The Story of Ken Gorilla in the Rue Jungle
By Nelson Jenstad
As told by Djen Gorilla also known as “Djengo”, who now lives in New Jersey.
This is the story of “Kengo” Ken Gorilla. He was a gorilla that had an extraordinary
ability to change things. However, he only changed the things he saw fit. I suppose he
could’ve changed the whole world if he wanted to, but he just changed the things he
found that really needed changing.
My name is Djen Gorilla, or “Djengo” for short. These days, I live in the Bronx Zoo. I
think the humans have some other name for me, but I like the place. They give me thick
green forest and lots of good food. They saved me from the poachers back home in
Africa. So, here’s the story my Uncle Hairy once told me about my Grand Daddy,
“Kengo” Ken Gorilla;
- Where Did You Go?
Kengo, or Ken Gorilla, grew up in the mountains on the rim of the Rue Jungle. He had a
big family of brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, and all his relatives, a colony of gorillas.
They played on the hillsides, and foraged for goodies to eat. The big gorillas would take
naps on the sunny hillside while the young gorilla “sprouts” played games, laughing and
rolling around in the tall grass. Time passed and Kengo had become the biggest gorilla in
High over the Rue Jungle the strange birds flew. Airplanes. Humans would call them bi-
planes or tri-planes. Gorilla hunters liked these small planes to land easily in hard-to-
reach places like the Rue Jungle.
Kengo remembered the first time he noticed the hum of an airplane engine high up in the
sky. He ran along the mountain ridge. He tried to follow them. He wondered “Who are
the creatures who would come hunting for my family?” Just then, the man creatures
spotted him. They circled the airplane around to chase this “big gorilla” down. Kengo
realized he was the one being chased now. He ran for it. Down the mountain. The
underbrush slapped and whipped at him. His heart pounded as the buzzing, grinding
noise of the airplane engine loomed closer. Kengo knew he better find some thick jungle
so he could hide. They could see him below, dashing down the mountain side. Tat! Tat!
Tat! They took shots at him from their airplane as they passed by overhead. They missed,
but not by much. Their loud shots ripped through leaves and tore at the trees.
Kengo turned and avoided the steep harrowing cliffs near the waterfall. He scrambled
down where the large trees formed a dense canopy over head. The sound of the man
creatures flying bird-machine was fading away. They would be back. They would be
This was not something Kengo dreamed of when he was younger. Oh, I should explain
about gorilla dreams. When a gorilla dreams, it’s not exactly like the way human beings
dream. Gorillas dream of a world of all kinds of sweet fruit, interesting jungle places,
and of course, their ancestors and family. But they also dream the secret dreams that only
Kengo loved his family very much. To a gorilla, all gorillas are “family”.
While human beings get all mixed up over language and words, gorilla-beings
understand each other very clearly with their eyes and actions.
Of course gorillas have a very difficult time understanding humans. And it’s no wonder
gorillas basically don’t like humans in general. It’s true that there have been some rare
human beings who have become friends with the gorilla beings, but among most gorillas,
“humans” are just the stuff of old legends and tales.
Y’know, for almost all gorillas, the “human stories” are ones that turn out bad in the
gorilla’s world. “Man Creatures” are something the gorillas typically do not discuss.
Humans, have doubts that other animals can actually “talk” with each other. The truth is,
however, most animals, and especially gorillas, are excellent communicators and are far
smarter than humans give them credit for. When humans assume that gorilla sounds,
grunts, groans, hollers and screeches, are just thoughtless “animal” noises, well, we
couldn’t be more wrong.
So, what’s been happening to these gorillas lately, is that the greedy poachers will just
come and kidnap a gorilla. The gorilla’s family will never see or hear from their loved-
one again. No gorilla Mom or Dad, sister, brother, or close gorilla friend will get the
slightest chance to hug them or say good-bye, or have any idea at all of what happened.
The stress upon family members is beyond measure, and of course the hardship on the
kidnapped gorilla is beyond words.
A heartbroken gorilla is one of the saddest things in the whole world. It is always difficult
when a loved one must join the ancestors in the deep blue beyond. Whether attacked by a
predator like a lion or leopard, or just passes-away because of old age or sickness. True,
that’s very sad as well. But, when a loved one goes missing, no good-byes, just – gone –
and no one knows why or where, now that’s something no gorilla, or any other creature
for that matter, can bare.
- A Big Noisy Bird
There was that noise again. Up in the sky. No bird made a noise like that. It had an almost
musical hum to it.
“It must be the man creatures” Thought Kengo. Or at least that’s as close to what he was
thinking as you might say in human words. He leaned forward on his knuckles and
wrinkled his brow. He had that concerned gorilla look.
You can’t blame him; Ken Gorilla has lost almost all of his family members. Gone; his
two lovable “sprouts” Jaja and Bango. Gone; their mama Jeebee who loves them and
cares for them so much. Gone; so many aunties, uncles and cousins. One by one. They
were kidnapped by those heartless animal poachers.
The seasons changed. It rained and rained. Kengo missed his family more each day.
Sometimes he would glance up expecting to see them approaching, only to see a leaves
swaying on breeze, or a shadow from a cloud as it rolled by. He waited and waited, but
no sign of them. Kengo prayed to his ancestors for his loved ones to come back. This
wasn’t fair; he simply didn’t have any way of knowing where they were. He didn’t show
his feelings much lately, but deep down, this hurt him. Deep down, Kengo’s heart was
He swore to himself to save his family. He was losing the entire gorilla colony to the
hunters. Kengo had to believe he could save his family. He swore he would anything, no
matter how hard it was. Kengo refused to turn his back on his family. He had no choice.
He had to act.
- Who, What, and When?
That “Noisy Bird” of course, was an airplane. It landed in a field further down the
mountain near the valley. Kengo had made his way down the mountain and cleverly hid
in the thick jungle growth. He spied on the man-creatures as they climbed out of the
Noisy Bird, to see what they were up too.
There were two of them. One wearing rugged “safari” gear, and the pilot had on goggles
and a spiffy foxhunting suit with a long red-crimson scarf. These were curious creatures.
Kengo watched, fascinated by all the things they were doing. They unloaded various
boxes, supplies and equipment.
“Oswald” said one of the men, “Why did we have to bring all this heavy junk, we’re just
here to try to catch a nice big gorilla, right? It looks like we’re moving here to stay.”
“Now, Rueben, haven’t we been over this? You were with me when we picked out our
necessities. And, our wonderfully miserable boss, “Mister Senator Pallor” as you called
him, he gave us that big cash deposit up front. We can’t afford to mess-up on this
venture. We’re very lucky to get a job like this at all, y’know?”
“Well Oswald, Supreme Governess Grace is his boss, and she doesn’t even know about
all his illegal schemes, does she?”
“Because it isn’t any of her business, now is it Rueben? The Rue Jungle is no place for a
Supreme Governess like Lady Grace. She’s perfectly happy in her castle up North in
Auldsburg. – Listen, Rueben, this isn’t any of your concern anyway, so just zip it!”
Rueben had a twisted frown on his face.
“Well, yeah Oswald, but, everyone loves Lady Grace,… besides that, Mister Senator
Pallor didn’t realize that you were going to spend almost all of the money on all this
equipment and gadgets.”
“Now, now Rueben, you were the one who insisted on all the gourmet foods like capers
and chutney. Plus, picking the latest sportswear designs in the fanciest stores in
Auldsburg. …And by the way, Ruby, you not supposed call him “Mister” Senator Pallor.
Did you know that? Ain’t you got no class, Ruby?”
Oswald continued his sarcastic remarks.
“…and honestly, Ruby, I don’t know another soul who’d pick an old fashioned fox
hunting get-up with that stupid red ascot, to hunt for gorilla in the Rue Jungle.” Oswald
“Ascot?” Rueben had that sour, insulted look on his face. ”That isn’t an ascot.” He
Now Rueben just wanted to get the job done, get paid and go home as soon as possible.
Enjoying the profits of the venture was Rueben’s only motivation. Oswald on the other
hand, loved the rustic adventure of outsmarting one of nature’s most challenging beasts.
“Oswald? …It’s “Rueben”. Not “Ruby” if you don’t mind. And, the scarf keeps the
engine oil off me neck, all pilots wear a scarf, it’s not an ascot! Don’t you know nothin’
about these things?”
“Oh, sure thing, Ruby,” He rolled his eyes. “Whatever you say!” Then Oswald let out his
annoying scratchy little laugh. “Eh eh heheheh”
It wasn’t long before Oswald and Rueben had their base camp all set up. A wobbly two-
bunk tent to keep the rain off, a sturdy little steel cook stove, and folding table, which
Rueben brought for cooking and dining, although it was piled up with Oswald’s maps, a
radio, and gorilla hunting equipment.
“Hey Oswald, why did you tie my scarf on the tent pole like that? I can’t even get your
knot out of it.”
“Oh that? Well, you’re a fine pilot and all Ruby, but when we’re flying, your stupid red
ascot flaps right in my face there in the back seat. Your fashion statement is making my
life very uncomfortable. You get my drift, Rueben?
“Ascot? Oh, uh, you mean my pilot’s scarf – oh, sorry about that, Ossie, I didn’t
“I simply shortened it up with my special knot tying techniques. You just plop it over
your head, and it’ll never come off. That’ll fix that!”
Rueben, disappointed, gave Oswald the raised eyebrow. His scarf really did have one of
those impossibly tight knots in it.
Despite the poacher’s constant bickering and snide remarks Oswald was sure he had it all
figured out, these two poachers were ready to get up in the morning and go catch a
Oswald explained to Rueben how they would … “Catch ‘em, tie ‘em up, and simply fly
‘em back” to the Auldsburg zoo and turn the gorillas over to the zookeeper. “Catch, tie
and fly and repeat.” This would add up to quite a large bag of gold “coin” for the
poachers. Gorillas were always in demand at the old zoo, because they never seemed to
last very long. In those days, a zoo wasn’t very well suited for a gorilla or any other
animal. It was more like a jail.
Of course, most modern animal parks are a different story. You can see beautiful, wide-
open lands for the animals. They often rescue injured or lost creatures, nurse them back
to health so they will be happy, healthy and comfortable. But not in these days, when
Senator Pallor was in charge of things. ‘Ol Senator Pallor was as greedy and crooked as
Well, it seemed to Kengo that the few gorillas left in the colony were not in any
immediate danger. They were far away over the mountain ridge. It was a long way for the
humans to walk and carry all that junk they had along with them.
Kengo sat in the cool blue evening light, well hidden behind the bushes. Spying on the
poachers, he didn’t make a sound. The man-creatures were staying put for the night in the
camp next to the “noisy bird” airplane. One of the man creatures lit a bright lantern to in
their camp area. The light made bizarre beams and shadows loom into the wild
Now that flying noisy bird thing fascinated Ken Gorilla. A machine you could climb into
and somehow, it would take you up into the sky. Kengo was fascinated by the airplane.
He had a good view of it from his vantage point nearby.
The poachers were finally snoring in their tent. Kengo almost hypnotized by that flying
“bird” machine, took a calculated risk. He couldn’t resist a closer look at that airplane. He
tip-toed over and easily climbed up to the cockpit and sat down. Ken Gorilla is a large
fellow. The airplane creaked loudly on its wheel springs. Kengo froze. Shhh! Oh, but
what a comfy place to sit! He saw all the interesting dials and buttons. One big dial had a
picture of an airplane in it and little lines and marks all around it. Kengo was imagining
they needed to check these things to make the thing work. He was sure if those funny
looking man-creatures could run this noisy bird, well he could, too. There were handles,
levers and foot pedals and one easy to reach, red button. Without a thought, Kengo gave
the irresistible, big red button a push with his huge gorilla index finger – the airplane’s
engine suddenly coughed and made a loud sputtering noise, shattering the quiet night. It
scared the “bananas” out of him. “Uh Oh!” he huffed. He hopped right out of the airplane
and slipped into the underbrush in a blink. The engine let out a gasping wheeze and fell
silent again. The propeller jerked to a stop. Ken didn’t know to pull the choke lever. If he
did, the engine would’ve probably started right up.
It took the poachers a moment to react.
“Huh? What? What on Earth?” Groggy but half-panicked, Oswald furiously clambered
out of the tent in his skivvies cursing in whispers at whatever in the world had got into
the airplane, followed by a sleepy headed Rueben.
“It was probably just a monkey or a bird.” Rueben yawned.
“Rueben, hello?” Oswald said in disbelief, “monkeys and birds do not start airplane
engines. Are you crazy?” He said as he snapped up his trusty hunting rifle.
“Oswald, just forget about it and go back to sleep.”
“I’ll tell you what, Rueben – You go back to your blanket and teddy-bear, while me and
my elephant gun go have a little look around. You can stay here all by yourself, or with
who, or whatever started your airplane engine.” Oswald tried to control his temper.
Rueben figured he’d best pitch-in or he would never hear the end of it. Plus, he didn’t
want to lose his fifty percent share of the job.
“Alright, Alright, then Ossie, I’m coming with, I coming with! Beans and whistles!”
“Well, be quiet about it then. You going to scare him off!” Oswald said in a loud whisper.
Oswald rolled his eyes and paused.
“…And stop calling me Ossie!”
So, the two poachers set off into the night, under the canopy of the jungle trees to see
whatever they might see. Shining their flashlights into the dark mist, they tromped right
past Ken Gorilla as he hid in the bushes. He caught their unpleasant “human” smell, but
told himself to just hold tight for now. Kengo wouldn’t just attack for no reason, although
you better believe it was tempting.
Well then, as long as they were out, Kengo decided to sneak back in for another first-
hand look at the campsite. Kengo picked up an interesting box with dials and wires
hanging from it. He looked at it and gave it a good hard shake. Oswald’s radio now
jingled with broken parts. Like a big gorilla would, he dumped it back on the table with a
jangle. Something else caught his eye.
“Hmmm…this is interesting” Kengo thought. He spotted a striking crimson-red scarf,
hanging by its loop on the door of the tent. He’d seen Rueben wearing it when he got out
of the airplane. Ken picked it up, put the ‘already’ knotted loop over his head. A good fit.
Cool! Too bad, for Rueben, but Ken Gorilla didn’t consider that it belongs to someone.
Hey, he’s still a gorilla, after all.
In a moment Kengo heard voices approaching. It was the clumsy humans slogging their
way back to camp. With a classy red scarf trailing behind, Kengo vanished into the
Morning Came. Rueben was up making a tasty breakfast by the cookstove. He wondered
aloud about who tried to start the airplane last night. Oswald was fiddling with the radio,
which didn’t seem to be working.
“Maybe it was natives. There are native people around here, aren’t there, Oswald?”
“Unlikely.” “My maps and research says the local natives don’t like to live too close to
the gorillas. They have a lot of respect for the gorillas, you know.” Oswald stuck out his
chin, hunched his shoulders like a gorilla and made a startling “Ooh-Uhh!” Rueben
jumped back and then laughed. Oswald laughed his wheezy “eh! eh! eh!” laugh again and
then froze. His face went blank.
“Rueben, take a look at this!” Oswald, sounding very serious.
“Just a minute, Ossie. …Say, have you seen my red scarf anywhere? It seems to have
gone missing!” Oswald held a sarcastic glare at Rueben.
“Do you see these huge footprints, right here in our camp!” Oswald said in a whisper.
“Looks like we’ve had ourselves a rather large visitor, a gorilla, a big one, 600 pounds or
so, – perhaps more.”
“I’ll bet that’s where my scarf went.”
“More likely a monkey or a bird got your stupid red ascot. Besides, Rueben, just think, a
six hundred pound gorilla could have you for a snack. (Oswald paused to consider the
“An odd bird you are, Rueben, a very, odd, bird.” With a raised eyebrow, Oswald turned
to see about the broken radio. ‘The radio had best be in working order’, Oswald was
Rueben went off grumbling to himself through clenched teeth.
“You just need a little class in your act, that’s all. That was a fine red silk pilot’s scarf,
not an ascot, beans and whistles! I’ll tell you who’s the odd one. Yes I will.” Rueben
mumbled to himself as he spread his peach chutney on his toasted crumpet.
Oswald ignored him.
Rueben ignored Oswald.
- Uncle Hairy Lives in a Tree
Kengo had already been back up the mountain and warned the other gorillas to be very
careful. Those poachers were up to no good. They would most certainly try to steal
another family member away from them again. As we know, gorillas don’t like
discussing man-creatures, and Kengo knew it. Although the whole colony really did look
up to Ken Gorilla, they just didn’t show it. True, they were afraid of the poachers, but,
had no idea what to do. For them, it was much easier to simply not think about it.
Kengo stood up and let out a powerful roar.
“No fooling around you guys. Be ready to run, hide or fight if you have to!”
“The man-creatures will come and they will catch you!” Ken didn’t like the job of
bringing bad news, but he was the alpha male, the boss of the colony. Like it or not, it
was his duty.
Ken Gorilla was determined to really understand what the man-creatures were doing and
how they were doing it. Now, his mind was racing with thoughts, the noisy flying bird
machine, the man-creatures, radios and elephant guns. Sights, sounds and smells. I don’t
need to tell you, this is a lot for a gorilla to consider.
As I said earlier, gorillas must have time for their reflecting, and dreaming the way that
gorillas do. He just had to put it all together. He knew he could. He had to. Then, an idea
came to him. Kengo paused, stroked his chin and smiled. Yes, he knew just who could
help him with this:
Ken Gorilla hurried off see his old Uncle Hairy who lived deep in the Rue Jungle in a
huge banyan tree. This was a very special spot. That gigantic tree hid the entrance to a
secret old gorilla cave. Uncle Hairy, lived in the tree’s thick branches, but never went
deep inside that cave. No one thought to ask him about, and Uncle hairy wanted to keep it
that way. Uncle Hairy really liked the figs from that huge old tree. Uncle Hairy always
seemed a bit, well, different. He knew things.
After an all-day journey, Kengo arrived. Uncle Hairy was delighted to see him. They ate
sweet ripe figs and jungle fruit for lunch. Oh, Kengo loved that part about his visits to
Uncle Hairy. But Uncle Hairy could see in Ken’s eyes and expressions, that something
“So what is it Kenny boy? What’s on your mind?”
Kengo told Uncle Hairy all about the man-creatures and the “Noisy Bird”. He also told
Uncle Hairy how the other gorillas in the colony didn’t seem to realize how important
this is. Wise old Uncle Hairy understood a lot more than Kengo realized, scrunching his
big thick furry eyebrows he listened to Kengo’s story with serious concern. Nodding and
stroking his silver-haired chin, Uncle Hairy listened carefully to everything Kengo said.
After lunch, Uncle Hairy assured Kengo his dreams will bring a powerful change. Uncle
“That red thing on your neck looks really sporty on you Kenny boy! It’s a sign of good
fortune!” Kengo appreciated the compliment. Maybe his luck would change after all.
Just then, a beam of warm sunshine peeked through a rare patch of blue sky.
In the Great Gorilla Tradition, Ken Gorilla would (he hoped) let his dreams show him
the answer to his questions. With a big bunch of bananas in his hand, Ken Gorilla found a
sunny spot nearby. He got himself comfortable and enjoyed his banana dessert. Tired
from his day-long trip through the jungle, he soon fell into a deep sleep for a peaceful
And Kengo did begin to dream. He dreamed of that airplane. He named it “Noisy Bird”.
He was dreaming that he was sitting in the cockpit and was flying the Noisy Bird
himself! He could see the two man-creatures way down there, running around on the
ground and they were really upset. Ken Gorilla flew around in circles over their heads
and it made the poachers crazy and it was great fun!
Ken Gorilla grabbed the flying stick and whichever way he pushed it was which way the
airplane flew. He checked the dial with the airplane picture on it, for some reason
checking that dial helped him fly. Ken Gorilla completely forgot he was dreaming. He
dreamt that he better come back to the land, he remembered how the man creatures went
gliding down to the field and so Ken Gorilla did the same.
“That was easy!” Ken Gorilla loved flying the “Noisy Bird”. Even though he was really
- The Ancestors Wish
Now, Uncle Hairy was shaking him to wake up. He was even holding a smashed up, half
eaten banana like an airplane control handle. There was a big pile of banana peels right
next to him. Uncle Hairy give out a laugh.
“Hey banana breath! Wake up! – I want to show something.”
Kengo looked up, stretched his long arms and yawned, showing off his mighty gorilla
fangs. He got up and followed Uncle Hairy carefully and quietly over to the secret cave.
“I got something amazing to show you, Kengo. I never told anyone about this, but I think
now is the time.” Uncle Hairy pulled off a dusty pile of dried vines, deep in the back
corner of the cave. And there it was. It was like nothing he’d ever seen before. Uncle
Hairy explained how his Grand Daddy hid this thing in the cave many, many years ago. It
glowed a dim blue hue like something from a very strange dream. It looked like some
sort of futuristic blaster with two shiny metallic light-blue rings around the barrel and a
perfect gorilla-sized handgrip. Kengo picked it up. It felt comfortable in his big gorilla
hand. Kengo’s memory flashed on how Oswald the poacher held his “elephant gun”. This
made Kengo feel very powerful, but not afraid – like the man-creature’s guns made him
feel. He put his big ol’ finger on the trigger – Uncle Hairy shrieked,
“Kenny! – BE CAREFUL!!!”
Kengo relaxed his grip.
“What does this thing do?” said Kengo asked.
“Grand Daddy called it a “Wish Maker.” said Uncle Hairy. “He told me to never touch it.
He was given this by the ancient visitor, the Blue Vorilla, that it will only work one time,
and -” Uncle Hairy couldn’t resist telling, besides he felt like it was finally time to tell the
“Who’s the ‘Blue Vorilla’?” He asked.
“Kengo, now this the most secret gorilla legend of all, so listen close. They say he was
sent by the ancestors. Y’know, I only heard stories, but the Wish Maker has been hidden
here for years, so I guess it’s true.”
“The Blue Vorilla is the legend of the ancestors. He watches over us from the Great Blue
Beyond. His eyes see with the eyes of all the gorilla ancestors who’ve ever lived. But they
say he won’t appear without a real good reason.”
Uncle Hairy paused. He was thinking. Maybe, Kengo was just a little to young to have
this kind of knowledge. Uncle Hairy didn’t want Kengo to get hurt somehow. Kengo
looked at Uncle Hairy and blinked in awe. Kengo felt his Uncle’s concern.
With thoughtful care, Kengo put the Wish Maker away in the back corner of the cave. He
covered it up with vines.
“Why didn’t you ever use it to make a wish, Uncle Hairy?”
“I never needed to, Kengo, I got you, and the family, that’s everything I ever wanted.”
Just then they heard the Noisy Bird flying somewhere outside, high overhead. They both
went to the edge of the cave to look out and see. It went over the mountain in the
direction of the gorilla colony. Kengo had a terrible feeling right now. And he was right.
The poachers were headed for the colony across the jungle valley.
- Cry of the Jungle
From the airplane, the two poachers had easily spotted the gorilla colony up on the
mountain. They already had the idea to sneak up and spray them all with knockout gas.
Then, they would go back and pick up all the knocked-out gorillas they could carry and
fly them away to the zoo before they would wake up. They hit the jackpot. Kengo heard
the Noisy Bird going back and forth all day as he hurried across through vast Rue Jungle.
Kengo arrived too late. He found the poachers had already done their miserable work.
The few remaining gorillas lay there completely unconscious. He nudged Cousin Bernie
and nothing. He picked up Aunt Shooba’s arm, just cold and limp. He tried to open
Tunda’s eyes, but they were rolled back in her head. Kengo had the depressing thought
that man creatures finally finished them all off. Either dead or missing. (You see, Kengo
had no idea it was only knock-out gas, and they would all be awake by morning.) So,
Kengo felt it was all his fault. He wasn’t there to protect them. His whole colony was
wiped out. Ken was alone, and he let down the colony and his ancestors. It was over.
He solemnly trudged over to the sacred High Cliff where the wise ones went to dream the
Great Gorilla Dreams. Any other day, Kengo would be amazed by a high mountain view
like this one. An amber sunset lit the far away clouds in the evening sky, over the
darkening jungle below. His jungle. His home. There he sat. Alone. A wave of profound
sadness was rolling toward him like a tsunami.
Those man-creatures must have some reason that they are so cruel to the gorilla beings.
Ken Gorilla didn’t understand why. Gorillas do not like to make enemies with other
creatures. Why do the man-creatures want hurt them so much? Why can’t they be more
kind like how gorillas are? Kengo thought he has nothing more to lose, especially now. “I
will do whatever I can to teach the man creatures a lesson they will never forget.” Kengo
had a determined face built on his broken heart. The tidal wave of emotion was almost on
The last orange rays of sunlight were slipping over the horizon. Overwhelmed, he stood
up tall. He thumped his chest and cried out a profound gorilla holler. Birds lifted off their
trees a mile away. The Rue Jungle echoed with that mighty wail. It seemed to echo
forever into the nightfall.
- A Heart-Pounding Dream
The glorious stars above seemed to be watching. At last, Kengo fell asleep and began to
have a very strange, very real dream. He was flying his “Noisy Bird” again. Swoosh,
dive, this way and that. Banking around a mountain top, skimming right over the tree
tops. But he wasn’t doing it for fun this time. He was searching. Searching the ground
below for his two sprouts, Jaja and Bango.
This was a powerful gorilla dream. Kengo was looking down on a strange village of
boxes. A strange, man-creature village. He saw his whole family in trapped in these little
boxes, with bars that held them in – like bamboo sticks but much stronger. Hundreds of
humans walked in the strange village. Those nosy man-creatures were staring and
pointing at them, chiding them just to see the gorillas look back or move about. This got
big reactions from the humans. “Oohs” and “Ahhs”. Gorillas are very sensitive about
being watched. They felt terribly helpless and scared. The man creatures didn’t seem to
care at all about the gorillas in the cages.
Kengo’s powerful dream showed him a bird’s eye view. A path over the hills, from the
man’s boxy village, and all way back to this very mountaintop. It was just like the way
Noisy Bird could fly. He dreamed the cages opened and his family was going free. The
gorillas ran for the path. Ken waved to them from the Noisy Bird to follow. They
Then something was wrong. He dreamed someone was coming after him in an airplane.
Tat Tat Tat! Shooting at him. Kengo was no longer dreaming. He really did hear the
sound of the airplane approaching. The harsh, bright morning sun, now peaking around
- Oh, You Got Me!
And there they were. Rueben had spotted a big gorilla. Well, what do you know?
Wearing a nice red-crimson pilot’s scarf. Rueben had a sly smirk on his face. There he
was on the cliff top.
“Look at the size of that fella!” Oswald actually showed some excitement.
The poachers were looking over the side of the airplane as they passed by again. Kengo
looked mad. He leaned on his knuckles as he turned to watch them. He huffed, this would
be his chance to take action.
“Ossie! There! Look!” Rueben was pointing. The airplane engine roaring.
“Just watch where you’re flying, Rueben! I see him. Hold it steady!”
They approached again in the airplane. Oswald fired a couple darts at Ken Gorilla from
the air. Tat! Tat!
Ken Gorilla turning, watching over his shoulder. Whack! Ouch! Something struck Ken
right on his butt!
“Something bit me!” he yowled. He turned and saw it was a pointy little dart with a
bright red feather on it!
“What is this?” Oh… In just seconds Ken Gorilla began to feel terribly dizzy, better sit
down. Too late. His eyes, rolling in his head, he fell down. Almost fell right off the cliff.
Luckily, he didn’t. The poachers had no-where to land up near the mountain top. They
had to land further down in a field. They had to hurry to hike all the way up, with their
special gear to capture the biggest ape specimen yet. And they did.
When they got there, Rueben smirked upon seeing his red-crimson pilot’s scarf on this
big gorilla. But it really did look quite good on Kengo.
“Ah Ha! So you are the scarf thief!”
Rueben carefully reached to grab it off of Ken. Fighting the drowsiness, Ken Gorilla
opened one eye made a deep sounding snarl and showed those big white gorilla fangs and
took a reckless swipe at the human. Rueben’s blood ran cold on the spot. Rueben stepped
back so fast he fell down on his bum, thankful that he managed to dodge the gorillas
swing. Ken Gorilla wasn’t about to let some man-creature come towards him like that.
“Whoa! Big Fella! You can keep me blinkin’ scarf then! I‘ll be able to buy myself a
much nicer one when I get paid for bringing you in!” Reuben was now standing a safe
distance back, dusting himself off.
Oswald stood by and laughed at Rueben. “Eh eh eh eh eh!”
The two carefully tied and cinched up the ropes around the huge ape. Kengo now felt so
weak and drowsy but fought to keep at least one eye on the rank smelling man creatures.
Oswald barked out commands to Rueben.
They rolled him onto the wagon and wheeled the heavy, sleeping gorilla and started
down the mountain path.
Oswald was quite pleased.
“This is the biggest one yet!” Rueben said with pride.
“…And he’s the best dressed, as well” Oswald said, referring to his red scarf.
They both laughed like a couple of hyenas. They struggled as they rolled him down the
rugged mountain path. The drizzling rain made the jungle hot and steamy, the poachers,
sweating and irritated. This was harder and heavier than moving a piano.
“Hey Ossie? Do you think the airplane can fly with this much weight in it?”
“Just keep him in the wagon, Rueben. Worry about that later.”
- Is This Working For You?
The poachers finally wheeled Kengo to the Noisy Bird airplane. The poachers did not
notice that something rustled in the bushes nearby. Who else would be approaching? Yes,
Uncle Hairy decided to follow behind. Watching, hiding, waiting.
“Rueben, we’ll camp here for tonight, then in the morning, we’ll hit him with another
knockout dart, and fly him over to the zoo.”
“So you think our friend “Mister Gorilla” here, will be okay, all tied up overnight like
this?” They had leaned Kengo up on a big tree close to the camp.
“I’ll have you know, Mister Rueben, there is no-way any ‘dumb animal’ can escape from
my rope tying techniques. Besides, I shot him with an extra-strong knockout dart. He’s
down for the night, guaranteed.”
But Kengo was clearing up from the knockout dart. Oswald, laughing his wheezy laugh
and bragging about his “bull’s eye” dart right on the big fella’s backside. Without making
a sound Ken Gorilla, was working the ropes loose behind his back.
Ken Gorilla watched their every motion, squinting his eyes at them, patiently, right
nearby under that big tree. Oswald and Rueben were exhausted from all the pulling and
hauling of their prized catch. It was time to have themselves a little celebration in their
makeshift camp. Rueben whipped up a delicious calamari dinner and they sipped fancy
wine glasses by the cookfire. Kengo remained patient. He kept an unwavering eye on his
captors. The poacher’s food had a strange smell to Ken Gorilla. He just stayed still and
watched, the effect of the dart wasn’t as strong as Oswald thought.
Although Oswald used an “extra strength” dart, it actually was a small animal dart.
Oswald didn’t read the label carefully. Oswald should’ve used a “Large Animal
Now, Kengo was forming a very clear thought in his gorilla mind – or call it a “wish”. He
kept looking over to the Noisy Bird. Y’know, when a gorilla really wants something, a
gorilla usually gets it.
Kengo still quietly loosening the ropes behind his back. The poachers had become
distracted with their little victory. They were yapping on and on about “conquering the
colony” and how rich they will soon become. The zookeeper would “pay a lot of gold
coin” to their boss, Senator Pallor, and of course the poachers just assumed he’d pay most
of the money to them for doing all the work. “Ah yes, a life of luxury as soon as we finish
the job”. Well, that wasn’t Senator Pallor’s way of seeing it. He could care less about
Rueben and Oswald’s welfare. The greedy Senator Pallor just wanted to put on an
impressive image for some of his high-class foreign dignitaries. Especially the ones
coming tomorrow for lunch.
But the worst thing about all this was for any poor kidnapped creature being held captive
at that lousy Zoo. Kengo felt his chance to act was getting closer.
Oswald fussed with the radio. He finally got it to work. Barely. Oswald dialed-in the
frequency to Senator Pallor’s assistant at the radio desk in the embassy. Static noise, and
then Oswald spoke.
“This is Oswald at Rue Jungle Station One, come in?” A moment later –
“Ten Four, Oswald old chap, is that you? This is Charles at the Pallor Station Radio
Desk” a thin crackly voice responded in the radio static.
“Please inform His Highness, Nobel Senator Pallor, we have our last gorilla on the way,
and this one is the prize catch. The alpha male. We should be arriving at the Zoo in the
morning. So, are there any messages for me?” The radio crackled.
“Ah yes,” the scratchy little voice replied, “Lord Pallor will be taking tea with the
Supreme Governess Grace tomorrow morning. But he left word for you to make it
snappy or things could be rather unpleasant, his guests will all be here by noon, and
what’s more -” The radio signal was lost in a garble of crackling static noise.
Rueben raised an eyebrow at Oswald.
“Don’t worry, Ruby, we’ll have this all finished up early tomorrow morning, right after
breakfast, now get some sleep.”
“Well, I hope he’ll be happy when he gets a look at this specimen. Should be worth a
small fortune I’d say. Wouldn’t you say, Ossie?”
“Just get some sleep, Rueben. You talk too much. You know that?”
Kengo’s “wish” became more and more crystallized with each moment. The words
“Senator Pallor” stuck in his mind along with “Rueben and Oswald” and “Zookeeper”.
Kengo had loosened up the ropes behind his back, and was waiting in the stillness. Not
moving. Just waiting.
- Sleepers Awake!
Kengo still watching from over at the tree. One time, Oswald had wandered over to check
on him. Kengo pretended to be tied up and asleep, he made a convincing snoring sound.
“That’s what like to see there, big fella. You’ve had quite a rough day haven’t you?”
Oswald laughed his scratchy laugh to himself under his breath. The two poachers, feeling
heavy from food and drink, finally settled in to sleep back by the cookfire. A couple more
hours passed. The cook-fire still smoldering. The sun would be up before too long.
Kengo heard a small little twig go crunch in the bushes nearby. It was Uncle Hairy.
“Shush Kenny boy, it’s me… I’m here to help!” Uncle Hairy whispered.
Uncle Hairy helped Kengo untie the last of the ropes.
Kengo whispered he had a plan that he got in gorilla dream. Uncle Hairy nodded and said
he had a “dream idea” as well. Kengo very quietly climbed into the airplane seat, and
then waved at Uncle Hairy to come and get in the Noisy Bird, but Uncle Hairy would not
go. He absolutely would not get into that human’s bird machine for anything. But Uncle
Hairy was holding something wrapped in vines. He hurried over and handed up the shiny
blue Wish Maker! Ken Gorilla took a curious pause and raised an eyebrow.
“The Wish Maker! I thought I only dreamed that.” Uncle Hairy saw Ken’s curious look
and gave him a wink.
Kengo took the Wish Maker and shook of the leafy vines. He put it next to him in the
airplane cockpit. It felt so light; it was like it didn’t weigh anything at all. Uncle Hairy
whispered to Ken Gorilla to wait a minute before starting up the Noisy Bird. Kengo
found a pair of groovy sun-goggles on the dashboard and slipped them on. Now with his
crimson-red scarf and a pair of “shades”, he looked very cool. Ken Gorilla was ready to
With a mischievous smile, Uncle Hairy trotted over and tied the ropes gently but firmly
around the snoring poachers ankles and then to the hot cook stove, and then to their
wagon and then to the other tree. He could barely keep himself from laughing out loud.
Uncle Hairy gave Kengo the signal, and ran off into the bushes to watch.
Ken Gorilla pushed the bright red starter button on the Noisy Bird just like he did before.
The engine chugged and sputtered. But it wouldn’t start. Ken pushed the button again.
The propeller stalled, and even more sputtering. The engine wouldn’t fire up.
Completely startled, Oswald and Rueben each sat bolt upright from a deep sleep, and
facing the bright headachy morning sun and a barrage of loud airplane engine noise.
“Huh? … Oh no! Not again!” Looking like a couple of idiots in their night shirts, rubbing
their sleepy eyes.
“Now where’s me blinkin’ elephant gun?” Oswald’s anger rising, his hands shaking.
Kengo was starting to feel like he was dreaming. Was it the side effects of the knock-out
dart? He just wanted the noisy bird to fly. “What’s wrong with this thing?” His mind was
racing. He his eyes raced over the control panel for other buttons. There was a knob at the
end of a rod. The knob got between his big fingers and Kengo pulled it out by accident. It
was the “choke” lever. Lucky. He jabbed the starter button again and this time the engine
raced to life with a roar. The plane began to roll along the path.
Oswald and Rueben, shouting and yelling over the airplane noise, jumped up to take
action but were falling all over each other. Their feet were all tied and tangled in the rope.
Uncle Hairy did a great job of threading it through the campsite. The cart and radio fell
on the cook stove which careened over with clanging crash, and dragged right into the hot
embers. A shower of crackling cinders wafted around the two poachers. In a panic, they
tried to run away from the cinders and the rope suddenly became taught against the other
tree that Uncle Hairy had wrapped it around. Splat! The two poachers went for a quick
slip on the muddy ground.
Kengo rolled out the “Noisy Bird” to the flat field nearby. Bouncing along, he gained
good ground speed. His big gorilla hand on the throttle lever, he lifted off, just missing
the trees at the end of the field. He was up, up in the bright morning sky. He circled and
saw the crazy shouting, poachers shaking their fists in the air below. Oswald, quickly
turned back to grab his trusty elephant gun and surprise! Uncle Hairy was right there,
standing on it with his best “mad look”. Uncle Hairy let go a fierce spine-chilling Silver
Back roar. Frozen in a moment of pure terror, the two poachers screamed back in total
fear. ‘Aarrrrrgh!” They ran off crying into the wet jungle, in their pajamas. Uncle Hairy
was pleased with the results. In fact, he was giggling to himself.
- Who’s That Flying Gorilla?
Kengo was on his way. High up in the sky, he had a terrific view. He saw something far
away that looked a bit like the image in his dream. This was it! He was approaching the
man village, the place with cages, boxes, and some impressive buildings. So many
humans came to see the gorillas in those boxes. He flew down for a closer look. Now,
some people were looking and pointing up at Ken Gorilla. Could they tell who it was
flying a Noisy Bird airplane?
Kengo felt pretty proud about flying so well. Whoa! But be careful! He gave himself a
fright when he zoomed down a little too close and almost clipped a tree with an airplane
wing. But he got good look at the boxed-up cages where his family had been trapped.
Kengo pulled the steering handle up again and stepped on the gas pedal to make his Noisy
Bird really go. He flew up to come around again, and he told himself in gorillanese;
“Easy does it!”
From somewhere out of the blue sky came another bird-machine airplane that started
chasing after Kengo. It came closer and closer. Kengo flew this way and that to avoid this
pest. It was like he was trying to get him. In fact, the man-creature in that other ‘bird”
was trying to get him! Kengo turned the other way and dove down. He made some clever
moves to avoid that guy. But it wasn’t enough.
Tat! Tat! Tat! Kengo saw some holes tear through the wing of his Noisy Bird. And again
he heard something whizzing past his head. Tat! Tat! Tat! It was like a bunch of hornets,
except these hornets put holes in things. Tat! Tat! Tat! Tat!
“This guy is shooting at me!” Ken didn’t like this one bit. This was not part of his plan.
“I won’t let these man-creatures take me or my family!” Those little stingers came again.
Tat! Tat! Tat! … Ouch!
Kengo stepped on the pedal and roared out. He pulled back the “flying stick” and began
an overhead loop. He could see the other airplane below him now, and his family in the
cages further down below.
The Noisy Bird, rattling in the wind. A strange misty blue puff of steam, hovering right
alongside of Ken Gorilla. Maybe the engine was smoking or leaking oil. It was, but that
wasn’t it. The misty light-blue fog shifted and became an amazing face of a brilliant
gorilla-being wearing blue goggles with a blue scarf wafting in the air. He hovered in a
mist right next to Kengo. It was Blue Vorilla!
“I must be dreaming!” Kengo thought. “That last overhead loop must’ve made me
“Now, Kengo, it’s time to make your Big Wish.” He spoke so clearly to Kengo. A perfect
link, spirit to mind. As clear as an eagle’s call on quiet morning. Blue Vorilla smiling as
he faded off. Ken Gorilla felt like the sun just became brighter, clearer, and everything
started to make brilliant sense. His red scarf flapping in the wind, always rushing against
him as he flew, everything seemed strangely silent now.
As Kengo was about to pull the trigger, his Big Wishes flashed before like a single
Wish: His family would make it back home safe and sound.
Wish: The ancestors would dream Great Gorilla Dreams and watch over all gorillas
Wish: That all creatures respect each other from this day on.
Wish: The two poachers Rueben and Oswald and that creepy “Senator Pallor” being
ordered into those same cages by the Supreme Governess Grace, who is so fair, and kind,
that she would fix this.
Ken Gorilla squeezed the trigger on the Wish Maker, it hummed a deep descending hum
and then popped out a fantastic pattern of expanding, blue circular waves that spread
everywhere. The Noisy Bird felt like it was floating. Kengo looked down and saw the
man-creatures, all dashing this-way-and-that in a comical panic. The other airplane went
spiraling away out of sight. He watched over the side of the Noisy Bird as the commotion
unfolded below. And then the Wish Maker simply faded into thin air, just like Blue
Vorilla. Kengo felt like he only imagined all that, but somehow Uncle Hairy knew it all
Ken Gorilla circled low to see if his family has gotten out of those cages. There they
were! There was Jeebee, Jaja and Bango! He swooped low and they saw him. They
waved and blew kisses to each other. They were so happy they were jumping up and
down, they were crying. So was Kengo. As he flew by, he signaled with his arm to follow
in his direction. They understood. They took up and scampered into the wilderlands in the
direction of home.
With his red scarf flapping in the wind, Ken Gorilla grabbed the steering handle and
headed back toward the mountains. He felt a wet spot on his chest with his hand. “Ouch!”
It really did hurt. However, he was far more concerned about Jeebee, Jaja and Bango, and
he missed them all so much. Kengo wished he could tell them how much he loves them,
and he also wished he could tell them to believe in their dreams and never give up. Right
then Blue Vorilla’s face re-appeared before Ken Gorilla. Blue Vorilla smiled.
“You did it Ken Gorilla. You changed things. Your wishes are all good wishes.” Kengo
flew over the mountains and has never been seen since.
Kengo’s family and all the creatures escaped from that horrible zoo that day. The
Supreme Governess Grace, well, she soon ordered the place shut down and the business
of kidnapping gorillas to be banned forever. Senator Pallor and his poachers were now
taking their meals behind bars. She ordered a full size bronze statue to be built in honor
of that “flying gorilla” with scarf trailing in the wind.
The gorilla colony was reunited on the mountain again. Except for Kengo. He never
made it back. But every once in a while, the sound of the “Noisy Bird” airplane would be
heard up in the sky and Jaja or Bango would run home to mama Jeebee and say they saw
him! He flew around in a circle and they really saw him! He waved at them! “He was
wearing a red scarf! It was really him! It was Ken Gorilla!”
Ken Gorilla in the Rue Jungle
By Nelson Jenstad