The action plot of the story is quite simple. An explorer, Marcel Pretre, while on an excursion into equatorial Africa, comes across a tribe of extraordinarily small pygmies living in the forest. These pygmies tell him of an even smaller race of pygmies living deeper within the jungle. He travels even deeper into the heart of the luxuriant tropical forest and there discovers the smallest race of pygmies in the world. Among these minute creatures, he discovers “the smallest of the smallest pygmies in the world,” a tiny woman no more than forty-five centimeters (twenty-six and one-half inches) tall. She is mature; indeed, she is conspicuously pregnant, and she is quite black. She does not attempt to speak, and the reader learns that the tribe, the Likoualas, has only a very limited language and that its members communicate primarily by gestures.
The explorer is awed by this unique creature, considering her the rarest and most extraordinary creature on the earth because of her diminutive size. He takes photographs of her, prepares a description, and sends the photograph and article on to a newspaper, which publishes the life-size photograph, together with the article, in its Sunday supplement.
As readers of the Sunday newspaper see the photograph, they react in different ways, and these reactions and the comments they make are explored in the story as the next part of the narrative. The scene then shifts back to the jungle, where the explorer...
(The entire section is 522 words.)