Mugo was a little Kikuyu boy who lived in Kenya, East Africa. He lived in a village of round thatched huts. He had not grown tall like other boys because of a thahu--a spell--laid on him when he was a baby. He was too frail to share in the work and play of his village, and for a long time he was content just to play his flute which he loved. Then one day his sister, impatient with his idleness, asked him, "why do you let everyone call you 'poor Mugo'? You are not ill now, only lazy... If you think there is a thahu on you why don't you go to the Mundu-Mugo and have it taken off?" A boy did not actually go alone into the forest to consult Mundu-Mugo, But Mugo went....
Hilda Van Stockum was born and grew up in Holland, where her father was an officer in the Dutch Navy. She was married to Ervin R Marlin who worked for the US Department of State. They had six children now scattered in far-flung places such as Ottawa, London, New York and Nairobi.