Translator:Nyoi-Bo StudioEditor:Nyoi-Bo Studio
The African grasslands were as wide as the sea. In Li Du’s eyes, the grasslands in this
season of the year appeared the same no matter where he looked. If he were alone, he
would have lost his way.
Fortunately, it was not necessary for him to know the terrain. Abdo was leading the way.
He was a human GPS of the prairie and remembered every path.
However, no man is perfect, and sometimes Abdo would lead them astray. Then they
would have to stop for a while to wait, while Abdo wandered around looking for the way
After walking for some time, Li Du saw a lush forest of a kind rarely seen on the
grasslands, and asked the lion hunter, “Are we going the wrong way again?”
The lion hunter took a puff on his cigar and went to talk to Abdo. When he returned, he
shook his head and said, “We are not lost. Abdo wants to find something here.”
The forest covered quite a large area, hundreds of hectares from the look of it. Li Du
and the others failed to recognize most of the trees growing in the area. They were very
tall, and still had green and yellow leaves despite the season.
There were fallen leaves on the ground. They had just gone into the forest when Ah
Meow jumped sideways suddenly. It waved its claws in the air, catching a snake and
throwing it down.
At this, the lion hunter hastened to say, “Be careful!”
As soon as he spoke, a black man appeared from behind a tree, watching them warily
with his hands folded over his chest.
It was nearly evening now. The light was not so strong anymore, and the branches and
leaves obscured the view in the forest.
Startled by the sudden appearance of the stranger, Li Du’s first impulse was to pull out
However, the man did not show aggression. He stood and looked at them without
speaking a word, arms crossed on his chest. From behind his back, another man
appeared, assumed the same pose and stared at them.
“What’s going on here?” asked Li Du.
The lion hunter said lazily, “Don’t you recognize them? We had just met today.”
Li Du responded at once, “People from the Hadza tribe?”
The lion hunter nodded.
The two men were unmarked, unpainted, and Li Du could not tell them apart from the
Abdo looked back and said something. The lion hunter said, “They must have come for
honey, too. We’re competitors now. Be careful, fellows.”
Li Du said, “For honey?”
“This is a big leaf-tree forest. Honeybees like to build their nests in such a place. There
will be several hives around here, with very good honey,” said the lion hunter.
The Hadza had a different approach to looking for honey. Every day when hunting, they
would pay attention to the location of the hives and collect honey later.
Looking across at the Hadza, who was showing neither aggression nor friendliness, he
asked, “Now what? We are not getting into a fight because of honey, are we?”
The lion hunter said contemptuously, “Are these cowards going to fight us? With their
javelins and bows? Ha, we have guns.”
The bodyguard who had been frightened by the leopard took this opportunity to show
off. He loaded his rifle and boasted, “I can handle twenty of them by myself!”
Li Du waved his hand and said, “Don’t always go the way of armed conflict. How can
you resolve this? Can you communicate?”
The lion hunter said disdainfully “Who knows the language of these primitive men? Ha,
they might not even have one.”
“Dear friends, we have language,” someone said in decent English, and another black
man came out.
The man who spoke was the leader. He was muscular and tall and dressed in an animal
skin. Li Du could not tell what kind of animal the skin came from but it was certainly a
Looking at the man’s animal skin garb, the lion hunter put on his most contemptuous
expression and said, “Can you speak English? Are you the leader of this tribe?”
“The Zulu chief wears leopard skin, the Hadza chief wears baboon skin, and unless I’m
much mistaken, that’s what he’s wearing,” whispered Brother Wolf.
The lion hunter put his right hand to his forehead and patted his heart. He said, “I am a
Zulu lion hunter. How should I address you?”
The big black man replied with courtesy and said, “I am Hadza’s waif, and my English
name is Cheeks.”
The lion hunter said, “Have you received a higher education?”
“I had the good fortune of being adopted by a kind person in my childhood and had
gone to school in America,” Cheeks said with a smile.
When the man said he had studied in America, Li Du became interested and asked, “I
now live mostly in America. Which school did you go to?”
“University of California, San Francisco. And you are..?” said Cheeks.
Li Du was surprised to discover that an African tribesman went to a better school than
he did. In fact, the University of California was one of the top universities in the world.
This man must have been very clever.
Cheeks had an American education, and that made the situation easy to resolve.
Both sides came to an agreement, and the lion hunters said they, too, had meant to
look for honey.
With a friendly wave, Cheeks said, “You are welcome to join us. My people are
preparing to hunt for honey.”
As they walked deeper into the woods, they saw about twenty or thirty more Hadza
These men were making ladders. They were making ropes of hemp from prairie grass
and using those ropes to tie wood planks into a long ladder.
There were also two tribeswomen circling a big tree, singing softly as they did so. Li Du
could not understand the words, but the melody was nice.
Soon after Li Du and the others appeared, two men who were weaving straw rope got
up and walked over to Cheeks to speak.
Cheeks raised his head and looked at Li Du and his party in surprise. “My people got a
porcupine in the morning. Was it you who gave it to us?”
Li Du did not recognize the two men. One reason was that he found it hard to tell them
apart, and the other was that back when they met, the two tribesmen were dressed in
clothes made of grass.
However, according to Cheeks, these two were the ones who hunted the porcupine.
When he first learned that Cheeks and the others were Hadza, he expected the two
sides to be related, as the Hadza were a small tribe of a few thousand people.
Most Hadza lived in Tanzania, and a few migrated to South Africa. They could not
possibly meet two Hadza tribes at once.
With this relationship, both sides felt friendlier towards each other.
The two women were still singing as they walked in a circle around the tree, and after
doing that for a while, they moved on to another tree.
Seeing that Li Du and the others were confused, Cheeks volunteered to explain, “It is a
tradition for the Hadza to sing before gathering honey in order to appease angry bees
and reduce our risk of getting stung.”
“Does it work?” asked Li Du.
“It’s a tradition,” said Cheeks, laughing.