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J N O 


3 3333 08124 9464 










Copyright 1893, 1894, by 

Copyright, 1894, by 
Copyright 1893, 1894, by 










6 TIGER ! TIGER ! " 93 














WOLVES ' ' 5 

DER" ii 



















DER" 180 


AFRAID" 183 









" IT is ALL OVER" 210 




















Now Rann, the Kite, brings home the night 

That Mang, the Bat, sets free- 
The herds are shut in byre and hut, 

For loosed till dawn are we. 
This is the hour of pride and power, 

Talon and tush and claw. 
Oh, hear the call! Good hunting all 

That keep the Jungle Law ! 

Night-Song in the Jungle. 


IT was seven o'clock of a very warm evening in 
the Seeonee hills when Father Wolf woke up 
from his day's rest, scratched himself, yawned, 
and spread out his paws one after the other to 
get rid of the sleepy feeling in the tips. Mother 
Wolf lay with her big gray nose dropped across 
her four tumbling, squealing cubs, and the moon 
shone into the mouth of the cave where they all 
lived. "Augrh ! " said Father Wolf, " it is time to 
hunt again " ; and he was going to spring down- 
hill when a little shadow with a bushy tail crossed 
the threshold and whined : " Good luck go with 
you, O Chief of the Wolves ; and good luck and 
strong white teeth go with the noble children, 


that they may never forget the hungry in this 

It was the jackal Tabaqui, the Dish-licker 
and the wolves of India despise Tabaqui because 
he runs about making mischief, and telling tales, 
and eating rags and pieces of leather from the 
village rubbish-heaps. They are afraid of him 
too, because Tabaqui, more than any one else in 
the jungle, is apt to go mad, and then he forgets 
that he was ever afraid of any one, and runs 
through the forest biting everything in his way. 
Even the tiger hides when little Tabaqui goes 
mad, for madness is the most disgraceful thing 
that can overtake a wild creature. We call it 
hydrophobia, but they call it dewanee the 
madness and run. 

" Enter, then, and look," said Father Wolf, 
stiffly; "but there is no food here." 

"For a wolf, no," said Tabaqui; "but for so 
mean a person as myself a dry bone is a good 
feast. Who are we, the Gidur-log [the Jackal 
People], to pick and choose?' He scuttled to 
the back of the cave, where he found the bone of 
a buck with some meat on it, and sat cracking 
the end merrily. 

"All thanks for this good meal," he said, lick- 
ing his lips. " How beautiful are the noble chil- 


dren ! How large are their eyes ! And so young 
too ! Indeed, indeed, I might have remembered 
that the children of kings are men from the 

Now, Tabaqui knew as well as any one else 
that there is nothing so unlucky as to com- 
pliment children to their faces ; and it pleased 
him to see Mother and Father Wolf look un- 

Tabaqui sat still, rejoicing in the mischief that 
he had made, and then he said spitefully : 

" Shere Khan, the Big One, has shifted his 
hunting-grounds. He will hunt among these 
hills during the next moon, so he has told me." 


Shere Khan was the tiger who lived near the 
Waingunga River, twenty miles away. 

" He has no right ! ' Father Wolf began 
angrily. " By the Law of the Jungle he has no 
right to change his quarters without fair warning. 
He will frighten every head of game within ten 
miles ; and I I have to kill for two, these days." 

"His mother did not call him Lungri [the Lame 
One] for nothing," said Mother Wolf, quietly. 
" He has been lame in one foot from his birth. 
That is why he has only killed cattle. Now the 
villagers of the Waingunga are angry with him, 
and he has come here to make our villagers 


angry. They will scour the jungle for him when 
he is far away, and we and our children must run 
when the grass is set alight. Indeed, we are 
very grateful to Shere Khan ! ' 

" Shall I tell him of your gratitude?' said 

"Out!" snapped Father Wolf. " Out, and 
hunt with thy master. Thou hast done harm 
enough for one night." 

" I go," said Tabaqui, quietly. " Ye can hear 
Shere Khan below in the thickets. I might have 
saved myself the message." 

Father Wolf listened, and in the dark valley 
that ran down to a little river, he heard the dry, 
angry, snarly, singsong whine of a tiger who has 
caught nothing and does not care if all the jungle 
knows it. 

" The fool ! ' said Father Wolf. " To begin a 
night's work with that noise ! Does he think 


that our buck are like his fat Waingunga bul- 
locks ? ' 

" H'sh ! It is neither bullock nor buck that he 
hunts to-night," said Mother Wolf; " it is Man." 
The whine had changed to a sort of humming 
purr that seemed to roll from every quarter of 
the compass. It was the noise that bewilders 
wood-cutters, and gipsies sleeping in the open. 


and makes them run sometimes into the very 
mouth of the tiger. 


" Man ! ' said Father Wolf, showing- all his 


white teeth. "Faugh! Are there not enough 

C5 O 

beetles and frogs in the tanks that he must eat 


Man and on our ground too ! ' 


The Law of the Jungle, which never orders 
anything without a reason, forbids every beast to 
eat Man except when he is killing to show his 
children how to kill, and then he must hunt out- 
side the hunting-grounds of his pack or tribe. 
The real reason for this is that man -killing 
means, sooner or later, the arrival of white men 
on elephants, with guns, and hundreds of brown 
men with gongs and rockets and torches. Then 
everybody in the jungle suffers. The reason the 
beasts give among themselves is that Man is the 

o o 

weakest and most defenseless of all living things, 
and it is unsportsmanlike to touch him. They 
say too and it is true that man-eaters be- 
come mangy, and lose their teeth. 

The purr grew louder, and ended in the full- 
throated "Aaarh!" of the tiger's charge. 

Then there was a howl- -an untigerish howl 
from Shere Khan. "He has missed," said 
Mother Wolf. "What is it?" 

Father Wolf ran out a few paces and heard 


Shere Khan muttering and mumbling savagely, 
as he tumbled about in the scrub. 

''The fool has had no more sense than to 
jump at a wood-cutters' camp-fire, so he has 
burned his feet," said Father Wolf, with a grunt. 
" Tabaqui is with him." 

" Something is coming uphill," said Mother 
Wolf, twitching one ear. " Get ready." 

The bushes rustled a little in the thicket, and 
Father Wolf dropped with his haunches under 
him, ready for his leap. Then, if you had been 
watching, you would have seen the most wonder- 
ful thinof in the world the wolf checked in mid- 


spring. He made his bound before he saw what 
it was he was jumping at, and then he tried to 
stop himself. The result was that he shot up 
straight into the air for four or five feet, landing 
almost where he left ground. 

" Man ! ' he snapped. " A man's cub. Look !" 

Directly in front of him, holding on by a low 

branch, stood a naked brown baby who could just 

walk as soft and as dimpled a little thing as 

ever came to a wolf's cave at ni^ht. He looked 


up into Father Wolf's face and laughed. 

" Is that a man's cub ? " said Mother Wolf. " I 
have never seen one. Brin^ it here." 


A wolf accustomed to moving his own cubs 


can, if necessary, mouth an egg without breaking 
it, and though Father Wolf's jaws closed right 
on the child's back not a tooth even scratched 
the skin, as he laid it down among the cubs. 

"How little! How naked, and how bold!" 
said Mother Wolf, softly. The baby was push- 
ing his way between the cubs to get close to the 
warm hide. " Ahai ! He is taking his meal with 
the others. And so this is a man's cub. Now, 
was there ever a wolf that could boast of a man's 
cub amonof her children ? ' 


" I have heard now and again of such a thing, 
but never in our pack or in my time," said Fa- 
ther Wolf. " He is altogether without hair, and 
I could kill him with a touch of my foot. But 
see, he looks up and is not afraid." 

The moonlight was blocked out of the mouth 


of the cave, for Shere Khan's great square head 
and shoulders were thrust into the entrance. 
Tabaqui, behind him, was squeaking: " My Lord, 
my Lord, it went in here ! ' 

" Shere Khan does us great honor," said 
Father Wolf, but his eyes were very angry. 
"What does Shere Khan need? 1 

" My quarry. A man's cub went this way," 
said Shere Khan. "Its parents have run off. 
Give it to me.' 


Shere Khan had jumped at a wood-cutter's 
camp-fire, as Father Wolf had said, and was furi- 
ous from the pain of his burned feet. But Father 
Wolf knew that the mouth of the cave was too 
narrow for a tiger to come in by. Even where he 
was, Shere Khan's shoulders and fore paws were 
cramped for want of room, as a man's would be 
if he tried to fight in a barrel. 

"The Wolves are a free people," said Father 
Wolf. "They take orders from the Head of the 
Pack, and not from any striped cattle-killer. The 
man's cub is ours to kill if we choose." 

" Ye choose and ye do not choose ! What talk 
is this of choosing ? By the Bull that I killed, am 
I to stand nosing into your dog's den for my fair 
dues? It is I, Shere Khan, who speak ! ' 

The tiger's roar filled the cave with thunder. 
Mother Wolf shook herself clear of the cubs and 
sprang forward, her eyes, like two green moons 
in the darkness, facing the blazing eyes of Shere 

" And it is I, Raksha [the Demon], who 
answer. The man's cub is mine, Lungri mine 
to me ! He shall not be killed. He shall live to 
run with the Pack and to hunt with the Pack ; 
and in the end, look you, hunter of little nak- 
ed cubs frog-eater fish-killer, he shall hunt 


thee / Now get hence, or by the Sambhur that I 
killed (/ eat no starved cattle), back thou goest 
to thy mother, burned beast of the jungle, lamer 
than ever thou earnest into the world ! Go ! ' 

Father Wolf looked on amazed. He had al- 
most forgotten the days when he won Mother 
Wolf in fair fight from five other wolves, when 
she ran in the Pack and was not called the 
Demon for compliment's sake. Shere Khan 
might have faced Father Wolf, but he could not 
stand up against Mother Wolf, for he knew that 
where he was she had all the advantage of the 
ground, and would fight to the death. So he 
backed out of the cave-mouth growling, and 
when he was clear he shouted : 

" Each dog barks in his own yard ! We will 
see what the Pack will say to this fostering of 
man-cubs. The cub is mine, and to my teeth he 
will come in the end, O bush-tailed thieves ! ' 

Mother Wolf threw herself down panting 
amonor the cubs, and Father Wolf said to her 


gravely : 

" Shere Khan speaks this much truth. The 
cub must be shown to the Pack. Wilt thou 
still keep him, Mother ? ' 

" Keep him ! " she gasped. " He came naked, 
by night, alone and very hungry ; yet he was 


not afraid ! Look, he has pushed one of my 
babes to one side already. And that lame butch- 
er would have killed him, and would have run 
off to the Waingunga while the villagers here 
hunted through all our lairs in revenge ! Keep 
him ? Assuredly I will keep him. Lie still, lit- 
tle frog. O thou Mowgli, for Mowgli, the Frog, 
I will call thee, the time will come when thou 
wilt hunt Shere Khan as he has hunted thee ! ' 

''But what will our Pack say? "said Father 

The Law of the Jungle lays down very clearly 
that any wolf may, when he marries, withdraw 
from the Pack he belongs to ; but as soon as his 
cubs are old enough to stand on their feet he 


must bring them to the Pack Council, which is 
generally held once a month at full moon, in or- 
der that the other wolves may identify them. 
After that inspection the cubs are free to run 
where they please, and until they have killed their 
first buck no excuse is accepted if a grown wolf 
of the Pack kills one of them. The punishment 
is death where the murderer can be found ; and 
if you think for a minute you will see that this 
must be so. 

Father Wolf waited till his cubs could run a 
little, and then on the night of the Pack Meeting 


took them and Mowgli and Mother Wolf to the 
Council Rock a hilltop covered with stones and 
boulders where a hundred wolves could hide. 
Akela, the great gray Lone Wolf, who led all 
the Pack by strength and cunning, lay out at full 
length on his rock, and below him sat forty or 
more wolves of every size and color, from badger- 
colored veterans who could handle a buck alone, 
to young black three-year-olds who thought they 
could. The Lone Wolf had led them for a year 
now. He had fallen twice into a wolf- trap in his 
youth, and once he had been beaten and left for 
dead; so he knew the manners and customs of men. 

There was very little talking at the Rock. The 
cubs tumbled over one another in the center of the 
circle where their mothers and fathers sat, and 
now and again a senior wolf would go quietly up 
to a cub, look at him carefully, and return to his 
place on noiseless feet. Sometimes a mother 
would push her cub far out into the moonlight, 
to be sure that he had not been overlooked. 
Akela from his rock would cry : " Ye know 
the Law ye know the Law! Look well, O 
W T olves ! ' And the anxious mothers would take 
up the call: ''Look look well, O Wolves !' 

At last and Mother Wolf's neck-bristles 
lifted as the time came Father Wolf pushed 


" Mowgli, the Frog," as they called him, into the 
center, where he sat laughing and playing with 
some pebbles that glistened in the moonlight. 

Akela never raised his head from his paws, 
but went on with the monotonous cry, " Look 
well ! ' A muffled roar came up from behind the 
rocks the voice of Shere Khan 'crying, "The 
cub is mine ; give him to me. What have the 
Free People to do with a man's cub ? ' 

Akela never even twitched his ears. All he 
said was, " Look well, O Wolves ! What have 
the Free People to do with the orders of any 
save the Free People ? Look well ! ' 

There was a chorus of deep growls, and a 
young wolf in his fourth year flung back Shere 
Khan's question to Akela : "What have the Free 
People to do with a man's cub ? ' 

Now the Law of the Jungle lays down that if 
there is any dispute as to the right of a cub to be 
accepted by the Pack, he must be spoken for by 
at least two members of the Pack who are not his 
father and mother. 

"Who speaks for this cub?' said Akela. 
"Among the Free People, who speaks?" There 
was no answer, and Mother Wolf got ready for 
what she knew would be her last fight, if things 
came to fighting. 


Then the only other creature who is allowed at 
the Pack Council Baloo, the sleepy brown bear 
who teaches the wolf cubs the Law of the Jungle ; 
old Baloo, who can come and go where he 
pleases because he eats only nuts and roots and 
honey rose up on his hind quarters and 

"The man's cub the man's cub?' he said, 
"/speak for the man's cub. There is no harm in 
a man's cub. I have no gift of words, but I speak 
the truth. Let him run with the Pack, and be en- 
tered with the others. I myself will teach him." 

"We need yet another," said Akela. " Baloo 
has spoken, and he is our teacher for the young 
cubs. Who speaks besides Baloo ? ' 

A black shadow dropped down into the circle. 
It was Bagheera, the Black Panther, inky black 
all over, but with the panther markings showing 
up in certain lights like the pattern of watered 
silk. Everybody knew Bagheera, and nobody 
cared to cross his path ; for he was as cunning 
as Tabaqui, as bold as the wild buffalo, and as 
reckless as the wounded elephant. But he had 
a voice as soft as wild honey dripping from a 
tree, and a skin softer than down. 

" O Akela, and ye, the Free People," he 
purred, " I have no right in your assembly ; but 


the Law of the Jungle says that if there is a 
doubt which is not a killing matter in regard to 
a new cub, the life of that cub may be bought 
at a price. And the Law does not say who may 
or may not pay that price. Am I right ? ' 

" Good ! good ! ' said the young wolves, who 
are always hungry. " Listen to Bagheera. The 
cub can be bought for a price. It is the Law." 

" Knowing that I have no right to speak here, 
I ask your leave." 

"Speak then," cried twenty voices. 

" To kill a naked cub is shame. Besides, he 
may make better sport for you when he is grown. 
Baloo has spoken in his behalf. Now to Baloo's 
word I will add one bull, and a fat one, newly 
killed, not half a mile from here, if ye will ac- 
cept the man's cub according to the Law. Is it 
difficult ? " 

There was a clamor of scores of voices, saying : 
" What matter? He will die in the winter rains. 
He will scorch in the sun. What harm can a 
naked froef do us ? Let him run with the Pack. 


Where is the bull, Baeheera? Let him be ac- 


cepted." And then came Akela's deep bay, cry- 
ing : " Look well look well, O Wolves ! ' 

Mowgli was still playing with the pebbles, and 
he did not notice when the wolves came and 


looked at him one by one. At last they all went 
down the hill for the dead bull, and only Akela, 
Bagheera, Baloo, and Mowgli's own wolves were 

left. Shere Khan roared still in the ni^ht, for he 


was very angry that Mowgli had not been handed 
over to him. 

"Ay, roar well," said Bagheera, under his 
whiskers; " for the time comes when this naked 
thing will make thee roar to another tune, or I 
know nothing of Man." 

" It was well done," said Akela. " Men and their 
cubs are very wise. He may be a help in time." 

" Truly, a help in time of need ; for none can 
hope to lead the Pack forever," said Bagheera. 

Akela said nothing. He was thinking of the 
time that comes to every leader of every pack 
when his strength goes from him and he gets 
feebler and feebler, till at last he is killed by the 
wolves and a new leader comes up to be killed 
in his turn. 

"Take him away," he said to Father Wolf, 
" and train him as befits one of the Free 

And that is how Mowgli was entered into the 
Seeonee wolf-pack for the price of a bull and on 
Baloo's good word. 


Now you must be content to skip ten or 
eleven whole years, and only guess at all the 
wonderful life that Mowgfli led among- the 

o o 

wolves, because if it were written out it would 
fill ever so many books. He grew up with the 
cubs, though they of course were grown wolves 
almost before he was a child, and Father Wolf 
taught him his business, and the meaning of 
things in the jungle, till every rustle in the grass, 
every breath of the warm night air, every note 
of the owls above his head, every scratch of a 
bat's claws as it roosted for a while in a tree, and 
every splash of every little fish jumping in a pool, 
meant just as much to him as the work of his 
office means to a business man. When he was 
not learning he sat out in the sun and slept, and 
ate, and went to sleep again ; when he felt dirty 
or hot he swam in the forest pools ; and when he 
wanted honey (Baloo told him that honey and 
nuts were just as pleasant to eat as raw meat) he 
climbed up for it, and that Bagheera showed 
him how to do. 

Bagheera would lie out on a branch and call, 
" Come along, Little Brother," and at first Mow- 
gli would cling like the sloth, but afterward he 
would fl ng himself through the branches al- 
most as boldly as the gray ape. He took his 



place at the Council Rock, too, when the Pack 
met, and there he discovered that if he stared 
hard at any wolf, the wolf would be forced to 
drop his eyes, and so he used to stare for fun. 

At other times he would pick the long thorns 
out of the pads of his friends, for wolves suffer 
terribly from thorns and burs in their coats. He 
would O-Q down the hillside into the cultivated 


lands by night, and look very curiously at the 
villagers in their huts, but he had a mistrust of 
men because Bagheera showed him a square box 
with a drop-gate so cunningly hidden in the jun- 
gle that he nearly walked into it, and told him it 
was a trap. 

He loved better than anything else to go with 
Bagheera into the dark warm heart of the forest, 
to sleep all through the drowsy day, and at night 
see how Baofheera did his killing. Bagheera 

o o o 

killed right and left as he felt hungry, and so did 
Mowgli with one exception. As soon as he 
was old enough to understand things, Bagheera 
told him that he must never touch cattle because 
he had been bought into the Pack at the price of 
a bull's life. " All the jungle is thine," said Bag- 
heera, " and thou canst kill everything that thou 
art stronof enough to kill ; but for the sake of the 

o o 

bull that bought thee thou must never kill or eat 


any cattle young or old. That is the Law of the 
Jungle." Mowgli obeyed faithfully. 

And he grew and grew strong as a boy must 
grow who does not know that he is learning any 
lessons, and who has nothing in the world to 
think of except things to eat. 

Mother Wolf told him once or twice that Shere 
Khan was not a creature to be trusted, and that 
some day he must kill Shere Khan ; but though a 
young wolf would have remembered that advice 
every hour, Mowgli forgot it because he was only 
a boy though he would have called himself a 
wolf if he had been able to speak in any human 


Shere Khan was always crossing his path in 
the jungle, for as Akela grew older and feebler 
the lame tiger had come to be great friends with 
the younger wolves of the Pack, who followed 
him for scraps, a thing Akela would never have 
allowed if he had dared to push his authority to 
the proper bounds. Then Shere Khan would 
flatter them and wonder that such fine young 
hunters were content to be led by a dying wolf 
and a man's cub. "They tell me," Shere Khan 
would say, " that at Council ye dare not look him 
between the eyes " ; and the young wolves would 
giowl and bristle. 


Bagheera, who had eyes and ears everywhere, 
knew something of this, and once or twice he 
told Mowgli in so many words that Shere Khan 
would kill him some day ; and Mowgli would 
laugh and answer: " I have the Pack and I have 
thee ; and Baloo, though he is so lazy, might 
strike a blow or two for my sake. Why should 
I be afraid ? ' 

It was one very warm day that a new notion 
came to Bagheera born of something that he 
had heard. Perhaps Ikki, the Porcupine, had told 
him ; but he said to Mowgli when they were 
deep in the jungle, as the boy lay with his head 
on Baofheera's beautiful black skin : " Little 


Brother, how often have I told thee that Shere 
Khan is thy enemy ? ' 

" As many times as there are nuts on that 
palm," said Mowgli, who, naturally, could not 
count. "What of it ? I am sleepy, Bagheera, 
and Shere Khan is all long tail and loud talk, 
like Mao, the Peacock." 

" But this is no time for sleeping. Baloo 
knows it, I know it, the Pack know it, and even 
the foolish, foolish deer know. Tabaqui has told 
thee too." 

" Ho! ho! " said Mowgli. "Tabaqui came to 
me not lone ago with some rude talk that I was 

o o 


a naked man's cub, and not fit to dig pig-nuts ; but 
I caught Tabaqui by the tail and swung him twice 
against a palm-tree to teach him better manners." 

"That was foolishness; for though Tabaqui is 
a mischief-maker, he would have told thee of 
something that concerned thee closely. Open 
those eyes, Little Brother ! Shere Khan dares 
not kill thee in the jungle for fear of those that 
love thee ; but remember, Akela is very old, and 
soon the day comes when he cannot kill his buck, 
and then he will be leader no more. Many of 
the wolves that looked thee over when thou wast 
brought to the Council first are old too, and the 
young wolves believe, as Shere Khan has taught 
them, that a man-cub has no place with the Pack. 
In a little time thou wilt be a man." 

" And what is a man that he should not run 
with his brothers?" said Mowgfli. "I was born 


in the jungle ; I have obeyed the Law of the 
Jungle ; and there is no wolf of ours from whose 
paws I have not pulled a thorn. Surely they are 
my brothers ! ' 

Bagheera stretched himself at full length and 
half shut his eyes. " Little Brother," said he, 
" feel under my jaw." 

Mowgli put up his strong brown hand, and 
just under Bagheera's silky chin, where the giant 


rolling muscles were all hid by the glossy hair, 
he came upon a little bald spot. 

"There is no one in the jungle that knows 
that I, Bagheera, carry that mark the mark of 
the collar; and yet, Little Brother, I was born 
among men, and it was among men that my 
mother died in the cages of the King's Palace 
at Oodeypore. It was because of this that I paid 
the price for thee at the Council when thou wast 
a little naked cub. Yes, I too was born among 1 


men. I had never seen the jungle. They fed 
me behind bars from an iron pan till one night I 
felt that I was Bagheera, the Panther, and no 
man's plaything, and I broke the silly lock with 
one blow of my paw, and came away ; and be- 
cause I had learned the ways of men, I became 
more terrible in the jungle than Shere Khan. Is 
it not so? ' 

" Yes," said Mowgli ; " all the jungle fear Bag- 
heera- all except Mowgli." 

" Oh, thou art a man's cub," said the Black 
Panther, very tenderly ; " and even as I returned 
to my jungle, so thou must go back to men at 
last, to the men who are thy brothers, if thou 
art not killed in the Council.' 

"But why but why should any wish to kill 
me?" said Mowgli. 


"Look at me," said Bagheera ; and Mowgli 
looked at him steadily between the eyes. The 
big panther turned his head away in half a 

"That is why," he said, shifting his paw on 
the leaves. " Not even I can look thee between 
the eyes, and I was born among men, and I love 
thee, Little Brother. The others they hate thee 
because their eyes cannot meet thine ; because 
thou art wise ; because thou hast pulled out 
thorns from their feet because thou art a 


" I did not know these things," said Mowgli, 
sullenly ; and he frowned under his heavy black 

"What is the Law of the Jungle? Strike first 
and then give tongue. By thy very carelessness 
they know that thou art a man. But be wise. It 
is in my heart that when Akela misses his next 
kill, and at each hunt it costs him more to pin 
the buck, the Pack will turn against him and 
against thee. They will hold a jungle Council at 
the Rock, and then and then ... I have it ! ' 
said Bagheera, leaping up. " Go thou down quickly 
to the men's huts in the valley, and take some of 
the Red Flower which they grow there, so that 
when the time comes thou mayest have even a 


stronger friend than I or Baloo or those of the 


Pack that love thee. Get the Red Flower." 

By Red Flower Bagheera meant fire, only no 
creature in the jungle will call fire by its proper 
name. Every beast lives in deadly fear of it, and 
invents a hundred ways of describing it. 

-The Red Flower?" said Mowgli. "That 
grows outside their huts in the twilight. I will 
get some." 

"There speaks the man's cub," said Bag- 
heera, proudly. " Remember that it grows in 
little pots. Get one swiftly, and keep it by 
thee for time of need." 

" Good ! ' said Mowgli. " I go. But art thou 
sure, O my Bagheera" he slipped his arm round 
the splendid neck, and looked deep into the big 
eyes "art thou sure that all this is Shere 
Khan's doing ? ' 

" By the Broken Lock that freed me, I am 
sure, Little Brother." 

"Then, by the Bull that bought me, I will pay 
Shere Khan full tale for this, and it may be a lit- 
tle over," said Mowgli; and he bounded away. 

"That is a man. That is all a man," said 
Bagheera to himself, lying down again. " Oh, 
Shere Khan, never was a blacker hunting than 
that frog-hunt of thine ten years ago ! ' 


Mowgli was far and far through the forest, 
running hard, and his heart was hot in him. He 
came to the cave as the evening mist rose, and 
drew breath, and looked down the valley. The 
cubs were out, but Mother Wolf, at the back of 
the cave, knew by his breathing that something 
was troubling her frog. 

'What is it, Son?' she said. 

" Some bat's chatter of Shere Khan," he called 
back. " I hunt among the plowed fields to- 
night " ; and he plunged downward through the 
bushes, to the stream at the bottom of the valley. 
There he checked, for he heard the yell of the 
Pack hunting, heard the bellow of a hunted 
Sambhur, and the snort as the buck turned at 
bay. Then there were wicked, bitter howls from 
the young wolves: "Akela! Akela ! Let the 
Lone Wolf show his strength. Room for the 


leader of our Pack ! Spring, Akela ! ' 

The Lone Wolf must have sprung and missed 
his hold, for Mowgli heard the snap of his teeth 
and then a yelp as the Sambhur knocked him 
over with his fore foot. 

He did not wait for anything more, but dashed 

on ; and the yells grew fainter behind him as he 

ran into the crop-lands where the villagers lived. 

" Bagheera spoke truth," he panted, as he 


nestled down in some cattle-fodder by the 
window of a hut. " To-morrow is one day for 
Akela and for me." 

Then he pressed his face close to the window 
and watched the fire on the hearth. He saw the 
husbandman's wife get up and feed it in the 
night with black lumps ; and when the morning 
came and the mists were all white and cold, he 
saw the man's child pick up a wicker pot 
plastered inside with earth, fill it with lumps of 
red-hot charcoal, put it under his blanket, and 
go out to tend the cows in the byre. 

"Is that all ? " said Mowgli. " If a cub can do 
it, there is nothing to fear " ; so he strode around 
the corner and met the boy, took the pot from his 
hand, and disappeared into the mist while the 
boy howled with fear. 

" They are very like me," said Mowgli, blowing 
into the pot, as he had seen the woman do. 
"This thing will die if I do not give it things to 
eat " ; and he dropped twigs and dried bark on 
the red stuff. Half-way up the hill he met Bag- 
heera with the moraine dew shinine like moon- 

o o 

stones on his coat. 

"Akela has missed," said the panther. "They 
would have killed him last night, but they needed 
thee also. They were looking for thee on the hill." 


"I was among the plowed lands. I am ready. 
Look ! ' Mowgli held up the fire-pot. 

" Good ! Now, I have seen men thrust a dry 
branch into that stuff, and presently the Red 
Flower blossomed at the end of it. Art thou 
not afraid ? ' 

"No. Why should I fear? I remember now 
if it is not a dream how, before I was a wolf, 
I lay beside the Red Flower, and it was warm 
and pleasant." 

All that day Mowgli sat in the cave tending 
his fire-pot and dipping dry branches into it to see 
how they looked. He found a branch that sat- 
isfied him, and in the evening when Tabaqui 
came to the cave and told him, rudely enough, 
that he was wanted at the Council Rock, he 
laughed till Tabaqui ran away. Then Mowgli 
went to the Council, still laughing". 

o <_> 

Akela the Lone Wolf lay by the side of his 
rock as a sign that the leadership of the Pack 
was open, and Shere Khan with his following of 
scrap-fed wolves walked to and fro openly, being 
flattered. Bagheera lay close to Mowgli, and 
the fire-pot was between Mowgli's knees. When 
they were all gathered together, Shere Khan be- 
gan to speak a thing he would never have dared 
to do when Akela was in his prime. 


14 He has no right," whispered Bagheera. " Say 
so. He is a dog's son. He will be frightened." 

Mowgli sprang to his feet. " Free People," 
he cried, "does Shere Khan lead the Pack? 
What has a tiger to do with our leadership ? ' 

" Seeing that the leadership is yet open, and 
being asked to speak " Shere Khan began. 

"By whom?' said Mowgli. "Are we all 
jackals, to fawn on this cattle-butcher ? The 
leadership of the Pack is with the Pack alone." 

There were yells of " Silence, thou man's 
cub ! ' " Let him speak; he has kept our law!" 
And at last the seniors of the Pack thundered : 
" Let the Dead Wolf speak ! " 

When a leader of the Pack has missed his kill, 
he is called the Dead Wolf as long as he lives, 
which is not long, as a rule. 

Akela raised his old head wearily : 

" Free People, and ye too, jackals of Shere 
Khan, for twelve seasons I have led ye to and 
from the kill, and in all that time not one has 
been trapped or maimed. Now I have missed 
my kill. Ye know how that plot was made. Ye 
know how ye brought me up to an untried buck 
to make my weakness known. It was cleverly 

done. Your ricrht is to kill me here on the 


Council Rock now. Therefore I ask, * Who 


comes to make an end of the Lone Wolf? ' For 
it is my right, by the Law of the Jungle, that ye 
come one by one." 

There was a long hush, for no single wolf 
cared to fight Akela to the death. Then Shere 
Khan roared: " Bah ! What have we to do with 
this toothless fool ? He is doomed to die ! It 
is the man-cub who has lived too long. Free 
People, he was my meat from the first. Give 
him to me. I am weary of this man-wolf folly. 
He has troubled the jungle for ten seasons. Give 
me the man-cub, or I will hunt here always, and not 
give you one bone! He is a man a man's child, 
and from the marrow of my bones I hate him ! ' 

Then more than half the Pack yelled: "A 
man a man ! What has a man to do with us ? 
Let him go to his own place." 

"And turn all the people of the villages 
against us? "snarled Shere Khan. "No; give 
him to me. He is a man, and none of us can 
look him between the eyes." 

Akela lifted his head again, and said : " He 
has eaten our food ; he has slept with us ; he has 
driven eame for us ; he has broken no word of 


the Law of the Jungle." 

" Also, I paid for him with a bull when he was 
accepted. The worth of a bull is little, but Bag- 


heera's honor is something that he will perhaps 
fight for," said Bagheera in his gentlest voice. 

" A bull paid ten years ago ! " the Pack snarled. 
" What do we care for bones ten years old? ' 

" Or for a pledge?' said Bagheera, his white 
teeth bared under his lip. "Well are ye called 
the Free People ! ' 

" No man's cub can run with the people of the 
jungle!" roared Shere Khan. "Give him to me." 

" He is our brother in all but blood," Akela 
went on ; " and ye would kill him here. In 
truth, I have lived too long. Some of ye are 
eaters of cattle, and of others I have heard that, 
under Shere Khan's teaching, ye go by dark 
ni^ht and snatch children from the villager's 

o o 

doorstep. Therefore I know ye to be cowards, 
and it is to cowards I speak. It is certain that 
I must die, and my life is of no worth, or I would 
offer that in the man- cub's place. But for the 
sake of the Honor of the Pack, a little matter 
that, by being without a leader, ye have for- 
gotten, I promise that if ye let the man-cub 
go to his own place, I will not, when my time 
comes to die, bare one tooth against ye. I will 
die without fighting. That will at least save the 
Pack three lives. More I cannot do ; but, if ye 
will, I can save ye the shame that comes of killing 


a brother against whom there is no fault a 


brother spoken for and bought into the Pack 
according to the Law of the Jungle.' 

O -J O 

" He is a man a man a man ! snarled the 
Pack ; and most of the wolves began to gather 
round Shere Khan, whose tail was beginning" to 

O O 


" Now the business is in thy hands," said 
Bagheera to Mowgli. " We can do no more 
except fight." 

Mowgli stood upright the fire-pot in his 
hands. Then he stretched out his arms, and 
yawned in the face of the Council ; but he was 
furious with rage and sorrow, for, wolf-like, the 
wolves had never told him how they hated 

" Listen, you ! ' he cried. " There is no need 
for this dog's jabber. Ye have told me so often 
to-night that I am a man (though indeed I would 
have been a wolf with you to my life's end) that 
I feel your words are true. So I do not call ye 
my brothers any more, but sag [dogs], as a man 
should. What ye will do, and what ye will not 
do, is not yours to say. That matter is with me; 
and that we may see the matter more plainly, I, 
the man, have brought here a little of the Red 
Flower which ye, dogs, fear." 


He flung the fire-pot on the ground, and some 
of the red coals lit a tuft of dried moss that flared 
up as all the Council drew back in terror before 
the leaping flames. 

Mowgli thrust his dead branch into the fire till 
the twiofs lit and crackled, and whirled it above 


his head amonof the cowering wolves. 

<_> o 

" Thou art the master," said Bagheera, in an 
undertone. " Save Akela from the death. He 
was ever thy friend." 

Akela, the a-rim old wolf who had never asked 


for mercy in his life, gave one piteous look at 
Mowgli as the boy stood all naked, his long black 
hair tossing over his shoulders in the light of the 
blazing branch that made the shadows jump and 

"Good!" said Mowgli, staring around slowly^ 
and thrusting out his lower lip. " I see that ye 
are dogs. I go from you to my own people if 
they be my own people. The jungle is shut to 
me, and I must forget your talk and your com- 
panionship ; but I will be more merciful than ye 
are. Because I was all but your brother in blood, 
I promise that when I am a man among men I 
will not betray ye to men as ye have betrayed 
me." He kicked the fire with his foot, and the 
sparks flew up. " There shall be no war be- 


tween any of us and the Pack. But here is a 
debt to pay before I go." He strode forward to 
where Shere Khan sat blinking stupidly at the 
flames, and caught him by the tuft on his chin. 
Bagheera followed close, in case of accidents. 
" Up, dog ! ' Mowgli cried. " Up, when a man 
speaks, or I will set that coat ablaze ! ' 

Shere Khan's ears lay flat back on his head, 
and he shut his eyes, for the blazing branch was 
very near. 

" This cattle-killer said he would kill me in the 
Council because he had not killed me when I was 
a cub. Thus and thus, then, do we beat dogs 
when we are men ! Stir a whisker, Lungri, and 
I ram the Red Flower down thy gullet ! ' He 
beat Shere Khan over the head with the branch, 
and the tiger whimpered and whined in an agony 
of fear. 

"Pah! Singed jungle-cat go now! But 
remember when next I come to the Council 
Rock, as a man should come, it will be with 
Shere Khan's hide on my head. For the rest, 
Akela goes free to live as he pleases. Ye will 
not kill him, because that is not my will. Nor 
do I think that ye will sit here any longer, lolling 
out your tongues as though ye were somebodies, 
instead of dogs whom I drive out thus! Go! ' 


The fire was burning furiously at the end of 
the branch, and Mowgli struck right and left 
round the circle, and the wolves ran howling with 
the sparks burning their fur. At last there were 
only Akela, Bagheera, and perhaps ten wolves 
that had taken Mowgli's part. Then something 
began to hurt Mowgli inside him, as he had 
never been hurt in his life before, and he caught 
his breath and sobbed, and the tears ran down 
his face. 

" What is it ? What is it ? " he said. " I do 
not wish to leave the jungle, and I do not know 
what this is. Am I dying, Bagheera? 1 

" No, Little Brother. Those are only tears 
such as men use," said Bagheera. " Now I know 
thou art a man, and a man's cub no longer. 
The jungle is shut indeed to thee hencefor- 
ward. Let them fall, Mowgli; they are only 
tears." So Mowgli sat and cried as though 
his heart would break ; and he had never cried 
in all his life before. 

11 Now," he said, " I will go to men. But first 
I must say farewell to my mother " ; and he went 
to the cave where she lived with Father Wolf, 
and he cried on her coat, while the four cubs 
howled miserably. 

" Ye will not forget me? " said Mowgli. 


" Never while we can follow a trail," said the 
cubs. " Come to the foot of the hill when thou 
art a man, and we will talk to thee ; and we will 
come into the crop-lands to play with thee by 

" Come soon ! ' said Father Wolf. " Oh, wise 
little Frog, come again soon ; for we be old, thy 
mother and I." 

"Come soon," said Mother Wolf, "little naked 
son of mine ; for, listen, child of man, I loved 
thee more than ever I loved my cubs." 

"I will surely come," said Mowgli ; "and 
when I come it will be to lay out Shere Khan's 
hide upon the Council Rock. Do not forget me ! 
Tell them in the jungle never to forget me ! ' 

The dawn was beginning to break when 
Mowgli went down the hillside alone to the crops 
to meet those mysterious things that are called 


As the dawn was breaking the Sambhur belled 

Once, twice, and again ! 

And a doe leaped up and a doe leaped up 
From the pond in the wood where the wild deer sup. 
This I, scouting alone, beheld, 

Once, twice, and again ! 


As the dawn was breaking the Sambhur belled 

Once, twice, and again ! 

And a wolf stole back and a wolf stole back 
To carry the word to the waiting Pack ; 
And we sought and we found and we bayed on his track 

Once, twice, and again ! 

As the dawn was breaking the Wolf-pack yelled 

Once, twice, and again ! 
Feet in the jungle that leave no mark ! 
Eyes that can see in the dark the dark ! 
Tongue give tongue to it ! Hark ! O Hark 1 

Once, twice, and again ! 


His spots are the joy of the Leopard : his horns are the Buffalo's 

Be clean, for the strength of the hunter is known by the gloss 

of his hide. 

If ye find that the Bullock can toss you, or the heavy-browed 

Sambhur can gore ; 
Ye need not stop work to inform us: we knew it ten seasons 


Oppress not the cubs of the stranger, but hail them as Sister 

and Brother, 
For though they are little and fubsy, it may be the Bear is 

their mother. 


" There is none like to me ! " says the Cub in the pride of his 

earliest kill; 
But the Jungle is large and the Cub he is small. Let him 

think and be still. 

Maxims of Baloo. 

iwv. AW , ,- * [ f """"U^ ., ftuSTOUi.' a 1 ' V- 


A.L that is told here happened some time 
before Mowgli was turned out of the See- 
onee wolf-pack. It was in the days when Baloo 
was teaching him the Law of the Jungle. The 
big, serious, old brown bear was delighted to 
have so quick a pupil, for the young wolves will 
only learn as much of the Law of the Jungle as 
applies to their own pack and tribe, and run away 
as soon as they can repeat the Hunting Verse: 
*' Feet that make no noise; eyes that can see in 
the dark; ears that can hear the winds in their 
lairs, and sharp white teeth all these things are 


the marks of our brothers except Tabaqui and 
the Hyena, whom we hate." But Mowgli, as a 
man -cub, had to learn a great deal more than 
this. Sometimes Bagheera, the Black Panther, 
would come lounging through the jungle to see 
how his pet was getting on, and would purr with 
his head against a tree while Mowgli recited the 
day's lesson to Baloo. The boy could climb 
almost as well as he could swim, and swim 
almost as well as he could run ; so Baloo, the 
Teacher of the Law, taught him the Wood and 


Water laws : how to tell a rotten branch from a 
sound one ; how to speak politely to the wild 
bees when he came upon a hive of them fifty 
feet aboveground ; what to say to Mang, the 
Bat, when he disturbed him in the branches at 
midday ; and how to warn the water-snakes in 
the pools before he splashed down among them. 
None of the Jungle People like being disturbed, 
and all are very ready to fly at an intruder. 
Then, too, Mowgli was taught the Strangers' 
Hunting Call, which must be repeated aloud till 
it is answered, whenever one of the Jungle People 
hunts outside his own grounds. It means, trans- 
lated: "Give me leave to hunt here because I 
am hungry"; and the answer is: " Hunt, then, 
for food, but not for pleasure." 


All this will show you how much Mowgli had to 
learn by heart, and he grew very tired of repeating 
the same thing a hundred times ; but, as Baloo said 
to Bagheera one day when Mowgli had been cuffed 
andhadrunoffin a temper: "Aman'scubisaman's 
cub, and he must learn <?// the Law of the Jungle." 

"But think how small he is," said the Black 
Panther, who would have spoiled Mowgli if he 
had had his own way. "How can his little head 
carry all thy long talk ? ' 

"Is there anything in the jungle too little to 
be killed ? No. That is why I teach him these 
things, and that is why I hit him, very softly, 
when he forgets." 

" Softly ! What dost thou know of softness, 
old Iron-feet? Bagheera grunted. " His face is 
all bruised to-day by thy softness. Ugh ! ' 

" Better he should be bruised from head to 
foot by me who love him than that he should 
come to harm through ignorance," Baloo an- 
swered, very earnestly. " I am now teaching 
him the Master Words of the Jungle that shall 
protect him with the Birds and the Snake People, 
and all that hunt on four feet, except his own 
pack. He can now claim protection, if he will 
only remember the Words, from all in the jungle. 
Is not that worth a little beating ? ' 


" Wei], look to it then that thou dost not kill 
the man-cub. He is no tree-trunk to sharpen 
thy blunt claws upon. But what are those Mas- 
ter Words ? I am more likely to give help than 
to ask it " Bagheera stretched out one paw and 
admired the steel-blue ripping-chisel talons at the 
end of it " Still I should like to know." 

" I will call Mowgli and he shall say them 
if he will. Come, Little Brother ! ' 

" My head is ringing like a bee-tree," said a 
sullen voice over their heads, and Mowgli slid 
down a tree-trunk, very angry and indignant, 
adding, as he reached the ground: " I come for 
Bagheera and not for t/iee, fat old Baloo ! ' 


" That is all one to me," said Baloo, though he 
was hurt and grieved. " Tell Bagheera, then, the 
Master Words of the Jungle that I have taught 
thee this day." 

" Master Words for which people ? " said Mow- 
gli, delighted to show off. " The jungle has many 
tongues. / know them all." 

" A little thou knowest, but not much. See, O 
Bagheera, they never thank their teacher! Not 
one small wolfling has come back to thank old 
Baloo for his teachings. Say the Word for the 
Hunting People, then, great scholar ! ' 

"We be of one blood, ye and I," said Mowgli, 


giving the words the Bear accent which all the 
Hunting People of the Jungle use. 

" Good ! Now for the Birds." 

Mowgli repeated, with the Kite's whistle at 
the end of the sentence. 

"Now for the Snake People," said Bagheera. 

The answer was a perfectly indescribable hiss, 
and Mowgli kicked up his feet behind, clapped 
his hands together to applaud himself, and jumped 
on Bagheera's back, where he sat sideways, 
drumming with his heels on the glossy skin and 
making the worst faces that he could think of at 

"There- -there! That was worth a little 
bruise," said the Brown Bear, tenderly. " Some 
day thou wilt remember me." Then he turned 
aside to tell Bagheera how he had begged the 
Master Words from Hathi, the Wild Elephant, 
who knows all about these things, and how Hathi 
had taken Mowgli down to a pool to get the 
Snake Word from a water-snake, because Baloo 
could not pronounce it, and how Mowgli was 
now reasonably safe against -all accidents in the 
jungle, because neither snake, bird, nor beast 
would hurt him. 

" No one then is to be feared," Baloo wound up, 
patting his big furry stomach with pride. 


" Except his own tribe," said Bagheera, under 
his breath; and then aloud to Mowgli : " Have a 
care for my ribs, Little Brother ! What is all this 
dancing up and down ? ' 

Mowgli had been trying to make himself heard 
by pulling at Bagheera's shoulder-fur and kick- 
ing hard. When the two listened to him he 
was shouting at the top of his voice : " And so I 
shall have a tribe of my own, and lead them 
through the branches all day long." 

"What is this new folly, little dreamer of 
dreams?" said Bao-heera. 


" Yes, and throw branches and dirt at old Ba- 
loo," Mowgli went on. "They have promised 
me this, ah ! ' 

" Whoof ! ' Baloo's big paw scooped Mowgli 
off Bagheera's back, and as the boy lay between 
the big fore paws he could see the bear was 

" Mowgli," said Baloo, "thou hast been talking 
with the Bandar-log the Monkey People." 

Mowgli looked at Bagheera to see if the pan- 
ther was angry too, -and Bagheera's eyes were as 
hard as jade-stones. 

"Thou hast been with the Monkey People 
the gray apes the people without a Law the 
eaters of everything. That is great shame.' 1 


" When Baloo hurt my head," said Mowgli (he 
was still down on his back), " I went away, and 
the gray apes came down from the trees and had 
pity on me. No one else cared." He snuffled a 

''The pity of the Monkey People!' Baloo 

"The stillness of the mountain stream! The 
cool of the summer sun ! And then, man-cub?' 

" And then- and then they gave me nuts and 
pleasant things to eat, and they they carried 
me in their arms up to the top of the trees and 
said I was their blood-brother, except that I had 
no tail, and should be their leader some day." 

" They have no leader," said Bagheera. " They 
lie. They have always lied." 

"They were very kind, and bade me come 
again. Why have I never been taken among 
the Monkey People? They stand on their feet 
as I do. They do not hit me with hard paws. 
They play all day. Let me get up ! Bad Baloo, 
let me up ! I will go play with them again." 

" Listen, man-cub," said the bear, and his voice 
rumbled like thunder on a hot night. " I have 
taught thee all the Law of the Jungle for all the 
Peoples of the Jungle except the Monkey Folk 
who live in the trees. They have no Law. They 


are outcastes. They have no speech of their own, 
but use the stolen words which they overhear 
when they listen and peep and wait up above in 
the branches. Their way is not our way. They 
are without leaders. They have no remem- 
brance. They boast and chatter and pretend 
that they are a great people about to do great 
affairs in the jungle, but the falling of a nut 
turns their minds to laughter, and all is forgotten. 
We of the jungle have no dealings with them. 
We do not drink where the monkeys drink ; 
we do not go where the monkeys go ; we do not 
hunt where they hunt; we do not die where they 
die. Hast thou ever heard me speak of the 
Bandar-log till to-day ? ' 

" No," said Mowgli in a whisper, for the forest 
was very still now that Baloo had finished. 

"The Jungle People put them out of their 
mouths and out of their minds. They are very 
many, evil, dirty, shameless, and they desire, if 
they have any fixed desire, to be noticed by the 
Jungle People. But we do not notice them even 
when they throw nuts and filth on our heads." 

He had hardly spoken when a shower of nuts 
and twigs spattered down through the branches ; 
and they could hear coughings and howlings and 
angry jumpings high up in the air among the thin 


"The Monkey People are forbidden," said 
Baloo, "forbidden to the Jungle People. Re- 

" Forbidden," said Bagheera; "but I still think 
Baloo should have warned thee against them." 

"I I? How was I to guess he would play 
with such dirt. The Monkey People ! Faugh ! ' 

A fresh shower came down on their heads, and 
the two trotted away, taking Mowgli with them. 
What Baloo had said about the monkeys was 
perfectly true. They belonged to the tree-tops, 
and as beasts very seldom look up, there was no 
occasion for the monkeys and the Jungle People 
to cross one another's path. But whenever they 
found a sick wolf, or a wounded tiger or bear, 
the monkeys would torment him, and would throw 
sticks and nuts at any beast for fun and in the 
hope of being noticed. Then they would howl 
and shriek senseless songs, and invite the Jungle 
People to climb up their trees and fight them, or 
would start furious battles over nothing among 
themselves, and leave the dead monkeys where 
the Jungle People could see them. 

They were always just going to have a leader 
and laws and customs of their own, but they never 
did, because their memories would not hold over 
from day to day, and so they settled things by 
making up a saying: "What the Bandar-log think 


now the Jungle will think later"; and that com- 
forted them a great deal. None of the beasts 
could reach them, but on the other hand none 
of the beasts would notice them, and that was 
why they were so pleased when Mowgli came 
to play with them, and when they heard how 
angry Baloo was. 

They never meant to do any more, the Ban- 
dar-log never mean anything at all, but one 
of them invented what seemed to him a bril- 
liant idea, and he told all the others that Mowgli 
would be a useful person to keep in the tribe, be- 
cause he could weave sticks together for protec- 
tion from the wind ; so, if they caught him, they 
could make him teach them. Of course Mowgli, 
as a wood-cutter's child, inherited all sorts of in- 
stincts, and used to make little play-huts of fallen 
branches without thinking how he came to do it. 
The Monkey People, watching in the trees, con- 
sidered these huts most wonderful. This time, 
they said, they were really going to have a leader 
and become the wisest people in the jungle so 
wise that every one else would notice and envy 
them. Therefore they followed Baloo and Bag- 
heera and Mowgli through the jungle very 
quietly till it was time for the midday nap, and 
Mowgli, who was very much ashamed of himself, 


slept between the panther and the bear, resol- 
ving to have no more to do with the Monkey 

The next thing he remembered was feeling 
hands on his legs and arms, hard, strong little 
hands, and then a swash of branches in his 
face ; and then he was staring down through the 
swaying boughs as Baloo woke the jungle with 
his deep cries and Bagheera bounded up the 
trunk with every tooth bared. The Bandar-log 
howled with triumph, and scuffled away to the 
upper branches where Bagheera dared not fol- 
low, shouting: " He has noticed us! Bag- 
heera has noticed us ! All the Jungle People 
admire us for our skill and our cunning ! ' Then 
they began their flight; and the flight of the 
Monkey People through tree-land is one of the 
things nobody can describe. They have their 
regular roads and cross-roads, uphills and down- 
hills, all laid out from fifty to seventy or a hun- 
dred feet aboveground, and by these they can 
travel even at night if necessary. 

Two of the strongest monkeys caught Mowgli 
under the arms and swung off with him through 
the tree-tops, twenty feet at a bound. Had they 
been alone they could have gone twice as fast, 
but the boy's weight held them back. Sick 


and giddy as Mowgli was he could not help 
enjoying the wild rush, though the glimpses of 
earth far down below frightened him, and the 
terrible check and jerk at the end of the swing 
over nothing but empty air brought his heart 
between his teeth. 

His escort would rush him up a tree till he felt 
the weak topmost branches crackle and bend 
under them, and, then, with a cough and a 
whoop, would fling themselves into the air out- 
ward and downward, and bring up hanging by 
their hands or their feet to the lower limbs of the 
next tree. Sometimes he could see for miles and 
miles over the still green jungle, as a man on the 
top of a mast can see for miles across the sea, and 
then the branches and leaves would lash him 
across the face, and he and his two guards would 
be almost down to earth again. 

So bounding and crashing and whooping and 
yelling, the whole tribe of Bandar-log swept 
along the tree-roads with Mowgli their prisoner. 

For a time he was afraid of being dropped ; 
then he grew angry, but he knew better than to 
struggle; and then he began to think. The first 
thing was to send back word to Baloo and Bag- 
heera, for, at the pace the monkeys were going, 
he knew his friends would be left far behind. It 


was useless to look down, for he could see only 
the top sides of the branches, so he stared up- 
ward and saw, far away in the blue, Rann, the 
Kite, balancing and wheeling as he kept watch 
over the jungle waiting for things to die, Rann 
noticed that the monkeys were carrying some- 
thing, and dropped a few hundred yards to find 
out whether their load was good to eat. He 
whistled with surprise when he saw Mowgli being 
dragged up to a tree-top, and heard him give the 
Kite call for "We be of one blood, thou and I." 
The waves of the branches closed over the boy, 
but Rann balanced away to the next tree in time 
to see the little brown face come up again. " Mark 
my trail ! ' Mowgli shouted. " Tell Baloo of the 
SeeoneePack, and Bagheeraofthe Council Rock." 

"In whose name, Brother?' Rann had never 
seen Mowgli before, though of course he had 
heard of him. 

" Mowgli, the Frog. Man-cub they call me ! 
Mark my tra il !" 

The last words were shrieked as he was being 
swung through the air, but Rann nodded, and 
rose up till he looked no bigger than a speck 
of dust, and there he hung, watching with his 
telescope eyes the swaying of the tree-tops as 
Mowgli's escort whirled along. 


"They never go far," he said, with a chuckle. 
" They never do what they set out to do. Al- 
ways pecking at new things are the Bandar-log. 
This time, if I have any eyesight, they have 
pecked down trouble for themselves, for Baloo is 
no fledgling and Bagheera can, as I know, kill 
more than goats." 

Then he rocked on his wings, his feet gathered 
up under him, and waited. 

Meanwhile, Baloo and Bagheera were furious 
with rage and grief. Bagheera climbed as he had 
never climbed before, but the branches broke be- 
neath his weight, and he slipped down, his claws 
full of bark. 

"Why didst thou not warn the man-cub ! ' he 
roared to poor Baloo, who had set off at a clumsy 
trot in the hope of overtaking the monkeys. 
" What was the use of half slaying him with 
blows if thou didst not warn him ? ' 

"Haste! O haste! We we may catch them 
yet ! ' Baloo panted. 

"At that speed ! It would not tire a wounded 
cow. Teacher of the Law, cub-beater- -a mile 
of that rolling to and fro would burst thee open. 
Sit still and think ! Make a plan. This is no 
time for chasing. They may drop him if we 
follow too close.' 


"Arrula! WJioo! They may have dropped him 
already, being tired of carrying him. Who can 
trust the Bandar-log ? Put dead bats on my head ! 
Give me black bones to eat ! Roll me into the 
hives of the wild bees that I may be stung to 
death, and bury me with the hyena; for I am 
the most miserable of bears! Arulala! WaJiooa! 
O Mowgli, Mowgli ! Why did I not warn thee 
against the Monkey Folk instead of breaking thy 
head ? Now perhaps I may have knocked the 
day's lesson out of his mind, and he will be alone 
in the jungle without the Master Words ! ' 

Baloo clasped his paws over his ears and 
rolled to and fro, moaning. 

4 'At least he gave me all the Words correctly 
a little time ago," said Bagheera, impatiently. 
" Baloo, thou hast neither memory nor respect. 
What would the jungle think if I, the Black 
Panther, curled myself up like Ikki, the Porcu- 
pine, and howled?' 

"What do I care what the jungle thinks? He 
may be dead by now." 

" Unless and until they drop him from the 
branches in sport, or kill him out of idleness, I 
have no fear for the man -cub. He is wise and 
well-taught, and, above all, he has the eyes that 
make the Jungle People afraid. But (and it is a 


great evil) he is in the power of the Bandar-log, 
and they, because they live in trees, have no fear 
of any of our people." Bagheera licked his one 
fore paw thoughtfully. 

"Fool that I am! Oh fat, brown, root-digging 
fool that I am ! ' said Baloo, uncoiling himself 
with a jerk. " It is true what Hathi, the Wild 
Elephant, says: l To each his ~<wn fear* ; and 
they, the Bandar-log, fear Kaa, the Rock Snake. 
He can climb as well as they can. He steals 
the young monkeys in the night. The mere 
whisper of his name makes their wicked tails 
cold. Let us go to Kaa." 

" What will he do for us? He is not of our 
tribe, being footless and with most evil eyes," 
said Bagheera. 

" He is very old and very cunning. Above all, 
he is always hungry," said Baloo, hopefully. 
" Promise him many goats." 

" He sleeps for a full month after he has once 
eaten. He may be asleep now, and even were 
he awake, what if he would rather kill his own 
goats?' Bagheera, who did not know much 
about Kaa, was naturally suspicious. 

" Then in that case, thou and I together, old 
hunter, may make him see reason." Here Baloo 
rubbed his faded brown shoulder against the 


panther, and they went off to look for Kaa, the 
Rock Python. 

They found him stretched out on a warm 
ledge in the afternoon sun, admiring his beautiful 
new coat, for he had been in retirement for the 
last ten days changing his skin, and now he was 
very splendid darting his big blunt-nosed head 
along the ground, and twisting the thirty feet of 
his body into fantastic knots and curves, and lick- 
ing his lips as he thought of his dinner to come. 

" He has not eaten," said Baloo, with a grunt 
of relief, as soon as he saw the beautifully mot- 
tled brown and yellow jacket. " Be careful, Bag- 
heera ! He is always a little blind after he has 
changed his skin, and very quick to strike." 

Kaa was not a poison snake in fact he 
rather despised the Poison Snakes for cowards ; 
but his strength lay in his hug, and when he had 
once lapped his huge coils round anybody there 
was no more to be said. " Good hunting ! " cried 
Baloo, sitting up on his haunches. Like all 
snakes of his breed Kaa was rather deaf, and 
did not hear the call at first. Then he curled up 
ready for any accident, his head lowered. 

"Good hunting for us all," he answered. 
"Oho, Baloo, what dost thou do here? Good 
hunting, Bagheera. One of us at least needs 


food. Is there any news of game afoot? A doe 
now, or even a young buck? I am as empty as 
a dried well." 

"We are hunting," said Baloo, carelessly. He 
knew that you must not hurry Kaa. He is too 

"Give me permission to come with you," said 
Kaa. "A blow more or less is nothing to thee, 
Bagheera or Baloo, but I - - 1 have to wait and 
wait for days in a wood path and climb half a night 
on the mere chance of a young ape. Pss naw! 
The branches are not what they were when I was 
young. Rotten twigs and dry boughs are they all." 

" Maybe thy great weight has something to 
do with the matter," said Baloo. 

" I am a fair length- -a fair length," said Kaa, 
with a little pride. "But for all that, it is the 
fault of this new-grown timber. I came very near 
to falling on my last hunt,- -very near indeed,- 
and the noise of my slipping, for my tail was not 
tight wrapped round the tree, waked the Bandar- 
log, and they called me most evil names." 

" 'Footless, yellow earthworm,' ' said Bagheera 
under his whiskers, as though he were trying to 
remember something. 

" Sssss! Have they ever called me that? ' said 


i( Something of that kind it was that they 
shouted to us last moon, but we never noticed 
them. They will say anything even that thou 
hast lost all thy teeth, and dare not face anything 
bigger than a kid, because (they are indeed shame- 
less, these Bandar-log)- -because thou art afraid 
of the he-goats' horns," Bagheera went on sweetly. 

Now a snake, especially a wary old python like 
Kaa, very seldom shows that he is angry ; but 
Baloo and Bagheera could see the big swallow- 
ing muscles on either side of Kaa's throat ripple 
and bulge. 

"The Bandar-log have shifted their grounds/'he 
said, quietly. " When I came up into the sun to- 
day I heard them whooping among the tree-tops." 

"It- -it is the Bandar-log that we follow now," 
said Baloo; but the words stuck in his throat, for 
this was the first time in his memory that one of 
the Jungle People had owned to being interested 
in the doings of the monkeys. 

" Beyond doubt, then, it is no small thing that 
takes two such hunters -leaders in their own 
jungle, I am certain on the trail of the Bandar- 
log," Kaa replied, courteously, as he swelled with 

"Indeed," Baloo began, "I am no more than 
the old, and sometimes very foolish, Teacher of 


the Law to the Seeonee wolf-cubs, and Bagheera 

here ' 

"Is Bagheera," said the Black Panther, and his 
jaws shut with a snap, for he did not believe in 
being humble. "The trouble is this, Kaa. Those 
nut-stealers and pickers of palm-leaves have 
stolen away our man-cub, of whom thou hast 
perhaps heard." 

" I heard some news from Ikki (his quills make 
him presumptuous) of a man-thing that was en- 
tered into a wolf-pack, but I did not believe. Ikki 
is full of stories half heard and very badly told." 

" But it is true. He is such a man-cub as never 
was," said Baloo. " The best and wisest and bold- 
est of man-cubs. My own pupil, who shall make 
the name of Baloo famous through all the jun- 
gles ; and besides, I we love him, Kaa." 

" Tsf Tsf" said Kaa, shaking his head to and 
fro. " I also have known what love is. There 
are tales I could tell that 

"That need a clear night when we are all well 
fed to praise properly," said Bagheera, quickly. 
" Our man-cub is in the hands of the Bandar-log 
now, and we know that of all the Jungle People 
they fear Kaa alone." 

"They fear me alone. They have good rea- 
son/' said Kaa. "Chattering, foolish, vain 


vain, foolish, and chattering- -are the monkeys. 
But a man-thing in their hands is in no good 
luck. They grow tired of the nuts they pick, 
and throw them down. They carry a branch 
half a clay, meaning to do great things with it, 
and then they snap it in two. That manling is 
not to be envied. They called me also 'yellow 
fish,' was it not? ' 

"Worm worm earthworm," said Bagheera; 
"as well as other things which I cannot now say 
for shame." 

" We must remind them to speak well of their 
master. Aaa-sssh! We must help their wander- 
ing memories. Now, whither went they with thy 
cub ? ' 

" The jungle alone knows. Toward the sun- 
set, I believe," said Baloo. " We had thought 
that thou wouldst know, Kaa." 

" I ? How ? I take them when they come in 
my way, but I do not hunt the Bandar-log- -or 
frogs or green scum on a water-hole, for that 

"Up, up! Up, up! Hillo! Illo! Illo! Look 
up, Baloo of the Seeonee Wolf Pack!' 

Baloo looked up to see where the voice came 
from, and there was Rann, the Kite, sweeping 
down with the sun shining on the upturned 


flanges of his wings. It was near Rann's bed- 
time, but he had ranged all over the jungle look- 
ing for the bear, and missed him in the thick 

" What is it ? " said Baloo. 

" I have seen Mowgli among the Bandar-log. 
He bade me tell you. I watched. The Bandar- 
log have taken him beyond the river to the Mon- 
key City to the Cold Lairs. They may stay 
there for a night, or ten nights, or an hour. I 
have told the bats to watch through the dark 


time. That is my message. Good hunting, all 
you below ! ' 

" Full gorge and a deep sleep to you, Rann!" 
cried Bagheera. " I will remember thee in my 
next kill, and put aside the head for thee alone, 
O best of kites ! " 

" It is nothing. It is nothing. The boy held 
the Master Word. I could have done no less," 
and Rann circled up again to his roost. 

" He has not forgotten to use his tongue," said 
Baloo, with a chuckle of pride. " To think of 
one so young remembering the Master Word for 
the birds while he was being pulled across trees ! ' 

" It was most firmly driven into him," said 
Bagheera. " But I am proud of him, and now 
we must go to the Cold Lairs." 


They all knew where that place was, but few 
of the Jungle People ever went there, because 
what they called the Cold Lairs was an old 
deserted city, lost and buried in the jungle, and 
beasts seldom use a place that men have once 
used. The wild boar will, but the hunting-tribes 
do not. Besides, the monkeys lived there as 
much as they could be said to live anywhere, 
and no self-respecting animal would come within 
eye-shot of it except in times of drouth, when 
the half-ruined tanks and reservoirs held a little 

" It is half a night's journey at full speed," 
said Bagheera. Baloo looked very serious. " 1 
will go as fast as I can," he said, anxiously. 

" We dare not wait for thee. Follow, Baloo. 
We must go on the quick-foot Kaa and I." 

" Feet or no feet, I can keep abreast of all thy 

four," said Kaa, shortlv. 

Baloo made one effort to hurry, but had to sit 
down panting, and so they left him to come on 
later, while Bagheera hurried forward, at the rock- 
ing panther-canter. Kaa said nothing, but, strive 
as Bagheera might, the huge Rock Python held 
level with him. When they came to a hill-stream, 
Bagheera gained, because he bounded across 
while Kaa swam, his head and two feet of his 


neck clearing- the water, but on level ground Kaa 
made up the distance. 

" By the Broken Lock that freed me," said 
Bagheera, when twilight had fallen, " thou art no 

" I am hungry," said Kaa. " Besides, they 
called me speckled frog." 

" Worm earthworm, and yellow to boot." 

"All one. Let us go on," and Kaa seemed 
to pour himself along the ground, finding the 
shortest road with his steady eyes, and keeping 
to it. 

In the Cold Lairs the Monkey People were 
not thinking of Mowgli's friends at all. They had 
brought the boy to the Lost City, and were very 
pleased with themselves for the time. Mowgli 
had never seen an Indian city before, and though 
this was almost a heap of ruins it seemed very 
wonderful and splendid. Some king had built it 
long ago on a little hill. You could still trace 
the stone causeways that led up to the ruined 
gates where the last splinters of wood hung to the 
worn, rusted hinges. Trees had grown into and 
out of the walls ; the battlements were tumbled 
down and decayed, and wild creepers hung out of 
the windows of the towers on the walls in bushy 
hanging clumps. 


A great roofless palace crowned the hill, and 
the marble of the courtyards and the fountains 
was split and stained with red and green, and the 
very cobblestones in the courtyard where the 
king's elephants used to live had been thrust up 
and apart by grasses and young trees. From the 
palace you could see the rows and rows of roofless 
houses that made up the city, looking like empty 
honeycombs filled with blackness ; the shapeless 
block of stone that had been an idol in the 
square where four roads met ; the pits and dim- 
ples at street corners where the public wells once 
stood, and the shattered domes of temples with 
wild figs sprouting on their sides. 

The monkeys called the place their city, and 
pretended to despise the Jungle People because 
they lived in the forest. And yet they never 
knew what the buildings were made for nor how 
to use them. They would sit in circles on the 
hall of the king's council-chamber, and scratch 
for fleas and pretend to be men ; or they would 
run in and out of the roofless houses and collect 
pieces of plaster and old bricks in a corner, and 
forget where they had hidden them, and fight 
and cry in scuffling crowds, and then break off to 
play up and down the terraces of the king's gar- 
den, where they would shake the rose-trees and 


the oranges in sport to see the fruit and flowers 
fall. They explored all the passages and dark 
tunnels in the palace and the hundreds of little 
dark rooms ; but they never remembered what 
they had seen and what they had not, and so 
drifted about in ones and twos or crowds, telling 
one another that they were doing as men did. 
They drank at the tanks and made the water all 
muddy, and then they fought over it, and then 
they would all rush together in mobs and shout: 
" There are none in the jungle so wise and good 
and clever and strong and gentle as the Bandar- 
log." Then all would begin again till they grew 
tired of the city and went back to the tree-tops, 
hoping the Jungle People would notice them. 

Mowgli, who had been trained under the Law 
of the Jungle, did not like or understand this 
kind of life. The monkeys dragged him into the 
Cold Lairs late in the afternoon, and instead of 
going to sleep, as Mowgli would have done after 
a long journey, they joined hands and danced 
about and sang their foolish songs. 

One of the monkeys made a speech, and told 
his companions that Mowgli's capture marked a 
new thing in the history of the Bandar-log, for 
Mowgli was going to show them how to weave 
sticks and canes together as a protection against 


rain and cold. Mowgli picked up some creepers 
and began to work them in and out, and the 
monkeys tried to imitate; but in a very few min- 
utes they lost interest and began to pull their 
friends' tails or jump up and down on all fours, 

" I want to eat," said Mowgli. " I am a 
stranger in this part of the jungle. Bring me 
food, or give nyj leave to hunt here ' 

Twenty or thirty monkeys bounded away to 
bring him nuts and wild pawpaws; but they fell 
to fighting on the road, and it was too much 
trouble to go back with what was left of the fruit. 
Mowgli was sore and angry as well as hungry, 
and he roamed through the empty city giving the 
Strangers' Hunting Call from time to time, but 
no one answered him, and Mowgfli felt that he 


had reached a very bad place indeed. 

"All that Baloo has said about the Bandar-loe 


is true," he thought to himself. " They have 
no Law, no Hunting Call, and no leaders 
nothing but foolish words and little picking, 
thievish hands. So if I am starved or killed 
here, it will be all my own fault. But I must try 
to return to my own jungle. Baloo will surely 
beat me, but that is better than chasing silly 
rose-leaves with the Bandar-log." 


But no sooner had he walked to the city wall 
than the monkeys pulled him back, telling him 
that he did not know how happy he was, and 
pinching him to make him grateful. He set his 
teeth and said nothing, but went with the shout- 
ing monkeys to a terrace above the red sand- 
stone reservoirs that were half full of rain-water. 
There was a ruined summer-house of white 
marble in the center of the terrace, built for 


queens dead a hundred years ago. The domed 
roof had half fallen in and blocked up the un- 
derground passage from the palace by which the 
queens used to enter; but the walls were made 
of screens of marble tracery beautiful, milk- 
white fretwork, set with agates and cornelians 
and jasper and lapis lazuli, and as the moon 
came up behind the hill it shone through the 
openwork, casting shadows on the ground like 
black-velvet embroidery. 

Sore, sleepy, and hungry as he was, Mowgli 
could not help laughing when the Bandar-log 
began, twenty at a time, to tell him how great 
and wise and strong and gentle they were, and 
how foolish he was to wish to leave them. "We 
are great. We are free. We are wonderful. We 
are the most wonderful people in all the jungle! 
We all say so, and so it must be true," they 


shouted. " Now as you are a new listener and 
can carry our words back to the Jungle People 
so that they may notice us in future, we will tell 
you all about our most excellent selves." 

Mowgli made no objection, and the monkeys 
gathered by hundreds and hundreds on the ter- 
race to listen to their own speakers singing the 
praises of the Bandar-log, and whenever a speaker 
stopped for want of breath they would all shout 
together: "This is true ; we all say so." 

Mowgli nodded and blinked, and said " Yes ' 
when they asked him a question, and his head 
spun with the noise. "Tabaqui, the Jackal, must 
have bitten all these people," he said to himself, 
" and now they have the madness. Certainly 
this is dewanee the madness. Do they never 
go to sleep ? Now there is a cloud coming to 
cover that moon. If it were only a big enough 
cloud I might try to run away in the darkness. 
But I am tired." 

That same cloud was being watched by two 
good friends in the ruined ditch below the city 
wall, for Bagheera and Kaa, knowing well how 
dangerous the Monkey People were in large 
numbers, did not wish to run any risks. The 
monkeys never fight unless they are a hundred 
to one, and few in the jungle care for those odds. 


" I will go to the west wall," Kaa whispered, 
"and come down swiftly with the slope of the 
ground in my favor. They will not throw them- 
selves upon my back in their hundreds, but " 

"I know it," said Bagheera. "Would that 
Baloo were here ; but we must do what we can. 
When that cloud covers the moon I shall go to 
the terrace. They hold some sort of council 
there over the boy." 

" Good hunting," said Kaa, grimly, and glided 
away to the west wall. That happened to be the 
least ruined of any, and the big snake was de- 
layed a while before he could find a way up the 

The cloud hid the moon, and as Mowgli won- 
dered what would come next he heard Bagheera's 
light feet on the terrace. The Black Panther had 
raced up the slope almost without a sound, and 
was striking he knew better than to waste time 
in biting right and left among the monkeys, 
who were seated round Mowgli in circles fifty and 
sixty deep. There was a howl of fright and rage, 
and then as Bagheera tripped on the rolling, 
kicking bodies beneath him, a monkey shouted: 
"There is only one here ! Kill him ! Kill !" A 
scuffling mass of monkeys, biting, scratching, 
tearing, and pulling, closed over Bagheera, while 


five or six laid hold of Mowgli, dragged him up 
the wall of the summer-house, and pushed him 
through the hole of the broken dome. A man- 
trained boy would have been badly bruised, for 
the fall was a good ten feet, but Mowgli fell as 
Baloo had taught him to fall, and landed light. 

" Stay there," shouted the monkeys, "till we 
have killed thy friend. Later we will play with 
thee, if the Poison People leave thee alive." 

"We be of one blood, ye and I," said Mowgli, 
quickly giving the Snake's Call. He could hear 
rustling and hissing in the rubbish all round him, 
and gave the Call a second time to make sure. 

" Down hoods all," said half a dozen low 
voices. Every old ruin in India becomes sooner 
or later a dwelling-place of snakes, and the old 
summer-house was alive with cobras. " Stand 
still, Little Brother, lest thy feet do us harm." 

Mowgli stood as quietly as he could, peering 
through the openwork and listening to the furi- 
ous din of the fight round the Biack Panther 
the yells and chatterings and scufflings, and Bag- 
heera's deep, hoarse cough as he backed and 
bucked and twisted and plunged under the heaps 
of his enemies. For the first time since he was 
born, Bagheera was fighting for his life. 

" Baloo must be at hand ; Bagheera would not 


have come alone," Mowgli thought; and then he 
called aloud: "To the tank, Bagheera ! Roll to 
the water-tanks ! Roll and plunge ! Get to the 
water ! ' 

Bagheera heard, and the cry that told him 
Mowgli was safe gave him new courage. He 
worked his way desperately, inch by inch, 
straight for the reservoirs, hitting in silence. 

Then from the ruined wall nearest the jungle 
rose up the rumbling war-shout of Baloo. The 
old bear had done his best, but he could not 
come before. " Bagheera," he shouted, "I am 
here! I climb! I haste! Ahuwora! The 
stones slip under my feet ! Wait my coming, O 
most infamous Bandar log ! ' 

He panted up the terrace only to disappear to 
the head in a wave of monkeys, but he threw 
himself squarely on his haunches, and spreading 
out his fore paws, hugged as many as he could 
hold, and then began to hit with a regular bat- 
bat-bat, like the flipping strokes of a paddle- 

A crash and a splash told Mowgli that Bag- 
rieera had fought his way to the tank, where 
the monkeys could not follow. The panther lay 
gasping for breath, his head just out of water, 
while the monkeys stood three deep on the red 


stone steps, dancing 1 up and down with rage, 
ready to spring upon him from all sides if he came 
out to help Baloo. It was then that Bagheera 
lifted up his dripping chin, and in despair gave 
the Snake's Call for protection, "We be of one 
blood, ye and I," for he believed that Kaa had 
turned tail at the last minute. Even Baloo, half 
smothered under the monkeys on the edge of the 
terrace, could not help chuckling as he heard the 
big Black Panther asking for help. 

Kaa had only just worked his way over the 
west wall, landing with a wrench that dislodged 
a coping-stone into the ditch. He had no inten- 
tion of losing any advantage of the ground, and 
coiled and uncoiled himself once or twice, to be 
sure that every foot of his long body was in 
working order. 

All that while the fight with Baloo went on, 
and the monkeys yelled in the tank round Bag- 
heera, and Mang, the Bat, flying to and fro, car- 
ried the news of the great battle over the jungle, 
till even Hathi, the Wild Elephant, trumpeted, 
and, far away, scattered bands of the Monkey 
Folk woke and came leaping along the tree-roads 
to help their comrades in the Cold Lairs, and 
the noise of the fight roused all the day-birds 
for miles round. 


Then Kaa came straight, quickly, and anxious 
to kill. The lighting strength of a python is in 
the driving blow of his head, backed by all the 
strength and weight of his body. If you can im- 
agine a lance, or a battering-ram, or a hammer, 
weighing nearly half a ton driven by a cool, 
quiet mind living in the handle of it, you can 
imagine roughly what Kaa was like when he 
fought. A python four or five feet long can 
knock a man down if he hits him fairly in the 
chest, and Kaa was thirty feet long, as you 
know. His first stroke was delivered into the 
heart of the crowd round Baloo was sent home 
with shut mouth in silence, and there was no 
need of a second. The monkeys scattered with 
cries of " Kaa ! It is Kaa! Run! Run!" 

Generations of monkeys had been scared into 
good behavior by the stories their elders told 
them of Kaa, the night-thief, who could slip 
along the branches as quietly as moss grows, and 
steal away the strongest monkey that ever lived; 
of old Kaa, who could make himself look so like 
a dead branch or a rotten stump that the wisest 
were deceived till the branch caught them, and 

Kaa was everything that the monkeys feared 
in the jungle, for none of them knew the limits 


of his power, none of them could look him in 
the face, and none had ever come alive out 
of his hug. And so they ran, stammering 
with terror, to the walls and the roofs of the 
houses, and Baloo drew a deep breath of relief. 
His fur was much thicker than Bagheera's, but 
he had suffered sorely in the fight. Then Kaa 
opened his mouth for the first time and spoke 
one long hissing word, and the far-away 
monkeys, hurrying to the defense of the Cold 
Lairs, stayed where they were, cowering, till the 
loaded branches bent and crackled under them. 
The monkeys on the walls and the empty houses 
stopped their cries, and in the stillness that fell 
upon the city Mowgli heard Bagheera shaking 
his wet sides as he came up from the tank. 

Then the clamor broke out again. The 
monkeys leaped higher up the walls ; they clung 
round the necks of the big stone idols and 
shrieked as they skipped along the battlements ; 
while Mowgli, dancing in the summer-house, 
put his eye to the screenwork and hooted owl- 
fashion between his front teeth, to show his 
derision and contempt. 

" Get the man-cub out of that trap ; I can do 
no more," Bagheera gasped. " Let us take the 
man-cub and go. They may attack again." 


"They will not move till I order them. Stay 
you sssso ! ' Kaa hissed, and the city was silent 
once more. " I could not come before, Brother, but 
I think I heard thee call " this was to Bagheera. 

"I I may have cried out in the battle," Bag- 
heera answered. " Baloo, art thou hurt?' 

" I am not sure that they have not pulled me 
into a hundred little bearlings," said Baloo, 
gravely shaking one leg after the other. "Wow! 
I am sore. Kaa, we owe thee, I think, our lives 
Bagheera and I." 

" No matter. Where is the manlin^?' 


''Here, in a trap. I cannot climb out," cried 
Mowgli. The curve of the broken dome was 
above his head. 

" Take him away. He dances like Mao, the 
Peacock. He will crush our young," said the 
cobras inside. 

" Hah ! ' said Kaa, with a chuckle, "he has 
friends everywhere, this manling. Stand back, 
Manling; and hide you, O Poison People. I 
break down the wall." 

Kaa looked carefully till he found a discolored 
crack in the marble tracery showing a weak spot, 
made two or three light taps with his head to get 
the distance, and then lifting up six feet of his 
body clear of the ground, sent home half a dozen 


full-power, smashing blows, nose-first. The 
screenwork broke and fell away in a cloud of dust 
and rubbish, and Mowgli leaped through the 
opening and flung himself between Baloo and 
Bagheera an arm round each big neck. 

"Art thou hurt?' said Baloo, hugging him 

"I am sore, hungry, and not a little bruised; 
but, oh, they have handled ye grievously, my 
Brothers! Ye bleed." 

" Others also," said Bagheera, licking his lips 
and looking at the monkey-dead on the terrace 
and round the tank. 

"It is nothing, it is nothing if thou art safe, O 
my pride of all little frogs ! ' whimpered Baloo. 

" Of that we shall judge later," said Bagheera, 
in a dry voice that Mowgli did not at all like. 
" But here is Kaa, to whom we owe the battle 
and thou owest thy life. Thank him according 
to our customs, Mowgli." 

Mowgli turned and saw the great python's 
head swaying a foot above his own. 

"So this is the manling," said Kaa. "Very 
soft is his skin, and he is not so unlike the 
Bandar-log. Have a care, Manling, that I do 
not mistake thee for a monkey some twilight 
when I have newly changed my coat." 


" We be of one blood, thou and I," Mowgli 
answered. " I take my life from thee, to-night. 
My kill shall be thy kill if ever thou art hungry, 
O Kaa." 

" All thanks, Little Brother," said Kaa, though 
his eyes twinkled. "And what may so bold a 
hunter kill? I ask that I may follow when next 
he goes abroad." 

" I kill nothing, I am too little, but I drive 
goats toward such as can use them. When thou 
art empty come to me and see if I speak the 
truth. I have some skill in these [he held out 
his hands], and if ever thou art in a trap, I may 
pay the debt which I owe to thee, to Bagheera, 
and to Baloo, here. Good hunting to ye all, 
my masters." 

"Well said," growled Baloo, for Mowgli had 
returned thanks very prettily. The python 
dropped his head lightly for a minute on Mow- 
gli's shoulder. " A brave heart and a courteous 
tongue," said he. " They shall carry thee far 
through the jungle, Manling. But now go hence 
quickly with thy friends. Go and sleep, for the 
moon sets, and what follows it is not well that 
thou shouldst see." 

The moon was sinking behind the hills and 
the lines of trembling monkeys huddled together 



on the walls and battlements looked like ragged, 
shaky fringes of things. Baloo went down to 
the tank for a drink, and Bagheera began to 
put his fur in order, as Kaa glided out into the 
center of the terrace and brought his jaws to- 
gether with a ringing snap that drew all the 
monkeys' eyes upon him, 

" The moon sets," he said. " Is there yet light 
to see?" 

From the walls came a moan like the wind in 
the tree-tops: "We see, O Kaa!' 

" Good! Begins now the Dance the Dance 
of the Hunger of Kaa. Sit still and watch." 

He turned twice or thrice in a big circle, weav- 
ing his head from right to left. Then he began 
making loops and figures of eight with his body, 
and soft, oozy triangles that melted into squares 
and five-sided figures, and coiled mounds, never 
resting, never hurrying, and never stopping his 
low, humming song. It grew darker and darker, 
till at last the dragging, shifting coils disap- 
peared, but they could hear the rustle of the 

Baloo and Bagheera stood still as stone, 
growling in their throats, their neck-hair brist- 
ling, and Mowgli watched and wondered. 

" Bandar-log," said the voice of Kaa at last, 


"can ye stir foot or hand without my order? 
Speak ! " 

"Without thy order we cannot stir foot or 
hand, O Kaa!" 

" Good ! Come all one pace nearer to me." 

The lines of the monkeys swayed forward 
helplessly, and Baloo and Bagheera took one 
stiff step forward with them. 

"Nearer!' hissed Kaa, and they all moved 

Mowgli laid his hands on Baloo and Bagheera 
to get them away, and the two great beasts 
started as though they had been waked from a 

"Keep thy hand on my shoulder,'* Bagheera 
whispered. " Keep it there, or I must go back 
must go back to Kaa. A ah! 1 

" It is only old Kaa making circles on the 
dust," said Mowgli ; "let us go"; and the three 
slipped off through a gap in the walls to the 

" Whoof! y said Baloo, when he stood under 
the still trees again. " Never more will I make 
an ally of Kaa," and he shook himself all over. 

"He knows more than we," said Bagheera, 
trembling. " In a little time, had I stayed, I 
should have walked down his throat." 


" Many will walk that road before the moon 
rises again," said Baloo. " He will have good 
hunting after his own fashion." 

"But what was the meaning of it all?" said 
Mowgli, who did not know anything of a py- 
thon's powers of fascination. " I saw no more 
than a big snake making foolish circles till the 
dark came. And his nose was all sore. Ho! Ho!' 

"Mowgli," said Bagheera, angrily, "his nose 
was sore on thy account; as my ears and sides and 
paws, and Baloo's neck and shoulders are bitten 
on thy account. Neither Baloo nor Bagheera will 
be able to hunt with pleasure for many days." 

"It is nothing," said Baloo; "we have the 
man-cub again." 

"True; but he has cost us most heavily in 
time which might have been spent in good hunt- 
ing, in wounds, in hair, I am half plucked along 
my back, and last of all, in honor. For, remem- 
ber, Mowgli, I, who am the Black Panther, was 
forced to call upon Kaa for protection, and Baloo 
and I were both made stupid as little birds by 
the Hunger-Dance. All this, Man-cub, came of 
thy playing with the Bandar-log." 

"True; it is true," said Mowgli, sorrowfully. 
" I am an evil man-cub, and my stomach is 
sad in me." 


" Mf! What says the Law of the Jungle, 

Baloo did not wish to bring Mowgli into any 
more trouble, but he could not tamper with the 
Law, so he mumbled, "Sorrow never stays punish- 
ment. But remember, Bagheera, he is very little." 

" I will remember; but he has done mischief ; 
and blows must be dealt now. Mowgli, hast thou 
anything to say ? ' 

" Nothing. I did wrong. Baloo and thou 
art wounded. It is just." 

Bagheera gave him half a dozen love-taps ; 
from a panther's point of view they would hardly 
have waked one of his own cubs, but for a seven 
year-old boy they amounted to as severe a beat- 
ing as you could wish to avoid. When it was all 
over Mowgli sneezed, and picked himself up 
without a word. 

" Now," said Bagheera, "jump on my back> 
Little Brother, and we will go home." 

One of the beauties of Jungle Law is that 
punishment settles all scores. There is no nag- 
ging afterward. 

Mowsfli laid his head down on Baofheera's back 

o o 

and slept so deeply that he never waked when 
he was put down by Mother Wolfs side in the 



Here we go in a flung festoon, 

Half-way up to the jealous moon ! 

Don't you envy our pranceful bands ? 

Don't you wish you had extra hands ? 

Would n't you like if your tails were so- 

Curved in the shape of a Cupid's bow ? 
Now you 're angry, but never mind, 
Brother, thy tail hangs down behind ! 

Here we sit in a branchy row, 
Thinking of beautiful things we know; 
Dreaming of deeds that we mean to do, 
All complete, in a minute or two 
Something noble and grand and good, 
Won by merely wishing we could. 

Now we're going to never mind, 
Brother, thy tail hangs down behind ! 

All the talk we ever have heard 

Uttered by bat or beast or bird 

Hide or fin or scale or feather 

Jabber it quickly and all together ! 

Excellent ! Wonderful ! Once again ! 

Now we are talking just like men. 

Let 's pretend we are . . . never mind, 
Brother, thy tail hangs down behind ! 
This is the way of the Monkey-kind. 

Then join our leaping lines that scnmfish through the 

That rocket by where, light and high, the wild-grape 

sun figs. 

By the rnbbisJi in our wake, and the noble noise we 

Be sure, be sure, we 're going to do some splendid 

things / 


What of the hunting, hunter bold? 

Brother, the watch was long and cold. 
What of the quarry ye went to kill ? 

Brother, he crops in the jungle still 
Where is the power that made your pride j 

Brothcr, u ebbs from my flank arid side. 
Where is the haste that ye hurry by ? 

Brother, I go to my lair to die. 


NOW we must go back to the last tale but 
one. When Mowgli left the wolfs cave 
after the fight with the Pack at the Council 
Rock, he went down to the plowed lands where 
the villagers lived, but he would not stop there 
because it was too near to the jungle, and he 
knew that he had made at least one bad enemy 
at the Council. So he hurried on, keeping to the 
rough road that ran down the valley, and followed 
it at a steady jog-trot for nearly twenty miles, 
till he came to a country that he did not know. 
The valley opened out into a great plain dotted 


over with rocks and cut up by ravines. At one 
end stood a little village, and at the other the 
thick jungle came down in a sweep to the graz- 
ing-grounds, and stopped there as though it had 
been cut off with a hoe. All over the plain, cattle 
and buffaloes were grazing, and when the little 
boys in charge of the herds saw Mowgli they 
shouted and ran away, and the yellow pariah 
dogs that hang about every Indian village barked. 
Mowgli walked on, for he was feeling hungry, 
and when he came to the village gate he saw the 
big thorn-bush that was drawn up before the gate 
at twilight, pushed to one side. 

" Umph ! ' he said, for he had come across 
more than one such barricade in his night ram- 
bles after things to eat. *' So men are afraid of 
the People of the Jungle here also." He sat 
down by the gate, and when a man came out he 
stood up, opened his mouth, and pointed down it 
to show that he wanted food. The man stared, 
and ran back up the one street of the village 
shouting for the priest, who was a big, fat man 
dressed in white, with a red and yellow mark on 
his forehead. The priest came to the gate, and 
with him at least a hundred people, w r ho stared 
and talked and shouted and pointed at Mowgli. 

11 They have no manners, these Men Folk/"' 

" TIGER! TIGER ! v 95 

said Mowgli to himself. " Only the gray ape 
would behave as they do." So he threw back 
his long hair and frowned at the crowd. 

"What is there to be afraid of?' said the 
priest. "Look at the marks on his arms and 
legs. They are the bites of wolves. He is but 
a wolf-child run away from the jungle." 

Of course, in playing together, the cubs had 
often nipped Mowgli harder than they intended, 
and there were white scars all over his arms and 
legs. But he would have been the last person in 
the world to call these bites ; for he knew what 
real biting meant. 

" Arrc ! Arre!' said two or three women 
together. "To be bitten by wolves, poor child! 
He is a handsome boy. He has eyes like red 
fire. By my honor, Messua, he is not unlike 
thy boy that was taken by the tiger." 

" Let me look," said a woman with heavy 
copper rings on her wrists and ankles, and she 
peered at Mowgli under the palm of her hand. 
"Indeed he is not. He is thinner, but he has 
the very look of my boy." 

The priest was a clever man, and he knew that 
Messua was wife to the richest villager in the 
place. So he looked up at the sky for a minute, 
and said solemnly: "What the jungle has taken 


the jungle has restored. Take the boy into thy 
house, my sister, and forget not to honor the 
priest who sees so far into the lives of men." 

"By the Bull that bought me," said Mowgli to 
himself, "but all this talking is like another look- 
ing-over by the Pack ! Well, if I am a man, a 
man I must become." 

The crowd parted as the woman beckoned 
Mowgli to her hut, where there was a red lac- 
quered bedstead, a great earthen grain-chest with 
curious raised patterns on it, half a dozen copper 
cooking-pots, an image of a Hindu god in a little 
alcove, and on the wall a real looking-glass, such 
as they sell at the country fairs. 

She gave him a long drink of milk and some 
bread, and then she laid her Jiand on his head 
and looked into his eyes ; for she thought per- 
haps that he might be her real son come back 
from the jungle where the tiger had taken him. 
So she said : " Nathoo, O Nathoo ! ' Mowgli did 
not show that he knew the name. "Dost thou not 
remember the day when I gave thee thy new 
shoes ? ' She touched his foot, and it was almost 
as hard as horn. "No," she said, sorrowfully; 
"those feet have never worn shoes, but thou art 
very like my Nathoo, and thou shalt be my son." 

Mowgli was uneasy, because he had never 


been under a roof before ; but as he looked at 
the thatch, he saw that he could tear it out any 
time if he wanted to get away, and that the 
window had no fastenings. " What is the good 
of a man," he said to himself at last, "if he does 
not understand man's talk? Now I am as silly 
and dumb as a man would be with us in the 
jungle. I must learn their talk." 

It was not for fun that he had learned while 
he was with the wolves to imitate the challenge 
of bucks in the jungle and the grunt of the little 
wild pig. So as soon as Messua pronounced a 
word Mowgli would imitate it almost perfectly, 
and before dark he had learned the names of 
many things in the hut. 

There was a difficulty at bedtime, because 
Mowgli would not sleep under anything that 
looked so like a panther-trap as that hut, and 
when they shut the door he went through the 
window. "Give him his will," said Messua's 
husband. " Remember he can never till now 
have slept on a bed. If he is indeed sent in 
the place of our son he will not run away." 

So Mowgli stretched himself in some long, 
clean grass at the edge of the field, but before 
he had closed his eyes a soft gray nose poked 
him under the chin. 


" Phew ! ' said Gray Brother (he was the 
eldest of Mother Wolf's cubs). "This is a poor 
reward for following thee twenty miles. Thou 
smellest of wood-smoke and cattle altogether 
like a man already. Wake, Little Brother; I 
bring news." 

"Are all well in the jungle?' said Mowgli, 
hugging him. 

" All except the wolves that were burned with 
the Red Flower. Now, listen. Shere Khan has 
gone away to hunt far off till his coat grows 
again, for he is badly singed. When he returns 
he swears that he will lay thy bones in the 

" There are two words to that. I also have 
made a little promise. But news is always good. 
I am tired to-night, very tired with new things, 
Gray Brother, but bring me the news always." 

"Thou wilt not forget that thou art a wolf? 
Men will not make thee forget?' said Gray 
Brother, anxiously. 

" Never. I will always remember that I love 
thee and all in our cave ; but also I will always 
remember that I have been cast out of the 

"And that thou mayest be cast out of another 
pack. Men are only men, Little Brother, and 


--^Ji sS^'iWf-oX 1^ Ox*? 

f-^x TO' -\-^ 

"TIGER! TIGER!' 1 101 

their talk is like the talk of frogs in a pond. 
When I come down here again, I will wait for 
thee in the bamboos at the edge of the grazing- 

For three months after that night Mowgli 
hardly ever left the village gate, he was so busy 
learning the ways and customs of men. First he 
had to wear a cloth round him, which annoyed 
him horribly ; and then he had to learn about 
money, which he did not in the least understand, 
and about plowing, of which he did not see the 
use. Then the little children in the village made 
him very angry. Luckily, the Law of the Jungle 
had taught him to keep his temper, for in the 
jungle, life and food depend on keeping your 
temper ; but when they made fun of him because 
he would not play games or fly kites, or because 
he mispronounced some word, only the know- 
ledge that it was unsportsmanlike to kill little 
naked cubs kept him from picking them up and 
breaking them in two. 

He did not know his own strength in the 
least. In the jungle he knew he was weak com- 
pared with the beasts, but in the village, people 
said he was as strong as a bull. 

And Mowgdi had not the faintest idea of the 


difference that caste makes between man and 


man. When the potter's donkey slipped in the 
clay-pit, Mowgli hauled it out by the tail, and 
helped to stack the pots for their journey to the 
market at Khanhiwara. That was very shock- 
ing, too, for the potter is a low-caste man, and 
his donkey is worse. When the priest scolded 
him, Mowgli threatened to put him on the don- 
key, too, and the priest told Messua's husband 
that Mowgli had better be set to work as soon 
as possible; and the village head-man told Mow- 
gli that he would have to go out with the buf- 
faloes next day, and herd them while they grazed. 
No one was more pleased than Mowgli; and 
that night, because he had been appointed a 
servant of the village, as it were, he went off to 
a circle that met every evening on a masonry 
platform under a great fig-tree. It was the vil- 
lage club, and the head-man and the watchman 
and the barber (who knew all the gossip of the 
village), and old Buldeo, the village hunter, who 
had a Tower musket, met and smoked. The 
monkeys sat and talked in the upper branches, 
and there was a hole under the platform where a 
cobra lived, and he had his little platter of milk 
every night because he was sacred ; and the old 
men sat around the tree and talked, and pulled 
at the big huqas (the water-pipes) till far into the 

"TIGER! TIGER!" 103 

night. They told wonderful tales of gods and 
men and ghosts ; and Buldeo told even more 
wonderful ones of the ways of beasts in the 
jungle, till the eyes of the children sitting outside 
the circle bulged out of their heads. Most of the 
tales were about animals, for the jungle was al- 
ways at their door. The deer and the wild pig 
grubbed up their crops, and now and again the 
tiger carried off a man at twilight, within sight 
of the village gates. 

Mowgli, who naturally knew something about 
what they were talking of, had to cover his face 
not to show that he was laughing, while Buldeo, 
the Tower musket across his knees, climbed on 
from one wonderful story to another, and Mow- 
gli's shoulders shook. 

Buldeo was explaining how the tiger that had 
carried away Messua's son was a ghost-tiger, and 
his body was inhabited by the ghost of a wicked 
old money-lender, who had died some years ago. 
" And I know that this is true," he said, " because 
Purun Dass always limped from the blow that 
he got in a riot when his account-books were 
burned, and the tiger that I speak of he limps, 
too, for the tracks of his pads are unequal." 

"True, true; that must be the truth," said the 
graybeards, nodding together. 


" Are all these tales such cobwebs and moon- 
talk? ' said Mowgli. "That tiger limps because 
he was born lame, as every one knows. To talk 
of the soul of a money-lender in a beast that 
never had the courage of a jackal is child's talk.'' 

Buldeo was speechless with surprise for a mo- 
ment, and the head-man stared. 

"Oho ! It is the jungle brat, is it? " said Bul- 
deo. "If thou art so wise, better bring his hide 
to Khanhiwara, for the Government has set a 
hundred rupees [$30] on his life. Better still, do 
not talk when thy elders speak." 

Mowgli rose to go. " All the evening I have 
lain here listening," he called back over his shoul- 
der, "and, except once or twice, Buldeo has not 
said one word of truth concerning the jungle, 
which is at his very doors. How, then, shall I 
believe the tales of ghosts and gods and goblins 
which he says he has seen?' 

" It is full time that boy went to herding," 
said the head-man, while Buldeo puffed and 
snorted at Mowgli's impertinence. 

The custom of most Indian villages is for a few 
boys to take the cattle and buffaloes out to graze 
in the early morning, and bring them back at 
night; and the very cattle that would trample a 
white man to death allow themselves to be banged 





















"TIGER! TIGER!" 107 

and bullied and shouted at by children that hard- 
ly come up to their noses. So long as the boys 
keep with the herds they are safe, for not even 
the tiger will charge a mob of cattle. But if they 
straggle to pick flowers or hunt lizards, they are 
sometimes carried off. Mowgli went through the 
village street in the dawn, sitting on the back of 
Rama, the great herd bull ; and the slaty- blue 
buffaloes, with their long, backward-sweeping 
horns and savage eyes, rose out of their byres, 
one by one, and followed him, and Mowgli made 
it very clear to the children with him that he was 
the master. He beat the buffaloes with a long, 
polished bamboo, and told Kamya, one of the 
boys, to graze the cattle by themselves, while he 
went on with the buffaloes, and to be very care- 
ful not to stray away from the herd. 

An Indian grazing- ground is all rocks and 
scrub and tussocks and little ravines, among 
which the herds scatter and disappear. The 
buffaloes generally keep to the pools and muddy 
places, where they lie wallowing or basking in the 
warm mud for hours. Mowgli drove them on to 


the edge of the plain where the Waingunga River 
came out of the jungle; then he dropped from 
Rama's neck, trotted off to a bamboo clump, and 
found Gray Brother. "Ah," said Gray Brother, 


" I have waited here very many days. What is 
the meaning of this cattle-herding work? ' 

" It is an order," said MowglL " I am a 
village herd for a while. What news of Shere 
Khan ? " 

"He has come back to this country, and has 
waited here a long time for thee. Now he has 
gone off again, for the game is scarce. But he 
means to kill thee." 

"Very good," said Mowgli. "So long as he 
is away do thou or one of the brothers sit on 
that rock, so that I can see thee as I come 
out of the village. When he comes back wait for 
me in the ravine by the dhdk-\.ree in the center 
of the plain. We need not walk into Shere 
Khan's mouth." 

Then Mowgli picked out a shady place, and 
lay down and slept while the buffaloes grazed 
round him. Herding in India is one of the lazi- 
est things in the world. The cattle move and 
crunch, and lie down, and move on again, and they 
do not even low. They only grunt, and the buffa- 
loes very seldom say anything, but get down into 
the muddy pools one after another, and work their 
way into the mud till only their noses and staring 
china-blue eyes show above the surface, and there 
they lie like logs. The sun makes the rocks 

" TIGER! TIGER!" 109 

dance in the heat, and the herd-children hear one 
kite (never any more) whistling almost out of 
sight overhead, and they know that if they died, 
or a cow died, that kite would sweep down, and 
the next kite miles away would see him drop and 
follow, and the next, and the next, and almost 
before they were dead there would be a score of 
hungry kites come out of nowhere. Then they 
sleep and wake and sleep again, and weave little 
baskets of dried grass and put grasshoppers in 
them; or catch two praying-mantises and make 
them fight; or string a necklace of red and black 
jungle-nuts; or watch a lizard basking on a rock, 
or a snake hunting a frog near the wallows. 
Then they sing long, long songs with odd native 
quavers at the end of them, and the day seems 
longer than most people's whole lives, and per- 
haps they make a mud castle with mud figures of 
men and horses and buffaloes, and put reeds into 
the men's hands," and pretend that they are kings 
and the figures are their armies, or that they are 
gods to be worshiped. Then evening comes, 
and the children call, and the buffaloes lumber 
up out of the sticky mud with noises like gun- 
shots going off one after the other, and they all 
string across the gray plain back to the twink- 
ling village lights. 



Day after day Mowgli would lead the buffaloes 
out to their wallows, and day after day he would 
see Gray Brother's back a mile and a half away 
across the plain (so he knew that Shere Khan 
had not come back), and day after day he would 
lie on the grass listening to the noise round him, 
and dreaming of old days in the jungle. If Shere 

Khan had made a false step with his lame paw up 
in the jungles by the Waingunga, Mowgli would 
have heard him in those long still mornings. 
At last a day came when he did not see Gray 

"TIGER! TIGER!' 1 in 

Brother at the signal place, and he laughed and 
headed the buffaloes for the ravine by the dhdk- 
tree, which was all covered with golden-red 
flowers. There sat Gray Brother, every bristle 
on his back lifted. 

" He has hidden for a month to throw thee 
off thy guard. He crossed the ranges last night 
with Tabaqui, hot-foot on thy trail," said the 
wolf, panting. 

Mowgli frowned. " I am not afraid of Shere 
Khan, but Tabaqui is very cunning." 

" Have no fear," said Gray Brother, licking his 
lips a little. " I met Tabaqui in the dawn. Now 
he is telling all his wisdom to the kites, but he 
told me everything before I broke his back. 
Shere Khan's plan is to wait for thee at the 
village gate this evening for thee and for no 
one else. He is lying up now in the big dry 
ravine of the Waingunga." 

" Has he eaten to-day, or does he hunt 
empty?' said Mowgli, for the answer meant 
life or death to him. 

"He killed at dawn, a pig, and he has 
drunk too. Remember, Shere Khan could never 
fast even for the sake of revenge." 

" Oh ! Fool, fool ! What a cub's cub it is ! 
Eaten and drunk too, and he thinks that I shall 


wait till he has slept ! Now, where does he lie 
up ? If there were but ten of us we might pull 
him down as he lies. These buffaloes will not 
charge unless they wind him, and I cannot speak 
their language. Can we get behind his track so 
that they may smell it ?' 

" He swam far down the Waingunga to cut 
that off," said Gray Brother. 

" Tabaqui told him that, I know. He would 
never have thought of it alone." Mowgli stood 
with his finger in his mouth, thinking. "The big 
ravine of the Waingunga. That opens out on the 
plain not half a mile from here. I can take the 
herd round through the jungle to the head of the 
ravine and then sweep down but he would slink 
out at the foot. We must block that end Gray 
Brother, canst thou cut the herd in two for me ? ' 

" Not I, perhaps but I have brought a wise 
helper." Gray Brother trotted off and dropped 
into a hole. Then there lifted up a huge gray 
head that Mowgli knew well, and the hot air was 
filled with the most desolate cry of all the jungle 
the hunting-howl of a wolf at midday. 

" Akela ! Akela ! " said Mowgli, clapping his 
hands. " I might have known that thou wouldst 
not forget me. We have a big work in hand. 
Cut the herd in two, Akela. Keep the cows and 

"TIGER! TIGER!' 113 

calves together, and the bulls and the plow-buf- 
faloes by themselves." 

The two wolves ran, ladies'-chain fashion, in 
and out of the herd, which snorted and threw up 
its head, and separated into two clumps. In one 
the cow-buffaloes stood, with their calves in the 
center, and glared and pawed, ready, if a wolf 
would only stay still, to charge down and trample 
the life out of him. In the other the bulls and 
the young bulls snorted and stamped ; but, 
though they looked more imposing, they were 
much less dangerous, for they had no calves to 
protect. No six men could have divided the 
herd so neatly. 

"What orders!' panted Akela. "They are 
trying to join again." 

Mowgli slipped on to Rama's back. " Drive 
the bulls away to the left, Akela. Gray Brother, 
when we are gone hold the cows together, and 
drive them into the foot of the ravine." 

"How far?' said Gray Brother, panting and 

"Till the sides are higher than Shere Khan 
can jump," shouted Mowgli. " Keep them there 
till we come down." The bulls swept off as 
Akela bayed, and Gray Brother stopped in front 
of the cows. They charged down on him, and 


he ran just before them to the foot of the ravine, 
as Akela drove the bulls far to the left. 

" Well done ! Another charge and they are 
fairly started. Careful, now careful, Akela. 
A snap too much, and the bulls will charge. 
Hujah ! This is wilder work than driving black- 
buck. Didst thou think these creatures could 
move so swiftly ? ' Mowgli called. 

" I have have hunted these too in my time," 
gasped Akela in the dust. " Shall I turn them 
into the jungle ? ' 

" Ay, turn ! Swiftly turn them. Rama is 
mad with rage. Oh, if I could only tell him 
what I need of him to-day ! ' 

The bulls were turned to the right this time, 
and crashed into the standing thicket. The 


other herd-children, watching with the cattle half 
a mile away, hurried to the village as fast as their 
legs could carry them, crying that the buffaloes 
had ofone mad and run awav. 

O J 

But Mowgli's plan was simple enough. All 
he wanted to do was to make a big circle uphill 
and get at the head of the ravine, and then take 
the bulls down it and catch Shere Khan between 
the bulls and the cows, for he knew that after a 
meal and a full drink Shere Khan would not be 
in any condition to fight or to clamber up the 

"TIGER! TIGER!' 115 

sides of the ravine. He was soothing the buf- 
faloes now by voice, and Akela had dropped far 
to the rear, only whimpering once or twice to 
hurry the rear-guard. It was a long, long circle, 
for they did not wish to get too near the ravine 
and give Shere Khan warning. At last Mowgli 
rounded up the bewildered herd at the head of 
the ravine on a grassy patch that sloped steeply 
down to the ravine itself. From that height you 
could see across the tops of the trees down to the 
plain below ; but what Mowgli looked at was the 
sides of the ravine, and he saw with a great deal 
of satisfaction that they ran nearly straight up 
and down, and the vines and creepers that hung 
over them would give no foothold to a tiger who 
wanted to get out. 

"Let them breathe, Akela/' he said, holding 
up his hand. " They have not winded him yet. 
Let them breathe. I must tell Shere Khan who 
comes. We have him in the trap." 

He put his hands to his mouth and shouted 
down the ravine, it was almost like shouting 
down a tunnel, and the echoes jumped from 
rock to rock. 

After a long time there came back the draw- 
ling, sleepy snarl of a full-fed tiger just awak- 


"Who calls?" said Shere Khan, and a splen- 
did peacock fluttered up out of the ravine, 

"I, Mowgli. Cattle-thief, it is time to come 
to the Council Rock ! Down hurry them down, 
Akela. Down, Rama, down ! ' 

The herd paused for an instant at the edge of 
the slope, but Akela gave tongue in the full 
hunting-yell, and they pitched over one after the 
other just as steamers shoot rapids, the sand 
and stones spurting up round them. Once 
started, there was no chance of stopping, and be- 
fore they were fairly in the bed of the ravine 
Rama winded Shere Khan and bellowed. 

"Ha! Ha! "said Mowgli, on his back. "Now 
thou knowest!" and the torrent of black horns, 
foaming muzzles, and staring eyes whirled down 
the ravine like boulders in flood-time ; the weaker 
buffaloes being shouldered out to the sides of the 
ravine where they tore through the creepers. 
They knew what the business was before them 
the terrible charge of the buffalo-herd, against 
which no tiger can hope to stand. Shere Khan 
heard the thunder of their hoofs, picked him- 
self up, and lumbered down the ravine, looking 
from side to side for some way of escape, but the 
walls of the ravine were straight, and he had to 

"TIGER! TIGER !" 117 

keep on, heavy with his dinner and his drink, 
willing to do anything rather than fight. The 
herd splashed through the pool he had just left, 
bellowing till the narrow cut rang. Mowgli 
heard an answering bellow from the foot of the ra- 
vine, saw Shere Khan turn (the tiger knew if the 
worst came to the worst it was better to meet the 
bulls than the cows with their calves), and then 
Rama tripped, stumbled, and went on again over 
something soft, and, with the bulls at his heels, 
crashed full into the other herd, while the weaker 
buffaloes were lifted clean off their feet by the 
shock of the meeting. That charge carried both 
herds out into the plain, goring and stamping and 
snorting. Mowgli watched his time, and slipped 
off Rama's neck, laying about him right and left 
with his stick. 

" Quick, Akela ! Break them up. Scatter 
them, or they will be fighting one another. Drive 
them away, Akela. Hai, Rama ! Hai ! hai ! 
hai ! my children. Softly now, softly ! It is all 


Akela and Gray Brother ran to and fro nipping 
the buffaloes' legs, and though the herd wheeled 
once to charge up the ravine again, Mowgli man- 
aged to turn Rama, and the others followed him 
to the wallows. 


Shere Khan needed no more trampling. He 
was dead, and the kites were coming for him 

" Brothers, that w r as a dog's death," said 
Mowgli, feeling for the knife he always carried 
in a sheath round his neck now that he lived 
with men. " But he would never have shown 
fiVht. His hide will look well on the Council 


Rock. We must get to work swiftly." 

A boy trained among men would never have 
dreamed of skinning a ten-foot tiger alone, but 
Mowgli knew better than any one else how an 
animal's skin is fitted on, and how it can be taken 
off. But it was hard work, and Mowgli slashed 
and tore and grunted for an hour, while the 
wolves lolled out their toneues, or came forward 


and tugged as he ordered them. 

Presently a hand fell on his shoulder, and look- 
ing up he saw Buldeo with the Tower musket. 
The children had told the village about the buf- 


falo stampede, and Buldeo went out angrily, only 
too anxious to correct Mowgli for not taking 
better care of the herd. The wolves dropped out 
of sight as soon as they saw the man coming. 

"What is this folly ?' said Buldeo, angrily. 
" To think that thou canst skin a ti^er ! Where 


did the buffaloes kill him ? It is the Lame Tiger, 

"TIGER! TIGER !" 119 

too, and there is a hundred rupees on his head. 
Well, well, we will overlook thy letting the herd 
run off, and perhaps I will give thee one of the 
rupees of the reward when I have taken the skin 
to Khanhiwara." He fumbled in his waist-cloth 
for flint and steel, and stooped down to singe 
Shere Khan's whiskers. Most native hunters 
singe a tiger's whiskers to prevent his ghost 
hauntinof them. 


" Hum ! ' said Mowgli, half to himself as he 
ripped back the skin of a fore paw. " So thou 
wilt take the hide to Khanhiwara for the reward, 
and perhaps give me one rupee? Now it is in 
my mind that I need the skin for my own use. 
Heh! old man, take away that fire! ' 

"What talk is this to the chief hunter of the 
village ? Thy luck and the stupidity of thy buf- 
faloes have helped thee to this kill. The tiger 
has just fed, or he would have gone twenty miles 
by this time. Thou canst not even skin him 
properly, little beggar-brat, and forsooth I, 
Buldeo, must be told not to singe his whiskers. 
Mowgli, I will not give thee one anna of the 
reward, but only a very big beating. Leave the 
carcass ! ' 

" By the Bull that bought me," said Mowgli, 
who was trying to get at the shoulder, "must I 


stay babbling to an old ape all noon? Here, 
Akela, this man plagues me." 

Buldeo, who was still stooping over Shere 
Khan's head, found himself sprawling on the 
grass, with a gray wolf standing over him, while 
Mowgli went on skinning as though he were 
alone in all India. 

" Ye-es," he said, between his teeth. "Thou 
art altogether right, Buldeo. Thou wilt never 
give me one anna of the reward. There is an 
old war between this lame tiger and myself a 
very old war, and I have won." 

To do Buldeo justice, if he had been ten years 
younger he would have taken his chance with 
Akela had he met the wolf in the woods, but a 
wolf who obeyed the orders of this boy who had 
private wars with man-eating tigers was not a 
common animal. It was sorcery, magic of the 
worst kind, thought Buldeo, and he wondered 
whether the amulet round his neck would protect 
him. He lay as still as still, expecting every 
minute to see Mowgli turn into a tiger, too. 

" Maharaj ! Great King," he said at last, in a 
husky whisper. 

" Yes," said Mowgli, without turning his head, 
chuckling a little. 



''TIGER! TIGER!" 123 

" I am an old man. I did not know that thou 
wast anything more than a herd-boy. May I 
rise up and go away, or will thy servant tear me 
to pieces ? ' 

" Go, and peace go with thee. Only, another 
time do not meddle with my game. Let him go, 

Buldeo hobbled away to the village as fast as 
he could, looking back over his shoulder in case 
Mowgli should change into something terrible. 
When he got to the village he told a tale of 
magic and enchantment and sorcery that made 
the priest look very grave. 

Mowgli went on with his work, but it was 
nearly twilight before he and the wolves had 
drawn the great gay skin clear of the body. 

" Now we must hide this and take the buffa- 
loes home ! Help me to herd them, Akela." 

The herd rounded up in the misty twilight, 
and when they got near the village Mowgli saw 
lights, and heard the conches and bells in the 


temple blowing and banging. Half the village 
seemed to be waiting for him by the gate. " That 
is because I have killed Shere Khan," he said to 
himself; but a shower of stones whistled about 
his ears, and the villagers shouted : " Sorcerer ! 


Wolfs brat ! Jungle-demon ! Go away ! Get 
hence quickly, or the priest will turn thee into 
a wolf again. Shoot, Buldeo, shoot ! ' 

The old Tower musket went off with a bang, 
and a young buffalo bellowed in pain. 

" More sorcery ! " shouted the villagers. " He 
can turn bullets. Buldeo, that was thy buffalo." 

" Now what is this ? " said Mowgli, bewildered, 
as the stones flew thicker. 

"They are not unlike the Pack, these brothers 
of thine," said Akela, sitting down composedly. 
" It is in my head that, if bullets mean anything, 
they would cast thee out." 

" Wolf! Wolfs cub ! Go away ! " shouted the 
priest, waving a sprig of the sacred tulsi plant. 

" Aeain ? Last time it was because I was a 


man. This time it is because I am a wolf. Let 
us go, Akela." 

A woman it was Messua ran across to the 
herd, and cried : " Oh, my son, my son ! They 
say thou art a sorcerer who can turn himself into 
a beast at will. I do not believe, but go away 
or they will kill thee. Buldeo says thou art a 
wizard, but I know thou hast avenged Nathoo's 

"Come back, Messua!' shouted the crowd, 
" Come back, or we will stone thee." 

"TIGER! TIGER!" 125 

Mowgli laughed a little short ugly laugh, for a 
stone had hit him in the mouth. " Run back, 
Messua. This is one of the foolish tales they tell 
under the big tree at dusk. I have at least paid 
for thy son's life. Farewell ; and run quickly, 
for I shall send the herd in more swiftly than their 
brickbats. I am no wizard, Messua. Farewell ! 

" Now, once more, Akela," he cried. " Bring 
the herd in." 

The buffaloes were anxious enough to get to 
the village. They hardly needed Akela's yell, but 
charged through the crate like a whirlwind, scat- 

o o o 

tering the crowd right and left. 

"Keep count!' shouted Mowgli, scornfully. 
" It may be that I have stolen one of them. 
Keep count, for I will do your herding no more. 
Fare you well, children of men, and thank Mes- 
sua that I do not come in with my wolves and 
hunt you up and down your street." 

He turned on his heel and walked away with 
the Lone Wolf; and as he looked up at the stars 
he felt happy. " No more sleeping in traps for 
me, Akela. Let us get Shere Khan's skin and 
go away. No ; we will not hurt the village, for 
Messua was kind to me." 

When the moon rose over the plain, making it 
look all milky, the horrified villagers saw Mowgli. 



with two wolves at his heels and a bundle on 
his head, trotting across at the steady wolf's trot 
that eats up the long miles like fire. Then they 


banged the temple bells and blew the conches 
louder than ever ; and Messua cried, and Buldeo 
embroidered the story of his adventures in the 
jungle, till he ended by saying that Akela stood 
up on his hind legs and talked like a man. 

The moon was just going down when Mowgli 
and the two wolves came to the hill of the Council 
Rock, and they stopped at Mother Wolf's cave. 

"They have cast, me put from the Man Pack, 

"TIGER! TIGER!" 127 

Mother," shouted Mowgli, "but I come with the 
hide of Shere Khan to keep my word." Mother 
Wolf walked stiffly from the cave with the cubs 
behind her, and her eyes glowed as she saw the 

" I told him on that day, when he crammed his 
head and shoulders into this cave, hunting for thy 
life, Little Fro^- I told him that the hunter 

' o 

would be the hunted. It is well done." 

" Little Brother, it is well done," said a deep 
voice in the thicket. " We were lonely in the 
jungle without thee," and Bagheera came running 
to Mowgli's bare feet. They clambered up the 
Council Rock together, and Mowgli spread the 
skin out on the flat stone where Akela used to 
sit, and pegged it down with four slivers of bam- 
boo, and Akela lay down upon it, and called the 
old call to the Council, "Look look well, O 
Wolves!" exactly as he had called when Mowgli 
was first brought there, 


Ever since Akela had been deposed, the Pack 
had been without a leader, hunting and fighting at 
their own pleasure. But they answered the call 
from habit, and some of them were lame from the 
traps they had fallen into, and some limped from 
shot- wounds, and some were mangy from eat- 

O J 

ing bad food, and many were missing ; but they 
came to the Council Rock, all that were left of 


them, and saw Shere Khan's striped hide on the 
rock, and the huge claws dangling at the end 
of the empty, dangling feet. It was then that 
Mowgli made up a song without any rhymes, a 
song that came up into his throat all by itself, 
and he shouted it aloud, leaping up and down 
on the rattling skin, and beating time with his 
heels till he had no more breath left, while 
Gray Brother and Akela howled between the 

" Look well, O Wolves. Have I kept my 
word?" said Mowgli when he had finished; and 
the wolves bayed "Yes," and one tattered wolf 

" Lead us again, O Akela. Lead us again, O 
Man-cub, for we be sick of this lawlessness, and 
we would be the Free People once more." 

"Nay," purred Bagheera, "that may not be. 
When ye are full-fed, the madness may come 
upon ye again. Not for nothing are ye called 
the Free People. Ye fought for freedom, and it 
is yours. Eat it, O Wolves." 

" Man Pack and Wolf Pack have cast me 
out," said Mowgli. " Now I will hunt alone in 
the jungle." 

"And we will hunt with thee," said the four 



" TIGER! TIGER !' ! 131 

So Mowgli went away and hunted with the 
four cubs in the jungle from that day on. But 
he was not always alone, because years afterward 
he became a man and married. 

But that is a story for grown-ups. 



The Song of Mowgli I, Mowgli, am singing. Let 

the jungle listen to the things I have done. 
Shere Khan said he would kill would kill! At the 

gates in the twilight he would kill Mowgli, the 

Frog ! 
He ate and he drank. Drink deep, Shere Khan, for 

when wilt thou drink again ? Sleep and dream 

of the kill. 
I am alone on the grazing-grounds. Gray Brother, 

come to me ! Come to me, Lone Wolf, for there 

is big game afoot. 
Bring up the great bull-buffaloes, the blue-skinned 

herd-bulls with the angry eyes. Drive them to 

and fro as I order. 
Sleepest thou still, Shere Khan ? Wake, O wake ! 

Here come I, and the bulls are behind. 


Rama, the King of the Buffaloes, stamped with his 
foot. Waters of the Waingunga, whither went 
Shere Khan ? 

He is not Ikki to dig holes, nor Mao, the Peacock, that 
he should fly. He is not Mang, the Bat, to hang 
in the branches. Little bamboos that creak to- 
gether, tell me where he ran ? 

Ow ! He is there. A/wo ! He is there. Under the 
feet of Rama lies the Lame One ! Up, Shere 
Khan ! Up and kill ! Here is meat ; break the 
necks of the bulls ! 

Hsh ! He is asleep. We will not wake him, for his 
strength is very great. The kites have come down 
to see it. The black ants have come up to know 
it. There is a great assembly in his honor. 

Alala / I have no cloth to wrap me. The kites will 
see that I am naked. I am ashamed to meet all 
these people. 

Lend me thy coat, Shere Khan. Lend me thy gay 
striped coat that I may go to the Council Rock. 

By the Bull that bought me I have made a promise 
a little promise. Only thy coat is lacking before I 
keep my word. 

With the knife -with the knife that men use with 
the knife of the hunter, the man, I will stoop down 
for my gift. 

Waters of the Waingunga, bear witness that Shere 
Khan gives me his coat for the love that he bears 
me. Pull, Gray Brother ! Pull, Akeli ! Heavy is 
the hide of Shere Khan. 

"TIGER! TIGER!' 133 

The Man Pack are angry. They throw stones and talk 

child's talk. My mouth is bleeding. Let us run 

Through the night, through the hot night, run swiftly 

with me, my brothers. We will leave the lights 

of the village and go to the low moon. 
Waters of the Waingunga, the Man Pack have cast me 

out. I did them no harm, but they were afraid of 

me. Why ? 
Wolf Pack, ye have cast me out too. The jungle is 

shut to me and the village gates are shut. Why ? 
As Mang flies between the beasts and the birds so fly 

I between the village and the jungle. Why ? 
I dance on the hide of Shere Khan, but my heart is 

very heavy. My mouth is cut and wounded with 

the stones from the village, but my heart is very 

light because I have come back to the jungle. 

These two things fight together in me as the snakes 

fight in the spring. The water comes out of my 

eyes ; yet I laugh while it falls. Why ? 
I am two Mowglis, but the hide of Shere Khan is under 

my feet. 
All the jungle knows that I have killed Shere Khan. 

Look look well, O Wolves ! 
Ahae ! My heart is heavy with the things that I do 

not understand. 


Oh ! hush thee, my baby, the night is behind us, 

And black are the waters that sparkled so green. 
The moon, o'er the combers, looks downward to find us 

At rest in the hollows that rustle between. 
Where billow meets billow, there soft be thy pillow; 

Ah, weary wee flipperling, curl at thy ease ! 
The storm shall not wake thee, nor shark overtake thee, 

Asleep in the arms of the slow-swinging seas. 

Seal Lullaby. 


AvL these things happened several years ago 
at a place called Novastoshnah, or North 
East Point, on the Island of St. Paul, away and 
away in the Bering Sea. Limmershin, the Win- 
ter Wren, told me the tale when he was blown on 
to the rigging of a steamer going to Japan, and I 
took him down into my cabin and warmed and fed 


him for a couple of days till he was fit to fly back 
to St. Paul's again. Limmershin is a very odd 
little bird, but he knows how to tell the truth. 
Nobody comes to Novastoshnah except on 
business, and the only people who have regular 



business there are the seals. They come in the 
summer months by hundreds and hundreds of 
thousands out of the cold gray sea; for Novas- 
toshnah Beach has the finest accommodation for 
seals of any place in all the world. 

Sea Catch knew that, and every spring would 
swim from whatever place he happened to be in 
would swim like a torpedo-boat straight for 
Novastoshnah, and spend a month fighting with 
his companions for a good place on the rocks as 
close to the sea as possible. Sea Catch was fif- 
teen years old, a huge gray fur-seal with almost 
a mane on his shoulders, and long, wicked dog- 
teeth. When he heaved himself up on his front 
flippers he stood more than four feet clear of the 
ground, and his weight, if any one had been bold 
enough to weigh him, was nearly seven hundred 
pounds. He was scarred all over with the marks 
of savage fights, but he was always ready for just 
one fight more. He would put his head on one 
side, as though he were afraid to look his enemy 
in the face; then he would shoot it out like light- 
ning, and when the big teeth were firmly fixed on 
the other seal's neck, the other seal might get away 
if he could, but Sea Catch would not help him. 

Yet Sea Catch never chased a beaten seal, for 
that was against the Rules of the Beach. He 


only wanted room by the sea for his nursery ; 
but as there were forty or fifty thousand other 
seals hunting for the same thing each spring, the 
whistling, bellowing, roaring, and blowing on the 
beach was something frightful. 

From a little hill called Hutchinson's Hill you 
could look over three and a half miles of ground 
covered with fighting seals ; and the surf was 
dotted all over with the heads of seals hurrying 
to land and begin their share of the fighting. 
They fought in the breakers, they fought in the 
sand, and they fought on the smooth-worn basalt 
rocks of the nurseries ; for they were just as stu- 
pid and unaccommodating as men. Their wives 
never came to the island until late in May or 
early in June, for they did not care to be torn to 
pieces ; and the young two-, three-, and four- 
year-old seals who had not begun housekeeping 
went inland about half a mile through the ranks 
of the fighters and played about on the sand-dunes 
in droves and legions, and rubbed off every single 
green thing that grew. They were called the 
holluschickie, the bachelors, and there were 
perhaps two or three hundred thousand of them 
at Novastoshnah alone. 

Sea Catch had just finished his forty-fifth fight 
one spring when Matkah, his soft, sleek, gentle- 


eyed wife came up out of the sea, and he caught 
her by the scruff of the neck and dumped her 
down on his reservation, saying gruffly : " Late, 
as usual. Where have you been ? ' 

It was not the fashion for Sea Catch to eat 
anything during the four months he stayed on 
the beaches, and so his temper was generally 
bad. Matkah knew better than to answer back. 
She looked around and cooed: " How thoughtful 


of you. You Ve taken the old place again." 

" I should think I had," said Sea Catch. " Look 

i " 
at me ! 

He was scratched and bleeding in twenty 
places ; one eye was almost blind, and his sides 
were torn to ribbons. 

" Oh, you men, you men !' Matkah said, fan- 
ning herself with her hind flipper. " Why can't 
you be sensible and settle your places quietly ? 
You look as though you had been fighting with 
the Killer Whale." 

" I have n't been doing anything but fight since 
the middle of May. The beach is disgracefully 
crowded this season. I Ve met at least a hun- 
dred seals from Lukannon Beach, house-hunting. 
Why can't people stay where they belong ? 

" I Ve often thought we should be much hap- 
pier if we hauled out at Otter Island instead of 
this crowded place," said Matkah. 


" Bah ! Only the holluschickie go to Otter 
Island. If we went there they would say we 
were afraid. We must preserve appearances, my 

Sea Catch sunk his head proudly between his 
fat shoulders and pretended to go to sleep for a 
few minutes, but all the time he was keeping a 
sharp lookout for a fight. Now that all the seals 
and their wives were on the land you could hear 
their clamor miles out to sea above the loudest 
gales. At the lowest counting there were over a 
million seals on the beach, old seals, mother 
seals, tiny babies, and holluschickie, fighting, scuf- 
fling, bleating, crawling, and playing together,- 
going down to the sea and coming up from it in 
gangs and regiments, lying over every foot of 
ground as far as the eye could reach, and skir- 
mishing about in brigades through the fog. It is 
nearly always foggy at Novastoshnah, except 
when the sun comes out and makes everything 
look all pearly and rainbow-colored for a little 

Kotick, Matkah's baby, was born in the mid- 
dle of that confusion, and he was all head and 
shoulders, with pale, watery blue eyes, as tiny 
seals must be ; but there was something about 
his coat that made his mother look at him very 


" Sea Catch," she said, at last, " our baby 's 
going to be white ! ' 

"Empty clam-shells and dry seaweed!" snorted 
Sea Catch. " There never has been such a thing 
in the world as a white seal." 

" I can't help that," said Matkah ; " there 's go- 
ing to be now"; and she sang the low, crooning 
seal-song that all the mother seals sing to their 
babies : 

You must n't swim till you 're six weeks old, 
Or your head will be sunk by your heels ; 

And summer gales and Killer Whales 
Are bad for baby seals. 

Are bad for baby seals, dear rat, 

As bad as bad can be ; 
But splash and grow strong, 
And you can't be wrong, 

Child of the Open Sea ! 

Of course the little fellow did not understand 
the words at first. He paddled and scrambled 
about by his mother's side, and learned to scuffle 
out of the way when his father was fighting with 
another seal, and the two rolled and roared up 
and down the slippery rocks. Matkah used to 
go to sea to get things to eat, and the baby was 
fed only once in two days ; but then he ate all he 
could, and throve upon it. 


The first thing he did was to crawl inland, and 
there he met tens of thousands of babies of his 
own age, and they played together like puppies, 
went to sleep on the clean sand, and played 
again. The old people in the nurseries took 
no notice of them, and the holluschickie kept to 
their own grounds, so the babies had a beautiful 

When Matkah came back from her deep-sea 
fishing she would go straight to their playground 
and call as a sheep calls for a lamb, and wait un- 
til she heard Kotick bleat. Then she would take 
the straightest of straight lines in his direction, 
striking out with her fore flippers and knocking 
the youngsters head over heels right and left. 
There were always a few hundred mothers hunt- 
ing for their children through the playgrounds, 
and the babies were kept lively ; but, as Matkah 
told Kotick, " So long as you don't lie in muddy 
water and get mange ; or rub the hard sand into 
a cut or scratch ; and so long as you never go 
swimming when there is a heavy sea, nothing 
will hurt you here." 

Little seals can no more swim than little chil- 
dren, but they are unhappy till they learn. The 
first time that Kotick went down to the sea a 
wave carried him out beyond his depth, and his 


big head sank and his little hind flippers flew up 
exactly as his mother had told him in the song, 
and if the next wave had not thrown him back 
again he would have drowned. 

After that he learned to lie in a beach-pool and 
let the wash of the waves just cover him and lift 
him up while he paddled, but he always kept his 
eye open for big waves that might hurt. He was 
two weeks learning to use his flippers; and all 
that while he floundered in and out of the water, 
and coughed and grunted and crawled up the 
beach and took cat- naps on the sand, and went 
back again, until at last he found that he truly 
belonged to the water. 


Then you can imagine the times that he had 
with his companions, ducking under the rollers ; 
or coming in on top of a comber and landing with 
a swash and a splutter as the big wave went 
whirling far up the beach ; or standing up on his 
tail and scratching his head as the old people did ; 
or playing "I 'm the King of the Castle' on 
slippery, weedy rocks that just stuck out of the 
wash. Now and then he would see a thin fin, 
like a big" shark's fin, drifting alongf close to shore, 

o o o 

and he knew that that was the Killer Whale, the 
Grampus, who eats young seals when he can get 
them ; and Kotick would head for the beach like an 


arrow, and the fin would jig off slowly, as if it 
were looking for nothing at all. 

Late in October the seals began to leave St. 
Paul's for the deep sea, by families and tribes, and 
there was no more fighting over the nurseries, 
and the holluschickie played anywhere they liked. 
"Next year," said Matkah to Kotick, "you will 
be a holluschickie ; but this year you must learn 
how to catch fish." 

They set out together across the Pacific, and 
Matkah showed Kotick how to sleep on his back 
with his flippers tucked down by his side and his 
little nose just out of the water. No cradle is 
so comfortable as the long, rocking swell of the 
Pacific. When Kotick felt his skin tingle all 
over, Matkah told him he was learning" the " feel 


of the water," and that tingly, prickly feelings 
meant bad weather coming, and he must swim 
hard and get away. 

" In a little time," she said, " you '11 know 
where to swim to, but just now we '11 follow Sea 
Pig, the Porpoise, for he is very wise." A school 
of porpoises were ducking and tearing through 
the water, and little Kotick followed them as fast 
as he could. " How do you know where to go 
to ? ' he panted. The leader of the school rolled 
his white eyes, and ducked under. " My tail 





tingles, youngster," he 
said. "That means 
there 's a gale behind 
me. Come along ! When 
you 're south of the Sticky 
Water [he meant the 
Equator], and your tail 
tingles, that means there 
's a gale in front of you 
and you must head north. 
Come along ! The water 
feels bad here." 

This was one of very 
many things that Kotick 
learned, and he was al- 
ways learning. Matkah 
taught him how to follow 
the cod and the halibut 
along- the under-sea 


banks, and wrench the 
rockling out of his hole 
among the weeds ; how 
to skirt the wrecks lying 
a hundred fathoms below 
water, and dart like a 
rifle-bullet in at one port- 
hole and out at another 


as the fishes ran ; how to dance on the top of the 
waves when the lightning was racing all over 
the sky, and wave his flipper politely to the 
Stumpy- tailed Albatross and the Man-of-war 
Hawk as they went down the wind ; how to 
jump three or four feet clear of the water, like a 
dolphin, flippers close to the side and tail curved ; 
to leave the flying-fish alone because they are 
all bony ; to take the shoulder-piece out of a cod 
at full speed ten fathoms deep ; and never to 
stop and look at a boat or a ship, but particu- 
larly a row boat. At the end of six months, what 
Kotick did not know about deep-sea fishing was 
not worth the knowing, and all that time he never 
set flipper on dry ground. 

One day, however, as he was lying half asleep 
in the warm water somewhere off the Island of 
Juan Fernandez, he felt faint and lazy all over, 
just as human people do when the spring is in 
their legs, and he remembered the good firm 
beaches of Novastoshnah seven thousand miles 
away ; the games his companions played, the 
smell of the seaweed, the seal-roar, and the 
fighting. That very minute he turned north, 
swimming steadily, and as he went on he met 
scores of his mates, all bound for the same place, 
and they said: " Greeting, Kotick! This year 


we are all holluschickie, and we can dance the 
Fire-dance in the breakers off Lukannon and 
play on the new grass. But where did you get 
that coat?" 

Kotick's fur was almost pure white now, and 
though he felt very proud of it, he only said : 
" Swim quickly ! My bones are aching for the 
land." And so they all came to the beaches 
where they had been born and heard the old 
seals, their fathers, fighting in the rolling mist. 

That niofht Kotick danced the Fire-dance with 


the yearling seals. The sea is full of fire on 
summer nights all the way down from Novastosh- 
nah to Lukannon, and each seal leaves a wake 
like burning oil behind him, and a flaming flash 
when he jumps, and the waves break in great 
phosphorescent streaks and swirls. Then they 
went inland to the holluschickie grounds, and 
rolled up and down in the new wild wheat, and 
told stories of what they had done while they had 
been at sea. They talked about the Pacific as 
boys would talk about a wood that they had 
been nutting in, and if any one had understood 
them, he could have gone away and made such 
a chart of that ocean as never was. The three- 
and four-year-old holluschickie romped down 
from Hutchinson's Hill, crying: " Out of the way, 


youngsters ! The sea is deep, and you don't 
know all that 's in it yet. Wait till you Ve 
rounded the Horn. Hi, you yearling, where 
did you get that white coat ? ' 

"I did n't get it, 1 said Kotick ; "it grew." 

o o 

And just as he was going to roll the speaker 
over, a couple of black-haired men with flat red 
faces came from behind a sand-dune, and Kotick, 
who had never seen a man before, coughed and 
lowered his head. The holluschickie just bundled 
off a few yards and sat staring stupidly. The 
men were no less than Kerick Booterin, the chief 
of the seal-hunters on the island, and Patalamon, 
his son. They came from the little village not 
half a mile from the seal nurseries, and they 
were deciding what seals they would drive up to 
the killing-pens (for the seals were driven just like 
sheep), to be turned into sealskin jackets later on. 

" Ho ! " said Patalamon. " Look ! There 's a 
white seal ! ' 

Kerick Booterin turned nearly white under his 
oil and smoke, for he was an Aleut, and Aleuts 
are not clean people. Then he began to mutter 
a prayer. " Don't touch him, Patalamon. There 
has never been a white seal since -since I was 
born. Perhaps it is old Zaharrofs ghost. He 
was lost last year in the big gale." 


" I 'm not going near him," said Patalamon. 
v< He 's unlucky. Do you really think he is old 
Zaharrof come back ? I owe him for some gulls' 

" Don't look at him," said Kerick. " Head off 
that drove of four-year-olds. The men ought 
to skin two hundred to-day, but it 's the be- 
ginning of the season, and they are new to the 
work. A hundred will do. Quick ! ' 

Patalamon rattled a pair of seal's shoulder- 
bones in front of a herd of holluschickie and they 
stopped dead, puffing and blowing. Then he 
stepped near, and the seals began to move, and 
Kerick headed them inland, and they never tried 
to get back to their companions. Hundreds and 
hundreds of thousands of seals watched them 
being driven, but they went on playing just the 
same. Kotick was the only one who asked ques- 
tions, and none of his companions could tell him 
anything, except that the men always drove seals in 
that way for six weeks or two months of every year. 

" I am going to follow," he said, and his eyes 
nearly popped out of his head as he shuffled along 
in the wake of the herd. 

"The white seal is coming after us," cried 
Patalamon. " That 's the first time a seal has 
ever come to the killing-grounds alone." 


" Hsh ! Don't look behind you," said Kerick. 
" It is Zaharrof's ghost ! I must speak to the 
priest about this." 

The distance to the killing-grounds was only 
half a mile, but it took an hour to cover, because 
if the seals went too fast Kerick knew that they 
would get heated and then their fur would come 
off in patches when they were skinned. So they 
went on very slowly, past Sea-Lion's Neck, past 
Webster House, till they came to the Salt House 
just beyond the sight of the seals on the beach. 
Kotick followed, panting and wondering. He 
thought that he was at the world's end, but the 
roar of the seal nurseries behind him sounded as 
loud as the roar of a train in a tunnel. Then 
Kerick sat down on the moss and pulled out a 
heavy pewter watch and let the drove cool off for 
thirty minutes, and Kotick could hear the fog- 
dew dripping from the brim of his cap. Then 
ten or twelve men, each with an iron-bound club 
three or four feet long, came up, and Kerick 
pointed out one or two of the drove that were 
bitten by their companions or were too hot, and 
the men kicked those aside with their heavy boots 
made of the skin of a walrus's throat, and then 
Kerick said : " Let go ! " and then the men clubbed 
the seals on the head as fast as they could. 


Ten minutes later little Kotick did not recoe- 


nize his friends any more, for their skins were 
ripped off from the nose to the hind flippers 
whipped off and thrown down on the ground in 
a pile. 

That was enough for Kotick. He turned and 
galloped (a seal can gallop very swiftly for a 
short time) back to the sea, his little new mus- 
tache bristling with horror. At Sea-Lion's Neck, 
where the great sea-lions sit on the edge of the 
surf, he flung himself flipper over-head into the 
cool water, and rocked there, gasping miserably. 
" What 's here ? ' said a sea-lion, gruffly ; for as a 
rule the sea-lions keep themselves to themselves. 

"Scoochnie! Ochen scoochnie!* ("I 'm lone- 
some, very lonesome ! "), said Kotick. " They 're 
killing all the holluschickie on all the beaches ! ' 

The sea-lion turned his head inshore. " Non- 
sense," he said; " your friends are making as much 
noise as ever. You must have seen old Kerick 
polishing off a drove. He 's done that for thirty 

" It 's horrible," said Kotick, backing water as a 
wave went over him, and steadying himself with 
a screw-stroke of his flippers that brought him 
up all standing within three inches of a jagged 
edge of rock. 


" Well done for a yearling ! " said the sea-lion, 
who could appreciate good swimming. " I sup- 
pose it is rather awful from your way of looking 
at it ; but if you seals will come here year after 
year, of course the men get to know of it, and 
unless you can find an island where no men ever 
come, you will always be driven." 

" Is n't there any such island? ' began Kotick. 

" I 've followed the poltoos [the halibut] for 
twenty years, and I can't say I Ve found it yet. 
But look here you seem to have a fondness for 
talking to your betters ; suppose you go to Wal- 
rus Islet and talk to Sea Vitch. He may know 
something. Don't flounce off like that. It 's a 


six-mile swim, and if I were you I should haul 
out and take a nap first, little one." 

Kotick thought that that was good advice, so 
he swam round to his own beach, hauled out, and 
slept for half an hour, twitching all over, as seals 
will. Then he headed straight for Walrus Islet, 
a little low sheet of rocky island almost due 
northeast from Novastoshnah, all ledges of rock 
and gulls' nests, where the walrus herded by 

He landed close to old Sea Vitch the big, 
ugly, bloated, pimpled, fat-necked, long-tusked 
walrus of the North Pacific, who has no manners 



except when he is asleep as he was then, with 
his hind flippers half in and half out of the surf. 

"Wake up!' barked Kotick, for the gulls 
were making a great noise. 

" Hah ! Ho ! Hmph ! What 's that ? " said Sea 


Vitch, and he struck the next walrus a blow with 
his tusks and waked him up, and the next struck 
the next, and so on till they were all awake and 
staring in every direction but the right one. 

" Hi ! It 's me," said Kotick, bobbing in the 
surf and looking like a little white slug. 

"Well! May I be skinned!" said Sea 


Vitch, and they all looked at Kotick as you can 
fancy a club full of drowsy old gentlemen would 
look at a little boy. Kotick did not care to hear 
any more about skinning just then ; he had seen 
enough of it ; so he called out : " Is n't there any 
place for seals to go where men don't ever come? ' 

" Go and find out," said Sea Vitch, shutting 
his eyes. " Run away. We 're busy here." 

Kotick made his dolphin-jump in the air and 
shouted as loud as he could: "Clam-eater! 
Clam-eater!' He knew that Sea Vitch never 
caught a fish in his life, but always rooted for 
clams and seaweeds ; though he pretended to 
be a very terrible person. Naturally the Chick- 
ies and the Gooverooskies and the Epatkas, 
the Burgomaster Gulls and the Kittiwakes and 
the Puffins, who are always looking for a chance 
to be rude, took up the cry, and so Limmer- 
shin told me for nearly five minutes you could 
not have heard a gun fired on Walrus Islet. All 
the population was yelling and screaming: " Clam- 
eater ! Stareek [old man] ! " while Sea Vitch 
rolled from side to side grunting and coughing. 

"Now will you tell?' said Kotick, all out of 

" Go and ask Sea Cow," said Sea Vitch. " If 
he is living still, he '11 be able to tell you." 


" How shall I know Sea Cow when I meet 
him?" said Kotick, sheering off. 

" He 's the only thing in the sea uglier than 
Sea Vitch," screamed a burgomaster gull, wheel- 
ing under Sea Vitch's nose. " Uglier, and with 
worse manners ! Stareek / ' 

Kotick swam back to Novastoshna, leaving the 
eulls to scream. There he found that no one 


sympathized with him in his little attempts to 
discover a quiet place for the seals. They told 
him that men had always driven the holluschickie 
it was part of the day's work and that if he 
did not like to see ugly things he should not 
have ofone to the killing- grounds. g u t none of 

the other seals had seen the killing, and that 
made the difference between him and his friends. 
Besides, Kotick was a white seal. 

" What you must do," said old Sea Catch, after 
he had heard his son's adventures, "is to grow 
up and be a big seal like your father, and have a 
nursery on the beach, and then they will leave 
you alone. In another five years you ought 
to be able to fight for yourself." Even gentle 
Matkah, his mother, said : " You will never be 
able to stop the killing. Go and play in the sea, 
Kotick." And Kotick went off and danced the 
Fire-dance with a very heavy little heart. 


That autumn he left the beach as soon as he 
could, and set off alone because of a notion in his 
bullet-head. He was going to find Sea Cow, if 
there was such a person in the sea, and he was 
going to find a quiet island with good firm 
beaches for seals to live on, where men could 
not get at them. So he explored and explored 
by himself from the North to the South Pacific, 
swimming 1 as much as three hundred miles in a 


day and a night. He met with more adventures 
than can be told, and narrowly escaped being 
caught by the Basking Shark, and the Spotted 
Shark, and the Hammerhead, and he met all the 
untrustworthy ruffians that loaf up and down the 
high seas, and the heavy polite fish, and the 
scarlet-spotted scallops that are moored in one 
place for hundreds of years, and grow very 
proud of it ; but he never met Sea Cow, and he 
never found an island that he could fancy. 

If the beach was good and hard, with a slope 
behind it for seals to play on, there was always 
the smoke of a whaler on the horizon, boiling 
down blubber, and Kotick knew what that meant. 
Or else he could see that seals had once visited 
the island and been killed off, and Kotick knew 
that where men had come once they would come 


He picked up with an old stumpy-tailed alba- 
tross, who told him that Kerguelen Island was 
the very place for peace and quiet, and when 
Kotick went down there he was all but smashed 
to pieces against some wicked black cliffs in a 
heavy sleet-storm with lightning and thunder. 
Yet as he pulled out against the gale he could 
see that even there had once been a seal nursery. 
And it was so in all the other islands that he 

Limmershin gave a long list of them, for he 
said that Kotick spent five seasons exploring, 
with a four months' rest each year at Novastosh- 
nah, where the holluschickie used to make fun of 
him and his imaginary islands. He went to the 
Gallapagos, a horrid dry place on the Equator, 
where he was nearly baked to death ; he went 
to the Georgia Islands, the Orkneys, Emerald 
Island, Little Nightingale Island, Gough's Island, 
Bouvet's Island, the Crossets, and even to a little 
speck of an island south of the Cape of Good 
Hope. But everywhere the People of the Sea 
told him the same things. Seals had come to 


those islands once upon a time, but men had 
killed them all off. Even when he swam thou- 
sands of miles out of the Pacific, and grot to a 


place called Cape Corientes (that was when he 


was coming back from Cough's Island), he found 
a few hundred mangy seals on a rock, and they 
told him that men came there too. 

That nearly broke his heart, and he headed 
round the Horn back to his own beaches; and on 
his way north he hauled out on an island full of 
green trees, where he found an old, old seal who 
was dying, and Kotick caught fish for him and 
told him all his sorrows. " Now," said Kotick, " I 
am going back to Novastoshnah, and if I am 
driven to the killing-pens with the holluschickie 
I shall not care." 

The old seal said: "Try once more. I am 
the last of the Lost Rookery of Masafuera, and 
in the days when men killed us by the hundred 
thousand there was a story on the beaches that 
some day a white seal would come out of the 
north and lead the seal people to a quiet place. 
I am old and I shall never live to see that day, 
but others will. Try once more." 

And Kotick curled up his mustache (it was a 
beauty), and said : " I am the only white seal that 
has ever been born on the beaches, and I am the 
only seal, black or white, who ever thought of 
looking for new islands." 

That cheered him immensely ; and when he 
came back to Novastoshnah that summer, Mat- 


kah, his mother, begged him to marry and settle 
down, for he was no longer a holluschick, but a 
full-grown sea-catch, with a curly white mane on 
his shoulders, as heavy, as big, and as fierce as 
his father. " Give me another season," he said. 
" Remember, Mother, it is always the seventh 
wave that goes farthest up the beach." 

Curiously enough, there was another seal who 

^ o 

thought that she would put off marrying till 
the next year, and Kotick danced the Fire-dance 
with her all down Lukannon Beach the nigrht be- 


fore he set off on his last exploration. 

This time he went westward, because he had 
fallen on the trail of a great shoal of halibut, and 
he needed at least one hundred pounds of fish a 
day to keep him in good condition. He chased 
them till he was tired, and then he curled himself 
up and went to sleep on the hollows of the 
ground-swell that sets in to Copper Island. He 
knew the coast perfectly well, so about midnight, 
when he felt himself gently bumped on a weed 
bed, he said : " Hm, tide 's running strong to- 
night," and turning over under water opened his- 
eyes slowly and stretched. Then he jumped like 
a cat, for he saw huge things nosing about in the 
shoal water and browsing on the heavy fringes 
of the weeds. 


"By the Great Combers of Magellan!" he said, 
beneath his mustache. " Who in the Deep Sea 
are these people ? ' 

They were like no walrus, sea-lion, seal, bear, 
whale, shark, fish, squid, or scallop that Kotick 
had ever seen before. They were between 
twenty and thirty feet long, and they had no 
hind flippers, but a shovel-like tail that looked as 
if it had been whittled out of wet leather. Their 
heads were the most foolish-looking things you 
ever saw, and they balanced on the ends of their 
tails in deep water when they were n't grazing, 
bowing solemnly to one another and waving their 
front flippers as a fat man waves his arm. 

" Ahem ! " said Kotick. " Good sport, gentle- 
men ? ' The big things answered by bowing and 
waving their flippers like the Frog-Footman. 
When they began feeding again Kotick saw that 
their upper lip was split into two pieces, that 
they could twitch apart about a foot and bring 
together aofain with a whole bushel of seaweed 

o o 

between the splits. They tucked the stuff into 
their mouths and chumped solemnly. 

4 'Messy style of feeding that," said Kotick. 
They bowed again, and Kotick began to lose his 
temper. " Very good," he said. " If you do hap- 
pen to have an extra joint in your front flipper 

I 62 


you need n't show off so. I see you bow grace- 
fully, but I should like to know your names." 
The split lips moved and twitched, and the 
glassy green eyes stared ; but they did not speak. 
" Well ! " said Kotick, " you 're the only people 


I Ve ever met uglier than Sea Vitch and w r ith 
worse manners." 

Then he remembered in a flash what the Bur- 
gomaster Gull had screamed to him when he was 
a little yearling at Walrus Islet, and he tumbled 
backward in the water, for he knew that he had 
found Sea Cow at last. 

The sea cows went on schlooping and grazing, 
and chumping in the weed, and Kotick asked 


them questions in every language that he had 
picked up in his travels; and the Sea People talk 
nearly as many languages as human beings. 
But the Sea Cow did not answer, because Se:i 
Cow cannot talk. He has only six bones in his 
neck where he ought to have seven, and they 
say under the sea that that prevents him from 
speaking even to his companions ; but, as you 
know, he has an extra joint in his fore flipper, 
and by waving it up and down and about he 
makes what answers to a sort of clumsy telegraphic 

By daylight Kotick's mane was standing on 
end and his temper was gone where the dead 
crabs go. Then the Sea Cow began to travel 
northward very slowly, stopping to hold absurd 
bowing councils from time to time, and Kotick 
followed them, saying to himself: " People who 
are such idiots as these are would have been 
killed long ago if they had n't found out some 
safe island ; and what is good enough for the 
Sea Cow is good enough for the Sea Catch. All 
the same, I wish they 'd hurry." 

It was weary work for Kotick. The herd 
never went more than forty or fifty miles a day, 
and stopped to feed at night, and kept close to 
the shore all the time ; while Kotick swam round 
them, and over them, and under them, but he 


could not hurry them up one half-mile. As they 
went farther north they held a bowing council 
every few hours, and Kotick nearly bit off his 
mustache with impatience till he saw that they 
were following up a warm current of water, and 
then he respected them more. 

One night they sank through the shiny water 
sank like stones and, for the first time since 
he had known them, began to swim quickly. 
Kotick followed, and the pace astonished him, 
for he never dreamed that Sea Cow was any- 
thing of a swimmer. They headed for a cliff by 
the shore, a cliff that ran do\vn into deep water, and 
plunged into a dark hole at the foot of it, twenty 
fathoms under the sea. It was a long) long swim, 
and Kotick badly wanted fresh air before he was 
out of the dark tunnel they led him through. 

" My wig!" he said, when he rose, gasping 
and puffing, into open water at the farther end. 
" It was a long dive, but it was worth it." 

The sea cows had separated, and were brows- 
ing lazily along the edges of the finest beaches 
that Kotick had ever seen. There were long 
stretches of smooth worn rock running for miles, 
exactly fitted to make seal nurseries, and there 
were playgrounds of hard sand, sloping inland 
behind them, and there were rollers for seals to 


dance in, and long grass to roll in, and sand- 
dunes to climb up and down, and best of all, 
Kotick knew by the feel of the water, which 
never deceives a true Sea Catch, that no men 
had ever come there. 

The first thing he did was to assure himself 
that the fishing was good, and then he swam 
along the beaches and counted up the delightful 
low sandy islands half hidden in the beautiful 
rolling fog. Away to the northward out to sea 
ran a line of bars and shoals and rocks that would 
never let a ship come within six miles of the 
beach ; and between the islands and the main- 
land was a stretch of deep water that ran up to 
the perpendicular cliffs, and somewhere below the 
cliffs was the mouth of the tunnel. 

"It 's Novastoshnah over again, but ten times 
better," said Kotick. " Sea Cow must be wiser 
than I thought. Men can't come down the cliffs, 
even if there were any men ; and the shoals to 
seaward would knock a ship to splinters. If any 
place in the sea is safe, this is it." 

He began to think of the seal he had left be- 
hind him, but though he was in a hurry to go 
back to Novastoshnah, he thoroughly explored 
the new country, so that he would be able to 
answer all questions. 


Then he dived and made sure of the mouth of 
the tunnel, and raced through to the southward. 
No one but a sea cow or a seal would have 
dreamed of there being such a place, and when 
he looked back at the cliffs even Kotick could 
hardly believe that he had been under them. 

He was six days going home, though he was 
not swimming slowly ; and when he hauled out 
just above Sea- Lion's Neck the first person he 
met was the seal who had been waiting for him, 
and she saw by the look in his eyes that he had 
found his island at last. 

But the holluschickie and Sea Catch, his father, 
and all the other seals, laughed at him when he 
told them what he had discovered, and a young 
seal about his own age said: "This is all very 
well, Kotick, but you can't come from no one 
knows where and order us off like this. Remem- 
ber we Ve been fighting for our nurseries, and 
that 's a thing you never did. You preferred 
prowling about in the sea." 

The other seals laughed at this, and the young 
seal began twisting his head from side to side. 
He had just married that year, and was making 
a great fuss about it. 

" I Ve no nursery to fight for," said Kotick. 
" I want only to show you all a place where you 
will be safe. What 's the use of fighting ? ' 


(< Oh, if you 're trying to back out, of course 
I Ve no more to say," said the young seal, with 
an ugly chuckle. 

"Will you come with me if I win?" said Ko- 
tick ; and a green light came into his eyes, for he 
was very angry at having to fight at all. 

"Very good," said the young seal, carelessly. 
"If you win, I '11 come." 

He had no time to change his mind, for Ko- 
tick's head darted out and his teeth sunk in the 
blubber of the young seal's neck. Then he threw 
himself back on his haunches and hauled his 
enemy down the beach, shook him, and knocked 
him over. Then Kotick roared to the seals: 
"I Ve done my best for you these five seasons 
past. I Ve found you the island where you '11 be 
safe, but unless your heads are dragged off your 
silly necks you won't believe. I 'm going to 
teach you now. Look out for yourselves ! ' 

Limmershin told me that never in his life* 
and Limmershin sees ten thousand big seals 
fighting every year never in all his little life 
did he see anything like Kotick's charge into the 
nurseries. He flung himself at the biggest sea- 
catch he could find, caught him by the throat, 
choked him and bumped him and banged him till 
he grunted for mercy, and then threw him aside 
and attacked the next. You see, Kotick had 


never fastecl for four months as the big seals did 
every year, and his deep-sea swimming-trips kept 
him in perfect condition, and, best of all, he had 
never fought before. His curly white mane stood 
up with rage, and his eyes flamed, and his big dog- 
teeth glistened, and he was splendid to look at. 

Old Sea Catch, his father, saw him tearing 
past, hauling the grizzled old seals about as 
though they had been halibut, and upsetting the 
young bachelors in all directions ; and Sea Catch 
gave one roar and shouted: " He may be a fool, 
but he is the best fighter on the Beaches. Don't 
tackle your father, my son ! He 's with you!" 

Kotick roared in answer, and old Sea Catch 
waddled in, his mustache on end, blowing like a 
locomotive, while Matkah and the seal that was 
going to marry Kotick cowered down and ad- 
mired their men-folk. It was a gorgeous fight, 
for the two fought as long as there was a seal 
that dared lift up his head, and then they paraded 
grandly up and down the beach side by side, 

At night, just as the Northern Lights were 
winking and flashing through the fog, Kotick 
climbed a bare rock and looked down on the scat- 
tered nurseries and the torn and bleeding seals. 
" Now," he said, " I Ve taught you your lesson." 


" My wig ! " said old Sea Catch, boosting him- 
self up stiffly, for he was fearfully mauled. " The 
Killer Whale himself could not have cut them 
up worse. Son, I 'm proud of you, and what 's 
more, / 7/come with you to your island if there 
is such a place/' 

" Hear you, fat pigs of the sea! Who comes 
with me to the Sea Cow's tunnel ? Answer, or I 
shall teach you again," roared Kotick. 

There was a murmur like the ripple of the tide 
all up and clown the beaches. "We will come," 
said thousands of tired voices. " We will follow 
Kotick, the White Seal." 

Then Kotick dropped his head between his 
shoulders and shut his eyes proudly. He was 
not a white seal any more, but red from head to 
tail. All the same he would have scorned to look 
at or touch one of his wounds. 

A week later he and his army (nearly ten 
thousand holluschickie and old seals) went away 
north to the Sea Cow's tunnel, Kotick leading 
them, and the seals that stayed at Novastoshnah 
called them idiots. But next spring when they 
all met off the fishing-banks of the Pacific, Ko- 
tick's seals told such tales of the new beaches 
beyond Sea Cow's tunnel that more and more 
seals left Novastoshnah. 


Of course it was not all done at once, for the 
seals need a long time to turn things over in 
their minds, but year by year more seals went 
away from Novastoshnah, and Lukannon, and 
the other nurseries, to the quiet, sheltered beaches 
where Kotick sits all the summer through, getting 
bigger and fatter and stronger each year, while 
the holluschickie play round him, in that sea 
where no man comes, 


This is the great deep-sea song that all the St. Paul 
seals sing when they are heading back to their beaches 
in the summer. It is a sort of very sad seal National 

I met my mates in the morning (and oh, but I am old !) 
Where roaring on the ledges the summer ground-swell 

rolled ; 
I heard them lift the chorus that dropped the breakers' 

The beaches of Lukannon- two million voices strong! 

The song of pleasant stations beside the salt lagoons, 
The song of blowing squadrons that shuffled down the 

The song of midnight dances that churned the sea to 

The beaches of Lukannon - before the sealers came / 


I met my mates in the morning (I 'D. never meet them 

more !) ; 
They came and went in legions that darkened all the 

And through the fleam-flecked offing as far as voice 

could reach 
We hailed the landing-parties and we sang them up 

the beach. 

The beaches of Lukannon the winter-wheat so tall 

The dripping, crinkled lichens, and the sea -fog drench- 
ing all I 

The platforms of our playground, all shining smooth 
and worn / 

The beaches of Lukannon tke home where we were 
born / 

I meet my mates in the morning, a broken, scattered 


Men shoot us in the water and club us on the land ; 
Men drive us to the Salt House like silly sheep and 

And still we sing Lukannon before the sealers came, 

Wheel down, wheel down to southward ; oh, Goo- 

verooska go ! 

And tell the Deep-Sea Viceroys the story of our woe ; 
Ere, empty as the shark's egg the tempest flings ashore, 
The beaches of Lukannon shall know their sons no 

more ! 


At the hole where he went in 
Red-Eye called to Wrinkle-Skin. 
Hear what little Red-Eye saith : 
"Nag, come up and dance with death!' 

Eye to eye and head to head, 

(Keep the measure. Nag.) 
This shall end when one is dead; 

(At thy pleasure, Nag.} 
Turn for turn and twist for twist 

(Run and hide thee, Nag.) 
Hah ! The hooded Death has missed ! 

( Woe betide thee, Nag /) 


THIS is the story of the great war that Rikki- 
tikki-tavi fought single-handed, through the 
bath-rooms of the big bungalow in Segowlee 
cantonment. Darzee, the tailor-bird, helped him, 
and Chuchundra, the muskrat, who never comes 
out into the middle of the floor, but always creeps 
round by the wall, gave him advice ; but Rikki- 
tikki did the real fighting. 

He was a mongoose, rather like a little cat in 


his fur and his tail, but quite like a weasel in his 
head and his habits. His eyes and the end of 
his restless nose were pink ; he could scratch 
himself anywhere he pleased, with any leg, front 
or back, that he chose to use ; he could fluff up 
his tail till it looked like a bottle-brush, and his 



war-cry as he scuttled through the long grass, 
was: " Rikk-fikk-tikki-tikki-tchk ! ' 

One day, a high summer flood washed him out 
of the burrow where he lived with his father and 
mother, and carried him, kicking and clucking, 
down a roadside ditch. He found a little wisp 
of orrass floating there, and cluno- to it till he 

<_> O <_5 

lost his senses. When he revived, he was lying 
in the hot sun on the middle of a garden path, 
very draggled indeed, and a small boy was say- 
ing : " Here 's a dead mongoose. Let 's have a 

o o 


" No," said his mother ; " let 's take him in and 
dry him. Perhaps he is n't really dead." 

They took him into the house, and a big man 
picked him up between his finger and thumb and 
said he was not dead but half choked ; so they 
wrapped him in cotton-wool, and warmed him, 
and he opened his eyes and sneezed. 

" Now," said the big man (he was an English- 
man who had just moved into the bungalow) ; 
" don't frighten him, and we '11 see what he '11 do." 


It is the hardest thing in the world to frighten 
a mongoose, because he is eaten up from nose to 
tail with curiosity. The motto of all the mon- 
goose family is, " Run and find out" ; and Rikki- 
tikki was a true mongoose. He looked at the 



cotton-wool, decided that it was not good to eat, 

ran all round the table, sat up and put his fur 

in order, scratched 

himself, and jumped 

on the small boy's 


" Don't be fright- 
ened, Teddy," said 
his father. " That 's 
his way of making 

-Ouch! He 's 
tickling under my 
chin," said Teddy. 

Rikki-tikki looked 
down between the 
boy's collar and neck, 

Snuffed at his ear, THE BOY'S COLLAR AND NECK." 

and climbed down to the floor, where he sat 
rubbinof his nose. 


" Good gracious," said Teddy's mother, " and 
that 's a wild creature ! I suppose he 's so tame 
because we 've been kind to him." 

"All mongooses are like that," said her husband. 
" If Teddy does n't pick him up by the tail, or try to 
put him in a cage, he '11 run in and out of the house 
all day long. Let 's give him something to eat." 



7 8 


They gave him a little piece of raw meat. 

Rikki-tikki liked it immensely, and when it was 

j ' 

finished he went out into the veranda and sat in 
the sunshine and fluffed up his fur to make it dry 
to the roots. Then he felt better. 

"There are more things to find out about in 


this house," he said to himself, " than all my family 


could find out in all their lives. I shall certainly 
stay and find out." 

He spent all that day roaming over the house. 
He nearly drowned himself in the bath-tubs, 
put his nose into the ink on a writing-table, and 
burned it on the end of the big man's cigar, for 



he climbed up in the big man's lap to see how 
writing was done. At nightfall he ran Into 
Teddy's nursery to watch how kerosene lamps 
were lighted, and when Teddy went to bed 
Rikki-tikki climbed up too ; but he was a rest- 
less companion, because he had to get up and 
attend to every noise all through the night, and 
find out what made it. Teddy's mother and 


father came in, the last thing, to look at their 
boy, and Rikki-tikki was awake on the pillow. 
" I don't like that," said Teddy's mother; " he 
may bite the child." " He '11 do no such thing," 
said the father. "Teddy 's safer with that little 
beast than if he had a bloodhound to watch him. 
If a snake came into the nursery now " 

i So 


But Teddy's mother would n't think of any- 
thing so awful. 

Early in the morning- Rikki-tikki came to 
early breakfast in the veranda riding on Teddy's 
shoulder, and they gave him banana and some 

boiled egg ; and he sat 
on all their laps one 
after the other, because 
every well-brought-up 
mongoose always hopes 
to be a house- mongoose 


some day and have 
rooms to run about in, 
and Rikki-tikki's mother 
(she used to live in the 
General's house at Se- 
gowlee) had carefully 
told Rikki what to do 
if ever he came across 
white men. 

Then Rikki-tikki went 
out into the crarden to 


see what was to be seen. It was a large garden, 
only half cultivated, with bushes as big as sum- 
mer-houses of Marshal Niel roses, lime and 
orange trees, clumps of bamboos, and thickets of 
high grass. Rikki-tikki licked his lips. "This 





is a splendid hunting-ground," he said, and his 
tail grew bottle-brushy at the thought of it, and 
he scuttled up and down the garden, snuffing 
here and there till he heard very sorrowful voices 
in a thorn-bush. 


It was Darzee, the tailor-bird, and his wife. 
They had made a beautiful nest by pulling two 
big leaves together and stitching them up the 
ed^es with fibers, and had filled the hollow with 



cotton arid downy fluff. The nest swayed to and 
fro, as they sat on the rim and cried. 

" What is the matter? " asked Rikki-tikki. 

"We are very miserable," said Darzee. " One 
of our babies fell out of the nest yesterday and 
Nag ate him." 

"H'm!" said Rikki-tikki, ''that is very sad 
but I am a stranger here. Who is Nag? ' 

Darzee and his wife only cowered down in the 
nest without answering, for from the thick grass 
at the foot of the bush there came a low hiss a 
horrid cold sound that made Rikki-tikki jump 
back two clear feet. Then inch by inch out of 
the grass rose up the head and spread hood of 
Nag, the big black cobra, and he was five feet 
long from tongue to tail. When he had lifted 
one-third of himself clear of the ground, he stayed 
balancing to and fro exactly as a dandelion-tuft 
balances in the wind, and he looked at Rikki- 
tikki with the wicked snake's eyes that never 
change their expression, whatever the snake may 
be thinking of. 

"Who is Nag?" he said, "/am Nag. The 
great god Brahm put his mark upon all our 
people when the first cobra spread his hood to 
keep the sun off Brahm as he slept. Look, and 
be afraid ! " 




K o 

O * 

X b 

w o 

> * 

> o 
p - 

" cs 




^ -^ -^^^m^N 


I 'Kf 
^ife. A%* ' -* 


He spread out his hood more than ever, and 
Rikki-tikki saw the spectacle-mark on the back 
of it that looks exactly like the eye part of a 
hook-and-eye fastening. He was afraid for the 
minute ; but it is impossible for a mongoose to 
stay frightened for any length of time, and though 
Rikki-tikki had never met a live cobra before, his 
mother had fed him on dead ones, and he knew 
that all a grown mongoose's business in life was 

o o 

to fight and eat snakes. Nag knew that too, and 
at the bottom of his cold heart he was afraid. 

"Well," said Rikki-tikki, and his tail began 
to fluff up again, "marks or no marks, do you 
think it is right for you to eat fledglings out 
of a nest? ' 

Nag was thinking to himself, and watching the 
least little movement in the grass behind Rikki- 
tikki. He knew that mongooses in the garden 
meant death sooner or later for him and his 
family ; but he wanted to get Rikki-tikki off his 
guard. So he dropped his head a little, and put 
it on one side. 

" Let us talk," he said. " You eat eggs. Why 
should not I eat birds ? ' 

" Behind you ! Look behind you ! ' sang 

Rikki-tikki knew better than to waste time in 


staring. He jumped up in the air as high as he 
could go, and just under him whizzed by the head 
of Nagaina, Nag's wicked wife. She had crept 
up behind him as he was talking, to make an 
end of him ; and he heard her savage hiss as the 
stroke missed. He came down almost across her 
back, and if he had been an old mongoose he 
would have known that then was the time to 
break her back with one bite ; but he was afraid 
of the terrible lashing return-stroke of the cobra. 
He bit, indeed, but did not bite long enough, and 
he jumped clear of the whisking tail, leaving 
Nagaina torn and angry. 

"Wicked, wicked Darzee ! " said Nag, lashing 
up as high as he could reach toward the nest in 
the thorn-bush ; but Darzee had built it out of 
reach of snakes, and it only swayed to and fro. 

Rikki-tikki felt his eyes growing red and hot 
(when a mongoose's eyes grow red, he is angry), 
and he sat back on his tail and hind lees like a 


little kangaroo, and looked all around him, and 
chattered with rage. But Nag and Nagaina 
had disappeared into the grass. When a snake 
misses its stroke, it never says anything or gives 
any sign of what it means to do next. Rikki- 
tikki did not care to follow them, for he did not 
feel sure that he could manage two snakes at 




















once. So he trotted off to the gravel path near 
the house, and sat down to think. It was a seri- 
ous matter for him. 

If you read the old books of natural history, 
you will find they say that when the mongoose 
fights the snake and happens to get bitten, he 
runs off and eats some herb that cures him. That 
is not true. The victory is only a matter of quick- 
ness of eye and quickness of foot, snake's blow 
against mongoose's jump, and as no eye can 
follow the motion of a snake's head when it 
strikes, that makes things much more wonder- 
ful than any magic herb. Rikki-tikki knew 
he was a young mongoose, and it made him all 
the more pleased to think that he had managed 
to escape a blow from behind. It gave him 
confidence in himself, and when Teddy came 
running down the path, Rikki-tikki was ready 
to be petted. 

But just as Teddy was stooping, something" 
flinched a little in the dust, and a tiny voice said : 
"Be careful. I am death ! ' It was Karait, the 
dusty brown snakeling that lies for choice on the 
dusty earth ; and his bite is as dangerous as the 
cobra's. But he is so small that nobody thinks 
of him, and so he does the more harm to people. 

Rikki-tikki's eyes grew red again, and h*> 


danced up to Karait with the peculiar rocking, 
swaying motion that he had inherited from his 
family. It looks very funny, but it is so perfectly 
balanced a gait that you can fly off from it at any 
angle you please ; and in dealing with snakes 
this is an advantage. If Rikki-tikki had only 
known, he was doing a much more dangerous 
thing than fighting Nag, for Karait is so small, 
and can turn so quickly, that unless Rikki bit 
him close to the back of the head, he would get 
the return-stroke in his eye or lip. But Rikki 
did not know : his eyes were all red, and he 
rocked back and forth, looking for a good place 
to hold. Karait struck out. Rikki jumped side- 
ways and tried to run in, but the wicked little 
dusty gray head lashed within a fraction of his 
shoulder, and he had to jump over the body, and 
the head followed his heels close. 

Teddy shouted to the house: "Oh, look 
here ! Our mongoose is killing a snake " ; and 
Rikki-tikki heard a scream from Teddy's mother. 
His father ran out with a stick, but by the time 
he came up, Karait had lunged out once too far, 
and Rikki-tikki had sprung, jumped on the 
snake's back, dropped his head far between his 
fore legs, bitten as high up the back as he could 


get hold, and rolled away. That bite paralyzed 
Karait, and Rikki-tikki was just going to eat him 
up from the tail, after the custom of his family at 
dinner, when he remembered that a full meal 
makes a slow mongoose, and if he wanted all 
his strength and quickness ready, he must keep 
himself thin. 

He went away for a dust-bath under the 
castor-oil bushes, while Teddy's father beat the 
dead Karait. "What is the use of that?' 
thought Rikki-tikki. " I have settled it all " ; and 
then Teddy's mother picked him up from the 
dust and hugged him, crying that he had saved 
Teddy from death, and Teddy's father said that 
he was a providence, and Teddy looked on with 
big scared eyes. Rikki-Tikki was rather amused 
at all the fuss, which, of course, he did not under- 
stand, Teddy's mother might just as well have 
petted Teddy for playing in the dust. Rikki was 
thoroughly enjoying himself. 

That night, at dinner, walking to and fro 
among the wine-glasses on the table, he could 
have stuffed himself three times over with nice 
things ; but he remembered Nag and Nagaina, 
and though it was very pleasant to be patted 
and petted by Teddy's mother, and to sit on 



Teddy's shoulder, his eyes would get red from 
time to time, and he would go off into his long 
war-cry of " Rikk-tikk-tikki-tikki-tchk ! ' 

Teddy carried him off to bed, and insisted on 
Rikki-tikki sleeping under his chin. Rikki-tikki 


was too well bred to bite or scratch, but as soon 
as Teddy was asleep he went off for his nightly 
walk round the house, and in the dark he ran 
up against Chuchundra, the muskrat, creeping 
round by the wall. Chuchundra is a broken- 
hearted little beast. He whimpers and cheeps 


all the night, trying to make up his mind to run 
into the middle of the room, but he never gets 

"Don't kill me," said Chuchundra, almost 
weeping. " Rikki-tikki, don't kill me." 

" Do you think a snake-killer kills musk- 
rats ? ' said Rikki-tikki scornfully. 

"Those who kill snakes get killed by snakes," 
said Chuchundra, more sorrowfully than ever. 
" And how am I to be sure that Nao- won't mis- 


take me for you some dark night ? ' 

"There 's not the least danger," said Rikki- 
tikki; "but Nag is in the garden, and I know 
you don't go there." 

"My cousin Chua, the rat, told me ' said 
Chuchundra, and then he stopped. 

" Told you what? ' 

" H'sh! Nag is everywhere, Rikki-tikki. You 
should have talked to Chua in the garden.' 


" I did n't so you must tell me. Quick, Chu- 
chundra, or I '11 bite you ! ' 

Chuchundra sat down and cried till the tears 
rolled off his whiskers. " I am a very poor 
man," he sobbed. " I never had spirit enough 
to run out into the middle of the room. H'sh ! 
I must n't tell you anything. Can't you hear, 

Rikki-tikki ? " 


Rikki-tikki listened. The house was as still as 
still, but he thought he could just catch the faintest 
scratch-scratch in the world, a noise as faint as 
that of a wasp walking on a window-pane, the 
dry scratch of a snake's scales on brickwork. 

"That 's Nag or Nagaina," he said to himself; 
"and he is crawling into the bath-room sluice. 


You 're right, Chuchundra ; I should have talked 
to Chua." 

He stole off to Teddy's bath-room, but there 
was nothing there, and then to Teddy's mother's 
bath-room. At the bottom of the smooth plaster 
wall there was a brick pulled out to make a sluice 
for the bath-water, and as Rikki-tikki stole in by 
the masonry curb where the bath is put, he heard 
Nag and Nagaina whispering together outside in 
the moonlight. 

"When the house is emptied of people," said 
Nagaina to her husband, "he will have to go 
away, and then the garden will be our own again. 
Go in quietly, and remember that the big man 
who killed Karait is the first one to bite. Then 
come out and tell me, and we will hunt for Rikki- 
tikki together.' 


" But are you sure that there is anything to be 
gained by killing the people? " said Nag. 

Everything. When there were no people in 

i > 


the bungalow, did we have any mongoose in the 
garden ? So long as the bungalow is empty, we 
are king and queen of the garden ; and remem- 
ber that as soon as our eggs in the melon-bed 
hatch (as they may to-morrow), our children will 
need room and quiet." 

"I had not thought of that," said Nag. "I 
will go, but there is no need that we should hunt 
for Rikki-tikki afterward. I will kill the big man 
and his wife, and the child if I can, and come 
away quietly. Then the bungalow will be empty, 
and Rikki-tikki will go." 

Rikki-tikki tingled all over with rage and ha- 
tred at this, and then Nag's head came through 
the sluice, and his five feet of cold body followed 
it. Angry as he was, Rikki-tikki was very fright- 
ened as he saw the size of the big cobra. Nag 
coiled himself up, raised his head, and looked 
into the bath-room in the dark, and Rikki could 
see his eyes glitter. 

" Now, if I kill him here, Nagaina will know ; 
and if I fight him on the open floor, the odds are 
in his favor. What am I to do ? ' said Rikki- 

Nag waved to and fro, and then Rikki-tikki 
heard him drinking from the biggest water-jar 
that was used to fill the bath. " That is good," 


said the snake. " Now, when Karait was killed, 
the big man had a stick. He may have that 
stick still, but when he comes in to bathe in the 
morning he will not have a stick. I shall wait 
here till he comes. Nagaina do you hear me? 
1 shall wait here in the cool till daytime." 

There was no answer from outside, so Rikki- 
tikki knew Nagaina had gone away. Nag coiled 
himself down, coil by coil, round the bulge at the 
bottom of the water-jar, and Rikki-tikki stayed 
still as death. After an hour he began to move, 
muscle by muscle, toward the jar. Nag was 
asleep, and Rikki-tikki looked at his big back, 
wondering which would be the best place for a 
good hold. " If I don't break his back at the 
first jump," said Rikki, "he can still fight; and 
if he fights O Rikki ! " He looked at the thick 
ness of the neck below the hood, but that was too 
much for him ; and a bite near the tail would only 
make Nag savage. 

"It must be the head," he said at last: "the 
head above the hood ; and, when I am once there, 
I must not let go." 

Then he jumped. The head was lying a little 
clear of the water-jar, under the curve of it ; 'and, 
as his teeth met, Rikki braced his back against 
the bulge of the red earthenware to hold down 



the head. This gave him just one second's pur- 
chase, and he made the most of it. Then he was 
battered to and fro as a rat is shaken by a dog 
to and fro on the floor, up and down, and round 



in great circles ; but his eyes were red, and he held 
on as the body cartwhipped over the floor, up- 
setting the tin dipper and the soap-dish and the 
flesh-brush, and banged against the tin side of 
the bath. As he held he closed his jaws tighter 


and tighter, for he made sure he would be banged 
to death, and, for the honor of his family, he pre- 
ferred to be found with his teeth locked. He 
was dizzy, aching, and felt shaken to pieces when 
something went off like a thunderclap just behind 
him ; a hot wind knocked him senseless and red 
fire singed ^[ s f un The bier man had been 

o o 

wakened by the noise, and had fired both barrels 
of a shot-gun into Nag just behind the hood. 

Rikki-tikki held on with his eyes shut, for now 
he was quite sure he was dead ; but the head did 
not move, and the big man picked him up and 
said : " It 's the mongoose again, Alice ; the little 
chap has saved our lives now." Then Teddy's 
mother came in with a very white face, and saw 
what was left of Nag, and Rikki-tikki dragged 
himself to Teddy's bedroom and spent half the 
rest of the night shaking himself tenderly to find 
out whether he really was broken into forty 
pieces, as he fancied. 

When morning came he was very stiff, but well 
pleased with his doings. " Now I have Nagaina 
to settle with, and she will be worse than five 
Nags, and there 's no knowing when the eggs 
she spoke of will hatch. Goodness ! I must go 
and see Darzee," he said. 

Without waiting for breakfast, Rikki-tikki ran 
to the thorn-bush where Darzee was singing a 


song of triumph at the top of his voice. The 
news of Nag's death was all over the garden, 
for the sweeper had thrown the body on the 

" Oh, you stupid tuft of feathers ! ' said Rikki- 
tikki, angrily. " Is this the time to sing? ' 

" Nag is dead is dead is dead ! " sang Dar- 
zee. " The valiant Rikki-tikki caught him by 
the head and held fast. The big man brought 
the bang-stick and Nag fell in two pieces ! He 
will never eat my babies again." 

"All that 's true enough; but where 's Nag- 
aina?' said Rikki-tikki, looking carefully round 

" Nagaina came to the bath-room sluice and 
called for Nag," Darzee went on; "and Nag 
came out on the end o-f a stick the sweeper 
picked him up on the end of a stick and threw 
him upon the rubbish-heap. Let us sing about 
the great, the red-eyed Rikki-tikki ! " and Darzee 
filled his throat and sang. 

" If I could get up to your nest, I 'd roll all 
your babies out!' said Rikki-tikki. " You don't 
know when to do the right thing at the right 
time. You 're safe enough in your nest there, 
but it 's war for me down here. Stop singing a 
minute, Darzee." 

" For the great, the beautiful Rikki-tikki's 


sake I will stop," said Darzee. "What is it, 
O Killer of the terrible Nag ! " 

"Where is Nagaina, for the third time?' 

"On the rubbish -heap by the stables, mourn- 
ing for Nag. Great is Rikki-tikki with the 
white teeth." 

"Bother my white teeth! Have you ever 
heard where she keeps her eggs ? ' 

" In the melon -bed, on the end nearest the 
wall, where the sun strikes nearly all day. She 
had them there weeks ago." 

" And you never thought it worth while to tell 
me ? The end nearest the wall, you said ? ' 

" Rikki-tikki, you are not going to eat her 


" Not eat exactly ; no. Darzee, if you have a 
grain of sense you will fly off to the stables and 
pretend that your wing is broken, and let Nag- 
aina chase you away to this bush ? I must get 
to the melon -bed, and if I went there now she 'd 

see me.' 

Darzee was a feather-brained little fellow who 
could never hold more than one idea at a time in 
his head ; and just because he knew that Nag- 
aina's children were born in eggs like his own, 
he did n't think at first that it was fair to kill 
them. But his wife was a sensible bird, and she 


knew that cobra's eggs meant young cobras 
later on ; so she flew off from the nest, and left 
Darzee to keep the babies warm, and continue 
his soncr about the death of Nagf. Darzee was 

o o 

very like a man in some ways. 

She fluttered in front of Nagaina by the rub- 
bish-heap, and cried out, " Oh, my wing is broken ! 
The boy in the house threw a stone at me and 
broke it." Then she fluttered more desperately 
than ever. 

Nagaina lifted up her head and hissed, " You 
warned Rikki-tikki when I would have killed 
him. Indeed and truly, you Ve chosen a bad 
place to be lame in." And she moved toward 
Darzee's wife, slipping along over the dust. 

" The boy broke it with a stone ! ' shrieked 
Darzee's wife. 

"Well! It may be some consolation to you 
when you 're dead to know that I shall settle 
accounts with the boy. My husband lies on the 
rubbish-heap this morning, but before night the 
boy in the house will lie very still. What is 
the use of running away ? I am sure to catch 
you. Little fool, look at me ! ' 

Darzee's wife knew better than to do that, for 
a bird who looks at a snake's eyes gets so fright- 
ened that she cannot move. Darzee's wife flut- 


tered on, piping sorrowfully, and never leaving 
the ground, and Nagaina quickened her pace. 

Rikki-tikki heard them going up the path from 
the stables, and he raced for the end of the 
melon-patch near the wall. There, in the warm 
litter about the melons, very cunningly hidden, 
he found twenty-five eggs, about the size of a ban- 
tam's eggs, but with whitish skin instead of shell. 

"I was not a day too soon," he said; for he 
could see the baby cobras curled up inside the 
skin, and he knew that the minute they were 
hatched they could each kill a man or a mon- 
goose. He bit off the tops of the eggs as fast as 
he could, taking care to crush the young cobras, 
and turned over the litter from time to time to 
see whether he had missed any. At last there 
were only three eggs left, and Rikki-tikki began 
to chuckle to himself, when he heard Darzee's 
wife screaming : 

" Rikki-tikki, I led Nagaina toward the house, 
and she has gone into the veranda, and oh, 
come quickly she means killing ! ' 

Rikki-tikki smashed two eggs, and tumbled 
backward down the melon-bed with the third egg 
in his mouth, and scuttled to the veranda as hard 
as he could put foot to the ground. Teddy and 
his mother and father were there at early break- 
fast; but Rikki-tikki saw that they were not eat- 


ing anything. They sat stone-still, and their 
faces were white. Nagaina was coiled up on the 
matting by Teddy's chair, within easy striking 
distance of Teddy's bare leg, and she was sway- 
ing- to and fro singing a song of triumph. 

" Son of the big man that killed Nag," she 
hissed, " stay still. I am not ready yet. Wait 
a little. Keep very still, all you three. If you 
move I strike, and if you do not move I strike. 
Oh, foolish people, who killed my Nag ! ' 

Teddy's eyes were fixed on his father, and all 
his father could do was to whisper, " Sit still, 
Teddy. You must n't move. Teddy, keep still." 

Then Rikki-tikki came up and cried: "Turn 
round, Nagaina ; turn and fight ! ' 

" All in good time," said she, without moving 
her eyes. " I will settle my account with yoii 
presently. Look at your friends, Rikki-tikki. 
They are still and white ; they are afraid. They 
dare not move, and if you come a step nearer I 

"Look at your eggs," said Rikki-tikki, " in the 
melon-bed near the wall. Go and look, Nagaina." 

The big snake turned half round, and saw the 
egg on the veranda. " Ah-h ! Give it to me." 
she said. 

Rikki-tikki put his paws one on each side of 
the egg, and his eyes were blood-red. "What 


price for a snake's egg"? For a young cobra? 
For a young king-cobra? For the last- the 
very last of the brood ? The ants are eating all 
the others down by the melon-bed." 

Nagaina spun clear round, forgetting every- 
thing for the sake of the one egg ; and Rikki- 
tikki saw Teddy's father shoot out a big hand, 
catch Teddy by the shoulder, and drag him across 
the little table with the tea-cups, safe and out of 
reach of Nagaina. 

-Tricked! Tricked! Tricked! Rikk-tck- 
tck!' chuckled Rikki-tikki. "The boy is safe, 
and it was I I - I that caught Nag by the 
hood last night in the bath-room." Then he 
began to jump up and down, all four feet to- 
gether, his head close to the floor. "He threw 
me to and fro, but he could not shake me off. 
He was dead before the bi^r man blew him in 


two. I did it. Rikki-tikki-tck-tck ! Come then, 
Nagaina. Come and fight with me. You shall 
not be a widow long." 

Nagaina saw that she had lost her chance of 
killing Teddy, and the egg lay between Rikki- 
tikki's paws. " Give me the egg, Rikki-tikki. 
Give me the last of my eggs, and I will go away 
and never come back," she said, lowering her 



" Yes, you will go away, and you will never 
come back ; for you will go to the rubbish-heap 
with Nag. Fight, 
widow ! The big man 
has gone for his gun ! 
Fight ! " 

Rikki-tikki was 
bounding all round 


keeping just 
out of reach of her 
stroke, his little eyes 
like hot coals. Nagaina 
gathered herself together, and 
flung out at him. Rikki-tikki 
jumped up and backward. Again 
NAGAINA FLEW and again and again she struck, and 
w^-nfmKKi-TiKKi each time her head came with a whack 
BEHIND HER." Qn ^ matting of the veranda and 


she gathered herself together like a watch-spring. 
Then Rikki-tikki danced in a circle to get behind 


her, and Nagaina spun round to keep her head to 
his head, so that the rustle of her tail on the mat- 
ting sounded like dry leaves blown along by the 

He had forgotten the egg. It still lay on the 
veranda, and Nagaina came nearer and nearer 
to it, till at last, while Rikki-tikki was drawing 
breath, she caught it in her mouth, turned to 
the veranda steps, and flew like an arrow down 
the path, with Rikki-tikki behind her. When 
the cobra runs for her life, she goes like a whip- 
lash flicked across a horse's neck. 

Rikki-tikki knew that he must catch her, or 
all the trouble would begin again. She headed 
straight for the long grass by the thorn-bush, 
and as he was running Rikki-tikki heard Darzee 
still singing his foolish little song of triumph. 
But Darzee's wife was wiser. She flew off her 
nest as Nagaina came along, and flapped her 
wings about Nagaina's head. If Darzee had 
helped they might have turned her ; but Nagaina 
only lowered her hood and went on. Still, the 
instant's delay brought Rikki-tikki up to her, 
and as she plunged into the rat-hole where she 
and Nag used to live, his little white teeth were 
clenched on her tail, and he went down with her 
and very few mongooses, however wise and 


old they may be, care to follow a cobra into its 
hole. It was dark in the hole ; and Rikki-tikki 
never knew when it might open out and give 
Nagaina room to turn and strike at him. He held 
on savagely, and struck out his feet to act as 
brakes on the dark slope of the hot, moist earth. 
Then the grass by the mouth of the hole 
stopped waving, and Darzee said: "It is all 
over with Rikki-tikki ! We must sing- his death- 


song. Valiant Rikki-tikki is dead ! For Nag- 
aina will surely kill him underground." 

So he sang a very mournful song that he 
made up all on the spur of the minute, and just 
as he got to the most touching part the grass 
quivered again, and Rikki-tikki, covered with 
dirt, dragged himself out of the hole leg by leg, 
licking his whiskers. Darzee stopped with a 
little shout. Rikki-tikki shook some of the dust 
out of his fur and sneezed. "It is all over," he 
said. "The widow will never come out again." 
And the red ants that live between the grass 
stems heard him, and began to troop down one 
after another to see if he had spoken the truth. 

Rikki-tikki curled himself up in the grass and 
slept where he was slept and slept till it was 
late in the afternoon, for he had done a hard 

day's work. 



" Now," he said, when he awoke, " I will go 
back to the house. Tell the Coppersmith, Dar- 
zee, and he will tell the garden that Nagaina is 

The Coppersmith is a bird who makes a noise 


exactly like the beating of a little hammer on a 
copper pot ; and the reason he is always making 
it is because he is the town-crier to every Indian 
garden, and tells all the news to everybody who 


cares to listen. As Rikki-tikki went up the path, 
he heard his " attention " notes like a tiny dinner- 
gong ; and then the steady " Ding-dong-tock ! 
Nag is dead- dong ! Nagaina is dead ! Ding- 
dong-tock ! ' That set all the birds in the gar- 
den singing, and the frogs croaking ; for Nag 
and Nagaina used to eat frogs as well as little 

When Rikki got to the house, Teddy and 
Teddy's mother (she looked very white still, for 
she had been fainting) and Teddy's father came 
out and almost cried over him ; and that night he 
ate all that was given him till he could eat no 
more, and went to bed on Teddy's shoulder, 
where Teddy's mother saw him when she came 

to look late at niodit. 


" He saved our lives and Teddy's life," she 
said to her husband. " Just think, he saved all 
our lives." 

Rikki-tikki woke up with a jump, for all the 
mongooses are light sleepers. 

"Oh, it 's you," said he. "What are you 
bothering 1 for ? All the cobras are dead ; and 


if they were n't, I 'm here." 

Rikki-tikki had a right to be proud of himself; 
but he did not grow too proud, and he kept that 
garden as a mongoose should keep it, with tooth 


and jump and spring and bite, till never a cobra 
dared show its head inside the walls. 



Singer and tailor am I- 

Doubled the joys that I know 
Proud of my lilt through the sky, 

Proud of the house that I sew 

Over and under, so weave I my music so weave I 
the house that I sew. 

Sing to your fledglings again, 

Mother, oh lift up your head ! 
Evil that plagued us is slain, 

Death in the garden lies dead. 

Terror that hid in the roses is impotent flung on 
the dung-hill and dead ! 

Who hath delivered us, who ? 

Tell me his nest and his name. 
Rikki, the valiant, the true, 

Tikki, with eyeballs of flame. 

Rik-tikki-tikki, the ivory-fanged, the hunter with eye- 
balls of flame. 


Give him the Thanks of the Birds, 
Bowing with tail-feathers spread ! 
Praise him with nightingale words - 

Nay, I will praise him instead. 

Hear ! I will sing you the praise of the bottle-tailed 
Rikki, with eyeballs of red ! 

(Here Rikki-tikki interrupted, and the rest of the song 
is lost.) 


1 will remember what I was, I am sick of rope and chain 
I will remember my old strength and all my forest affairs. 

I will not sell my back to man for a bundle of sugar-cane, 
I will go out to my own kind, and the wood-folk in their lairs. 

I will go out until the day, until the morning break, 

Out to the winds' untainted kiss, the waters' clean caress : 

I will forget my ankle-ring and snap my picket-stake. 
I will revisit rny lost loves, and playmates masterless! 


KALA NAG, which means Black Snake, had 
served the Indian Government in every 
way that an elephant could serve it for forty- 
seven years, and as he was fully twenty years old 
when he was caught, that makes him nearly 
seventy a ripe age for an elephant. He re- 
membered pushing, with a big leather pad on his 
forehead, at a gun stuck in deep mud, and that 
was before the Afghan war of 1842, and he had 
not then come to his full strength. His mother, 
Radha Pyari, Radha the darling, who had 
been caught in the same drive with Kala Nag, 
told him, before his little milk tusks had dropped 
out, that elephants who were afraid always got 


hurt : and Kala Nacr knew that that advice was 


good, for the first time that he saw a shell burst 
he backed, screaming, into a stand of piled rifles, 
and the bayonets pricked him in all his softest 
places. So, before he was twenty- five, he gave 
up being afraid, and so he was the best-loved and 
the best-looked-after elephant in the service of 
the Government of India. He had carried tents, 
twelve hundred pounds' weight of tents, on the 
march in Upper India : he had been hoisted into 
a ship at the end of a steam-crane and taken for 
days across the water, and made to carry a mor- 
tar on his back in a strange and rocky country 
very far from India, and had seen the Emperor 
Theodore lying dead in Magdala, and had come 
back again in the steamer entitled, so the soldiers 
said, to the Abyssinian war medal. He had seen 
his fellow-elephants die of cold and epilepsy and 
starvation and sunstroke up at a place called Ali 
Musjid, ten years later ; and afterward he had 
been sent down thousands of miles south to haul 
and pile big baulks of teak in the timber-yards at 
Moulmein. There he had half killed an insub- 
ordinate young elephant who was shirking his 
fair share of the work. 

After that he was taken off timber-hauling, 
and employed, with a few score other elephants 


who were trained to the business, in helping to 
catch wild elephants among the Garo hills. Ele- 
phants are very strictly preserved by the Indian 
Government. There is one whole department 
which does nothing else but hunt them, and 
catch them, and break them in, and send them 
up and down the country as they are needed 
for work. 

Kala Nag stood ten fair feet at the shoulders, 
and his tusks had been cut off short at five feet, 
and bound round the ends, to prevent them split- 
ting, with bands of copper ; but he could do 
more with those stumps than any untrained ele- 
phant could do with the real sharpened ones. 

When, after weeks and weeks of cautious driv- 
ing of scattered elephants across the hills, the 
forty or fifty wild monsters were driven into the 
last stockade, and the big drop-gate, made of 
tree-trunks lashed together, jarred down behind 
them, Kala Nag, at the word of command, would 
go into that flaring, trumpeting pandemonium 
(generally at night, when the flicker of the 
torches made it difficult to judge distances), and, 
picking out the biggest and wildest tusker of the 
mob, would hammer him and hustle him into 
quiet while the men on the backs of the other 
elephants roped and tied the smaller ones. 


There was nothing in the way of fighting that 
Kala Nag, the old wise Black Snake, did not 
know, for he had stood up more than once in 
his time to the charge of the wounded tioer, 

o o 

and, curling up his soft trunk to be out of 
harm's way, had knocked the springing brute 
sideways in mid-air with a quick sickle-cut of 
his head, that he had invented all by himself; 
had knocked him over, and kneeled upon him 
with his huge knees till the life went out with 
a gasp and a howl, and there was only a fluffy 
striped thing on the ground for Kala Nag to pull 
by the tail. 

" Yes," said Big Toomai, his driver, the son of 
Black Toomai who had taken him to Abyssinia, 
and grandson of Toomai of the Elephants who 
had seen him caught, "there is nothing that 
the Black Snake fears except me. He has seen 
three generations of us feed him and groom him, 
and he will live to see four." 

" He is afraid of me also," said Little Toomai, 
standing up to his full height of four feet, with 
only one rag upon him. He was ten years old, 
the eldest son of Big Toomai, and, according to 
custom, he would take his father's place on Kala 
Nag's neck when he grew up, and would handle 
the heavy iron ankus, the elephant-goad that had 










> H 
^ O 

W g 

^ > 


W 5; 








been worn smooth by his father, and his grand- 
father, and his great-grandfather. He knew what 
he was talking of; for he had been born under 
Kala Nag's shadow, had played with the end of 
his trunk before he could walk, had taken him 
down to water as soon as he could walk, and 
Kala Nag would no more have dreamed of 
disobeying his shrill little orders than he would 
have dreamed of killing him on that day when 
Big Toomai carried the little brown baby under 
Kala Nag's tusks, and told him to salute his 
master that was to be. 

" Yes," said Little Toomai, "he is afraid of 
me" and he took long strides up to Kala Nag, 
called him a fat old pig, and made him lift up his 
feet one after the other. 

" Wah ! " said Little Toomai, "thou art a big 
elephant," and he wagged his fluffy head, quoting 
his father. " The Government may pay for ele- 
phants, but they belong to us mahouts. When 
thou art old, Kala Nag, there will come some rich 
Rajah, and he will buy thee from the Govern- 
ment, on account of thy size and thy manners, 
and then thou wilt have nothing to do but to carry 
gold earrings in thy ears, and a gold howdah on 
thy back, and a red cloth covered with gold on 
thy sides, and walk at the head of the processions 


of the King. Then I shall sit on thy neck, O 
Kala Nag, with a silver ankus, and men will run 
before us with golden sticks, crying, ' Room for 
the King's elephant ! ' That will be good, Kala 
Nag, but not so good as this hunting in the 

" Umph ! ' said Big Toomai. "Thou art a 
boy, and as wild as a buffalo-calf. This running 
up and down among the hills is not the best 
Government service. I am getting old, and I do 
not love wild elephants. Give me brick elephant- 
lines, one stall to each elephant, and big stumps 
to tie them to safely, and flat, broad roads to 
exercise upon, instead of this come-and-go camp- 
ing. Aha, the Cawnpore barracks were good. 
There was a bazaar close by, and only three 
hours' work a day." 

Little Toomai remembered the Cawnpore ele- 
phant-lines and said nothing. He very much 
preferred the camp life, and hated those broad, 
flat roads, with the daily grubbing for grass in 
the forage-reserve, and the lon<j hours when 

o o 

there was nothing to do except to watch Kala 
Nag fidgeting in his pickets. 

What Little Toomai liked was to scramble up 
bridle-paths that only an elephant could take ; 
the dip into the valley below ; the glimpses of 


the wild elephants browsing" miles away ; the 
rush of the frightened pig and peacock under 
Kala Nae's feet ; the blinding warm rains, when 

^5 *^ 

all the hills and valleys smoked ; the beautiful 
misty mornings when nobody knew where they 
would camp that night ; the steady, cautious 
drive of the wild elephants, and the mad rush and 
blaze and hullaballoo of the last night's drive, 
when the elephants poured into the stockade like 
boulders in a landslide, found that they could not 
get out, and flung themselves at the heavy posts 
only to be driven back by yells and flaring torches 
and volleys of blank cartridge. 

Even a little boy could be of use there, and 
Toomai was as useful as three boys. He would 
get his torch and wave it, and yell with the best. 
But the really good time came when the driving 
out began, and the Keddah, that is, the stockade, 
looked like a picture of the end of the world, and 
men had to make signs to one another, because 
they could not hear themselves speak. Then 
Little Toomai would climb up to the top of one 
of the quivering stockade-posts, his sun-bleached 
brown hair flying loose all over his shoulders, and 
he looking like a goblin in the torch-light ; and 
as soon as there was a lull you could hear his 
high-pitched yells of encouragement to Kala 


Nag, above the trumpeting and crashing, and 
snapping of ropes, and groans of the tethered 
elephants. ''Mail, mail, Kala Nag! (Go on, 
go on, Black Snake !) Dant do! (Give him the 
tusk !) Somalo ! Somalo ! (Careful, careful !) 
Maro! Mar! (Hit him, hit him !) Mind the 
pos t ! A rre ! A rre ! Ha i ! Ya i f Kya -a- ah!' 
he would shout, and the big- nVht between Kala 

o <_> 

Nag and the \vild elephant would sway to and fro 
across the Keddah, and the old elephant- catchers 
would wipe the sweat out of their eyes, and find 
time to nod to Little Toomai wriggling with joy 
on the top of the posts. 

He did more than wriggle. One night he slid 
down from the post and slipped in between the 
elephants, and threw up the loose end of a rope, 
which had dropped, to a driver who was trying to 
get a purchase on the leg of a kicking young 
calf (calves always give more trouble than full- 
grown animals). Kala Nag saw him, caught 
him in his trunk, and handed him up to Big 
Toomai, who slapped him then and there, and 
put him back on the post. 

Next morning he gave him a scolding, and 
said : "Are not good brick elephant-lines and a 
little tent-carrying enough, that thou must needs 
go elephant-catching on thy own account, little 




r 1 











r 1 








worthless ? Now those foolish hunters, whose 
pay is less than my pay, have spoken to Petersen 
Sahib of the matter." Little Toomai was fright- 
ened. He did not know much of white men, but 
Petersen Sahib was the greatest white man in 
the world to him. He was the head of all the 
Keddah operations the man who caught all the 
elephants for the Government of India, and who 
knew more about the ways of elephants than any 
living man. 

"What what will happen?' said Little 

" Happen ! the worst that can happen. Peter- 
sen Sahib is a madman. Else why should he go 
hunting these wild devils ? He may even require 
thee to be an elephant-catcher, to sleep anywhere 
in these fever-filled jungles, and at last to be 
trampled to death in the Keddah. It is well that 
this nonsense ends safely. Next week the catch- 
ing is over, and we of the plains are sent back to 
our stations. Then we will march on smooth 
roads, and forget all this hunting. But, son, 1 
am angry that thou shouldst meddle in the busi- 
ness that belongs to these dirty Assamese jungle- 
folk. Kala Nag will obey none but me, so I 
must go with him into the Keddah, but he is 
only a fighting elephant, and he does not help to 


rope them. So I sit at my ease, as befits a 
mahout, not a mere hunter, a mahout, I say, 
and a man who gets a pension at the end of his 
service. Is the family of Toomai of the Ele- 
phants to be trodden underfoot in the dirt of a 
Keddah ? Bad one ! Wicked one ! Worthless 
son ! Go and wash Kala Nag and attend to his 
ears, and see that there are no thorns in his feet ; 
or else Petersen Sahib will surely catch thee and 
make thee a wild hunter a follower of elephant's 
foot-tracks, a jungle-bear. Bah ! Shame ! Go ! ' 

Little Toomai went off without saying a word, 
but he told Kala Nag all his grievances while 
he was examining his feet. " No matter," said 
Little Toomai, turning up the fringe of Kala 
Nag's huge right ear. " They have said my 
name to Petersen Sahib, and perhaps and 
perhaps and perhaps who knows ? Hai ! 
That is a big thorn that I have pulled out ! ' 

The next few days were spent in getting 
the elephants together, in walking the newly 
caught wild elephants up and down between a 
couple of tame ones, to prevent them from giv- 
ing too much trouble on the downward march 
to the plains, and in taking stock of the blankets 
and ropes and things that had been worn out or 
lost in the forest. 


Petersen Sahib came in on his clever she- 
elephant Pudmini ; he had been paying off other 
camps among the hills, for the season was com- 
ing to an end, and there was a native clerk 
sitting at a table under a tree, to pay the driv- 
ers their wages. As each man was paid he went 
back to his elephant, and joined the line that 
stood ready to start. The catchers, and hunters, 
and beaters, the men of the regular Keddah, who 
stayed in the jungle year in and year out, sat 
on the backs of the elephants that belonged 
to Petersen Sahib's permanent force, or leaned 
against the trees with their guns across their 
arms, and made fun of the drivers who were 
going away, and laughed when the newly caught 
elephants broke the line and ran about. 

Big Toomai went up to the clerk with Little 
Toomai behind him, and Machua Appa, the head- 
tracker, said in an undertone to a friend of 
his, "There goes one piece of good elephant- 
stuff at least. 'T is a pity to send that young 
jungle-cock to moult in the plains." 

Now Petersen Sahib had ears all over him, as a 
man must have who listens to the most silent 
of all living things the wild elephant. He 
turned where he was lying all along on Pud- 
mini's back, and said, "What is that? I did not 


know of a man among the plain -drivers who had 
wit enough to rope even a dead elephant." 

"This is not a man, but a boy. He went 
into the Keddah at the last drive, and threw 
Barmao there the rope, when we were trying 
to get that young calf with the blotch on his 
shoulder away from his mother." 

Machua Appa pointed at Little Toomai, and 
Petersen Sahib looked, and Little Toomai bowed 
to the earth. 

"He throw a rope? He is smaller than a 
picket-pin. Little one, what is thy name?" said 
Petersen Sahib. 

Little Toomai was too frightened to speak, 
but Kala Nag was behind him, and Toomai 
made a sign with his hand, and the elephant 
caught him up in his trunk and held him level 
with Pudmini's forehead, in front of the great 
Petersen Sahib. Then Little Toomai covered 
his face with his hands, for he was only a child, 
and except where elephants were concerned, he 
was just as bashful as a child could be. 

"Oho!" said Petersen Sahib, smiling under- 
neath his mustache, "and why didst thou teach 
thy elephant that trick ? Was it to help thee 
steal green corn from the roofs of the houses 
when the ears are put out to dry ? ' 


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" Not green corn, Protector of the Poor, 
melons," said Little Toomai, and all the men 
sitting about broke into a roar of laughter. 
Most of them had taught their elephants that 
trick when they were boys. Little Toomai was 
hanging eight feet up in the air, and he wished 
very much that he were eight feet underground. 

" He is Toomai, my son, Sahib," said Big 
Toomai, scowling. " He is a very bad boy, and 
he will end in a jail, Sahib." 

" Of that I have my doubts," said Petersen 
Sahib. "A boy who can face a full Keddah at 
his age does not end in jails. See, little one, 
here are four annas to spend in sweetmeats be- 
cause thou hast a little head under that great 
thatch of hair. In time thou mayest become a 
hunter too." Big Toomai scowled more than 
ever. " Remember, though, that Keddahs are 
not good for children to play in," Petersen Sahib 
went on. 

"Must I never go there, Sahib?" asked Little 
Toomai, with a big gasp. 

"Yes." Petersen Sahib smiled again. "When 
thou hast seen the elephants dance. That is the 
proper time. Come to me when thou hast seen 
the elephants dance, and then I will let thee go 
into all the Keddahs." 


There was another roar of laughter, for that 
is an old joke among elephant-catchers, and it 
means just never. There are great cleared flat 
places hidden away in the forests that are called 
elephants' ballrooms, but even these are found 
only by accident, and no man has ever seen the 
elephants dance. When a driver boasts of his 
skill and bravery the other drivers say, "And 
when didst thou see the elephants dance ? ' 

Kala Nag put Little Toomai down, and he 
bowed to the earth again and went away with his 
father, and gave the silver four-anna piece to his 
mother, who was nursing his baby-brother, and 
they all were put up on Kala Nag's back, and the 
line of grunting, squealing elephants rolled down 
the hill-path to the plains. It was a very lively 
march on account of the new elephants, who gave 
trouble at every ford, and who needed coaxing or 
beating every other minute. 

Big Toomai prodded Kala Nag spitefully, for 
he was very angry, but Little Toomai was too 
happy to speak. Petersen Sahib had noticed 
him, and given him money, so he felt as a private 
soldier would feel if he had been called out of the 
ranks and praised by his commander-in-chief. 

"What did Petersen Sahib mean by the ele- 
phant-dance?' he said, at last, softly to his 


Big Toomai heard him and grunted. "That 
thou shouldst never be one of these hill-buffaloes 
of trackers. That was what he meant. Oh you 
in front, what is blocking the way ? ' 

An Assamese driver, two or three elephants 
ahead, turned round angrily, crying: "Bring up 
Kala Nag, and knock this youngster of mine into 
good behavior. Why should Petersen Sahib have 
chosen me to go down with you donkeys of the 
rice-fields ? Lay your beast alongside, Toomai, 
and let him prod with his tusks. By all the 
Gods of the Hills, these new elephants are pos- 
sessed, or else they can smell their companions in 
the jungle." 

Kala Nag hit the new elephant in the ribs and 
knocked the wind out of him, as Big Toomai 
said, "We have swept the hills of wild ele- 
phants at the last catch. It is only your care- 
lessness in driving. Must I keep order along 
the whole line ? ' 

" Hear him ! ' said the other driver. " We 
have swept the hills ! Ho ! ho ! You are very 
wise, you plains-people. Any one but a mud- 
head who never saw the jungle would know 
that they know that the drives are ended for the 
season. Therefore all the wild elephants to- 
night will but why should I waste wisdom on 
a river-turtle?" 


" What will they do ? ' Little Toomai called 

"O/ie, little one. Art thou there? Well, I will 
tell thee, for thou hast a cool head. They will 
dance, and it behooves thy father, who has swept 
all the hills of all the elephants, to double-chain 
his pickets to-night." 

" What talk is this ? " said Bio- Toomai. " For 


forty years, father and son, we have tended 
elephants, and we have never heard such moon- 
shine about dances." 

" Yes ; but a plains-man who lives in a hut 
knows only the four walls of his hut. Well, 
leave thy elephants unshackled to-night and see 
what comes ; as for their dancing, I have seen 
the place where Bapree-Bap ! how many wind- 
ings has the Dihang River? Here is another 
ford, and we must swim the calves. Stop still, 
you behind there." 

And in this way, talking and wrangling and 
splashing through the rivers, they made their 
first march to a sort of receiving-camp for the 
new elephants ; but they lost their tempers long 
before they got there. 

Then the elephants were chained by their hind 
legs to their big stumps of pickets, and extra 
ropes were fitted to the new elephants, and the 


fodder was piled before them, and the hill-drivers 
went back to Petersen Sahib through the after- 
noon light, telling the plains-drivers to be extra 
careful that night, and laughing when the plains- 
drivers asked the reason. 

Little Toomai attended to Kala Nag's supper, 
and as evening fell, wandered through the camp, 
unspeakably happy, in search of a tom-tom. 
When an Indian child's heart is full, he does not 
run about and make a noise in an irregular 
fashion. He sits down to a sort of revel all by 
himself. And Little Toomai had been spoken to 
by Petersen Sahib ! If he had not found what he 
wanted I believe he would have burst. But the 
sweatmeat-seller in the camp lent him a little 
tom-tom a drum beaten with the flat of the 
hand and he sat down, cross-legged, before Kala 
Nag as the stars began to come out, the tom- 
tom in his lap, and he thumped and he thumped 
and he thumped, and the more he thought of the 
great honor that had been done to him, the more 
he thumped, all alone among the elephant-fodder. 
There was no tune and no words, but the thump- 
ing made him happy. 

The new elephants strained at their ropes, and 
squealed and trumpeted from time to time, and 
he could hear his mother in the camp hut putting 



his small brother to sleep with an old, old song 
about the great Gocl Shiv, who once told all the 
animals what they should eat. It is a very sooth- 
ing lullaby, and the first verse says : 

Shiv, who poured the harvest and made the winds to blow. 

Sitting at the doorways of a day of long ago, 

Gave to each his portion, food and toil and fate, 

From the King upon the guddee to the Beggar at the gate. 

All things made he Shiva the Preserver. 

Mahadeo ! Mahadeo ! he made all, 

Thorn for the camel, fodder for the kine, 

And mother's heart for sleepy head, O little son of mine ! 

Little Toomai came in with a joyous tunk-a-tunk 
at the end of each verse, till he felt sleepy and 
stretched himself on the fodder at Kala Nag's 

At last the elephants began to lie down one 
after another as is their custom, till only Kala 
Nag at the right of the line was left standing up; 
and he rocked slowly from side to side, his ears 
put forward to listen to the night wind as it blew 
very slowly across the hills. The air was full of 
all the night noises that, taken together, make 
one bio- silence the click of one bamboo-stem 


against the other, the rustle of something alive 
in the undergrowth, the scratch and squawk of a 
half-waked bird (birds are awake in the night 


much more often than we imagine), and the fall 
of water ever so far away. Little Toomai slept 
for some time, and when he waked it was brilliant 
moonlight, and Kala Nag was still standing up 
with his ears cocked. Little Toomai turned, 
rustling in the fodder, and watched the curve of 
his big back against half the stars in heaven, and 
while he watched he heard, so far away that it 
sounded no more than a pinhole of noise pricked 
through the stillness, the "hoot-toot" of a wild 

All the elephants in the lines jumped up as if 
they had been shot, and their grunts at last 
waked the sleeping mahouts, and they came out 
and drove in the picket-pegs with big mallets, 
and tightened this rope and knotted that till 
all was quiet. One new elephant had nearly 
grubbed up his picket, and Big Toomai took off 
Kala Nag's leg-chain and shackled that elephant 
fore foot to hind foot, but slipped a loop of grass- 
string round Kala Nag's leg, and told him to 
remember that he was tied fast. He knew that 
he and his father and his grandfather had done 
the very same thing hundreds of times before. 
Kala Nag did not answer to the order by gur- 
gling, as he usually did. He stood still, looking 
out across the moonlight, his head a little raised 


and his ears spread like fans, up to the great 
folds of the Garo hills. 

" Look to him if he grows restless in the 
m'eht, said Big- Toomai to Little Toomai, and 

o o 

he went into the hut and slept. Little Toomai 
was just going to sleep, too, when he heard the 
coir string snap with a little "tang," and Kala 
Nag rolled out of his pickets as slowly and as 
silently as a cloud rolls out of the mouth of a 
valley. Little Toomai pattered after him, bare- 
footed, down the road in the moonlight, calling 
under his breath, "Kala Nag! Kala Nag! Take 
me with you, O Kala Nag ! ' The elephant 
turned without a sound, took three strides back 
to the boy in the moonlight, put down his trunk, 
swung him up to his neck, and almost before 
Little Toomai had settled his knees, slipped into 
the forest. 

There was one blast of furious trumpeting from 
the lines, and then the silence shut down on 
everything, and Kala Nag began to move. 
Sometimes a tuft of high grass washed along 
his sides as a wave washes alon^ the sides of a 


ship, and sometimes a cluster of wild-pepper 
vines would scrape along, his back, or a bamboo 
would creak where his shoulder touched it ; but 
between those times he moved absolutely without 


any sound, drifting through the thick Garo forest 
as though it had been smoke. He was going up- 
hill, but though Little Toomai watched the stars 
in the rifts of the trees, he could not tell in what 

Then Kala Nag reached the crest of the ascent 
and stopped for a minute, and Little Toomai 
could see the tops of the trees lying all speckled 
and furry under the moonlight for miles and 
miles, and the blue-white mist over the river in 
the hollow. Toomai leaned forward and looked, 
and he felt that the forest was awake below him 
- awake and alive and crowded. A big brown 
fruit-eating bat brushed past his ear ; a porcu- 
pine's quills rattled in the thicket, and in the 
darkness between the tree- stems he heard a hogf- 


bear digging hard in the moist warm earth, and 
snuffing as it digged. 

o o o 

Then the branches closed over his head again, 
and Kala Nag began to go down into the valley 
not quietly this time, but as a runaway gun 
goes down a steep bank in one rush. The 
huge limbs moved as steadily as pistons, eight 
feet to each stride, and the wrinkled skin of the 
elbow-points rustled. The undergrowth on either 
side of him ripped with a noise like torn canvas, 
and the saplings that he' heaved away right and 


left with his shoulders sprang back again, and 
baneed him on the flank, and ^reat trails of 

t> CS 

creepers, all matted together, hung from his 
tusks as he threw his head from side to side 
and plowed out his pathway. Then Little 
Toomai laid himself down close to the great 
neck, lest a swinging bough should sweep him 
to the ground, and he wished that he were back 

in the lines a^ain. 


The grass began to get squashy, and Kala 
Nag's feet sucked and squelched as he put them 
down, and the night mist at the bottom of the 
valley chilled Little Toomai. There was a splash 
and a trample, and the rush of running water, 
and Kala Nag strode through the bed of a river, 
feeling his way at each step. Above the noise of 
the w T ater, as it swirled round the elephant's legs, 
Little Toomai could hear more splashing and some 
trumpeting both up-stream and down great 
grunts and angry snortings, and all the mist about 
him seemed to be full of rolling wavy shadows. 

"Ai/ J he said, half aloud, his teeth chattering. 
"The elephant-folk are out to-night It is the 
dance, then." 

Kala Nag swashed out of the water, blew his 
trunk clear, and began another climb ; but this 
time he was not alone, and he had not to make his 


path. That was made already, six feet wide, in 
front of him, where the bent jungle-grass was 
trying to recover itself and stand up. Many ele- 
phants must have gone that way only a few 
minutes before. Little Toomai looked back, and 
behind him a o^reat wild tusker with his little 


pig's eyes glowing like hot coals, was just lifting 
himself out of the misty river. Then the trees 
closed up again, and they went on and up, with 
trumpetings and crashings, and the sound of 
breaking branches on every side of them. 

At last Kala Nag stood still between two tree- 
trunks at the very top of the hill. They were 
part of a circle of trees that grew round an irreg- 
ular space of some three or four acres, and in 
all that space, as Little Toomai could see, the 
ground had been trampled down as hard as a 
brick floor. Some trees orew m t ] ie ce nter of 


the clearing, but their bark was rubbed away, 
and the white wood beneath showed all shiny 
and polished in the patches of moonlight. There 
were creepers hanging from the upper branches, 
and the bells of the flowers of the creepers, great 
waxy white things like convolvuluses, hung down 
fast asleep ; but within the limits of the clearing 
there was not a single blade of green -nothing 
but the trampled earth. 


The moonlight showed it all iron-gray, except 
where some elephants stood upon it, and their 
shadows were inky black. Little Toomai looked, 
holding his breath, with his eyes starting out of 
his head, and as he looked, more and more and 
more elephants swung out into the open from 
between the tree-trunks. Little Toomai could 
count only up to ten, and he counted again and 
again on his fingers till he lost count of the tens, 
and his head began to swim. Outside the clear- 
ing he could hear them crashing in the under- 
growth as they worked their way up the hillside ; 
but as soon as they were within the circle of the 
tree-trunks they moved like ghosts. 

There were white-tusked wild males, with 
fallen leaves and nuts and twigs lying in the 
wrinkles of their necks and the folds of their 
ears ; fat slow-footed she-elephants, with restless, 
little pinky-black calves only three or four feet 
high running under their stomachs ; young ele- 
phants with their tusks just beginning to show, 
and very proud of them ; lanky, scraggy old- 
maid elephants, with their hollow anxious faces, 
and trunks like rough bark ; savage old bull-ele- 
phants, scarred from shoulder to flank with great 
weals and cuts of bygone fights, and the caked 
dirt of their solitary mud-baths dropping from 


their shoulders ; and there was one with a broken 
tusk and the marks of the full-stroke, the terrible 
drawing scrape, of a tiger's claws on his side. 

They were standing head to head, or walking 
to and fro across* the ground in couples, or rock- 
ing and swaying all by themselves scores and 
scores of elephants. 

Toomai knew that so long as he lay still on 
Kala Nag's neck nothing would happen to him ; 
for even in the rush and scramble of a Keddah- 
drive a wild elephant does not reach up with his 
trunk and drag a man off the neck of a tame 
elephant ; and these elephants were not thinking 
of men that night. Once they started and put 
their ears forward when they heard the chink- 
ing of a leg-iron in the forest, but it was Pud- 
mini, Petersen Sahib's pet elephant, her chain 
snapped short off, grunting, snuffling up the hill- 
side. She must have broken her pickets, and 
come straight from Petersen Sahib's camp ; and 
Little Toomai saw another elephant, one that he 
Jid not know, with deep rope-galls on his back 
and breast. He, too, must have run away from 
some camp in the hills about. 

At last there was no sound of any more ele- 
phants moving in the forest, and Kala Nag rolled 
out from his station between the trees and went 


into the middle of the crowd, clucking and gurg- 
ling, and all the elephants began to talk in their 
own tongue, and to move about. 


Still lying down, Little Toomai looked down 
upon scores and scores of broad backs, and wag- 
ging ears, and tossing trunks, and little rolling 
eyes. He heard the click of tusks as they 
crossed other tusks by accident, and the dry 
rustle of trunks twined together, and the chafing 
of enormous sides and shoulders in the crowd, 
and the incessant flick and hissh of the great 
tails. Then a cloud came over the moon, and he 
sat in black darkness ; but the quiet, steady hust- 
ling and pushing and gurgling went on just the 
same. He knew that there were elephants all 
round Kala Nag, and that there was no chance 
of backing him out of the assembly; so he set his 
teeth and shivered. In a Keddah at least there 
was torch-light and shouting, but here he was all 
alone in the dark, and once a trunk came up 
and touched him on the knee. 

Then an elephant trumpeted, and they all took 
it up for five or ten terrible seconds. The dew 
from the trees above spattered down like rain 
on the unseen backs, and a dull booming noise 
began, not very loud at first, and Little Toomai 
could not tell what it was; but it grew and grew, 
and Kala Nag lifted up one fore foot and then 





the other, and brought them down on the ground 
one-two, one-two, as steadily as trip-hammers. 
The elephants were stamping altogether now, 
and it sounded like a war-drum beaten at the 
mouth of a cave. The dew fell from the trees till 
there was no more left to fall, and the booming 
went on, and the ground rocked and shivered, and 
Little Toomai put his hands up to his ears to shut 
out the sound. But it was all one gigantic jar 
that ran through him - this stamp of hundreds 
of heavy feet on the raw earth. Once or twice 
he could feel Kala Naof and all the others sur^e 

o o 

forward a few strides, and the thumping would 
change to the crushing sound of juicy green 
things being bruised, but in a minute or two the 
boom of feet on hard earth be^an aeain. A 

o <_> 

tree was creaking and groaning somewhere near 
him. He put out his arm and felt the bark, but 
Kala Nag moved forward, still tramping, and he 
could not tell where he was in the clearing. 
There was no sound from the elephants, except 
once, when two or three little calves squeaked to- 
gether. Then he heard a thump and a shuffle, 
and the booming went on. It must have lasted 
fully two hours, and Little Toomai ached in every 
nerve ; but he knew by the smell of the night air 
that the dawn \vas coming. 



The morning broke in one sheet of pale yellow 
behind the green hills, and the booming stopped 
with the first ray, as though the light had been an 
order. Before Little Toomai had got the ringing 
out of his head, before even he had shifted his 
position, there was not an elephant in sight ex- 
cept Kala Nag, Pudmini, and the elephant with 
the rope-galls, and there was neither sign nor 
rustle nor whisper down the hillsides to show 
where the others had 

Little Toomai stared again and again. The 

clearing, as he remembered it, had grown in the 
night. More trees stood in the middle of it, but 
the undergrowth and the jungle-grass at the sides 
had been rolled back. Little Toomai stared once 
more. Now he understood the trampling. The 
elephants had stamped out more room had 
stamped the thick grass and juicy cane to trash, 
the trash into slivers, the slivers into tiny fibers, 
and the fibers into hard earth. 

" Wah ! " said Little Toomai, and his eyes were 
very heavy. " Kala Nag, my lord, let us keep by 
Pudmini and go to Petersen Sahib's camp, or 1 
shall drop from thy neck." 

The third elephant watched the two go away, 
snorted, wheeled round, and took his own path. 
He may have belonged to some little native 


king's establishment, fifty or sixty or a hundred 
miles away. 

Two hours later, as Petersen Sahib was eat- 
ing early breakfast, his elephants, who had been 
double-chained that night, began to trumpet, and 
Pudmini, mired to the shoulders, with Kala Nag, 
very foot-sore, shambled into the camp. 

Little Toomai's face was gray and pinched, and 
his hair was full of leaves and drenched with 
dew; but he tried to salute Petersen Sahib, and 
cried faintly : "The dance the elephant-dance! 
I have seen it, and I die!' As Kala Nag 
sat down, he slid off his neck in a dead faint. 

But, since native children have no nerves worth 
speaking of, in two hours he was lying very con- 
tentedly in Petersen Sahib's hammock with Peter- 
sen Sahib's shooting-coat under his head, and a 
glass of warm milk, a little brandy, with a dash of 
quinine inside of him, and while the old hairy, 
scarred hunters of the jungles sat three-deep be- 
fore him, looking at him as though he were a 
spirit, he told his tale in short words, as a child 
will, and wound up with : 

" Now, if I lie in one word, send men to see, 
and they will find that the elephant-folk have 
trampled down more room in their dance-room, 
and they will find ten and ten, and many times 


ten, tracks leading to that dance-room. They 
made more room with their feet. I have seen it. 
Kala Nag took me, and I saw. Also Kala Nag 
is very leg-weary ! ' 

Little Toorrai lay back and slept all through the 
long afternoon and into the twilight, and while he 
slept Petersen Sahib and Machua Appa followed 
the track of the two elephants for fifteen miles 
across the hills. Petersen Sahib had spent eigh- 
teen years in catching elephants, and he had only 
once before found such a dance-place. Machua 
Appa had no need to look twice at the clearing 
to see what had been done there, or to scratch 
with his toe in the packed, rammed earth. 

" The child speaks truth," said he. "All this 
was done last night, and I have counted seventy 
tracks crossing the river. See, Sahib, where 
Pudmini's leg-iron cut the bark of that tree I 
Yes ; she was there too." 

They looked at each other, and up and down, 
and they wondered ; for the ways of elephants 
are beyond the wit of any man, black or white, to 

" Forty years and five," said Machua Appa, 
" have I followed my lord, the elephant, but never 
have I heard that any child of man had seen 
what this child has seen. By all the Gods 


of the Hills, it is what can we say?' and he 
shook his head. 

When they got back to camp it was time for the 
evening meal. Petersen Sahib ate alone in his 
tent, but he gave orders that the camp should 
have two sheep and some fowls, as well as a 
double- ration of flour and rice and salt, for he 
knew that there would be a feast. 

Big Toomai had come up hot-foot from the 
camp in the plains to search for his son and his 
elephant, and now that he had found them he 
looked at them as though he were afraid of them 


both. And there was a feast by the blazing camp- 
fires in front of the lines of picketed elephants, 
and Little Toomai was the hero of it all; and 
the big brown elephant-catchers, the trackers and 
drivers and ropers, and the men who know all the 
secrets of breaking the wildest elephants, passed 
him from one to the other, and they marked 
his forehead with blood from the breast of a 
newly killed jungle-cock, to show that he was a 
forester, initiated and free of all the jungles. 

And at last, when the flames died down, and 
the red light of the logs made the elephants look 
as though they had been dipped in blood too, 
Machua Appa, the head of all the drivers of all 
the Keddahs Machua Appa, Petersen Sahib's 


other self, who had never seen a made road in 
forty years : Machua Appa, who was so great 
that he had no other name than Machua Appa 
leaped to his feet, with Little Toomai held 
high in the air above his head, and shouted : 
" Listen, my brothers. Listen, too, you my lords 
in the lines there, for I, Machua Appa, am speak- 
ing ! This little one shall no more be called 
Little Toomai, but Toomai of the Elephants, 
as his great-grandfather was called before him. 
What never man has seen he has seen through 
the long night, and the favor of the elephant- folk 
and of the Gods of the Jungles is with him. He 
shall become a great tracker ; he shall become 
greater than I, even I, Machua Appa ! He shall 
follow the new trail, and the stale trail, and the 
mixed trail, with a clear eye ! He shall take no 
harm in the Keddah when he runs under their 
bellies to rope the wild tuskers ; and if he slips 
before the feet of the charging bull-elephant that 
bull-elephant shall know who he is and shall not 
crush him. Aihai ! my lords in the chains," 
he whirled up the line of pickets, "here is the 
little one that has seen your dances in your hid- 
den places the sight that never man saw ! Give 
him honor, my lords! Salaam karo, my children. 
Make your salute to Toomai of the Elephants ! 


Gunga Pershad, ahaa ! Hira Guj, Birchi Guj, 
Kuttar Guj, ahaa! Pudmini,- - thou hast seen 
him at the dance, and thou too, Kala Nag, my 
pearl among elephants ! ahaa! Together! To 
Toomai of the Elephants. Barrao ! ' 

And at that last wild yell the whole line flung 
up their trunks till the tips touched their fore- 
heads, and broke out into the full salute - - the 
crashing trumpet-peal that only the Viceroy of 
India hears, the Salaamut of the Keddah. 

But it was all for the sake of Little Toomai, 
who had seen what never man had seen before 
the dance of the elephants at night and alone in 
the heart of the Garo hills ! 




Shiv, who poured the harvest and made the winds to blow, 
Sitting at the doorways of a day of long ago, 
Gave to each his portion, food and toil and fate, 
From the King upon fatguddee to the Beggar at the gate. 
All things made he Shiva the Preserver. 
Mahadeo ! MaJiadeo ! he made all, 
Thorn for the camel, fodder for the kifie, 
And mother s heart for sleepy head, O little son of mine! 


Wheat he gave to rich folk, millet to the poor, 
Broken scraps for holy men that beg from door to door ; 
Cattle to the tiger, carrion to the kite, 
And rags and bones to wicked wolves without the wall 

at night. 

Naught he found too lofty, none he saw too low 
Parbati beside him watched them come and go ; 
Thought to cheat her husband, turning Shiv to jest 
Stole the little grasshopper and hid it in her breast. 

50 she tricked him, Shiva the Preserver. 

Mahadco ! Mahadeo ! turn and see. 

Tall are tJie camels, heavy arc the kine, 

But this was least of little tilings, O little son of mine ! 

When the dote was ended, laughingly she said, 
" Master, of a million mouths is not one unfed ?' 
Laughing, Shiv made answer, "All have had their part, 
Even he, the little one, hidden 'neath thy heart." 
From her breast she plucked it, Parbati the thief, 
Saw the Least of Little Things gnawed a new-grown leaf ! 
Saw and feared and wondered, making prayer to Shiv, 
Who hath surely given meat to all that live. 
All things made lie Shiva the Preserver. 
Mahadco ! Mahadeo ! he made all, 
Thorn for the camel, fodder for the kine, 
And mother's heart for sleepy head, O little son of mine ! 


You can work it out by Fractions or by simple Rule of Three, 
But the way of Tweedle-dum is not the way of Tvveedle-dee. 
You can twist it, you can turn it, you can plait it till you drop 
But the way of Pilly-Winky 's not the way of Winkie-Pop ! 


IT had been raining heavily for one whole month 
raining on a camp of thirty thousand men, 
thousands of camels, elephants, horses, bullocks, 
and mules, all gathered together at a place called 
Rawal Pindi, to be reviewed by the Viceroy of 
India. He was receiving a visit from the Amir 
of Afghanistan a wild king of a very wild coun- 
try ; and the Amir had brought with him for a 
bodyguard eight hundred men and horses who 
had never seen a camp or a locomotive before in 
their lives savage men and savage horses from 
somewhere at the back of Central Asia. Every 
night a mob of these horses would be sure to 
break their heel-ropes, and stampede up and 

down the camp through the mud in the dark, or 



the camels would break loose and run about 
and fall over the ropes of the tents, and you 
can imagine how pleasant that was for men 
trying to go to sleep. My tent lay far away 
from the camel lines, and I thought it was safe ; 
but one night a man popped his head in and 
shouted, " Get out, quick ! They 're coming ! 
My tent 's gone ! " 

I knew who ''they' were; so I put on my 
boots and waterproof and scuttled out into the 
slush. Little Vixen, my fox-terrier, went out 
through the other side ; and then there was a 
roaring and a grunting and bubbling, and I saw 
the tent cave in, as the pole snapped, and begin 
to dance about like a mad gfhost. A camel had 


blundered into it, and wet and angry as I was, I 
could not help laughing. Then I ran on, because 
I did not know how many camels might have got 
loose, and before long I was out of sight of the 
camp, plowing my way through the mud. 

At last I fell over the tail-end of a gun, and by 
that knew I was somewhere near the Artillery 
lines where the cannon were stacked at night. As 
I did not want to plowter about any more in the 
drizzle and the dark, I put my waterproof over 
the muzzle of one gun, and made a sort of wig- 
wam with two or three rammers that I found, and 



lay along the tail of another gun, wondering where 
Vixen had got to, and where I might be. 

O> <_> 

Just as I \vas getting ready to sleep I heard a 
jingle of harness and a grunt, and a mule passed 
me shaking his wet ears. He belonged to a 
screw -gun battery, for I could hear the rattle 
of the straps and rings and chains and things on 
his saddle-pad. The screw-guns are tidy little 
cannon made in two pieces, that are screwed to- 
gether when the time comes to use them. They 
are taken up mountains, anywhere that a mule 
can find a road, and they are very useful for 
fighting in rocky country. 

Behind the mule there was a camel, with his 
big soft feet squelching and slipping in the mud, 
and his neck bobbing to and fro like a strayed 
hen's. Luckily, I knew enough of beast language 
not wild-beast language, but camp-beast lan- 
guage, of course from the natives to know what 
he was saying. 

He must have been the one that flopped into 
my tent, for he called to the mule, "What shall I 
do ? Where shall I go ? I have fought with a 
white thing that waved, and it took a stick and 
hit me on the neck." (That was my broken tent- 
pole, and I was very glad to know it.) " Shall 
we run on ? ' 


41 Oh, it was you," said the mule, "you and 
your friends, that have been disturbing the camp ? 
All right. You '11 be beaten for this in the morn- 
ing ; but I may as well give you something on 
account now." 

I heard the harness jingle as the mule backed 
and caught the camel two kicks in the ribs that 
rang like a drum. "Another time," he said, 
" you '11 know better than to run through a mule- 
battery at night, shouting ' Thieves and fire ! ' 
Sit down, and keep your silly neck quiet." 

The camel doubled up camel-fashion, like a 
two-foot rule, and sat down whimpering. There 
was a regular beat of hoofs in the darkness, and 


a big troop-horse cantered up as steadily as 
though he were on parade, jumped a gun-tail, 
and landed close to the mule. 

" It 's disgraceful," he said, blowing out his nos- 
trils. " Those camels have racketed through our 
lines again - the third time this week. How 's a 
horse to keep his condition if he is n't allowed to 
sleep ? Who 's here ? ' 

" I 'm the breech-piece mule of number two 
gun of the First Screw Battery," said the mule, 
" and the other 's one of your friendn. He 's 
waked me up too. Who are you ? ' 

" Number Fifteen, E troop, Ninth Lancers 


Dick Cunliffe's horse. Stand over a little, 

" Oh, beg your pardon," said the mule. " It 's 
too dark to see much. Are n't these camels too 
sickening for anything? I walked out of my 
lines to get a little peace and quiet here." 

"My lords," said the camel humbly, "we 
dreamed bad dreams in the night, and we were 
very much afraid. I am only a baggage-camel 
of the 39th Native Infantry, and I am not so 
brave as you are, my lords." 

"Then why the pickets did n't you stay and 
carry baggage for the 39th Native Infantry, in- 
stead of running all round the camp ? ' said the 

"They were such very bad dreams," said the 
camel. "I am sorry. Listen! What is that? 
Shall we run on a^ain ? ' 


"Sit down," said the mule, "or you '11 snap 
your long legs between the guns." He cocked 
one ear and listened. " Bullocks ! ' he said ; 
"gun-bullocks. On my word, you and your 
friends have waked the camp very thoroughly. 
It takes a good deal of prodding to put up a 
gun -bullock." 

I heard a chain dragging along the ground, and 
a yoke of the great sulky white bullocks that drag 


the heavy siege-guns when the elephants won't go 
any nearer to the firing, came shouldering along 
together; and almost stepping on the chain was 
another battery-mule, calling wildly for " Billy." 

" That 's one of our recruits," said the old mule 
to the troop-horse. " He 's calling for me. Here, 
youngster, stop squealing; the dark never hurt 
anybody yet." 

The gun-bullocks lay down together and be- 
gan chewing the cud, but the young mule hud- 
dled close to Billy. 

"Things!' he said; "fearful and horrible 


things, Billy ! They came into our lines while 
we were asleep. D' you think they '11 kill us ? ' 

"I Ve a very great mind to give you a number 
one kicking," said Billy. "The idea of a four- 
teen-hand mule with your training disgracing 
the battery before this gentleman ! ' 

"Gently, gently!" said the troop-horse. "Re- 
member they are always like this to begin with. 
The first time I ever saw a man (it was in Aus- 
tralia when I was a three-year-old) I ran for 
half a day, and if I 'd seen a camel I should have 
been running still." 

Nearly all our horses for the English cav- 
alry are brought to India from Australia, and 
are broken in by the troopers themselves. 


"True enough," said Billy. "Stop shaking, 
youngster. The first time they put the full 
harness with all its chains on my back, I stood 
on my fore legs and kicked every bit of it off. 
I had n't learned the real science of kicking then, 
but the battery said they had never seen any- 
thing like it." 

" But this was n't harness or anything that 
jingled," said the young mule. " You know I 
don't mind that now, Billy. It was Things like 
trees, and they fell up and down the lines and 
bubbled ; and my head-rope broke, and I could 
n't find my driver, and I could n't find you, Billy, 
so I ran off with with these gentlemen." 

" H'm ! ' said Billy. "As soon as I heard the 
camels were loose I came away on my own ac- 
count, quietly. When a battery a screw-gun 
mule calls gun-bullocks gentlemen, he must be 
very badly shaken up. Who are you fellows on 
the ground there ? ' 

The gun-bullocks rolled their cuds, and an- 
swered both together: "The seventh yoke of the 
first gun of the Big Gun Battery. We were 
asleep when the camels came, but when we were 
trampled on we got up and walked away. It is 
better to lie quiet in the mud than to be dis- 
turbed on good bedding. We told your friend 



here that there was nothing to be afraid of, but he 
knew so much that he thought otherwise. Wah!" 

They went on chewing. 

" That comes of being afraid," said Billy. 
" You get laughed at by gun-bullocks. I hope 
you like it, young 'un." 

The young mule's teeth snapped, and I heard 
him say something about not being afraid of 
any beefy old bullock in the world ; but the bul- 
locks only clicked their horns together and went 
on chewing. 

" Now, don't be angry after you Ve been 
afraid. That's the worst kind of cowardice," said 
the troop-horse. ''Anybody can be forgiven for 
being scared in the night, / think, if they see 
things they don't understand. We Ve broken 
out of our pickets, again and again, four hundred 
and fifty of us, just because a new recruit got to 
telling tales of whip-snakes at home in Australia 
till we were scared to death of the loose ends of 
our head-ropes." 

"That's all very well in camp," said Billy; 
" I 'm not above stampeding myself, for the fun 
of the thing, when I have n't been out for a day 
or two ; but what do you do on active service ? 

" Oh, that 's quite another set of new shoes,'* 
said the troop-horse. " Dick Cunliffe 's on my 







t i 






















back then, and drives his knees into me, and all 
I have to do is to watch where I am putting my 
feet, and to keep my hind legs well under me, and 
be bridle-wise." 

"What 's bridle-wise?' said the young mule. 

" By the Blue Gums of the Back Blocks, 
snorted the troop-horse, " do you mean to say 
that you are n't taught to be bridle-wise in your 
business ? How can you do anything, unless you 
can spin round at once when the rein is pressed 
on your neck ? It means life or death to your 
man, and of course that 's life or death to you. 
Get round with your hind legs under you the in- 
stant you feel the rein on your neck. If you 
have n't room to swing round, rear up a little and 
come round on your hind legs. That 's being 

"We are n't taught that way," said Billy the 
mule stiffly. "We 're taught to obey the man 
at our head : step off when he says so, and step 
in when he says so. I suppose it comes to the 
same thing. Now, with all this fine fancy busi- 
ness and rearing, which must be very bad for 
your hocks, what do you do?' ' 

" That depends," said the troop-horse. " Gen- 
erally I have to go in among a lot of yelling, hairy 
men with knives, long shiny knives, worse than 


the farrier's knives, and I have to take care that 
Dick's boot is just touching the next man's boot 
without crushing it. I can see Dick's lance to the 


right of my right eye, and I know I 'm safe. I 
should n't care to be the man or horse that stood 
up to Dick and me when we 're in a hurry." 

"Don't the knives hurt?' said the young 

" Well, I got one cut across the chest once, 
but that was n't Dick's fault " 

"A lot I should have cared whose fault it was, 
if it hurt ! " said the young mule. 

"You must," said the troop-horse. "If you 
don't trust your man, you may as well run away 
at once. That 's what some of our horses do, 
and I don't blame them. As I was saying, it 
was n't Dick's fault. The man was lying on the 
ground, and I stretched myself not to tread on 
him, and he slashed up at me. Next time I 
have to go over a man lying down I shall step 
on him hard." 

" H'm ! ' said Billy; "it sounds very foolish. 
Knives are dirty things at any time. The 
proper thing to do is to climb up a mountain 
w T ith a well-balanced saddle, hang on by all four 
feet and your ears too, and creep and crawl and 
wriggle along, till you come out hundreds of feet 



above any one else, on a ledge where there 's 
just room enough for your hoofs. Then you 
stand still and keep quiet. never ask a man to 
hold your head, young 'un, keep quiet while the 
guns are being put together, and then you watch 
the little poppy shells drop down into the tree- 
tops ever so far below." 

"Don't you ever trip?' said the troop-horse. 

" They say that when a mule trips you can 
split a hen's ear," said Billy. " Now and again 
per- haps a badly packed saddle will upset a 
mule, but it 's very seldom. I wish I could show 
you our business. It 's beautiful. Why, it took 
me three years to find out what the men were 
driving at. The science of the thing is never to 
show up against the sky-line, because, if you do, 
you may get fired at. Remember that, young 
'un. Always keep hidden as much as possible, 
even if you have to go a mile out of your way. 
I lead the battery when it comes to that sort of 

" Fired at without the chance of running into 
the people who are firing ! " said the troop-horse, 
thinking hard. " I could n't stand that. I should 
want to charge, with Dick." 

" Oh no, you would n't ; you know that as 
soon as the guns are in position they 'II do all 


the charging. That 's scientific and neat ; but 
knives pah ! ' 

The baggage-camel had been bobbing his 
head to and fro for some time past, anxious to 
get a word in edgeways. Then I heard him 
say, as he cleared his throat, nervously : 

"I I I have fought a little, but not in that 
climbing way or that running way." 

" No. Now you mention it," said Billy, "you 
.don't look as though you \vere made for climb- 
ing or running -much. Well, how was it, old 

"The proper way/' said the camel. "We all 
sat down ' 

"Oh, my crupper and breastplate!' said the 
troop-horse under his breath. "' Sat down ? ' 

" We sat down a hundred of us," the camel 
went on, " in a big square, and the men piled our 
packs and saddles outside the square, and the^ 
fired over our backs, the men did, on all sides of 
the square." 

" What sort of men ? Any men that came 
along ? " said the troop-horse. " They teach us in 
riding-school to lie down and let our masters fire 
across us, but Dick Cunliffe is the only man I 'd 
trust to do that It tickles my girths, and, be 
sides, I can't see with my head on the ground," 


" What does it matter who fires across you ? 
said the camel. " There are plenty of men and 
plenty of other camels close by, and a great 
many clouds of smoke. I am not frightened 
then, I sit still and wait." 

" And yet," said Billy, " you dream bad dreams 
and upset the camp at night. Well ! well ! Be- 
fore I 'd lie down, not to speak of sitting down, 
and let a man fire across me, my heels and his 
head would have something to say to each other. 
Did you ever hear anything so awful as that?' 

There was a long silence, and then one of the 
gun-bullocks lifted up his big head and said, 
" This is very foolish indeed. There is only one 
way of fighting." 

"Oh, go on," said Billy. "Please don't mind 
me. I suppose you fellows fight standing on 
your tails ? ' 

" Only one way," said the two together. (They 
must have been twins.) "This is that way. To 
put all twenty yoke of us to the big gun as soon 
as Two Tails trumpets." ("Two Tails" is camp 
slang for the elephant.) 

"What does Two Tails trumpet for? " said the 
young mule. 

" To show that he is not going any nearer to 
the smoke on the other side. Two Tails is a 


great coward. Then we tug the big gun all to- 
gether Hey a Hullah ! HeeyaJi ! Hullak f 
We do not climb like cats nor run like calves. 
We go across the level plain, twenty yoke of us, 
till we are unyoked again, and we graze while 
the big guns talk across the plain to some town 
with mud walls, and pieces of the wall fall out, 
and the dust goes up as though many cattle were 
coming home." 

"Oh! And you choose that time for graz- 
ing do you ? ' said the young mule. 

"That time or any other. Eating is always 
good. We eat till we are yoked up again and 
tug the gun back to where Two Tails is waiting 
for it. Sometimes there are big guns in the city 
that speak back, and some of us are killed, and 
then there is all the more grazing for those that 
are left. This is Fate nothing but Fate. None 
the less, Two Tails is a great coward. That is 
the proper way to fight. We are brothers from 
Hapur. Our father was a sacred bull of Shiva. 
We have spoken." 

"Well I Ve certainly learned something to- 
night," said the troop-horse. " Do you gentle- 
men of the screw-gun battery feel inclined to eat 
when you are being fired at with big guns, and 
Two Tails is behind you?' 


44 About as much as we feel inclined to sit 
down and let men sprawl all over us, or run into 
people with knives. I never heard such stuff. 
A mountain ledge, a well-balanced load, a driver 
you can trust to let you pick your own way, and 
I 'm your mule; but the other things no!' 
said Billy, with a stamp of his foot. 

"Of course," said the troop-horse, "every one 
is not made in the same way, and I can quite see 
that your family, on your father's side, would fail 
to understand a great many things." 

" Never you mind my family on my father's 
side," said Billy angrily ; for every mule hates to 
be reminded that his father was a donkey. " My 
father was a Southern gentleman, and he could 
pull down and bite and kick into rags every horse 
he came across. Remember that, you big brown 
Brumby ! ' 

Brurnby means wild horse without any breed- 
ing. Imagine the feelings of Sunol if a car- 

< ' *_> O 

horse called her a "skate," and you can imagine 
how the Australian horse felt. I saw the white 
of his eye glitter in the dark. 

" See here, you son of an imported Malaga 
jackass," he said between his teeth, " I 'd have 
you know that I 'm related on my mother's side 
to Carbine, winner of the Melbourne Cup, and 


where / come from we are n't accustomed to 
being ridden over roughshod by any parrot- 
mouthed, pig-headed mule in a pop- gun pea- 
shooter battery. Are you ready ? : 

" On your hind legs ! ' squealed Billy. They 
both reared up facing each other, and I was ex- 
pecting a furious fight, when a gurgly, nimbly 
voice called out of the darkness to the right 
"Children, what are you fighting about there? 
Be quiet." 

Both beasts dropped down with a snort of dis- 
gust, for neither horse nor mule can bear to listen 
to an elephant's voice. 

" It 's Two Tails ! ' said the troop-horse. " I 
can't stand him. A tail at each end is n't fair ! ' 

"My feelings exactly," said Billy, crowding 
into the troop-horse for company. "We 're very 
alike in some things." 

" I suppose we Ve inherited them from our 
mothers," said the troop-horse. " It 's not worth 

quarreling about. Hi ! Two Tails, are you tied 

} " 
up . 

" Yes," said Two Tails, with a laugh all up his 
trunk. " I 'm picketed for the night. I 've heard 
what you fellows have been saying. But don't 
be afraid I 'm not coming over." 

The bullocks and the camel said, half aloud ; 


"Afraid of Two Tails - - what nonsense !' And 
the bullocks went on : " We are sorry that you 
heard, but it is true. Two Tails, why are you 
afraid of the guns when they fire?' 

"Well," said Two Tails, rubbing one hind leg 
against the other, exactly like a little boy saying 
a piece, " I don't quite know whether you 'd 

"We don't, but we have to pull the guns," 
said the bullocks. 

" I know it, and I know you are a good deal 
braver than you think you are. But it 's differ- 
ent with me. My battery captain called me a 
Pachydermatous Anachronism the other day." 

"That 's another way of fighting, I suppose?' 
said Billy, who was recovering his spirits. 

" You don't know what that means, of course, 
but I do. It means betwixt and between, and 
that is just where I am. I can see inside my 
head what will happen when a shell bursts ; 
and you bullocks can't." 

"I can," said the troop-horse. "At least a 
little bit. I try not to think about it." 

" I can see more than you, and I do think 
about it. I know there 's a great deal of me to 
take care of, and I know that nobody knows how 
to cure me when I 'm sick. All they can do is to 


stop my driver's pay till I get well, and I can't 
trust my driver." 

"Ah!" said the troop-horse. "That explains 
it. I can trust Dick." 

" You could put a whole regiment of Dicks on 
my back without making me feel any better. I 
know just enough to be uncomfortable, and not 
enough to go on in spite of it." 

" We do not understand," said the bullocks. 

" I know you don't. I 'm not talking to you. 
You don't know what blood is." 

"We do," said the bullocks. " It is red stuff 
that soaks into the ground and smells." 

The troop-horse gave a kick and a bound and 
a snort. 

" Don't talk of it," he said. " I can smell it 
now, just thinking of it. It makes me want to 
run when I have n't Dick on my back." 

" But it is not here," said the camel and the 
bullocks. " Why are you so stupid ? ' 

" It 's vile stuff," said Billy. " I don't want to 
run, but I don't want to talk about it." 

<u ' There you are ! " said Two Tails, waving his 
tail to explain. 

" Surely. Yes, we have been here all night," 
said the bullocks. 

Two Tails stamped his foot till the iron ring 


on it jingled. " Oh, I 'm not talking- to you. 
You can't see inside your heads." 

" No. We see out of our four eyes," said the 
bullocks. "We see straight in front of us." 

" If I could do that and nothing else you 
would n't be needed to pull the big guns at all. 
If I was like my captain he can see things 
inside his head before the firing begins, and he 
shakes all over, but he knows too much to run 
away if I was like him I could pull the guns. 
But if I were as wise as all that I should never be 
here. I should be a king in the forest, as I used 
to be, sleeping half the clay and bathing when I 
liked. I have n't had a good bath for a month." 

" That 's all very fine," said Billy ; " but giving 
a thing a long name does n't make it any better." 

" H'sh ! " said the troop-horse. " I think I un- 
derstand what Two Tails means." 

''You '11 understand better in a minute," said 
Two Tails angrily. " Now, just you explain to 
me why you don't like this ! ' 

He began trumpeting furiously at the top of 
his trumpet. 

" Stop that ! ' said Billy and the troop-horse 
together, and I could hear them stamp and 
shiver. An elephant's trumpeting is always 
nasty, especially on a dark night. 


" I sha'n't stop," said Two Tails. " Won't 
you explain that, please? Hhrrmph! Rrrt! 
Rrrmph / Rrrhha ! ' Then he stopped sud- 
denly, and I heard a little whimper in the dark, 
and knew that Vixen had found me at last. She 
knew as well as I did that if there is one thing 
in the world the elephant is more afraid of than 
another it is a little barking dog; so she stopped 
to bully Two Tails in his pickets, and yapped 
round his big feet. Tw r o Tails shuffled and 
squeaked. " Go away, little dog ! ' he said. 
" Don't snuff at my ankles, or I '11 kick at you. 
Good little dog nice little doggie, then! Go 
home, you yelping little beast ! Oh, why 
does n't some one take her away ? She '11 bite 
me in a minute." 

" Seems to me," said Billy to the troop-horse, 
"that our friend Two Tails is afraid of most 
things. Now, if I had a full meal for every dog 
I Ve kicked across the parade-ground, I should 
be as fat as Two Tails nearly." 

I whistled, and Vixen ran up to me, muddy all 
over, and licked my nose, and told me a long 
tale about hunting for me all through the camp. 
I never let her know that I understood beast 
talk, or she would have taken all sorts of liber- 
ties. So I buttoned her into the breast of my 


overcoat, and Two Tails shuffled and stamped 
and growled to himself. 


" Extraordinary ! Most extraordinary ! ' he 
said. " It runs in our family. Now, where has 
that nasty little beast gone to ? 

I heard him feeling about with his trunk. 

" We all seem to be affected in various ways," he 
went on, blowing his nose. " Now, you gentlemen 
were alarmed, I believe, when I trumpeted." 

" Not alarmed, exactly," said the troop-horse, 
"but it made me feel as though I had hornets 
where my saddle ought to be. Don't begin 

" I 'm frightened of a little dog, and the camel 
here is frightened by bad dreams in the night." 

" It is very lucky for us that we have n't all got 
to fight in the same way," said the troop-horse. 

"What I want to know," said the young mule, 
who had been quiet for -a long time ''what / 
want to know is, why we have to fight at all." 

" Because we are told to," said the troop-horse, 
with a snort of contempt. 

" Orders," said Billy the mule ; and his teeth 

" Hukm hair 1 (It is an order), said the camel 
with a gurgle ; and Two Tails and the bullocks 
repeated, " Hukm hai ! ' 


" Yes, but who gives the orders?" said the re- 

"The man who walks at your head Or sits on 
your back Or holds the nose-rope Or twists 
your tail," said Billy and the troop-horse and the 
camel and the bullocks one after the other. 

" But who gives them the orders ? ' 


" Now you want to know too much, young 
un," said Billy, "and that is one way of getting 
kicked. All you have to do is to obey the man 
at your head and ask no questions." 

" He 's quite right," said Two Tails. " I can't 
always obey, because I 'm betwixt and between ; 
but Billy 's right. Obey the man next to you 
who gives the order, or you '11 stop all the bat- 
tery, besides getting a thrashing." 

The gun-bullocks got up to go. " Morning is 
coming," they said. "We will go back to our 
lines. It is true that we see only out of our eyes, 
and we are not very clever ; but still, we are the 
only people to-night who have not been afraid. 
Good night, you brave people." 

Nobody answered, and the troop-horse said, 
to chancre the conversation, "Where 's that little 


dog ? A dog means a man somewhere near." 

" Here I am," yapped Vixen, " under the gun- 
tail with my man. You big, blundering beast 


of a camel you, you upset our tent. My man 's 
very angry." 

" Phew ! " said the bullocks. " He must be 
white ? " - 

" Of course he is," said Vixen. " Do you 
suppose I 'm looked after by a black bullock- 
driver ? ' 

"Huah! Ouach! Ugh!" said the bullocks. 
" Let us get away quickly." 

They plunged forward in the mud, and man- 
aged somehow to run their yoke on the pole of 
an ammunition-wagon, where it jammed. 

"Now you have done it," said Billy calmly. 
" Don't struggle. You 're hung up till daylight. 
What on earth 's the matter ? ' 

The bullocks went off into the long hissing 
snorts that Indian cattle give, and pushed and 
crowded and slued and stamped and slipped and 
nearly fell down in the mud, grunting savagely. 

"You '11 break your necks in a minute," said 
the troop-horse. " What 's the matter with white 
men ? I live with 'em." 

"They eat us! Pull!' said the near bul- 
lock : the yoke snapped with a twang, and they 
lumbered off together. 

I never knew before what made Indian cattle 
so afraid of Englishmen. We eat beef a thing 


that no cattle-driver touches and of course the 
cattle do not like it. 

" May I be flogged with my own pad -chains ! 
Who 'd have thought of two big lumps like those 
losing their heads ? " said Billy. 

" Never mind. I 'm going to look at this man. 
Most of the white men, I know, have things in 
their pockets," said the troop-horse. 

" I '11 leave you, then. I can't say I 'm over- 
fond of 'em myself. Besides, white men who 
have n't a place to sleep in are more than likely 
to be thieves, and I Ve a good deal of Govern- 
ment property on my back. Come along, young 
'un, and we '11 go back to our lines. Good-night, 
Australia ! See you on parade to-morrow, I sup- 
pose. Good-night, old Hay-bale! try to con- 
trol your feelings, won't you ? Good-night, Two 
Tails ! If you pass us on the ground to-morrow, 
don't trumpet. It spoils our formation." 

Billy the mule stumped off with the swagger- 
ing limp of an old campaigner, as the troop- 
horse's head came nuzzling into my breast, and 
I gave him biscuits ; while Vixen, who is a most 
conceited little dog, told him fibs about the scores 
of horses that she and I kept. 

" I 'm coming to the parade to-morrow in my 
dog-cart," she said. "Where will you be? ' 


" On the left hand of the second squadron. I 
set the time for all my troop, little lady," he said 
politely. " Now I must go back to Dick. My 
tail 's all muddy, and he '11 have two hours' hard 
work dressing me for the parade." 

The big parade of all the thirty thousand men 
was held that afternoon, and Vixen and I had a 
good place close to the Viceroy and the Amir of 
Afghanistan, with his high big black hat of astra- 
khan wool and the great diamond star in the 
center. The first part of the review was all sun- 
shine, and the regiments went by in wave upon 
wave of legs all moving together, and guns all 
in a line, till our eyes grew dizzy. Then the 
cavalry came up, to the beautiful cavalry canter 
of " Bonnie Dundee," and Vixen cocked her ear 
where she sat on the dog-cart The second 
squadron of the lancers shot by, and there was 
the troop-horse, with his tail like spun silk, his 
head pulled into his breast, one ear forward and 
one back, setting the time for all his squadron, 
his legs going as smoothly as waltz-music. Then 
the big guns came by, and I saw Two Tails and 
two other elephants harnessed in line to a forty- 
pounder siege-gun while twenty yoke of oxen 
walked behind. The seventh pair had a new 
yoke, and they looked rather stiff and tired. 


Last came the screw-guns, and Billy the mule 
carried himself as though he commanded all the 
troops, and his harness was oiled and polished 
till it winked. I gave a cheer all by myself for 
Billy the mule, but he never looked right or left. 

The rain began to fall again, and for a while it 
was too misty to see what the troops were doing. 
They had made a big half-circle across the plain, 
and were spreading out into a line. That line 
grew and grew and grew till it was three-quar- 
ters of a mile long from wing to wing one solid 
wall of men, horses, and guns. Then it came on 
straight toward the Viceroy and the Amir, and 
as it got nearer the ground began to shake, 
like the deck of a steamer when the engines 
are going fast. 

Unless you have been there you cannot 
imagine what a frightening effect this steady 
come-down of troops has on the spectators, even 
when they know it is only a review. I looked 
at the Amir. Up till then he had not shown the 
shadow of a sign of astonishment or anything 
else ; but now his eyes began '.o get bigger and 
bigger, and he picked up the reins on his horse's 
neck and looked behind him. For a minute it 
seemed as though he were going to draw his 
sword and slash his way out through the English 

. : 



men and women in the carriages at the back. 
Then the advance stopped dead, the ground 
stood still, the whole line saluted, and thirty 
bands began to play all together. That was the 
end of the review, and the regiments went off to 
their camps in the rain ; and an infantry band 
struck up with 

The animals went in two by two, 

Hurrah ! 

The animals went in two by two, 
The elephant and the battery mu- 
T, and they all got into the Ark, 
For to get out of the rain ! 

Then I heard an old, grizzled, long-haired 
Central Asian chief, who had come down with 
the Amir, asking questions of a native officer. 

" Now," said he, " in what manner was this 
wonderful thing done ? ' 

And the officer answered, " There was an or- 
der, and they obeyed." 

" But are the beasts as wise as the men?" 
said the chief. 

" They obey, as the men do. Mule, horse, 
elephant, or bullock, he obeys his driver, and the 
driver his sergeant, and the sergeant his lieuten- 
ant, and the lieutenant his captain, and the cap- 


tain his major, and the major his colonel, and the 
colonel his brigadier commanding three regi- 
ments, and the brigadier his general, who obeys 
the Viceroy, who is the servant of the Empress. 
Thus it is done." 

"Would it were so in Afghanistan!' said the 


chief; "for there we obey only our own wills." 
"And for that reason," said the native officer, 
twirling his mustache, " your Amir whom you do 
not obey must come here and take orders from 
our Viceroy." 



We lent to Alexander the strength of Hercules, 

The wisdom of our foreheads, the cunning of our knees; 

We bowed our necks to service; they ne'er were loosed 

again, - . 

Make way there, way for the ten- foot teams 
Of the Forty-Pounder train ! 


Those heroes in their harnesses avoid a cannon-ball, 
And what they know of powder upsets them one and all ; 


Then we come into action and tug the guns again, 
Make way there, way for the twenty yoke 
Of the Forty-Pounder train ! 


By the brand on my withers, the finest of tunes 
Is played by the Lancers, Hussars, and Dragoons, 
And it 's sweeter than " Stables " or " Water " to me, 
The Cavalry Canter of " Bonnie Dundee " ! 

Then feed us and break us and handle and groom, 
And give us good riders and plenty of room, 
And launch us in column of squadrons and see 
The way of the war-horse to " Bonnie Dundee " ! 


As me and my companions were scrambling up a hill, 

The path was lost in rolling stones, but we went for- 
ward still ; 

For we can wriggle and climb, my lads, and turn up 

And it 's our delight on a mountain height, with a 
leg or two to spare ! 

Good luck to every sergeant, then, that lets us pick 

our road ; 
Bad luck to all the driver-men that cannot pack a load: 


For we can wriggle and climb, my lads, and turn up 

And it 's our delight on a mountain height with a leg of 

two to spare ! 


We have n't a camelty tune of our own 

To help us trollop along, 

But every neck is a hairy trombone 

(Rtt-ta-ta-ta / is a hairy trombone !) 

And this is our marching song: 

Can't! Don't! Sha'rit! Won't! 

Pass it along the line ! 

Somebody's pack has slid from his back, 

Wish it were only mine ! 

Somebody's load has tipped off in the road 

Cheer for a halt and a row ! 

Urrr / Yarrh ! Grr ! Arrh ! 

Somebody 's catching it now ! 


Children of the Camp are we, 
Serving each in his degree ; 
Children of the yoke and goad, 
Pack and harness, pad and load. 
See our line across the plain, 
Like a heel-rope bent again. 
Reaching, writhing, rolling fa;, 
Sweeping all away to war ! 


While the men that walk beside, 
Dusty, silent, heavy-eyed, 
Cannot tell why we or they 
March and suffer day by day. 

Children of the Camp are we, 

Serving each in his degree ; 

Children of the yoke and goad, 

Pack and harness, pad and load.