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第3章

"Those are Mugger's eggs," said Little Black Mingo.

"I'm not afraid of Muggers!" said the Mongoose; and he sat down and began to crack the eggs, and eat the little muggers as they came out. And he threw the shells into the water, so that the old Mugger should not see that any one had been eating them. But he was careless, and he left one eggshell on the edge, and he was hungry and he ate so many that the pile got much smaller, and when the old Mugger came back he saw at once that some one had been meddling with them.

So he ran to Little Black Mingo, and said, "How dare you eat my eggs?""Indeed, indeed I didn't," said Little Black Mingo.

"Then who could it have been?" said the Mugger, and he ran back to the eggs as fast as he could, and sure enough when he got back he found the Mongoose had eaten a whole lot more!!

Then he said to himself, "I must stay beside my eggs till they are hatched into little muggers, or the Mongoose will eat them all." So he curled himself into a ring round the eggs and went to sleep.

But while he was asleep the Mongoose came to eat some more of the eggs, and ate as many as he wanted, and when the Mugger woke this time, oh! WHAT a rage he was in, for there were only six eggs left! He roared so loud that all the little muggers inside the shells gnashed their teeth, and tried to roar too.

Then he said, "I know what I'll do, I'll fetch Little Black Mingo's big chatty and cover my eggs with that, then the Mongoose won't be able to get at them." So he swam across to the shore, and fetched the dhobi's big chatty, and covered the eggs with it. "Now, you wicked little Mongoose, come and eat my eggs if you can," said he, and he went off quite proud and happy.

By and by the Mongoose came back, and he was terribly disappointed when he found the eggs all covered with the big chatty.

So he ran off to Little Black Mingo, and asked her to help him, and Little Black Mingo came and took the big chatty off the eggs, and the Mongoose ate them every one.

"Now," said he, "there will be no little muggers to make a feast for tomorrow.""No," said Little Black Mingo, "but the Mugger will eat me all by himself I am afraid.""No he won't," said the Mongoose, "for we will sail away together in the big chatty before he comes back."So he climbed on to the edge of the chatty, and Little Black Mingo pushed the chatty out into the water, and then she clambered into it and paddled with her two hands as hard as she could, and the big chatty just sailed beautifully.

So they got across safely, and Little Black Mingo filled the chatty half full of water and took it on her head, and they went up the bank together.

But when the Mugger came back, and found only empty egg-shells he was fearfully angry. He roared and he raged, and he howled and he yelled, till the whole island shook, and his tears ran down his cheeks and pattered on the sand like rain.

So he started to chase Little Black Mingo and the Mongoose, and he swam across the river as fast as ever he could, and when he was half way across he saw them landing, and as he landed they hurried over the first ridge.

So he raced after them, but they ran, and just before he caught them they got into the house, and banged the door in his face. Then they shut all the windows, so he could not get in anywhere.

"All right," said he, "you will have to come out some time, and then I will catch you both, and eat you up."So he hid behind the back of the house and waited.

Now Black Noggy was just coming home from the bazaar with a tin of kerosene on her head, and a box of matches in her hand.

And when he saw her the Mugger rushed out and gobbled her up, kerosene tin, matches and all!!!

When Black Noggy found herself in the Muggers' dark inside, she wanted to see where she was, so she felt for the match-box and took out a match and lit it. But the Mugger's teeth had made holes in the kerosene tin, so that the flame of the match caught the kerosene, and BANG!! the kerosene exploded, and blew the old Mugger and Black noggy into little bits.

At the fearful noise Little Black Mingo and the Mongoose came running out, and there they found Black Noggy and the old Mugger all blown to bits.

So Little Black Mingo and the Mongoose got the nice little house for their very own, and there they lived happy ever after. And Little Black Mingo got the Mugger's beard for her seat, and the Mongoose got Black Noggy's handkerchief for his. But he was so wee he used to put it on the Mugger's nose, and there they sat, and had their tea every evening.

End

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