September 12 – At Solusi, we kept our pet monkey outside, with one end of her line attached to a large tree that she slept in at night. My sister Jean had a white cat with two white kittens, and the monkey was very anxious to mother them. One day she was able to grab one and cuddle it close, refusing to give it back to its mother and eventually carrying it right up into her tree. Fortunately she didn’t treat it as a baby monkey and allow it to crawl off on its own.
This monkey also had a running feud with the large, black stinging ants that roamed around the yard. Whenever she was forgetful of where she was, she was liable to aggravate a passing ant by accidentally bumping it with her tail or a foot, and setting it off into an angry rampage in search of what had hit it.
Now and then Monk and I would have a friendly little grooming session, and I would sit on the edge of the concrete sand box and she would sit on my knee, and we would be the best of friends. With one hand I would groom her fur and with the other hand I would idly swing her tail back and forth on the ground until a passing ant got a hard knock with it and would go charging around looking for something to bite and sting. The tail usually came in handy, whereupon Monk would leap up in the air and wildly grab her tail and start rubbing and scratching the stung part. Then she would glare suspiciously at me until I would put on a kindly, harmless look and pet her head, and then the blame would all go back to the ant.
These ants were also a hazard to barefooted kids, and we soon learned to keep shuffling our bare feet constantly if we were engaged in something interesting other than ants. If we didn’t keep our feet moving, the ants would be able to seize hold and sting. Their stings were just as bad as wasp stings, so this was something definitely to be avoided! – DALE