Wednesday, April 8, 2020

G is for Gorillas (Folktales of Endangered Species)

Welcome to the 2020 A to Z blogging challenge! This year my theme is Folktales of Endangered Species. I am researching cool traditional stories about rare, fascinating animals - to raise awareness of what we might lose if we don't get our collective shit together. Enjoy!

Species: Western lowland gorilla (Gorilla gorilla gorilla)

Status: Critically endangered

The suitors of Princess Gorilla
Folktale from Gabon

King Njina, king of the gorillas, has a beautiful daughter. When she grows up, everyone wants to marry her, so the king sets a task: whoever can drink an entire barrel of a new kind of water, gets to have her as a wife. The "new kind of water" is rum. All the animals boast and try to drink the barrel of rum, but they all fail. After Elephant, Hippo, Hog, and Leopard, finally the tiny Telinga monkey takes a turn.
Telinga asks if he has to drink the barrel of rum at one go, or if he can take breaks. The king grants him breaks as long as he finishes the barrel in one day. Telinga drinks some, then goes to "rest" in the tall grass, before he comes back for more. What no one notices is that Telinga has his whole family hidden in the grass - and since they all look alike, they take turns drinking the rum until it's gone.
Telinga wins the beautiful Princess Gorilla. However, he doesn't get to marry her: the other animals get so angry that they chase him and his family up the trees, where they have been living ever since.

(I am not sure what species Telinga is. Something that is "very small" and lives in trees.)

Sources: Read the story here.

How can I help?

Read about conservation efforts here and here.


  1. I thought he was going to spit it out, or vomit it up to empty his stomach! I never thought of others of his kind. I wonder what he was.

  2. LOL! That little telinga fellow was very smart, but in the end that was not enough.

    The Old Shelter - Living the Twenties

  3. That was a smart move. Smart Telinga.

  4. I love reading your tales - they teach me something about the endangered species and also take me back to my childhood when I loved stories like these.
    And good that telinga didnt get to marry the beautiful gorilla - a husband that cheats from the very beginning!!! 😀

  5. That is just so unfair - the other animals didn't know he cheated, they were just sore losers. Although I do think Princess Gorilla should have had a say in her husband anyway.
    Tasha 💖
    Virginia's Parlour - The Manor (Adult concepts - nothing explicit in posts)
    Tasha's Thinkings - Vampire Drabbles

  6. Loved this tale. Such a clever plot. Sad, he got caught.
    He should've won the princess for his ingenuity.

  7. Squirrels? So clever! I love to read your tales, they are always so great!

  8. Great gig you've got going on here. I enjoyed the story. As for getting our collective shit together... I can no longer even imagine such a scenario. I feel like we need to be happier with smaller more attainable achievements and see that they are equally real.

  9. Hahaha! That was a funny tale. I would've won that challenge quite easily. Barrell of Rum? Pfft! Bring it on, I say :D Btw, Gorilla used to be my son's favourite animal. He was the only kid in his school to talk about gorillas. These days, he's grown up a bit and started liking the Lion.

    Guess the Telinga monkeys might be one of the tiny new world species like the Tamarins or Marmosets.

  10. Smart chap, Telinga. Not fair he didn't get to marry the princess...

    I'd guess a pygmy marmoset too like the poster before me.

  11. Wise Telinga but lady luck was not on his side...sigh.
    That is an interesting folk tale.

  12. That's a really cute story! I can easily picture monkeys playing a trick like that.

  13. That was funny. And sweet. Smart Telinga.

  14. I love this. So much for being enterprising, he still didn't win the hand of the princess!

  15. Hahaha! What a smart lil Telinga! Interesting story :)

  16. what a great story! Very fun! See you tomorrow!

  17. I don't think the monkey was a pygmy marmoset because Gabon is in Africa, not South America.

    I wonder why being able to drink a barrel of rum would be a good trait for your daughter's husband? I hope she got to marry her own pick after that fiasco.

    Finding Eliza

  18. I like Your blog a lot! I have a Polish-English channel with stories from around the world myself. You are doing a great job(sources and your introductions are wonderful)