“The Baboon King” SummaryMaximilian BystryDuBois – 1BDecember 15, 2017 In the first part of the book called “The Nature of the Beast”, we met a young man named Morengáru. He grew up in the small village of Nairobi in southern Kenya. His mother was part of the Kikuyu tribe. They were a peaceful tribe that revolved around relations and safety.
They believed that war was never the answer. His father was the Masai tribe. This tribe revolved around hunters and gatherers. They believed that in some certain circumstances, war was acceptable. Throughout Morengáru’s early life, he would go back and forth from different tribes. As he did this, he learned different aspects of each tribes and his opinions were never set and stoned.
Time passes and the Masai have a problem with a leopard. This leopard is getting into their livestock and causing a problem. Since Morengáru grew up as a part of his fathers tribe, the Masai, he was a strong, young hunter. He began to follow the trail of the leopard. Once he had found the leopard, he killed it. He brought it back to his father’s tribe and the Masai people praised him for it. In the book, it says, “Morengáru found his place in the heart of Kikuyu.” In the second part of the book called “The Heart of the Hunter”, it started with a story about Morengáru’s mother when she was a child.
As a child, she was sold to a man of the Masai tribe. The man who bought her was none other than Morengáru’s father. As he bought her, they got married.
As the second part progresses, Morengáru left the hills of Loita to take refuge in Ngong. He left because he was had gotten upset at his parents for arguing about certain issues. On his way to Ngong, he encounters a small oryx. He was taken back when he saw this small animal. He was able to get up close and personal to this animal before it fled into the horizon. He called his animal “One-horn” because it only had one of its two horns. The night he arrived in Ngong, there was a ceremonial dance.
He observed all the people who were painted red and white dancing around the fire. The dancing represented a type of fighting. The dancing was portraying what one would do in battle. The next day, some of the local boys thought to harass Morengáru. They dressed up in a lion pelt and waited for Morengáru. However, Morengáru had been following the “tracks” of the lion. Once he had spotted the lion, Morengáru hesitated. He watched every move the lion made.
From bluffing to swaying, Morengáru watched his every move. Then, the lion jumped at Morengáru. Morengáru thrusted his spear into the side of the lion. However, Morengáru heard a strange wheezing sound. He had never heard any animal make such a noise. He checked in on the lion and saw that it was only a boy.
The other boy had ran off after the incident. Morengáru knew he had messed up and he knew the consequences. That night, he laid awake.In the third part of the book called “The Wanderers Fire”, Morengáru faced trial for his recent attack on the “lion”. His trial was long and grueling. Eventually, he was sentenced to banishment. He was banished from his home and was not allowed to return for some time.
Hem had to leave his family and friends behind and adventure out into the wild. He was very nervous and very scared. He saw many different animals and slept in many different areas. In time, he stumbled upon a group of baboons. This is where the story really takes place.In the fourth part of the book called “The Law of the Tribe”, Morengáru had awoken from his rest that night.
He was surrounded by a group of baboons. They were all surrounding him in a circle. Then the “king” of the baboon tribe came out. He was very strong. He looked at Morengáru for a long while. They were about to get into a brawl. The king would pounce around and bluff his moves. Morengáru watched his carefully studying his actions.
He finally leaped at Morengáru. They began to fight. They were both wrestling and fighting on the ground. Finally, Morengáru got the upper hand and killed the king. However, the tribe did not react as you may think. The tribe looked at Morengáru almost shocked.
They sat there for a while and then walked closer to Morengáru. They did not show any signs of fear, sadness, or powerlessness. They almost began to follow Morengáru. Morengáru did not know what to do.
He had the mindset that the baboons may think that since he killed the king, he was now their king. Eventually, Morengáru did become their leader. He began to met many of the baboons that were in the tribe. There was one baboon named Grey. “One old ape in particular, with a completely grey face, appeared to tolerate the young to a remarkable extent” (Quintana,134). Morengáru found Grey to be very mysterious. Morengáru watched Grey for some time. “It was amazing how calm and confident the old ape’s behavior always was; you would almost say dignified” (Quintana, 135).
In the fifth part of the book called “The Voice of the King”, Morengáru and the baboon tribe went hunting. The baboons were chasing many animals. Morengáru followed and came to a very unique animal called a dik-dik. This animal relates to the four species of small antelope.
(They are no larger than a rabbit). Morengáru and Grey followed this animal. Morengáru was on the ground while Grey was in the trees scouting for the animal. While they were hunting the dik-dik, it managed to slip away into the thorn bushes that were near. When Morengáru thought it was gone, he looked into the eyes of Grey. Morengáru saw into the eyes of Grey and knew he had found something.
It was that moment that even though Grey was a baboon and Morengáru was a human, they were both first and foremost hunters. While Grey and Morengáru worked together, they came up on the dik-dik. Morengáru saw the little animal and peered his club into the bush. Morengáru couldn’t believe it. He had hit the dik-dik. He heard the backbone snap under the harsh blow of his club. After they killed the animal, Morengáru tore it open. He managed to grab to hind legs and and the rest of the tribe devoured the remains.
As time went on, Morengáru was feeling almost homesick. He missed have a true conversation with a person. He missed the interactions and the emotions that human beings would show. He wished he could go back but he knew he couldn’t.After a while of being in the tribe, they began to have a problem. A leopard.
Morengáru has had his fair share of dealing with problems involving large cats. However, this was different. His leopard was a sneaky night dweller. It would steal the young baboons during the night. Morengáru woke every day with a shriek from a baboon female. One of the attacks happen to a baboon Morengáru called Baldy. He named him this because he had a very bald head.
He was taken by this thief. But, it wasn’t until the leopard killed Grey that Morengáru really wanted revenge. Grey was Morengáru right hand man/baboon. Morengáru wanted to find this leopard and end this agony. In the final part of the book called “At The End of the Gorge”, Morengáru was on the trail of the leopard.
He was very concentrated on his task. He developed an expert level of tracking and hunting from his father and from the baboons. He was on the track of the beast. He found out that he was dealing with a black panther, one of the deadliest leopards in the land. That did not change his mind. He remained focused and very concentrated on find his brute. He had the mindset of “you find it, you kill it!” After searching many days for this beast, Morengáru and his tribe came to a cave. This was a very big, dark, and quiet cave.
As Morengáru went in, he noticed the black panther sitting on its throne. This animal was sleeping. Morengáru left the cave and came up with a plan. He had made a net before hand, which the baboons took and played with, to use for the panther. Morengáru placed the net on the entrance of the cave so when the panther ran out, it would get caught in the net. After he did that, Morengáru scaled the rocks above the cave while the baboons secretly swarmed into the cave. When Morengáru got the top, he could see and opening that lead right on top of the monster. He threw a boulder down the hole at the top.
It followed with a hiss. The panther ran out and got tangled in the net while the baboons pounced. The panther had no chance. It was over in a matter of minutes. After the attack, Morengáru didn’t bother crawling back down the mountain. For once, he stood straight up. It was hard at first because of his deformed body. He looked out towards the horizon.
“Everything looked green and fresh after all the rain. Far in the distance a gigantic rainbow stretched over two hilltops. And yet this was the same barren country he had trekked through, following One-horn’s track. A herd of zebras grazed in the distance, and a pair of elands galloped close by, their brown bodies gleaming like velvet in the sunlight. As far as the eye could see, the plain stretched out, bathed in that gentle glow” (Quintana, 182 ). Morengáru began to walk, leaning on his club. He had learned how to live of the land. As long as he was going in the right direction, it was all fine by him.
The book ends with Morengáru singing, “Are you there? Show me where! I’m sick of standing here! This is no game! Morengáru is my name!” (Quintana, 183).