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Gentlemen Of The Jungle Excerpt

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A reading selection to be used in Mr. Lehr's World History class.

A reading selection to be used in Mr. Lehr's World History class.

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  • 1. Name Class Date Chapter 25 History Through Literature Chapter 12 MODERN ERA Jomo Kenyatta (1891–1978), who became a leader in the movement for African indepen- EDITION dence, grew up under British colonial rule. Much later, he would become prime minister of an independent Kenya. Kenyatta included this story in his book Facing Mount Kenya (1938) as an illustration of the relations between the Kikuyu people and Europeans. x As you read, think about what or whom each character represents. Then, on a separate sheet of paper, answer the questions that follow. Vocabulary Before you begin reading, find the meaning of these words in a dictionary: torrential, impartiality, endowed, embroiled. The Gentlemen of the Jungle O nce upon a time an elephant made a friendship with a man. One day a heavy thunderstorm broke out, the elephant went to his friend, who had one of the high ministers in the jungle kingdom, replied in a soothing voice, and said: “My lord, there is no disturbance of the peace in your kingdom. I a little hut at the edge of the forest, and said to him: have only been having a little discussion with my “My dear good man, will you please let me put my friend here as to the possession of this little hut trunk inside your hut to keep it out of this torrential which your lordship sees me occupying.” The lion, rain?” The man, seeing what situation his friend was who wanted to have “peace and tranquillity” in his in, replied: “My dear good elephant, my hut is very kingdom, replied in a noble voice, saying: “I com- small, but there is room for your trunk and myself. mand my ministers to appoint a Commission of Please put your trunk in gently.” The elephant Enquiry to go thoroughly into this matter and thanked his friend, saying: “You have done me a report accordingly. . . . I am sure that you will be good deed and one day I shall return your kind- pleased with the findings of the Commission.” The ness.” But what followed? As soon as the elephant man was very pleased by these sweet words from the put his trunk inside the hut, slowly he pushed his King of the Jungle, and innocently waited for his head inside, and finally flung the man out in the opportunity, in the belief that naturally the hut rain, and then lay down comfortably inside his would be returned to him. friend’s hut, saying: “My dear good The elephant, obeying the friend, your skin is harder than comand of his master, got busy mine, and there is not enough room with other ministers to appoint the for both of us, you can afford to Commission of Enquiry. The fol- remain in the rain while I am pro- tecting my ‘delicate skin from the hailstorm.’” “ But he was told lowing elders of the jungle were that it was appointed to sit in the Commis- sion: (1) Mr Rhinoceros; (2) Mr The man, seeing what his friend Buffalo; (3) Mr Alligator; (4) The Rt had done to him, started to grum- impossible, since no Hon. Mr Fox to act as chairman; ble; the animals in the nearby forest and (5) Mr Leopard to act as heard the noise and came to see one from his side Secretary to the Commission. On what was the matter. All stood seeing the personnel, the man around listening to the heated argu- was well enough protested and asked if it was not ment between the man and his necessary to include in this friend the elephant. In this turmoil educated to under- Commission a member from his the lion came along roaring, and side. But he was told that it was said in a loud voice: “Don’t you all stand the intricacy of impossible, since no one from his know that I am the King of the side was well enough educated to ” © Prentice-Hall, Inc. Jungle! How dare any one disturb jungle law. understand the intricacy of jungle the peace of my kingdom?” On law. Further, that there was nothing hearing this the elephant, who was to fear, for the members of the Chapter 25 Survey Edition Chapter 12 Modern Era Edition History Through Literature • 53
  • 2. Name Class Date History Through Literature (continued) Commission were all men of repute for their impar- of your ideas. We consider that Mr Elephant has ful- tiality in justice, and as they were gentlemen chosen filled his sacred duty of protecting your interests. As it by God to look after the interests of races less ade- is clearly for your good that the space should be put quately endowed with teeth and claws, he might rest to its most economic use, and as you yourself have assured that they would investigate the matter with not reached the stage of expansion which would the greatest care and report impartially. enable you to fill it, we consider it necessary to The Commission sat to take the evidence. The Rt arrange a compromise to suit both parties. Mr Hon. Mr Elephant was first called. He came along Elephant shall continue his occupation of your hut, with a superior air, brushing his tusks with a sapling but we give you permission to look for a site where which Mrs Elephant had provided, and in an author- you can build another hut more suited to your needs, itative voice said: “Gentlemen of the Jungle, there is and we will see that you are well protected.” no need for me to waste your valuable time in relat- The man, having no alternative, and fearing that ing a story which I am sure you all know. I have his refusal might expose him to the teeth and claws always regarded it as my duty to protect the interests of members of the Commission, did as they suggested. of my friends, and this appears to have caused the But no sooner had he built another hut than Mr misunderstanding between myself and my friend Rhinoceros charged in with his horn lowered and here. He invited me to save his hut from being blown ordered the man to quit. A Royal Commission was away by a hurricane. As the hurricane had gained again appointed to look into the matter, and the access owing to the unoccupied space in the hut, I same finding was given. This procedure was repeat- considered it necessary, in my friend’s own interests, ed until Mr Buffalo, Mr Leopard, Mr Hyena and the to turn the undeveloped space to a more economic rest were all were accommodated with new huts. use by sitting in it myself. . . .” Then the man decided that he must adopt an effec- After hearing the Rt Hon. Mr Elephant’s conclu- tive method of protection, since Commissions of sive evidence, the Commission called Mr Hyena and Enquiry did not seem to be of any use to him. . . . other elders of the jungle, who all supported what Mr Early one morning, when the huts already occu- Elephant had said. They then called the man, who pied by the jungle lords were all beginning to decay began to give his own account of the dispute. But the and fall to pieces, he went out and built a bigger and Commission cut him short, saying: “My good man, better hut a little distance away. No sooner had Mr please confine yourself to relevant issues. We have Rhinoceros seen it than he came rushing in, only to already heard the circumstances from various unbi- find that Mr Elephant was already inside, sound ased sources; all we wish you to tell us is whether the asleep. Mr Leopard next came to the window, Mr undeveloped space in your hut was occupied by any Lion, Mr Fox and Mr Buffalo entered the doors, one else before Mr Elephant assumed his position?” while Mr Hyena howled for a place in the shade and The man began to say: “No, but—” But at this point Mr Alligator basked on the roof. Presently they all the Commission declared that they had heard suffi- began disputing about their rights of penetration, cient evidence from both sides and retired to consider and from disputing they came to fighting, and while their decision. After enjoying a delicious meal at the they were all embroiled together the man set the hut expense of the Rt Hon. Mr Elephant, they reached on fire and burnt it to the ground, jungle lords and their verdict, called the man, and declared as follows: all. Then he went home, saying: “Peace is costly, but “In our opinion this dispute has arisen through a it’s worth the expense,” and lived happily ever after. regrettable misunderstanding due to the backwardness Questions to Think About 1. Why was the man told that only jungle 3 Identifying Central Issues What was © Prentice-Hall, Inc. animals would be on the commission? Kenyatta saying with this fable-like story? 2. What is Mr Elephant’s explanation of 4. Humanities Link What does this story show his behavior? about Africans’ views of the colonial powers? Survey Edition Chapter 25 54 • History Through Literature Modern Era Edition Chapter 12

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