J N O
NY PUBL C LIBRARY THE BRANCH LIBRARIES
3 3333 08124 9464
THE JUNGLE BOOK
"T.ITTLE TOOMAI LAID HIMSELF DOWN CLOSE TO THE GREAT NECK
LEST A SWINGING BOUGH SHOULD SWEEP HIM TO
THE GROUND." (SEE PAGE 246.)
THE CENTURY CO.
Copyright 1893, 1894, by
Copyright, 1894, by
HARPER and BROTHERS
Copyright 1893, 1894, by
THE CENTURY Co.
J PROPERTY OF THE C
K CHT OF NEW YORK & 3^
MOWGLI'S BROTHERS i
HUNTING-SONG OF THE SEEONEE PACK . . . . . 42
KAA'S HUNTING 47
ROAD-SONG OF THE BANDAR-LOG 89
6 TIGER ! TIGER ! " 93
MOWGLI'S SONG 131
THE WHITE SEAL 137
" RlKKI-TIKKI-TAVI ' 175
DARZEE'S CHAUNT 212
TOOMAI OF THE ELEPHANTS 217
SHIV AND THE GRASSHOPPER 261
HER MAJESTY'S SERVANTS 265
PARADE-SONG OF THE CAMP ANIMALS 300
LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS
" LITTLE TOOMAI LAID HIMSELF DOWN CLOSE TO THE
GREAT NECK, LEST A SWINGING BOUGH SHOULD
SWEEP HIM TO THE GROUND" FRONTISPIECE
" ' GOOD LUCK GO WITH YOU, O CHIEF OF THE
WOLVES ' ' 5
" THE TIGER'S ROAR FILLED THE CAVE WITH THUN-
THE MEETING AT THE COUNCIL ROCK 17
" BAGHEERA WOULD LIE OUT ON A BRANCH AND CALL,
' COME ALONG, LITTLE BROTHER ' 23
"'WAKE, LITTLE BROTHER; I BRING NEWS' ... 99
" ' ARE ALL THESE TALES SUCH COBWEBS AND MoON-
TALK?' SAID MOWGLI ' 105
" BULDEO LAY AS STILL AS STILL, EXPECTING EVERY MlN-
UTE TO SEE MOWGLI TURN INTO A TlGER, TOO ' 121
" WHEN THE MOON ROSE OVER THE PLAIN THE VIL-
LAGERS SAW MOWGLI TROTTING ACROSS, WITH TWO
WOLVES AT HIS HEELS' : 126
" THEY CLAMBERED UP ON THE COUNCIL ROCK TO-
GETHER, AND MOWGLI SPREAD THE SKIN OUT ON
THE FLAT STONE" 129
xii LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS
"TEN FATHOMS DEEP" 146
" THEY WERE ALL AWAKE AND STARING IN EVERY DI-
RECTION BUT THE RIGHT ONE" 154
" HE HAD FOUND SEA COW AT LAST ' 162
" RlKKI-TIKKI LOOKED DOWN BETWEEN THE BOY'S COL-
LAR AND NECK" 177
"HE PUT HIS NOSE INTO THE INK ' 178
" RlKKI-TIKKI WAS AWAKE ON THE PlLLOW ' .... 179
" HE CAME TO BREAKFAST RIDING ON TEDDY'S SHOUL-
" * WE ARE VERY MISERABLE,' SAID DARZEE " .... l8l
" * I AM NAG,' SAID THE COBRA : ' LOOK, AND BE AFRAID.'
BUT AT THE BOTTOM OF HIS COLD HEART HE WAS
" HE JUMPED UP IN THE AlR, AND JUST UNDER HIM
WHIZZED BY THE HEAD OF NAGAINA ' 187
" IN THE DARK HE RAN UP AGAINST CHUCHUNDRA,
THE MUSKRAT " 192
" THEN RIKKI-TIKKI WAS BATTERED TO AND FRO AS
A RAT IS SHAKEN BY A DOG " 197
DARZEE'S WIFE PRETENDS TO HAVE A BROKEN WING . 201
" NAGAINA FLEW DOWN THE PATH WITH RIKKI-TIKKI
BEHIND HER" 207
" IT is ALL OVER" 210
" KALA NAG WAS THE BEST-LOVED ELEPHANT IN THE
LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS xiii
" < HE IS AFRAID OF ME,' SAID LlTTLE TOOMAI, AND
KE MADE KALA NAG LIFT UP HIS FEET ONE
AFTER THE OTHER " 223
" HE WOULD GET HIS TORCH AND WAVE IT, AND YELL
WITH THE BEST" 229
" ' NOT GREEN CORN, PROTECTOR OF THE POOR, MEL-
ONS/ SAID LITTLE TOOMAI " 235
" LITTLE TOOMAI LOOKED DOWN UPON SCORES AND
SCORES OF BROAD BACKS' 251
"'To TOOMAI OF THE ELEPHANTS. BARRAO ! ' ' . . . 259
"A CAMEL HAD BLUNDERED INTO MY TENT" .... 267
" ' ANYBODY CAN BE FORGIVEN FOR BEING SCARED IN THE
NIGHT/ SAID THE TROOP-HORSE " 275
" c THE MAN WAS LYING ON THE GROUND, AND I
STRETCHED MYSELF NOT TO TREAD ON HIM, AND
HE SLASHED UP AT ME ' 279
" THEN I HEARD AN OLD, GRIZZLED, LONG-HAIRED CEN-
TRAL ASIAN CHIEF ASKING QUESTIONS OF A NATIVE
THE JUNGLE BOOK
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,
2 THE JUNGLE BOOK
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-
MOWGLI'S BROTHERS 3
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
4 THE JUNGLE BOOK
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
" 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.
MOWGLPS BROTHERS 7
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
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
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
8 THE JUNGLE BOOK
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
MOWGLI'S BROTHERS 9
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.'
io THE JUNGLE BOOK
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
MOWGLPS BROTHERS 13
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
" 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
14 THE JUNGLE BOOK
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
MOWGLI'S BROTHERS 15
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
16 THE JUNGLE BOOK
" 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.
MOWGLFS BROTHERS 19
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
20 THE JUNGLE BOOK
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
MOWGLFS BROTHERS 21
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.
22 THE JUNGLE BOOK
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
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
"BAGHEERA WOULD LIE OUT ON A BRANCH AND CALL,
'COME ALONG, LITTLE BROTHER,''
MOWGLI'S BROTHERS 25
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
bull that bought thee thou must never kill or eat
26 THE JUNGLE BOOK
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.
MOWGLI'S BROTHERS 27
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
" Ho! ho! " said Mowgli. "Tabaqui came to
me not lone ago with some rude talk that I was
28 THE JUNGLE BOOK
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
MOWGLI'S BROTHERS 29
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.
THE JUNGLE BOOK
"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
MOWGLI'S BROTHERS 31
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
"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 ! '
32 THE JUNGLE BOOK
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
MOWGLI'S BROTHERS 33
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-
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."
34 THE JUNGLE BOOK
"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
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".
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.
MOWGLI'S BROTHERS 35
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
36 THE JUNGLE BOOK
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-
MOWGLPS BROTHERS 37
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
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
38 THE JUNGLE BOOK
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
" Now the business is in thy hands," said
Bagheera to Mowgli. " We can do no more
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."
MOWGLI'S BROTHERS 39
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.
" 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-
40 THE JUNGLE BOOK
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
" 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
"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! '
MOWGLI'S BROTHERS 41
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
" 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
" Ye will not forget me? " said Mowgli.
42 THE JUNGLE BOOK
" 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
HUNTING-SONG OF THE SEEONEE PACK
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 !
MOWGLPS BROTHERS 43
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
For though they are little and fubsy, it may be the Bear is
" There is none like to me ! " says the Cub in the pride of his
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
48 THE JUNGLE BOOK
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."
KAA'S HUNTING 49
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 ? '
50 THE JUNGLE BOOK
" 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,
KAA'S HUNTING 51
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.
52 THE JUNGLE BOOK
" 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
KAA'S HUNTING 53
" 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
54 THE JUNGLE BOOK
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
KAA'S HUNTING 55
"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
56 THE JUNGLE BOOK
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,
KAA'S HUNTING 57
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
58 THE JUNGLE BOOK
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
KAA'S HUNTING 59
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.
60 THE JUNGLE BOOK
"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.'
KAA'S HUNTING 61
"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
62 THE JUNGLE BOOK
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,"
" 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
KAA'S HUNTING 63
panther, and they went off to look for Kaa, the
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
64 THE JUNGLE BOOK
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
" Sssss! Have they ever called me that? ' said
KAA'S HUNTING 65
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
"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
66 THE JUNGLE BOOK
the Law to the Seeonee wolf-cubs, and Bagheera
"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
" 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
KAA'S HUNTING 67
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
" 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
68 THE JUNGLE BOOK
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."
KAA'S HUNTING 69
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
70 THE JUNGLE BOOK
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
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
KAA'S HUNTING 71
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
72 THE JUNGLE BOOK
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
KAA'S HUNTING 73
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."
74 THE JUNGLE BOOK
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
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
KAA'S HUNTING 75
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.
76 THE JUNGLE BOOK
" 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
KAA'S HUNTING 77
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
7 8 THE JUNGLE BOOK
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
KAA'S HUNTING 79
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
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.
8o THE JUNGLE BOOK
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
KAA'S HUNTING 81
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."
82 THE JUNGLE BOOK
"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
" 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
KAA'S HUNTING 83
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."
84 THE JUNGLE BOOK
" 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,
" 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,
"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
KAA'S HUNTING 85
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
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,
86 THE JUNGLE BOOK
"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."
KAA'S HUNTING 87
" 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
"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."
88 THE JUNGLE BOOK
" 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-
Mowsfli laid his head down on Baofheera's back
and slept so deeply that he never waked when
he was put down by Mother Wolfs side in the
KAA'S HUNTING 89
ROAD-SONG OF THE BANDAR-LOG
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
By the rnbbisJi in our wake, and the noble noise we
Be sure, be sure, we 're going to do some splendid
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
94 THE JUNGLE BOOK
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
96 THE JUNGLE BOOK
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
"TIGER! TIGER!' 97
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.
THE JUNGLE BOOK
" 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
"Are all well in the jungle?' said Mowgli,
" 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
" 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
102 THE JUNGLE BOOK
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.
104 THE JUNGLE BOOK
" 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,
io8 THE JUNGLE BOOK
" 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
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.
THE JUNGLE BOOK
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
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
U2 THE JUNGLE BOOK
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
114 THE JUNGLE BOOK
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.
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-
Ii6 THE JUNGLE BOOK
"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.
u8 THE JUNGLE BOOK
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
" 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
120 THE JUNGLE BOOK
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
" 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 !
124 T1IE JUNGLE BOOK
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.
THE JUNGLE BOOK
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
"WHEN THE MOON ROSE OVER THE PLAIN THE VILLAGERS SAW
MOWGLI TROTTING ACROSS, WITH TWO WOLVES AT HIS HEELS."
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
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-
ing bad food, and many were missing ; but they
came to the Council Rock, all that were left of
128 THE JUNGLE BOOK
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
"And we will hunt with thee," said the four
THEY CLAMBERED UP ON THE COUNCIL ROCK TOGETHER,
MOWGLI SPREAD THE SKIN OUT ON THE FLAT STCNE ''
" 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.
THAT HE SANG AT THE COUNCIL ROCK WHEN HE
DANCED ON SHERE KHAN'S HIDE
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
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.
132 THE JUNGLE BOOK
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
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
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
THE WHITE SEAL
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.
THE WHITE SEAL
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
138 THE JUNGLE BOOK
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
THE WHITE SEAL 139
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-
140 THE JUNGLE BOOK
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
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.
THE WHITE SEAL 141
" 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
H2 THE JUNGLE BOOK
" 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
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 WHITE SEAL 143
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
144 THE JUNGLE BOOK
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
THE WHITE SEAL 145
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
THE JUNGLE BOOK
" TEN FATHOMS DEEP*
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
THE WHITE SEAL 147
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
148 THE JUNGLE BOOK
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
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,
THE WHITE SEAL 149
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."
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."
150 THE JUNGLE BOOK
" 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."
THE WHITE SEAL 151
" 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.
152 THE JUNGLE BOOK
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
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.
THE WHITE SEAL 153
" 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
THE JUNGLE BOOK
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
"THEY WERE ALL AWAKE AND STARING IN EVERY
DIRECTION BUT THE RIGHT ONE."
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
THE WHITE SEAL 155
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."
156 THE JUNGLE BOOK
" 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.
THE WHITE SEAL 157
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
158 THE JUNGLE BOOK
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
THE WHITE SEAL 159
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-
160 THE JUNGLE BOOK
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
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.
THE WHITE SEAL 161
"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
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
THE JUNGLE BOOK
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
"HE HAD FOUND SEA COW AT LAST."
I Ve ever met uglier than Sea Vitch and w r ith
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
THE WHITE SEAL 163
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
164 THE JUNGLE BOOK
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
THE WHITE SEAL 165
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.
1 66 THE JUNGLE BOOK
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 ? '
THE WHITE SEAL 167
(< 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
168 . THE JUNGLE BOOK
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."
THE WHITE SEAL 169
" 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.
170 THE JUNGLE BOOK
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
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 /
THE WHITE SEAL 171
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
We hailed the landing-parties and we sang them up
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
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
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
176 THE JUNGLE BOOK
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
" 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.
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."
" RIKKI-TIKKI LOOKED DOWN BETWEEN
THE JUNGLE BOOK
They gave him a little piece of raw meat.
Rikki-tikki liked it immensely, and when it was
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
"HE PUT HIS NOSE INTO THE INK."
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
"RIKKI-TIKKI WAS AWAKE ON THE PILLOW."
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 "
THE JUNGLE BOOK
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
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
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
"HE CAME TO BREAKFAST
RIDING ON TEDDY'S SHOULDER."
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.
"'WE ARE VERY MISERABLE,' SAID DARZEE."
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
182 THE JUNGLE BOOK
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 ! "
^ -^ -^^^m^N
^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
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
1 86 THE JUNGLE BOOK
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*>
190 THE JUNGLE BOOK
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
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
THE JUNGLE BOOK
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
"IN THE DARK HE RAN UP AGAINST CHUCHUNDRA, THE MUSKRAT."
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
" RIKKI-TIKKI-TAVI ' 193
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 ? "
194 THE JUNGLE BOOK
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
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
"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-
" But are you sure that there is anything to be
gained by killing the people? " said Nag.
Everything. When there were no people in
" RIKKI-TIKKI-TA VI " 195
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,"
196 THE JUNGLE BOOK
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
"THEN RIKKI-TIKKI WAS BATTERED TO AND FRO AS A RAT
IS SHAKEN BY A DOG."
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
198 THE JUNGLE BOOK
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
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
" RIKKI-TIKKI-TAVI " 199
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
" For the great, the beautiful Rikki-tikki's
200 THE JUNGLE BOOK
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
"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
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
" RIKKI-TIKKI-TAVI >; 203
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
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
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
"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-
204 THE JUNGLE BOOK
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-
" RIKKI-TIKKI-TAVI " 205
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."
Rikki-tikki put his paws one on each side of
the egg, and his eyes were blood-red. "What
2o6 THE JUNGLE BOOK
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 ! "
bounding all round
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
2o8 THE JUNGLE BOOK
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
" RIKKI-TIKKI-TAVI ' 209
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
THE JUNGLE BOOK
" 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
"IT IS ALL OVER.
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
" RIKKI-TIKKI-TAVI ' 211
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
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
212 THE JUNGLE BOOK
and jump and spring and bite, till never a cobra
dared show its head inside the walls.
(SUNG IN HONOR OF RIKKI-TIKKI-TAVl)
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.
" RIKKI-TIKKI-TAVI " 213
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
TOOMAI OF THE ELEPHANTS
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!
TOOMAI OF THE ELEPHANTS
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
218 THE JUNGLE BOOK
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
TOOMAI OF THE ELEPHANTS 221
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
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.
222 THE JUNGLE BOOK
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,
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
TOOMAI OF THE ELEPHANTS 225
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
226 THE JUNGLE BOOK
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
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
TOOMAI OF THE ELEPHANTS 227
the wild elephants browsing" miles away ; the
rush of the frightened pig and peacock under
Kala Nae's feet ; the blinding warm rains, when
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
228 THE JUNGLE BOOK
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
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
TOOMAI OF THE ELEPHANTS 231
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
"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
232 THE JUNGLE BOOK
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.
TOOMAI OF THE ELEPHANTS 233
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
234 THE JUNGLE BOOK
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
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 ? '
'- -- > ~zz,4/3*
M/^W^ > $%r//^
jjffa" ir '~jc_ ^! 5' if Yt' sf/S r^ 4 - ' r / J^ J>^ / ^Tt Q /y^flX'^ff
"'NOT GREEN CORN, PROTECTOR OF THE POOR, MELONS,'
SAID LITTLE TOOMAI."
TOOMAI OF THE ELEPHANTS 237
" 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
"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."
238 THE JUNGLE BOOK
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
TOOMA1 OF THE ELEPHANTS 239
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
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
240 THE JUNGLE BOOK
" 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
TOOMAI OF THE ELEPHANTS 241
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
242 THE JUNGLE BOOK
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
TOOMAI OF THE ELEPHANTS 243
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
244 THE JUNGLE BOOK
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
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
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
TOOMAI OF THE ELEPHANTS 245
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
246 THE JUNGLE BOOK
left with his shoulders sprang back again, and
baneed him on the flank, and ^reat trails of
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
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
TOOMAI OF THE ELEPHANTS 247
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.
248 THE JUNGLE BOOK
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
TOOMAI OF THE ELEPHANTS 249
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
250 THE JUNGLE BOOK
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
" LITTLE TOOMAI LOOKED DOWN UPON SCORES AND SCORES
OF BROAD BACKS."
TOOMAI OF THE ELEPHANTS 253
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
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
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.
254 THE JUNGLE BOOK
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
TOOMAI OF THE ELEPHANTS 255
king's establishment, fifty or sixty or a hundred
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
256 THE JUNGLE BOOK
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
TOOMAI OF THE ELEPHANTS 257
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
258 THE JUNGLE BOOK
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 !
TOOMAI OF THE ELEPHANTS 261
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 AND THE GRASSHOPPER
(THE SONG THAT TOOMAI'S MOTHER SANG TO
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!
262 THE JUNGLE BOOK
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
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 !
HER MAJESTY'S SERVANTS
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 !
HER MAJESTY'S SERVANTS
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
266 THE JUNGLE BOOK
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
HER MAJESTY'S SERVANTS 269
lay along the tail of another gun, wondering where
Vixen had got to, and where I might be.
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 ? '
270 THE JUNGLE BOOK
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
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
HER MAJESTY'S SERVANTS 271
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
I heard a chain dragging along the ground, and
a yoke of the great sulky white bullocks that drag
272 THE JUNGLE BOOK
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
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.
HER MAJESTY'S SERVANTS 273
"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
274 THE JUNGLE BOOK
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
" 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
"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
HER MAJESTY'S SERVANTS 277
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
"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
278 THE JUNGLE BOOK
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
" ' THE MAN WAS LYING ON THE GROUND, AND I STRETCHED
MYSELF NOT TO TREAD ON HIM, AND HE SLASHED UP AT ME.'
HER MAJESTY'S SERVANTS 281
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
282 THE JUNGLE BOOK
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
" 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,"
HER MAJESTY'S SERVANTS 283
" 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
" To show that he is not going any nearer to
the smoke on the other side. Two Tails is a
284 THE JUNGLE BOOK
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
"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?'
HER MAJESTY'S SERVANTS 285
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
286 THE JUNGLE BOOK
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?
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
" 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 ;
HER MAJESTY'S SERVANTS 287
"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
288 THE JUNGLE BOOK
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
" 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
HER MAJESTY'S SERVANTS 289
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
" 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.
290 THE JUNGLE BOOK
" 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
HER MAJESTY'S SERVANTS 291
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 ! '
292 THE JUNGLE BOOK
" 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
HER MAJESTY'S SERVANTS 293
of a camel you, you upset our tent. My man 's
" 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
294 THE JUNGLE BOOK
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? '
HER MAJESTY'S SERVANTS 295
" 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.
296 THE JUNGLE BOOK
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
"THEN I HEARD AN OLD, GRIZZLED, LONG-HAIRED, CENTRAL ASIAN
CHIEF ASKING QUESTIONS OF A NATIVE OFFICER."
HER MAJESTY'S SERVANTS 299
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,
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-
300 THE JUNGLE BOOK
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
PARADE-SONG OF THE CAMP ANIMALS
ELEPHANTS OF THE GUN-TEAM
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 ;
HER MAJESTY'S SERVANTS 301
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:
302 THE JUNGLE BOOK
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 !
ALL THE BEASTS TOGETHER
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 !
HER MAJESTY'S SERVANTS 33
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.