My Apingi Kingdom - Paul du Chaillu

A Kendo


On my way back to Remandji I saw a good many little squirrels in that great African forest; but there is one little fellow so very small and tiny that I am sure it must be the smallest squirrel in the world. I must tell you something about it. The natives called it kendo. It was entirely a new species to me. Being so small, I called it Sciurus minutus  when I gave a description of it in the Proceedings of the Boston Society of Natural History for 1860, p. 366. I remember the first time I met a kendo I was with my great friend Querlaouen, just by a swamp, hidden and watching for wild ducks that were in the habit of coming to it every day. All at once I saw climbing along the trunk of a tree a little animal, which seemed so small that I had some doubt about my having seen any thing at all. I lost sight of it in a few seconds, then got sight of it again, but only for a second, as I hardly had my eye upon it when it vanished. Querlaouen saw it also, and told me it was a kendo. I immediately drew the heavy charge from one of the barrels of my gun and reloaded with the smallest kind of shot I had, and which was used by me to kill very small birds.

At last I got sight again of a little kendo. He was gnawing a little bit of the bark of the tree, and was standing still. It was the most graceful little tiny thing I had seen. Just as I raised my gun he moved away, but as quickly as possible I followed him in his movement, and as soon as I saw a good chance I fired, and the poor little thing tumbled down to the ground, to the utter amazement of friend Querlaouen, who was sure that I had a big monda (fetich) to be able to hit such a little thing. During my sojourn in Africa I killed several more of these little kendos, and brought their stuffed skins back, and as I know that you would like to see just how big the little animal is, there stands before you a picture of a full grown specimen.



I can not tell you the astonishment of Remandji when he saw I had been successful in killing the kendo. I was in his eye a much greater spirit than ever; so, if Querlaouen was astonished, you must just fancy how much more amazed Remandji was.

The next day we got back to Remandji, where every demonstration of joy from the villagers welcomed us. I entered the village with a very large retinue of women as cooks, headed, of course, by my old housekeeper, who insisted on taking the lead and being first in every thing, because, as she said, she was the first that had been given to me. I gave to each of these poor creatures a few big beads, and then dismissed them, and they returned to their own villages feeling quite happy.

Wandering the next morning in the forest with Okabi, I heard a very strange sound, and stopped to listen and find out what it was.