Paul B. (Paul Belloni) Du Chaillu.

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World of the Great Forest

'''■Here I am^ dear^ waiting for you"


How Animals^ Birds, Reptiles, bisects
Talk, Think, Work, atid Live

Paul Du Chaillu

Author of "The Viking Age," " The Land of the Long Night," " Ivar the

Viking," "The Land of the Midnight Sun," "Explorations

in Equatorial Africa," " Stories of the Gorilla Country,"

" Wild Life under the Equator," " Lost in the Jungle,"

" My Apingi Kingdom," " The Country

of the Dwarfs," etc., etc.





John Murray, Albemarle Street

I 90 I

Printed at the University Press
Cambridge, U.S.A.



Dear Friends, — Remembering the uniform courtesy

and consideration it has been my good fortune to experience

at your hands for a series of years^ and recollecting the

delightful relations that have always been reciprocal between

us, and that have contributed so much to my happiness, I take

infinite pleasure in dedicating this volume, " The World of

the Great Forest" to you both, as a slight evidence of the

sincere esteem entertained by me, an author, for you, my





THE World of the Great Central African Forest
is a remarkable one. Its denizens range from
the huge elephant to the smallest ant, and in its dark
recesses and almost impenetrable jungle I have studied
the life of these creatures.

From close observation and persistent study I have
arrived at the conclusion that animals, birds, reptiles,
ants, spiders, etc., possess great power of apprehen-
sion and prevision ; that creatures of the same species
have understanding with one another, either by voice,
sign, or other ways unknown to man ; otherwise they
could not act with such harmony and dehberation.

It is not reasonable to say that animals do not con-
verse because we do not understand or hear the sounds
they make. The fault is ours, not theirs. Do we
not always say, when we are learning a foreign language
and begin to speak with the natives, that they talk so
fast we cannot follow them ? The articulation and
the words seem to be blended together, and it is only
after a time that we catch separate words.


Everything that lives is born with wonderful gifts
suited to its mode of life. The shape and appearance
of animals are designed to enable them to lead their
special lives. Many have great power of scent, much
keener than that of man. This particular attribute
enables them to approach their prey and avoid danger.
For example, the animal that preys upon others knows
enough to move against the wind on his predatory ex-
peditions. Those that feed on fruits and nuts know
exactly at what season, in what month or week of the
year, these are good to eat, and where they are to be
found. They know how far distant is their feeding-
ground, and the time needed to reach it. They all
know their way, whether through the air or in the
jungle, and nothing escapes their observation.

When animals or birds are taught to speak, or to do
special tricks, it is clear that they must exercise mem-
ory, and memory means thought, and thought means

The destruction of life, the battles that take place
among the creatures of that great African Forest, the
millions that are killed and eaten up every day, are be-
yond computation. Life, to sustain itself, must destroy
life; such is the economy of nature. It is a struggle
for existence among all. So the great gift given to
every creature is knowledge of how to protect itself
from its enemies, and how to approach its prey. If it
were not for constant destruction, the animal world



would increase so fast that there would be room and
food left for none.

To enable the reader to enter into the life of the
great African Forest, I have made the animals tell their
own stories and explain their own actions as if they
were endowed with the power of speech. And I have
given to them native names. A number of the ani-
mals mentioned, 1 discovered myself

August 15, 1900.



Chapter Page

I. The Guanionien, or Giant Eagle I

II. The Guanioniens' Departure for the Land of

Plenty 9

III. The Ngozos, or Gray Parrots with Red Tails . 1 6

IV. The Nkemas, or Monkeys, travel toward the

Land of Plenty 30

V. Arrival of the Ngozos and Nkemas in the Land

OF Plenty 43

VI. The Night Animals 49

VII. The Njego, or Leopard 51

VIII. Birth of Three Little Njegos 60

IX. The Big Njego becomes a Man-eater .... 65

X. The Hakos, or Ants 73

XI. The Nchellelays, or White Ants 75

XII. The Giant Nchellelays 86

XIIL The Ngombas, or Porcupines 91

XIV. The Ipi, or Giant Ant-eater 97

XV. The Ngomba, or Porcupine — the Izomba, or

Turtle — the Ipi, or Ant-eater 10 1

XVI. The Ngooboo, or Hippopotamus 106

XVII. A Fight for Miss Ngooboo 116



Chaptfr Page

XVIII, The Five Apes, or Men of the Woods . . . 120
XIX. The Nginas, or Gorillas, and Njokoos, or

Elephants 124

XX. The Nginas travel to a Plantain Field ; their

Strange Adventures 134

XXI. The Njokoos, or Elephants, travel to the

Plantain Field 130

XXII. Arrival of the Human Beings who own the

Plantain Field 143

XXIII. The Three Nginas killed by Hunters . . . 145

XXIV. The Omembas, or Snakes 156

XXV. A Huge Ombama, or Python 1 58

XXVI. The Ntoto, or Ichneumon 165

XXVII. The Iboboti, or Spider 170

XXVIII. The Trap-door Iboboti, or Burrow Spider . 176

XXIX. The House Iboboti, or Night Spider . . . 184

XXX. The Nyoi, or Wasp, and the Iboboti . . . 188

XXXI. The Two Nkengos, or Pale-faced Apes . . . 191

XXXII. A Baby Nkengo is born to the old Nkengos . 204

XXXIII. The Ngandos, or Crocodiles 210

XXXIV. The Ogata, or Burrow Crocodile . . . . 216

XXXV. The Kambis, or Antelopes, the Ncheris, or

Gazelles, and the Bongo 220

XXXVI. The Oshingi, or Civet 224

XXXVII. The Insects, Apilibishes, or Butterflies, and

OsELis, OR Lizards 235



Chapter Pag«

XXXVIII. The Njokoos, or Elephants 238

XXXIX. Adventures of the New Njokoos 244

XL. Evil Days for the Njokoos 251

XLI. Njokoos and their Babies 256

XLII. The Mboyos, or Jackals 263

XLIII. The Nshieys, or Fish, and their Enemies . 268

XLIV. The Kongoo, one of the Fishing Eagles . . 272

XLV. The Bashikouay Ants 284

XL VI. The Darkening of the Day 291

XL VII. The Ntungoolooya, or Kingfisher .... 293

XLVIII. The Obongos, or Dwarfs 297

XLIX. Adventures of a Nkengo and a Nshiego . . 309

Glossary of Native Animal-Names 323


List of Full-Page Illustrations

'♦ Here 1 am, dear, waiting for you " Frontispiece


" Here is a huge manga " 39

" He watched her " ^^

" How they enjoyed their sea bath " '^5

" Then ensued a terrible fight " ^^7

'* He gave him a terrible bite " n°

"He attacked him, imbedding his teeth firmly in the baclc ot

his neck" ^^^

"All the others fled in terror and disappeared in the Great

Forest" =^H

" A pack of ugly-looking striped hyenas " 266

"The kongoo, using all his strength with his wings, gave

several flaps "

" The poor njokoo fled for his life "


World of the Great Forest



AGUANIONIEN, as he soared between the
great forest and the sun, said to himself: " I
am the lord of the air ; I am the largest and most
powerful of all the eagles of the land. I am called
the leopard of the air. I feed on monkeys."

Then he chuckled, the way the guanioniens do,
and rose higher and higher in the sky at each circle
that he made. It seemed as if he were going directly
toward the sun. At last he flew so high that no
eyes from the forest could see him.

Atter a while he reappeared; he was coming down
again in a series of circles to the forest. At times
his huge wings spread their full length and then
stood still. He seemed to hang motionless in the
air. When he had come down near enough, he
scanned the great sea of trees all over, to see if their
branches were moving, for this would show that there
were monkeys upon them feeding upon their fruit,
nuts, or berries. But all was still ; not a branch


stirred, and there was no wind. His eyes looked
down perpendicularly and could see any object right
under him. There was no monkey in sight.

He said to himself: " Why have the monkeys been
so shy of late, and kept themselves in the middle of
the trees, never coming to their tops ? Surely other
guanioniens must have been here before me and
scared all the monkeys : they are afraid and keep
out of sight ; they know that we cannot pounce upon
them. How cunning they are ! "

He saw a giant tree about four hundred feet high,
rising twice as high as the other trees of the forest,
and meditated : " The creatures of the forest know
the favorite trees upon which I perch and eat my
prey, only by the skulls and bones of the monkeys
I have torn to pieces and devoured lying at their
feet on the ground. — But," he added, " it is not
every day that I get a meal."

He laughed : " No harm can ever befall me, for
no enemy can frighten me ; no bird is strong enough
to fight against me ; the spears and arrows of human
beings can never reach me and hurt me, for I fly
and perch so high ; men cannot even see the tops
of my trees on account of the thick foliage which
shuts off from them even the sun and the sky."

After he had rested, he flew away and soared over
the dark green forest, which was so large that it
seemed to have no beginning nor end, and once
more he watched for monkeys. But his piercing,
far-sighted eyes saw nothing, — not a branch of a tree


was moving. Then he thought it was time to seek
his mate, for they had agreed when they parted in
the morning to meet on a certain tree upon which
they were accustomed to rest during the day after
their noon search for prey, and tell each other
what had happened.

Before long he saw the tree he sought. It was
easily recognizable by the peculiar shape ot its
branches. Soon he was soaring over it, uttering pe-
culiar sounds belonging to the language of the
guanioniens, and meaning, " Are you there, dear ?
1 am coming; " and his mate, already at the ren-
dezvous, replied, " Here I am, dear, waiting for

Soon after, the big guanionien had alighted upon
a branch close to hers, and the two looked at each
other with affection, for they had not seen each
other since they had parted a little after daylight.

They uttered sounds which seemed strange, for
these were words belonging to the guanionien lan-
guage, which meant, " How glad, dear, I am to see
you ! How are you ? " or, " How have you been
since this morning ? "

After their greeting there was a short silence, then
the big guanionien said to his mate, " Dear, what
is the news ? Have you been lucky to-day ? Have
you had a meal ? "

" No," she replied. " Not a monkey came in
sight to-day. They were afraid to come to the tops
of the trees to feed, though I heard many of them



talking among themselves several times. I am starv-
ing. Surely guanioniens have been in the region
before us, and that is the reason why the monkeys
keep away."

In her turn she inquired, " Have you good news
to tell me ? Have you discovered a place where
monkeys are plentiful ? Have you had a good
meal ? "

" Only bad news have I to tell," he replied. " 1
have seen no troops of monkeys. Bad luck con-
tinues to follow us. 1 am starving, too. For three
days we have soared over this great forest and have
seen and caught nothing," And with a sigh, " How
hard we have to work for our living!" said both at
the same time. " Oh, how fortunate it is that we
guanioniens are so constituted that we can starve for
days without dying ! This great gift has been given
to us to suit our mode of life. Hunger is our
enemy ; but old age is our greatest one."

They left their tree and agreed to come back in
the evening to sleep upon it, as had been their cus-
tom for some little time. They flew a long way ofl^,
in a bee-line at first, keeping in sight of each other
for a while, then parted.

Toward sunset they were once more perched on
the tree, and each inquired for the afternoon's news.

The big guanionien said: "Several times I saw
branches moving, with monkeys upon them. At this
sight my appetite grew more voracious than before,
and I thought that I was going to have a good meal.



I soared 6v6r the trees, but the monkeys never came
to the tops so that I could swoop down upon them.
They seemed to dread danger, although I was so
high in the air that they could not see me. But
experience has taught them that it is not safe for
them to be on the tops of the trees ; ugly, suspi-
cious monkeys, we have to be very cunning to cap-
ture them."

After he had finished, he asked his mate what she
had to tell. She replied : *' During my flight I came
to a place where I saw the tops of several trees
Covered with big red fruit. Surely, I thought, mon-
keys will be tempted when they see this, and will
come out to eat. I soared over them until it was
time to leave to meet you, for sunset was fast coming
on. At the dawn of the day we must fly to that
place, for I believe that some wandering troops of
monkeys will surely come there to feed."

" If I capture a monkey, he will never drop from
my claws," said her mate.

"Neither will one from mine," she replied. "Oh,
dear, how hard it is to work for nothing ! "

The sun had set, and darkness came over the land,
and the two guanioniens tell asleep. Thev felt safe,
for the tree was large, and its first branch was so high
above the forest that nothing but winged creatures
could get to them.

At daybreak the two guanioniens left, travelling in
the direction of the fruit trees as fast as they could.
They remained in sight of each other, but did not



talk or hail each other, as was their wont, for fear
the monkeys might hear them and become more wary
than ever.

At last, to their great satisfaction, after travelling
about one hundred miles, they saw in the distance the
bright red tops of the fruit trees they sought. At the
sight the two guanioniens came together and whispered :
" Surely sojne troops of monkeys will come and feed
upon these trees. Let us soar above them all day, if
necessary. Patience is often rewarded. Sometimes
the prey comes when we are ready to give up."

Then they flew very high and soared above the
fruit-bearing trees. They soared a long time, looking
down in that peculiar manner which belongs to the
eagle, their eyeballs moving so that they can see
directly under them. Suddenly they heard monkeys
chattering among themselves. The reason of this
loud talk was that two troops of difl^erent species
of monkeys were quarrelling, daring each other and
ready to fight. One troop was trying to drive the
other away.

The two guanioniens, by peculiar motions of. their
wings and other silent ways of communication only
known to their species, told each other the news about
the monkeys.

Great indeed was the joy of the guanioniens at the
prospect of a good hearty meal. They bided their
time and watched for their opportunity. They were
not going to be rash and run tne chance of missing

their prey.



It happened that t^A'o or three days before, troops of
monkeys had come to ^.

those same trees and
had eaten up all the
fruit that was on their
lower and middle
branches, thus leaving
that on the top. The

monkeys looked
up, and when
they saw the
bright red, juicy
fruit, they forgot
all about guan-
ioniens, and soon
were all over the
tops of several
^ ■■ "^ '■- trees eating away

to their hearts' content, unaware of the presence



of their enemies soaring above them and waiting for
the opportune moment to pounce upon them.

Suddenly, Uke a flash, the two guanioniens swooped
down perpendicularly from their height, and before
the monkeys were aware of their presence, they had
seized the two largest in their talons, clutched firmly
by the neck and back, and rose in the air with them.



ONE evening after the guanioniens had returned
to their tree to spend the night, and as they
stood close together on a branch upon which they had
perched, the big guanionien said to his mate : " Dear,
it is time to prepare ourselves for the long journey we
take every year at this season, to go to our nest and
repair it. The country where we have built our nest
will soon be a land of plenty; there will be berries,
nuts, and fruits in abundance. By that time little
guanioniens will break out of their shells into the
world. The monkeys will come in great numbers to
feed on the ripened fruits or nuts, and," with a laugh
peculiar to guanioniens, " then we shall be able to
feed ourselves and our dear little ones quite well."

" It is so," replied his mate. " The height of the
sun, the intense heat, dry moons and rainy moons
that have passed away since we were in the Land of
Plenty tell us that it is time for us to go to our nest,
repair it, and raise a brood of guanioniens."

Then came a long silence ; the guanioniens were
fast asleep.

The following morning they greeted each other,
then started for the Land of Plenty to visit their ne$t,



which they had done every year for a long time past.
They flew in a bee-line. They knew their way per-
fectly well through the air ; but how, no one in the
forest could tell but guanioniens themselves. They
had to travel over a thousand miles before reach-
ing their nest. Now and then they looked down
upon the forest to see if any branches were mov-
ing at the tops of the trees. This would be a sign
that monkeys were there. When they suspected
that it was so, they would soar above them, peeping
deeply into the branches, but that day they were

Toward sunset they saw two giant trees growing
close together, well known to them, and upon these
they perched for the night. After they alighted they
looked all around. They saw some nut-bearing trees,
and the big guanionien said to his mate, " Let us soar
over these trees to-morrow morning ; perhaps we shall
discover monkeys feeding on their tops. We shall
have to be patient, for as you know, dear, prey
sometimes shows itself at the last hour and when
least expected. We cannot well undertake this long
journey without food."

Then they went to sleep. Early the next morning
they saw from their resting-place branches of trees
moving in several places, and knew that troops of
monkeys were feeding. At once they left and soared
over the monkeys and succeeded in capturing two,
which they carried to the tree where they had spent
the night, and devoured them.


After this bountiful repast they said, " Now that
we have had a fine meal we can reach our destination
without difficulty."

In the afternoon a small black spot rose above the
horizon in the east. It gradually grew larger and
larger against the sky, in spite of the wind which blew
against it.

The old guanionien flew to his mate and said:
" Dear, by the look of the sky a tornado will soon be
upon us ; the wind will blow fiercely. Let us find a
tree upon which we can shelter ourselves, for we are
not strong enough to fly against the tornado, and we
could not possibly go with the wind, for we do not
know where it would take us. It might carry us to
a country we do not know."

They looked around them and saw a tall tree, and
flew toward it as fast as their wings could carrv them,
and soon were perched in its centre, being protected
thus by its big trunk and many branches. They
knew that these would partly break the force of the
fearful wind. They had met with many tornadoes
during their lives.

They faced the black spot, for they knew that the
tornado was to blow from that direction, then sunk
their huge talons deeply into the wood on the branch
on which they were perched, so as to have a powerful
hold and not be carried away when the tornado fell
upon them. They made themselves as small as they
could by bending their legs, and shortening their necks.

They had hardly prepared themselves for their con-


flict with the tornado when the wind blowing against
the black spot stopped, then came a calm, the precursor
of the tornado. A white spot rose from the horizon
under the now huge black mass that had gathered.
It was the tornado. In the twinkling of an eye with

terrific force it
struck the tree
upon which
the guanion-
iens were.
The wind
hissed through
its branches,
many of
bent as
if ready
to break,
but the
guanioniens had
chosen a good
place. Never-
theless, they had a
9^ hard time to hold on and not to

be blown away.
Then the wind subsided, and terrific
vivid lightning accompanied by claps of thunder filled
the open spaces and the great forest. It rained in
torrents and such rain as is only known under the
mountainous equatorial regions of that great forest.


It stormed and thundered the rest of the day and
during almost the whole of the night.

The guanioniens had pressed their feathers close
together. F'ortunately they were well oiled and the
rain ran off over them, so that their skins escaped a

In spite of the great storm, the guanioniens had
short naps, at times being awakened by the vivid
lightning and terrific peals of thunder, re-echoed from
mountain to mountain.

At daybreak they awoke, and one said, " Dear, we
have had a very uncomfortable night, but at this
season of the year we shall meet many more of
them." Before leaving their tree for their journey,
they made their toilet, and it took them quite a

Not only the guanioniens, but all the birds have a
bag or pouch just at the end of the spinal column
near the tail, full of an oily or fatty soft substance,
which they take from the opening with their beak and
with which they oil their feathers. The guanioniens
had a big one indeed, making a large protuberance.

They began to take the oily substance from their
pouches, and their beaks went through almost every
feather, these being placed one upon another as shingles
on a roof. They were, in a word, combing themselves.
When no more oil was left, then they went back to
their pouches for more. They had plenty to do, for
the heavy rain of the night had •taken almost all the
oily matter from their feathers. When they had



finished they said to each other, " Now our skins are
protected against the rain." It was just as good as if
they had had on india-rubber coats.

After their toilets, the guanioniens continued their
journey, looking for prey as they went along, soaring
after a long time above the place where monkeys were
likely to come.

One day they saw and recognized in the distance
the giant tree upon which was their nest. They flew
toward it and shortly afterward perched upon one of
its branches with much satisfaction.

Looking at their nest, the big guanionien said to
his mate : " Dear, our nest requires much repairing :
it is terribly weather-beaten ; it is getting quite old,
and soon we shall have to make a new one. We have
raised many little guanioniens in this dear old nest of
ours, two or three at a time. Since we mated we have
been true and faithful to each other, for we guanioniens
always keep true to our mates. What care these little
ones have given us ! How we have had to protect
them with our wings from cold and from the rain !
How hard we have had to work to feed them, and to
raise them until they could get a living for themselves !
I wonder where they all are now, and if they some-
times think of their parents."

The following day they began to work in earnest at
repairing their nest. They went in search of small
twigs of trees and interlaced them and put them where
they were needed. Then three eggs were laid in it
by Mrs. Guanionien.



The guanioniens had a hard time while they hatched
their eggs, and became quite thin, for only one could
go after monkeys at a time, and these were not

They watched the trees and could see the fruits,
berries, and nuts getting larger every day, and saw

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Online LibraryPaul B. (Paul Belloni) Du ChailluThe world of the great forest : how animals, birds, reptiles, insects talk, think, work and live → online text (page 1 of 18)