fly to the shore and tie it on to a palm-
tree; and we'll hold the other end on the ship
here. Then those that can't swim must climb
along the rope till they reach the land. That's
what you call a `life-line.'"
So they all got safely to the shore--some
swimming, some flying; and those that climbed
along the rope brought the Doctor's trunk and
handbag with them.
But the ship was no good any more--with the
big hole in the bottom; and presently the rough
sea beat it to pieces on the rocks and the timbers
Then they all took shelter in a nice dry cave
they found, high up in the cliffs, till the storm
When the sun came out next morning they
went down to the sandy beach to dry themselves.
"Dear old Africa!" sighed Polynesia. "It's
good to get back. Just think--it'll be a
hundred and sixty-nine years to-morrow since I was
here! And it hasn't changed a bit! Same old
palm-trees; same old red earth; same old black
ants! There's no place like home!"
And the others noticed she had tears in her eyes--
she was so pleased to see her country once again.
Then the Doctor missed his high hat; for it
had been blown into the sea during the storm.
So Dab-Dab went out to look for it. And presently
she saw it, a long way off, floating on the
water like a toy-boat.
When she flew down to get it, she found one
of the white mice, very frightened, sitting
"What are you doing here?" asked the duck.
"You were told to stay behind in Puddleby."
"I didn't want to be left behind," said the
mouse. "I wanted to see what Africa was like
--I have relatives there. So I hid in the baggage
and was brought on to the ship with the
hard-tack. When the ship sank I was terribly
frightened--because I cannot swim far. I
swam as long as I could, but I soon got all
exhausted and thought I was going to sink. And
then, just at that moment, the old man's hat came
floating by; and I got into it because I did not
want to be drowned."
So the duck took up the hat with the mouse in
it and brought it to the Doctor on the shore.
And they all gathered round to have a look.
"That's what you call a `stowaway,'" said the parrot.
Presently, when they were looking for a place
in the trunk where the white mouse could travel
comfortably, the monkey, Chee-Chee, suddenly said,
"Sh! I hear footsteps in the jungle!"
They all stopped talking and listened. And
soon a black man came down out of the woods
and asked them what they were doing there.
"My name is John Dolittle--M. D.," said the
Doctor. "I have been asked to come to Africa
to cure the monkeys who are sick."
"You must all come before the King," said
the black man.
"What king?" asked the Doctor, who didn't
want to waste any time.
"The King of the Jolliginki," the man
answered. "All these lands belong to him; and all
strangers must be brought before him. Follow me."
So they gathered up their baggage and went
off, following the man through the jungle.
THE SIXTH CHAPTER
POLYNESIA AND THE KING
WHEN they had gone a little way through
the thick forest they came to a wide, clear
space; and they saw the King's palace which
was made of mud.
This was where the King lived with his
Queen, Ermintrude, and their son, Prince
Bumpo. The Prince was away fishing for salmon
in the river. But the King and Queen
were sitting under an umbrella before the palace
door. And Queen Ermintrude was asleep.
When the Doctor had come up to the palace
the King asked him his business; and the Doctor
told him why he had come to Africa.
"You may not travel through my lands," said
the King. "Many years ago a white man came
to these shores; and I was very kind to him.
But after he had dug holes in the ground to get
the gold, and killed all the elephants to get their
ivory tusks, he went away secretly in his ship--
without so much as saying `Thank you.' Never
again shall a white man travel through the lands
Then the King turned to some of the black
men who were standing near and said, "Take
away this medicine-man--with all his animals,
and lock them up in my strongest prison."
So six of the black men led the Doctor and
all his pets away and shut them up in a stone
dungeon. The dungeon had only one little window,
high up in the wall, with bars in it; and
the door was strong and thick.
Then they all grew very sad; and Gub-Gub,
the pig, began to cry. But Chee-Chee said he
would spank him if he didn't stop that horrible
noise; and he kept quiet.
"Are we all here?" asked the Doctor, after
he had got used to the dim light.
"Yes, I think so," said the duck and started
to count them.
"Where's Polynesia?" asked the crocodile.
"She isn't here."
"Are you sure?" said the Doctor. "Look again.
Polynesia! Polynesia! Where are you?"
"I suppose she escaped," grumbled the crocodile.
"Well, that's just like her!--Sneaked off into
the jungle as soon as her friends got into trouble."
"I'm not that kind of a bird," said the parrot,
climbing out of the pocket in the tail of the
Doctor's coat. "You see, I'm small enough to
get through the bars of that window; and I was
afraid they would put me in a cage instead.
So while the King was busy talking, I hid in
the Doctor's pocket--and here I am! That's
what you call a `ruse,'" she said, smoothing
down her feathers with her beak.
"Good Gracious!" cried the Doctor.
"You're lucky I didn't sit on you."
"Now listen," said Polynesia, "to-night, as
soon as it gets dark, I am going to creep through
the bars of that window and fly over to the
palace. And then--you'll see--I'll soon find
a way to make the King let us all out of prison."
"Oh, what can YOU do?" said Gub-Gub,
turning up his nose and beginning to cry again.
"You're only a bird!"
"Quite true," said the parrot. "But do not
forget that although I am only a bird, I CAN TALK
LIKE A MAN--and I know these people."
So that night, when the moon was shining
through the palm-trees and all the King's men
were asleep, the parrot slipped out through the
bars of the prison and flew across to the palace.
The pantry window had been broken by a tennis
ball the week before; and Polynesia popped
in through the hole in the glass.
She heard Prince Bumpo snoring in his bed-
room at the back of the palace. Then she tip-
toed up the stairs till she came to the King's
bedroom. She opened the door gently and
The Queen was away at a dance that night
at her cousin's; but the King was in bed fast
Polynesia crept in, very softly, and got under
Then she coughed--just the way Doctor
Dolittle used to cough. Polynesia could mimic
The King opened his eyes and said sleepily:
"Is that you, Ermintrude?" (He thought it
was the Queen come back from the dance.)
Then the parrot coughed again--loud, like a
man. And the King sat up, wide awake, and
said, "Who's that?"
"I am Doctor Dolittle," said the parrot--just
the way the Doctor would have said it.
"What are you doing in my bedroom?" cried
the King. "How dare you get out of prison!
Where are you?--I don't see you."
But the parrot just laughed--a long, deep
jolly laugh, like the Doctor's.
"Stop laughing and come here at once, so I
can see you," said the King.
"Foolish King!" answered Polynesia. "Have
you forgotten that you are talking to John
Dolittle, M.D.--the most wonderful man on earth?
Of course you cannot see me. I have made myself
invisible. There is nothing I cannot do.
Now listen: I have come here to-night to warn
you. If you don't let me and my animals travel
through your kingdom, I will make you and all
your people sick like the monkeys. For I can
make people well: and I can make people ill--
just by raising my little finger. Send your
soldiers at once to open the dungeon door, or you
shall have mumps before the morning sun has
risen on the hills of Jolliginki."
Then the King began to tremble and was
very much afraid.
"Doctor," he cried, "it shall be as you say.
Do not raise your little finger, please!" And he
jumped out of bed and ran to tell the soldiers
to open the prison door.
As soon as he was gone, Polynesia crept
downstairs and left the palace by the pantry window.
But the Queen, who was just letting herself
in at the backdoor with a latch-key, saw the par-
rot getting out through the broken glass. And
when the King came back to bed she told him
what she had seen.
Then the King understood that he had been
tricked, and he was dreadfully angry. He hurried
back to the prison at once
But he was too late. The door stood open.
The dungeon was empty. The Doctor and all
his animals were gone.
THE SEVENTH CHAPTER
THE BRIDGE OF APES
QUEEN ERMINTRUDE had never in her life seen her husband
so terrible as he got that night. He gnashed his teeth
with rage. He called everybody a fool. He threw his
tooth-brush at the palace cat. He rushed round
in his night-shirt and woke up all his army and
sent them into the jungle to catch the Doctor.
Then he made all his servants go too--his cooks
and his gardeners and his barber and Prince
Bumpo's tutor--even the Queen, who was tired
from dancing in a pair of tight shoes, was packed
off to help the soldiers in their search.
All this time the Doctor and his animals were
running through the forest towards the Land of
the Monkeys as fast as they could go.
Gub-Gub, with his short legs, soon got tired;
and the Doctor had to carry him--which made
it pretty hard when they had the trunk and the
hand-bag with them as well.
The King of the Jolliginki thought it would
be easy for his army to find them, because the
Doctor was in a strange land and would not
know his way. But he was wrong; because the
monkey, Chee-Chee, knew all the paths through
the jungle--better even than the King's men
did. And he led the Doctor and his pets to the
very thickest part of the forest--a place where
no man had ever been before--and hid them all
in a big hollow tree between high rocks.
"We had better wait here," said Chee-Chee,
"till the soldiers have gone back to bed. Then
we can go on into the Land of the Monkeys."
So there they stayed the whole night through.
They often heard the King's men searching
and talking in the jungle round about. But
they were quite safe, for no one knew of that
hiding-place but Chee-Chee--not even the
At last, when daylight began to come through
the thick leaves overhead, they heard Queen
Ermintrude saying in a very tired voice that it
was no use looking any more--that they might
as well go back and get some sleep.
As soon as the soldiers had all gone home,
Chee-Chee brought the Doctor and his animals
out of the hiding-place and they set off for the
Land of the Monkeys.
It was a long, long way; and they often got
very tired--especially Gub-Gub. But when he
cried they gave him milk out of the cocoanuts
which he was very fond of.
They always had plenty to eat and drink;
because Chee-Chee and Polynesia knew all the
different kinds of fruits and vegetables that grow
in the jungle, and where to find them--like
dates and figs and ground-nuts and ginger and
yams. They used to make their lemonade out of
the juice of wild oranges, sweetened with honey
which they got from the bees' nests in hollow
trees. No matter what it was they asked for,
Chee-Chee and Polynesia always seemed to be
able to get it for them--or something like it.
They even got the Doctor some tobacco one day,
when he had finished what he had brought with
him and wanted to smoke.
At night they slept in tents made of palm-
leaves, on thick, soft beds of dried grass. And
after a while they got used to walking such a lot
and did not get so tired and enjoyed the life of
travel very much.
But they were always glad when the night
came and they stopped for their resting-time.
Then the Doctor used to make a little fire of
sticks; and after they had had their supper, they
would sit round it in a ring, listening to
Polynesia singing songs about the sea, or to Chee-
Chee telling stories of the jungle.
And many of the tales that Chee-Chee told
were very interesting. Because although the
monkeys had no history-books of their own
before Doctor Dolittle came to write them for
them, they remember everything that happens by
telling stories to their children. And Chee-Chee
spoke of many things his grandmother had told
him--tales of long, long, long ago, before Noah
and the Flood--of the days when men dressed
in bear-skins and lived in holes in the rock and
ate their mutton raw, because they did not know
what cooking was--having never seen a fire.
And he told them of the Great Mammoths and
Lizards, as long as a train, that wandered over
the mountains in those times, nibbling from the
tree-tops. And often they got so interested
listening, that when he had finished they found
their fire had gone right out; and they had to
scurry round to get more sticks and build a new
Now when the King's army had gone back
and told the King that they couldn't find the
Doctor, the King sent them out again and told
them they must stay in the jungle till they caught
him. So all this time, while the Doctor and his
animals were going along towards the Land of
the Monkeys, thinking themselves quite safe,
they were still being followed by the King's men.
If Chee-Chee had known this, he would most
likely have hidden them again. But he didn't
One day Chee-Chee climbed up a high rock
and looked out over the tree-tops. And when
he came down he said they were now quite close
to the Land of the Monkeys and would soon
And that same evening, sure enough, they saw
Chee-Chee's cousin and a lot of other monkeys,
who had not yet got sick, sitting in the trees by
the edge of a swamp, looking and waiting for
them. And when they saw the famous doctor
really come, these monkeys made a tremendous
noise, cheering and waving leaves and swinging
out of the branches to greet him.
They wanted to carry his bag and his trunk
and everything he had--and one of the bigger
ones even carried Gub-Gub who had got tired
again. Then two of them rushed on in front to
tell the sick monkeys that the great doctor had
come at last.
But the King's men, who were still following,
had heard the noise of the monkeys cheering;
and they at last knew where the Doctor was,
and hastened on to catch him.
The big monkey carrying Gub-Gub was coming
along behind slowly, and he saw the Captain
of the army sneaking through the trees.
So he hurried after the Doctor and told him to
Then they all ran harder than they had ever
run in their lives; and the King's men, coming
after them, began to run too; and the Captain
ran hardest of all.
Then the Doctor tripped over his medicine-
bag and fell down in the mud, and the Captain
thought he would surely catch him this time.
But the Captain had very long ears--though
his hair was very short. And as he sprang forward
to take hold of the Doctor, one of his ears
caught fast in a tree; and the rest of the army
had to stop and help him.
By this time the Doctor had picked himself
up, and on they went again, running and running.
And Chee-Chee shouted,
"It's all right! We haven't far to go now!"
But before they could get into the Land of
the Monkeys, they came to a steep cliff with a
river flowing below. This was the end of the
Kingdom of Jolliginki; and the Land of the
Monkeys was on the other side--across the
And Jip, the dog, looked down over the edge
of the steep, steep cliff and said,
"Golly! How are we ever going to get across?"
"Oh, dear!" said Gub-Gub. "The King's
men are quite close now--Look at them! I am
afraid we are going to be taken back to prison
again." And he began to weep.
But the big monkey who was carrying the
pig dropped him on the ground and cried out
to the other monkeys.
"Boys--a bridge! Quick!--Make a bridge!
We've only a minute to do it. They've got the
Captain loose, and he's coming on like a deer.
Get lively! A bridge! A bridge!"
The Doctor began to wonder what they were going
to make a bridge out of, and he gazed around
to see if they had any boards hidden any place.
But when he looked back at the cliff, there,
hanging across the river, was a bridge all ready
for him--made of living monkeys! For while
his back was turned, the monkeys--quick as a
flash--had made themselves into a bridge, just
by holding hands and feet.
And the big one shouted to the Doctor, "Walk
over! Walk over--all of you--hurry!"
Gub-Gub was a bit scared, walking on such
a narrow bridge at that dizzy height above the
river. But he got over all right; and so did all
John Dolittle was the last to cross. And just
as he was getting to the other side, the King's
men came rushing up to the edge of the cliff.
Then they shook their fists and yelled with
rage. For they saw they were too late. The
Doctor and all his animals were safe in the Land
of the Monkeys and the bridge was pulled across
to the other side.
Then Chee-Chee turned to the Doctor and
"Many great explorers and gray-bearded
naturalists have lain long weeks hidden in the
jungle waiting to see the monkeys do that trick.
But we never let a white man get a glimpse of it
before. You are the first to see the famous
`Bridge of Apes.'"
And the Doctor felt very pleased.
THE EIGHTH CHAPTER
THE LEADER OF THE LIONS
JOHN DOLITTLE now became dreadfully, awfully busy.
He found hundreds and thousands of monkeys sick--gorillas,
orangoutangs, chimpanzees, dog-faced baboons, marmosettes,
gray monkeys, red ones--all kinds. And many had died.
The first thing he did was to separate the
sick ones from the well ones. Then he got
Chee-Chee and his cousin to build him a little
house of grass. The next thing: he made all
the monkeys who were still well come and be
And for three days and three nights the
monkeys kept coming from the jungles and the
valleys and the hills to the little house of grass,
where the Doctor sat all day and all night,
vaccinating and vaccinating.
Then he had another house made--a big one,
with a lot of beds in it; and he put all the sick
ones in this house.
But so many were sick, there were not enough
well ones to do the nursing. So he sent
messages to the other animals, like the lions and the
leopards and the antelopes, to come and help
with the nursing.
But the Leader of the Lions was a very proud
creature. And when he came to the Doctor's
big house full of beds he seemed angry and
"Do you dare to ask me, Sir?" he said, glaring
at the Doctor. "Do you dare to ask me--ME,
THE KING OF BEASTS, to wait on a lot of dirty
monkeys? Why, I wouldn't even eat them
Although the lion looked very terrible, the
Doctor tried hard not to seem afraid of him.
"I didn't ask you to eat them," he said quietly.
"And besides, they're not dirty. They've all
had a bath this morning. YOUR coat looks as
though it needed brushing--badly. Now
listen, and I'll tell you something: the day may
come when the lions get sick. And if you don't
help the other animals now, the lions may
find themselves left all alone when THEY are
in trouble. That often happens to proud people."
"The lions are never IN trouble--they only
MAKE trouble," said the Leader, turning up his
nose. And he stalked away into the jungle, feeling
he had been rather smart and clever.
Then the leopards got proud too and said
they wouldn't help. And then of course the
antelopes--although they were too shy and timid
to be rude to the Doctor like the lion--THEY
pawed the ground, and smiled foolishly, and said
they had never been nurses before.
And now the poor Doctor was worried frantic,
wondering where he could get help enough
to take care of all these thousands of monkeys
But the Leader of the Lions, when he got
back to his den, saw his wife, the Queen Lioness,
come running out to meet him with her hair
"One of the cubs won't eat," she said. "I
don't know WHAT to do with him. He hasn't
taken a thing since last night."
And she began to cry and shake with nervousness--
for she was a good mother, even though
she was a lioness.
So the Leader went into his den and looked
at his children--two very cunning little cubs,
lying on the floor. And one of them seemed
Then the lion told his wife, quite proudly,
just what he had said to the Doctor. And she got
so angry she nearly drove him out of the den.
"You never DID have a grain of sense!" she
screamed. "All the animals from here to the
Indian Ocean are talking about this wonderful
man, and how he can cure any kind of sickness,
and how kind he is--the only man in the whole
world who can talk the language of the animals!
And now, NOW--when we have a sick baby on
our hands, you must go and offend him! You
great booby! Nobody but a fool is ever rude
to a GOOD doctor. You--," and she started pulling
her husband's hair.
"Go back to that white man at once," she
yelled, "and tell him you're sorry. And take
all the other empty-headed lions with you--
and those stupid leopards and antelopes. Then
do everything the Doctor tells you. Work
hard! And perhaps he will be kind enough
to come and see the cub later. Now be off!--
HURRY, I tell you! You're not fit to be a father!"
And she went into the den next door, where another
mother-lion lived, and told her all about it.
So the Leader of the Lions went back to the
Doctor and said, "I happened to be passing this
way and thought I'd look in. Got any help yet?"
"No," said the Doctor. "I haven't.
And I'm dreadfully worried."
"Help's pretty hard to get these days," said
the lion. "Animals don't seem to want to work
any more. You can't blame them--in a way.
...Well, seeing you're in difficulties, I don't
mind doing what I can--just to oblige you--
so long as I don't have to wash the creatures.
And I have told all the other hunting animals
to come and do their share. The leopards
should be here any minute now.... Oh, and
by the way, we've got a sick cub at home. I
don't think there's much the matter with him
myself. But the wife is anxious. If you are
around that way this evening, you might take
a look at him, will you?"
Then the Doctor was very happy; for all the
lions and the leopards and the antelopes and
the giraffes and the zebras--all the animals of
the forests and the mountains and the plains
--came to help him in his work. There were
so many of them that he had to send some away,
and only kept the cleverest.
And now very soon the monkeys began to
get better. At the end of a week the big house
full of beds was half empty. And at the end
of the second week the last monkey had got well.
Then the Doctor's work was done; and he
was so tired he went to bed and slept for three
days without even turning over.
THE NINTH CHAPTER
THE MONKEYS' COUNCIL
CHEE-CHEE stood outside the Doctor's door, keeping everybody
away till he woke up. Then John Dolittle told the
monkeys that he must now go back to Puddleby.
They were very surprised at this; for they
had thought that he was going to stay with them
forever. And that night all the monkeys got
together in the jungle to talk it over.
And the Chief Chimpanzee rose up and said,
"Why is it the good man is going away? Is
he not happy here with us?"
But none of them could answer him.
Then the Grand Gorilla got up and said,
"I think we all should go to him and ask him
to stay. Perhaps if we make him a new house
and a bigger bed, and promise him plenty of
monkey-servants to work for him and to make
life pleasant for him--perhaps then he will
not wish to go."
Then Chee-Chee got up; and all the others
whispered, "Sh! Look! Chee-Chee, the great
Traveler, is about to speak!"
And Chee-Chee said to the other monkeys,
"My friends, I am afraid it is useless to ask
the Doctor to stay. He owes money in Puddleby;
and he says he must go back and pay it."
And the monkeys asked him, "What is MONEY?"
Then Chee-Chee told them that in the Land of the
White Men you could get nothing without money;
you could DO nothing without money--that it was
almost impossible to LIVE without money.
And some of them asked, "But can you not
even eat and drink without paying?"
But Chee-Chee shook his head. And then he
told them that even he, when he was with the
organ-grinder, had been made to ask the
children for money.
And the Chief Chimpanzee turned to the Oldest
Orangoutang and said, "Cousin, surely these Men
be strange creatures! Who would wish to live
in such a land? My gracious, how paltry!"
Then Chee-Chee said,
"When we were coming to you we had no
boat to cross the sea in and no money to buy
food to eat on our journey. So a man lent us
some biscuits; and we said we would pay him
when we came back. And we borrowed a boat
from a sailor; but it was broken on the rocks
when we reached the shores of Africa. Now
the Doctor says he must go back and get the
sailor another boat--because the man was poor
and his ship was all he had."
And the monkeys were all silent for a while,
sitting quite still upon the ground and thinking
At last the Biggest Baboon got up and said,
"I do not think we ought to let this good man
leave our land till we have given him a fine
present to take with him, so that he may know
we are grateful for all that he has done for us."
And a little, tiny red monkey who was
sitting up in a tree shouted down,
"I think that too!"
And then they all cried out, making a great
noise, "Yes, yes. Let us give him the finest
present a White Man ever had!"
Now they began to wonder and ask one another
what would be the best thing to give him.
And one said, "Fifty bags of cocoanuts!"
And another--"A hundred bunches of bananas!--
At least he shall not have to buy his fruit in the
Land Where You Pay to Eat!"
But Chee-Chee told them that all these
things would be too heavy to carry so far and
would go bad before half was eaten.
"If you want to please him," he said, "give
him an animal. You may be sure he will be
kind to it. Give him some rare animal they
have not got in the menageries."
And the monkeys asked him, "What are
Then Chee-Chee explained to them that
menageries were places in the Land of the
White Men, where animals were put in cages
for people to come and look at. And the
monkeys were very shocked and said to one
"These Men are like thoughtless young ones--stupid
and easily amused. Sh! It is a prison he means."
So then they asked Chee-Chee what rare
animal it could be that they should give the
Doctor--one the White Men had not seen before.
And the Major of the Marmosettes asked,
"Have they an iguana over there?"
But Chee-Chee said, "Yes, there is one in the
And another asked, "Have they an okapi?"
But Chee-Chee said, "Yes. In Belgium,
where my organ-grinder took me five years ago,
they had an okapi in a big city they call Antwerp."
And another asked, "Have they a pushmi-pullyu?"
Then Chee-Chee said, "No. No White Man
has ever seen a pushmi-pullyu. Let us
give him that."
THE TENTH CHAPTER
THE RAREST ANIMAL OF ALL
PUSHMI-PULLYUS are now extinct. That means, there aren't
any more. But long ago, when Doctor Dolittle was alive,
there were some of them still left in the deepest jungles
of Africa; and even then they were very, very scarce.
They had no tail, *but a head at each end,
and sharp horns on each head. They were very
shy and terribly hard to catch. The black men
get most of their animals by sneaking up behind
them while they are not looking. But you could
not do this with the pushmi-pullyu--because,
no matter which way you came towards him, he
was always facing you. And besides, only one
half of him slept at a time. The other head
was always awake--and watching. This was
why they were never caught and never seen in
Zoos. Though many of the greatest huntsmen
and the cleverest menagerie-keepers spent years
of their lives searching through the jungles
in all weathers for pushmi-pullyus, not a single
one had ever been caught. Even then, years
ago, he was the only animal in the world with
Well, the monkeys set out hunting for this
animal through the forest. And after they had
gone a good many miles, one of them found
peculiar footprints near the edge of a river;
and they knew that a pushmi-pullyu must be
very near that spot.
Then they went along the bank of the river
a little way and they saw a place where the
grass was high and thick; and they guessed that
he was in there.
So they all joined hands and made a great
circle round the high grass. The pushmi-
pullyu heard them coming; and he tried hard
to break through the ring of monkeys. But he
couldn't do it. When he saw that it was no
use trying to escape, he sat down and waited to
see what they wanted.
They asked him if he would go with Doctor Dolittle
and be put on show in the Land of the White Men.
But he shook both his heads hard and said,
They explained to him that he would not be
shut up in a menagerie but would just be looked
at. They told him that the Doctor was a very
kind man but hadn't any money; and people
would pay to see a two-headed animal and the
Doctor would get rich and could pay for the
boat he had borrowed to come to Africa in.
But he answered, "No. You know how shy
I am--I hate being stared at." And he almost
began to cry.
Then for three days they tried to persuade
And at the end of the third day he said he
would come with them and see what kind of a
man the Doctor was, first.
So the monkeys traveled back with the
pushmi-pullyu. And when they came to where
the Doctor's little house of grass was, they
knocked on the door.
The duck, who was packing the trunk, said,
And Chee-Chee very proudly took the animal
inside and showed him to the Doctor.
"What in the world is it?" asked John
Dolittle, gazing at the strange creature.
"Lord save us!" cried the duck. "How does
it make up its mind?"
"It doesn't look to me as though it had any,"
said Jip, the dog.
"This, Doctor," said Chee-Chee, "is the
pushmi-pullyu--the rarest animal of the African
jungles, the only two-headed beast in the
world! Take him home with you and your
fortune's made. People will pay any money to
"But I don't want any money," said the Doctor.
"Yes, you do," said Dab-Dab, the duck.
"Don't you remember how we had to pinch
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