Critical Summary of The Huntsman

There have been hundreds and thousands of works of art that were created merely to communicate the advice of how unnecessary talking may kill a person. We also find literatures of different ages and languages full of the criticism over the cruelty of kings. But the poem "The Huntsman" reflects both; advice for the young as well as the criticism of the undemocratic and autocratic rulers. However, the advice does not ignore the general human stupidity.

The poem is a Kenyan folklore which tells us how over-talking kills a man. The poem is about cruelty of kings and autocratic rulers that don't care to let go the foolishness of an average man. They are either too kind or too ruthless because they are beyond any law or procedure. The poem may also be alluded to the dictatorship and autocratic rulers of third world countries where life of an ordinary peron has no value in the view of the rulers.

A brave man Kagwa used to hunt in the forest. He hunted lions. Since nature often opens its secrets to bravest of men but few understand it. So did it to Kagwa but poor Kagwa could not comprehend the meaning of the truth unfolded by nature. Once he came across a skull in the forest. He dared ask the skull "how did you come here?". The skull replied "talking brought me here". The brave man could not understand the wisdom of the reply and reported the incident to the king.

The king was amazed as well as displeased as he doubted his story. The king sent his guard to find the skull. He ordered them to kill Kagwa if they found no such skull. With greater efforts, they found the skull but it said no word despite Kagwa's imploring. The guard killed Kagwa. Then the skull opened its mouth and asked Kagwa "how did you come here" and the dead man replied "talking brought me here". It means: "think before you speak". One must be careful while saying anything to the kings because they do not tolerate the simplicity of the people like Kagwa.