Chapter 11 Summary
Hemingway walks with Ngui the next morning, thinking how “stupid” it is to be White in Africa. He recalls hearing a Moslem missionary stating that the White man must stay in the shade and get drunk to prevent being burned. Hemingway and Ngui pass a cobra hole. Although there is money to be made in snake hunting, it is considered low. Hemingway says it is good the cobra is not out because it is probably Tony’s ancestor. (The Masai were considered to be descended from snakes.) He asks Ngui if he thinks the coldness of Masai women’s hands is due to snake blood, but Ngui says this is impossible. They go back to camp to find G.C. reading and drinking beer. Hemingway says G.C. ought to write a story of his life.
Hemingway checks on Mary, who is still sound asleep. He and G.C. go out to the spot where Mary killed the lion. They measure the distance to where he was killed. They agree never to tell how long a shot it was. They drive back to camp, sad that they will not be able to hunt together until Christmas.
After G.C. leaves, Mary is very sad. Hemingway enjoys an influx of eagles, but Mary is unaffected. They do not mean as much to her as to Hemingway. They bring to his mind hunting in America on a reservation as eagles fed on a horse that had been left as bear bait. The horse had been lamed and, as difficult as it was, Hemingway shot him to put him out of his misery. Hemingway watched the eagles feed on the horse he loved so much. After they fed for a while, Hemingway shot them.
Hemingway and Mary ride out to check on the buffalo herd as well as some possible Christmas trees. Hemingway thinks of the paradoxes of modern Africa—the hunters are not allowed to hunt, and the warriors are not allowed to make war.
Hemingway thinks back to the storks Mary had seen in Spain. No one was allowed to bother the storks because they were considered to bring good luck to the village. Hemingway would like to take Mary back to Spain. Now, in Africa, they come upon some storks in their winter grounds.
Mary asks Hemingway why he has been so silent all morning. He says he has been thinking of her and birds and places. They joke about his jumping in and out of pits of despair. Mary, despite missing G.C., is glad the two of them are alone. At night they hear a new lion. They decide they will leave him alone and let him be his own lion.