LOBO OF THE TASADAY: A Stone Age Boy Meets the Modern World by John Nance

LOBO OF THE TASADAY: A Stone Age Boy Meets the Modern World

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The author of The Gentle Tasaday (1975) now introduces this long-undiscovered Philippine tribe to children, focusing here on a ten-year-old Tasaday named Lobo. In the past tense, as unstated acknowledgment of the changes to come, Nance describes the Stone Age culture of this community of 26, who live in caves and eat fruit, nuts, roots, and berries supplemented by small fish, crabs, and frogs; whose work consists of gathering food and leaves (their only clothing) for a few hours a day; and who believe themselves the caretakers of the forest for the Owner of All Things. Nance shows us their stone tools and how they tub sticks to make fire, and he talks about their concern and care of cuts and scrapes, which are common in the forest and sometimes lead to infection and death. Then we witness the coming of the trapper Dafal, who introduces the Tasaday to knives, simple musical instruments, and meat eating--though at first the Tasaday worry about killing their ""friends."" Finally Dafal takes the Tasaday on a three-day journey, where they gasp, confused and frightened by their first sight of the flatland outside the forest--and where a gigantic creature (helicopter) lands, disgorging a strange man who pulls off his froglike dark eyes (sunglasses). ""Lobo's mind was filled with questions. Was this the good man [that legend said would bring the Tasaday good fortune?] What would happen to the Tasaday?"" As a partial answer, an afterword notes that the group was faring well in their forest preserve in 1980. But first, for Lobo, there's a ride in the big bird and a view of a world much bigger than his people's forest. Whatever happens, ""Lobo's life and the way he looked at the world would never be the same."" Which makes this photo-story a worthwhile record of the old ways and their encounter with the new.

Pub Date: April 1st, 1982
Publisher: Pantheon