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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 44.djvu/157

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147
THE STORY OF BOB.

shoulders of his friends, taking hold of hair after hair, drawing them through his fingers, so that no parasite can escape. If a stranger in any way earns his good will, Bob will show it by devoting himself to this search either on hand or coat sleeve. At these times Bob is the perfection of courtesy. He pretends to find numberless Hæmatopinæ on his friend's hands, even though you can see with your own eyes that he finds nothing at all. And all the time he chuckles and smacks his lips as though each discovery were an object of personal satisfaction to him.

Of snakes, large or small. Bob has always stood in abject terror. If he is held firmly and the snake is placed near him, he looks piteously in the face of his keeper, and sometimes, more in sorrow than in anger, he will bite if he is not let go. At one time a snake in a paper bag was shown him. When the paper bag was afterward left near him, he would furtively approach and open it, to peep a moment shiveringly into its depths, and then retreat ignominiously, only to approach for another peep when he had summoned sufficient courage.

A live salamander was placed on the table by his side. This he looked at with a great deal of interest, finally taking it in his hands, with many precautions. When he saw how inert it was, he laid it down and lost all interest in it.

Toward a flat skin of a coyote and one of a wild cat, used as parlor rugs. Bob showed the same fear as in the presence of the snake. If one brought them near him he would jump wildly about or cower in terror behind a chair. This instinctive fear is apparently an inheritance from the experience of his fathers, whose kingdom was in the land where tigers and snakes were dominant and dangerous. A similar skin without hair and eyes he cared nothing for. At one time he climbed on the back of a chair to get away from the coyote skin. The chair was overturned by his efforts. He saw at once that when the chair fell it would carry him backward to the coyote, so he let go of the chair and, seizing his chain, swung himself off out of the reach of the coyote, while the chair was allowed to go over. This was repeated afterward with the same result.

Bob grew very expert in the use of this chain, which he came at last to regard as a necessary part of his environment. In climbing chairs or trees he always took it into consideration. He never learned to untie knots in it, but would very deftly straighten it whenever it became tangled or kinked. Sometimes he would break fastenings, escaping to the top of the house, clanking his chain as he went. It was not easy to catch him then, for he delighted in freedom. At such times he would manage the chain most skillfully, going back to set it free if it caught on any projection. When very hungry, however, he