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He was poorer than he had ever been before. But the Doctor refused to worry.
"Money is a nuisance," he said. "We'd all be much better off if it had never been invented. Who cares about money as long as we are happy?"
But soon even the animals began to worry. One night, as the Doctor snored in his chair before the kitchen fire, they whispered among themselves about what to do.
The owl, Too-Too, who was good at arithmetic, figured that there was only enough money to last one weekif they each had only one meal a day.
"I think we should do the housework ourselves," Polynesia suggested. "After all, it's because of us that the Doctor is so lonely and poor."
They agreed that Chee-Chee, the monkey, would do the cooking and mending; Jip, the dog, would sweep the floors; Dab-Dab, the duck, would dust and make the beds; Too-Too, the owl, would keep the accounts; and Gub-Gub, the pig, would do the gardening. Because she was the oldest, Polynesia, the parrot, would be housekeeper and laundress.
At first the new jobs were very hard to doexcept for Chee-Chee, who had hands and could do things like a person. But soon they got used to it and thought it was great fun to watch Jip sweep his tail over the floor with a rag tied to it for a broom. They worked so well that the Doctor said his house had never been so clean before!
The animals built a vegetable and flower stall outside the garden gate. They sold radishes and roses to people going by on the road.
But there still was not enough money to pay the bills. Yet Doctor Dolittle did not worry.
"Never mind," he said. "The hens lay eggs and the cow gives milk. We can alwayshave omelets and pudding. There are plenty of vegetables in the garden. The winter is a long way off."
But that year the snow came earlier than usual. Although the horse hauled in lots of wood from the forest for big fires in the kitchen, most of the vegetables were gone. For the first time, the animals were really hungry.
Excerpted from The Story of Doctor Dolittle by Hugh Lofting. Copyright (c) 1920 by Hugh Lofting. Copyright (c) 1940 by Josephine Lofting. Centenary edition copyright (c) 1988 by Christopher Lofting. Adaptation edition copyright (c) 1997 by Bantam Doubleday Dell Books for Young Readers. Excerpted by permission of Bantam Doubleday Dell Books for Young Readers, a division of the Bantam Doubleday Dell Publishing Group, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
From the Trade Paperback edition.