When I was young, from 5-8 years old. my Grandma and Aunt Elda regularly received visits from Willard and Nita. I think they may have been related to us, but I'm not sure. Regardless, they were so interesting. They traveled all over and at that time, it was not a typical thing to do. They always brought pictures of their trips, stories and tricks.
Willard brings in a wood box. The box is about 12" x 12" x 24" with a carry handle on the top. You can't quite see inside even though there is a mesh grate, like a window on one 12 x 12" end. He warns me not to get too close because these are really dangerous animals. In fact they can kill snakes! That's why he has it, because they have a snake on their property in Illinois and he knows the mongoose will get it. He goes on to describe the battles mongoose have with cobras in the far east. They are so fast, the cobras can't strike them. (By the way, this is true!) Still, I can't see anything inside.
"Look closer" he says. "He's hiding towards the back of the box. But be very quiet, people make him jumpy." So I am primed - on alert and trying to see it. I get my face about 3 inches from the box and Willard surreptitiously releases a door on the back of the box. Willard yells, "Oh No!" The door flings open and attached to it is a piece of fur. I can't believe I didn't wet myself. It sure did scare me.
While I HATED this trick, I always loved when they came to visit. They laughed and told stories and were so much fun to be around.