Mary Grant Bruce’s delightful African jungle stories for small children were broadcast by BBC Radio in the 1930s.
“Wait! Was that African stories? By Mary Grant Bruce?” Yes, indeed. Mary’s husband, Major George Bruce, had spent many years in Africa, and was a notable naturalist, hunter and fisherman in his own right. He had also introduced recreational fishing to the Andaman Islands, near India, where it is now a significant tourist industry.
These are the stories’ names:
‘A Story of the Jungle’ (first published in Woman’s World in October 1925)
‘Bomba the Brave’
‘Dub and the Pot’
‘Fighters of the ‘Jungle’
‘Kuru and Mylo’
‘Son of the Gorillas’
‘The Baboon Who Laughed Last’
‘The Elephant King’s Toothache’
‘The Island That Ran Away’
‘The Jewel-Hearted Monkey’
‘The Little Friend of Man’
‘The Monkey Who Dared’
‘The Mouse With Brains’
‘The Prudent Porcupine’
‘The Tale of the Happy Wart-Hogs’
From ‘Son of the Gorillas’:
The country of Ngagi the Gorilla is a silent land. Very few human beings have seen it, and the only ones who know much about it are the little black pygmies who live on its borders. They do not hunt there, for that would be asking for death; but sometimes the bolder men steal into it for the adventure of peeping at its strange inhabitants.
It is a silent land, because Ngagi permits nothing else to live there except for a race of small elephants; and these keep out of the paths of the Ngagi folk. No birds twitter and call in the trees; no small animals enter the gloomy forests where great gnarled trees are joined overhead in green vaults, festooned by vines and drooping lichen, with orchids making splashes of brilliant colour. The ground is covered with deep moss and rotting vegetation; huge masses of fungus flourish in the steaming heat.
There the Ngagi folk wander, never sleeping twice in the same place: silent people, unless one is angry, except for the morning howl. That never fails when each morning a big father gorilla leaves his shelter. Then he stands erect, taller than a tall man, beating his chest with his enormous fists, and the first peep of the sun his long howl, fierce and strange, echoes through the forest. The pygmies believe that the sun cannot rise until he calls it, and so they call him Ngagi—the Breaker of the Night.
The Trustee of The Mary Grant Bruce Family Trust owns the extant copyrights on Mary Grant Bruce’s short stories.