Chapter 24 Summary
This chapter is titled "A Midnight Raid" and centers on a mischievous band of monkeys. Visiting their house in the prairie at The Woodlands, the family finds that the house that they built has been ravaged. All the food has been gotten into, and all the animals are scattered into the woods. Tables and chairs are overturned and clothes torn and tossed about. After looking for clues, they conclude that monkeys caused the damage, so the father and his sons decide to set a trap.
They return to the prairie house with new weapons. Instead of using guns, they string netting smeared with a very sticky tar mixture. They also paint the trunks of trees nearby, as well as anything the monkeys might touch. To lure the the monkey tribe, they set out coconut shells not only filled with food but also smeared with the tar. Then they hide in the woods and wait.
Keeping their dogs tied so they will not charge, the boys and the father remain vigilant through the night. About halfway through, they are startled by a loud noise. The clamour includes banging and howls of despair and anger. When the father lights some bamboo torches, the nightscape is lit up, and they see the chaos in front of them. There are hundreds of monkeys in various stages of incapacitation. Some have their hands stuck on the house doors. Others are entangled in nets. One monkey has a coconut shell stuck on its face.
The father releases the dogs. The dogs are merciless and attack and kill many of the primates. When the struggle has subsided, the once peaceful setting takes on the appearance of a ghastly battle. When the boys see the full extent of the massacre, the father keeps them busy working so they do not have too much time to think about it. Instead, they dig holes and bury the dead monkeys, hoping they will never have to experience anything like this again.
After the dead animals are buried, the family restores order. Then they go into the woods and retrieve their animals, bringing the goats, chickens, and cows back to the prairie. When it is time to go back, everyone is happy to return to the quiet of Tentholm, their beachfront residence.