The Laughing Hippopotamus

Subject: Literature
Type: Analytical Essay
Pages: 5
Word count: 1476
Topics: American Culture, Book, Fairy Tale, Heritage


This research paper analyses on the literature story about The Laughing Hippopotamus. The story of the Laughing Hippopotamus was set up in Congo River in one of its upper branches which lived an aristocratic and ancient family of many hippopotamuses dating back to and boasted a pedigree on the days of Noah and beyond the existence of mankind as well as far dim ages in a sense when the whole world was still new (Baum, 17). These hippopotamuses had always for a long time lived along the banks of Congo River in the sense that every sweep and curve of the waters, every shallow and pit of its bedrock, every stump and rock and wallow on its bank was a popular to the hippopotamuses as their mothers.

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The thesis statement of this essay relates to a story of the Laughing Hippopotamus in one of the natural setting in Congo River and how they relate with the rest of the ancient family of hippopotamuses back in the days of Noah as well as the time of the existence of mankind and its literature review.

Literature Review

Researchers suggest that not so long ago, the queen of the hippopotamuses’ tribe had in one time a child called Keo, because of the fact that it was round and fat. According to the language of the hippopotamus, Keo was properly translated to mean ‘lazy and fat’ rather than round and fat (Baum, 23). However, no one particular individual in a given society can call the attention of the queen to the error meaning of Keo because the tusks of the hippopotamus were sharp and long and the hippo may think that the Keo as the sweetest baby in her family and the rest of the world. Indeed it was all right for the hippopotamuses to played and rolled in the soft and hard mud along the river bank of the Congo River. However, research shows that these animals are still living along the banks of Congo River. In my own view, the hippopotamuses in their habitats are one and the same thing in the way they relate with their ancient families.

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Moreover, researchers argued that the hippopotamuses can be waddled and nibble in the leaves and inland along the wild cabbage which grew along the river bank and the hippopotamuses are said to be contented and happy from morning hours until evening hours. Keo was seen as the jolliest of all the hippopotamus family with the ancient family which had ever been known over time (Baum et. al, 21). The red eyes of the Keo were little with forever twinkling fun which laughed at his merry laughter in all the occasions whether there was a laugh at anything or not. In other occasions, the black people who lived in the region at times called him ‘Ippi’ which means jolly one. These people dared the Ippi to anigh again to him on the account of his fiercest mother, aunts, cousins, and uncles who dwell in vast majority colony along the riverside of Congo River (Meyer, 11).

While the black people who dwelt in small villages in the region and scattered among many trees in the forest, they dared not to attack the royal families of the hippopotamuses since they were amazed and fond of eating the meat of hippopotamuses whenever they like and could get them. In a matter of fact and sense in my view, the black people had secrets with the hippopotamuses (Baum, 31). In addition, when the black people in the community tried to managed and catch the hippopotamuses alive, they had a specific trick of luring and riding these animals through the jungles in the forests and ranches as if they resemble horses hence reducing the hippos to a slavery condition.

Furthermore, having the hippopotamuses in the minds of the blacks whenever the family of hippopotamuses may smell the odor oil of the black people, they were supposed and accustomed to charge on these animals furiously and if by any chance they could overtake the dangers of the enemy might rip him off using their sharp tusks or stamp him off into the earth surface while using its own huge feet. As a matter of fact, the literature review of this story relates to the warfare between the black people and the hippopotamuses which supports and backs up this essay (Hedley, 41). From the story, for instance, there once lived a man called Gouie in one of the small villages in the community of the black people who were regarded as the son of the grandson of the sorcerer and chief’s brother of the village. The sorcerer was an old man known as “the boneless wonder,” in the small village of the black people. The old man was called boneless wonder because he could coil himself into many forms and coils like a serpent which had no bones which hinder his bending flesh into many and any positions (Du Chaillu, 63).

However, his boneless nature made him walk in a fashion like wobbly. In this way, the black in the society had a great effort of respect for the old man. From the story of “The Laughing Hippopotamus,” the hut of Gouie was made out of trees and several branches which were stuck with mud together (Baum et. al, 25). Also, his clothes composed of the grass mat which was tied around the waist.  The old man’s relationship with the sorcerer and the chief provided him with a particular dignity and in this sense, he was too much addicted to the thought of solitary. It is naturally perhaps that my thoughts, ideas, and opinions are frequently turned into the hippopotamus, his enemies, as well as the hippopotamuses and the old man should take into consideration the various ways of capturing these animals (Du Chaillu, 63).

The old man finally completed his actions and plans and he eventually set up about digging a deep and great pit in the earth surface in the midway between two sharp curves along the river bank of Congo River (Baum, 40). When the pit was completed, the old man covered its top with little branches of trees and he strewed the earth upon it which he smoothens the earth surface artfully in order to make no individual suspect that there was or might be a big pit underneath the earth surface. In this way, Gouie softly laughed to himself and he finally went home for supper. That same evening the queen came and said to Keo on who was aspiring and growing to be a good child at his tender age (Meyer, 13).

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In this scenario, the Ippi hippopotamus who is regarded as a jolly one heartily laughed due to the fact that he felt as necessary and relevant as a young boy does whenever for the first time he is sent to the grocery corner to buy a cake made of yeast (Hedley, 40). From the story, the narrator gave an example of how the hippopotamus laughs according to its nature. For example, the hippopotamus laugh like, “Guk-uk-uk-uk-uk! Guk-uk-uk-uk.” (Baum et. al, 21). After laughing, the Keo crawled out of the muddy place where he was tramped and wallowing away through the thick bushes and the last time his mother heard him as she lay half out and half in of the water was because of his musical rhythm “guk-uk-uk-uk!” and dying off and away in a particular distance (Baum et. al, 25).


To sum up, Keo swam up into the black people who wanted to clamber into his back once again. According to his fashion, the other hippopotamuses came to the bank of the river where the young hippopotamus told his one and only mother and all other tribesmen of the bargain nature which the Keo made with the old man, Gouie (Baum et. al, 29). The old man was supposed to return to the village in a year and about a day to become his slave. Hence, the black people living in the village was allowed and permitted to start their journey in peace and again the jolly one was supposed to live with its own people in the society and remained happy.

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Did you like this sample?
  1. Baum, L. Frank. Surprising Adventures of the Magical Mon. Read How You Want. Com, (2006).
  2. Baum, L. Frank. The Laughing Hippopotamus. Oxford University Press. (1901).
  3. Baum, Lyman Frank, and N. P. Hall. American Fairy Tales. Courier Corporation, (1901).
  4. Du Chaillu, Paul Belloni. Explorations & adventures in equatorial Africa: with accounts of the manners and customs of the people, and of the Chace [sic] of the gorilla, crocodile, leopard, elephant, hippopotamus, and other animals. John Murray, (2001).
  5. Hedley, Allison. “Fantastic fairy tales.” Early Years Educator 4.8 (2002): 40-41.
  6. Meyer, Christine. “6. Eliot’s the Hippopotamus.” The Explicator 8.1 (1949): 10-13.
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