Chapter 2 Summary

The next morning, Hemingway awakens Ngui, one of the native hunters, to ask if he heard the lion. Ngui is at first surly but admits that he heard one lion, although he did not think it was the big lion Mary is seeking. Another hunter, Keiti, agrees that it was not the same lion. The lion of Mary’s quest, according to Hemingway’s friend Arap Meina, has hunted long and made trouble for the Masai. The Masai chief is contemptuous of Hemingway, says Arap, because he has had two chances to kill this lion and now must let a woman do it. The Masai chief comes to Hemingway to tell him that the Informer misunderstood him. Hemingway explains that his wife must kill the lion before the Birthday of the Baby Jesus, as this is the custom in their country. The African members of the hunting party do not believe this.

Hemingway remembers the two times the lion escaped them, when “Pop” (Philip Percival) was still with them. Pop told Hemingway that eventually the lion will make a mistake and that will be the time to get him. They talk of building Mary’s confidence in the hunt.

Arap Meina arrives to tell Hemingway that Mary’s lion has killed and therefore will be moving down to the plains. He also says that a group of the Mau Mau has escaped from prison and is heading toward the camp. Hemingway tells Mary that the lion they heard in the night was not her lion. Keita says he does not think the Mau Mau will come to the camp, but Hemingway prepares for an attack anyway.

Later, Hemingway is resting and reading when a police officer arrives. The officer asks for Hemingway’s help in the Mau Mau uprising. Hemingway agrees and will send for a plane at his own expense. When the officer leaves, Hemingway tells Mary about the prison escape. She is unimpressed. Hemingway and the native hunters continue to prepare the guns should the Mau Mau arrive.

Hemingway and Mary go out hunting for wildebeest. Mary brings down a bull with one shot, then she puts him out of his misery with another. Hemingway shoots a gazelle at Mary’s request to “show off.” Back at camp, the animals are butchered. Debba, the Widow, and her little boy arrive at the camp. Hemingway greets them and gives them some of the meat from the kill. That night in bed, Hemingway wonders what the big lion is doing at that moment. He also thinks of Debba, though he regrets getting involved with the village.