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Volume 2838
Georges Dodds'
The Ape-Man: his Kith and Kin
A collection of texts which prepared the advent of Tarzan of the Apes by Edgar Rice Burroughs

Val and I; or,
The Wandering Boy of the Jungle

Intro | Part I | Part II | Part III | Part IV | Art
Anonymous. 1882. Val and I; or, The Wandering Boy of the Jungle. Boys of England. A Journal of Sport, Travel, Fun and Instruction for the Youth of All Nations.
• v. 31, no. 795 : 310-312
• v. 31, no. 796 : 326-328
• v. 31, no. 797 : 342-344
• v. 31, no. 798 : 358-360
• v. 31, no. 799 : 374-376
• v. 32, no. 800 : 6-8
• v. 32, no. 801 : 22-24
• v. 32, no. 802 : 38-40
• v. 32, no. 803 : 54-56
• v. 32, no. 804 : 70-72
• v. 32, no. 805 : 86-88
• v. 32, no. 806 : 102-104
• v. 32, no. 807 : 118-120
• v. 32, no. 808 : 134-136
• v. 32, no. 809 : 150-152
• v. 32, no. 810 : 174.


While this novel, serialized in the British story-paper Boys of England in 1882, is unlikely to have been read or even seen by Edgar Rice Burroughs, the character of the feral jungle boy, Yunacka, has remarkable similarities to that of Tarzan.

Let me first point out that this serial novel is incomplete, including only 14 of the 16 parts of the novel. The two missing issues have been the object of an extensive but vain search. Interlibrary loans requests, direct communication with libraries, and two independent on site, hand-on-the material verifications by my agents in England have established that neither the British Library, nor the library of the University of Leeds, the two sites holding the most complete collections of Boys of England, have the missing issues. The British Library has most issues of Vol. 32, but not numbers 802 and 808, while the University of Leeds collection has all volumes, except Vol. 32. Over a year's attempts to find these issues through booksellers or collectors has not turned them up either. Given the seminal nature of this novel, I present it as is, and will fill in the missing text should it ever become available.

Clearly, Val and I is neither The Jungle Book or Tarzan of the Apes, either in the sense of the quality of the writing or in the importance of feral jungle boy in the overall scheme of things—he is a secondary character. However, Yunacka is a teenage boy who has grown up in the jungle, climbs and travels ape-like amongst the trees, and he is the lost son of the Indian aristocracy (a rajah). Besides, Yunacka can mentally control wild beasts, particularly apes as well as a large panther, defeats bears and tigers in unarmed combat, besides defeating the plans of rebellious natives, and is generally bold and daring in defense of his friends.

The author of Val and I obviously did very little research on the fauna of Indian jungles, and there are a number of completely ridiculous situations, not to mention a young girl with a tame pet cobra! There's little or no description as to how the wild boy character, Yunacka, came to be in the jungle or to have power over other animals. Perhaps somewhat more Tarzan-ish than Mowgli-ish, certainly there are the potential seeds of these characters in Val and I.

Also, in Val and I there are remarkably strong female characters, with the two boy characters being frequently outdone in bravely and shooting skill by the young women. The women are, in general, strong and practical and don't suffer from the petty jealousies of the boys (over the women). Though the overwhelming majority of writers for the boys' story papers were men, one might almost see a woman's hand in Val and I.

Val and I; or, The Wandering Boy of the Jungle was serialized in the very popular British boys' story paper Boys of England in 1882, close to ten years before Rudyard Kipling’ first Jungle Book stories. This serial ended just a few months before the 16-year old Kipling was to return to India from his studies in England. Boys of England was the common reading fodder of schoolboys, so it might be easy at first sight to assume that Kipling read Val and I and was influenced by it.

Remarkably little written has been written on the possible influences on Kipling’s Jungle Book besides a well known magazine article on feral children in India, (1) which is said to be his prime inspiration. (2) As several other Kipling scholars I consulted stated, so Chris Banham (Ph.D., Univ. of Leeds) stated by e-mail: “You will probably know already that Kipling was known to frown upon ‘Boys of England’ and its kind—very unlikely indeed that he read “Val,” especially with it being a relatively minor BOE tale. Nevertheless, the list of authors influenced by BOE is considerable - H.G. Wells, for example.”

Interestingly, William Murray Graydon (1864-1946), while born and raised in Harrisburg, PA, USA, was very much an anglophile, moving permanently to England with his family in 1900 and staying there until his death. There's evidence that during Graydon's formative years his family regularly received newspapers and magazines from England. He is thought to have been one of Edgar Rice Burroughs' literary influences. As early as 1895 (3), Graydon published a serialized novel Jungles and Traitors; or, The Wild Animal Trappers of India, which included an Indian feral panther-boy. This feral boy (Bobbili) with a panther side-kick helps the heroes fend off nefarious enemies—in this sense it resembles Val and I much more than The Jungle Book. In 1905 Graydon published, in England, another novel with a panther boy, (4) though this one did not grow up isolated in the jungle, but chose to live amongst panthers as a teenager.

• (1) Col. Sleeman. 1888. “Wolves Nurturing Children in their Dens.” The Zoologist Ser. III, 12: 87-98 + note p. 221. (rpt. of: ‘An Indian Official.’ 1852. An Account of Wolves Nurturing Children in Their Dens. Plymouth: Jenkin Thomas, Printer, 15 pp)
• (2) Hotchkiss, J. 2001. "The Jungle of Eden: Kipling, Wolf Boys, and the Colonial Imagination." Victorian Literature and Culture. (2001): 435-449
• (3) Graydon, W.M. 1895. “Jungles and Traitors; or, The Wild Animal Trappers of India.” Good News No. 261-273. (also several book reprints)
• (4) Graydon, W.M. 1905. The Jungle Boy; Or, Sexton Blake's Adventures in India. Union Jack 4(85), New series, 27 May 1905.

Chapter No. and Title
I Lost in the Jungle XXIX ???
II Face to Face With a Tiger XXX ???
III Mystery and Monkeys XXXI ???
IV Carried off by a Tigress XXXII ???
V An Unexpected Ally XXXIII ???
VI A Strange Procession XXXIV Too Loving By Half
VII Un Uncanny Creature XXXV Danger Thickens
VIII A Fierce Combat XXXVI The Shock of Battle
IX Yunacka’s Exploits XXXVII Caged
X Val Gets Jealous XXXVIII Timely Succour
XI A Paradise XXXIX Val’s Expedient
XII Yunacka Makes a New Friend XL A Gallant Resistance
XIII A Dreadful Fix XLI Yunacka Saves Hassan
XIV In the Nick of Time XLII An Expected Friend
XV A Crisis XLIII A Happy Meeting
XVI Preparations XLIV A War of Titans
XVII A Cessation of Hostilities XLV The Cave of Serpents
XVIII A Sortie XLVI Changing Over
XIX Bent on a Surprise XLVII A Frightful End
XX Bugle Calls XLVIII The Well of Death
XXI Taken Prisoner XLIX Yunacka’s Friend
XXII A True Friend L ???
XXIII A Friend in Need LI ???
XXIV A Rise and a Fall LII A Desperate Attack
XXV A Spirited Engagement LIII A Trying Moment
XXVI A Mad Act LIV Deliberation
XXVII In the Enemy’s Camp LV Rescued
XXVIII Dana or Death! LVI Conclusion

Intro | Part I | Part II | Part III | Part IV | Art

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Georges Dodds
Bill Hillman

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