Produced by An Anonymous Volunteer and David Widger
THE JUNGLE BOOK
By Rudyard Kipling
Hunting-Song of the Seeonee Pack
Road-Song of the Bandar-Log
The White Seal
Toomai of the Elephants
Shiv and the Grasshopper
Her Majesty's Servants
Parade Song of the Camp Animals
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 their 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." 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 noble
children that they may never forget the hungry in this world."
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. But they are afraid of him too, because Tabaqui, more
than anyone else in the jungle, is apt to go mad, and then he forgets
that he was ever afraid of anyone, and runs through the forest biting
everything in his way. Even the tiger runs and 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
"Enter, then, and look," said Father Wolf stiffly, "but there is no food
"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
"All thanks for this good meal," he said, licking his lips. "How
beautiful are the noble children! How large are their eyes! And so young
too! Indeed, indeed, I might have remembered that the children of kings
are men from the beginning."
Now, Tabaqui knew as well as anyone else that there is nothing so
unlucky as to compliment children to their faces. It pleased him to see
Mother and Father Wolf look uncomfortable.
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 for the next moon, so he has told me."
Shere Khan was the tiger who lived near the Waingunga River, twenty
"He has no right!" Father Wolf began angrily--"By the Law of the Jungle
he has no right to change his quarters without due warning. He will
frighten every head of game within ten miles, and I--I have to kill for
two, these days."
"His mother did not call him Lungri [the Lame One] for nothing," said
Mother Wolf quietly. "He has been lame in one foot from his birth. That
is why he has only killed cattle. Now the villagers of the Waingunga are
angry with him, and he has come here to make our villagers angry.
They will scour the jungle for him when he is far away, and we and our
children must run when the grass is set alight. Indeed, we are very
grateful to Shere Khan!"
"Shall I tell him of your gratitude?" said Tabaqui.
"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 below in the valley that ran down to a little
river he heard the dry, angry, snarly, singsong whine of a tiger who has
caught nothing and does not care if all the jungle knows it.
"The fool!" said Father Wolf. "To begin a night's work with that noise!
Does he think that our buck are like his fat Waingunga bullocks?"
"H'sh. It is neither bullock nor buck he hunts to-night," said Mother
Wolf. "It is Man."
The whine had changed to a sort of humming purr that seemed to come
from every quarter of the compass. It was the noise that bewilders
woodcutters and gypsies sleeping in the open, and makes them run
sometimes into the very mouth of the tiger.
"Man!" said Father Wolf, showing all his white teeth. "Faugh! Are there
not enough 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 outside 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 become mangy, and lose their teeth.
The purr grew louder, and ended in the full-throated "Aaarh!" of the
Then there was a howl--an untigerish howl--from Shere Khan. "He has
missed," said Mother Wolf. "What is it?"
Father Wolf ran out a few paces and heard Shere Khan muttering and
mumbling savagely as he tumbled about in the scrub.
"The fool has had no more sense than to jump at a woodcutter's campfire,
and has burned his feet," said Father Wolf with a grunt. "Tabaqui is
"Something is coming uphill," said Mother Wolf, twitching one ear. "Get
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 wonderful thing 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 atom
as ever came to a wolf's cave at night. He looked up into Father Wolf's
face, and laughed.
"Is that a man's cub?" said Mother Wolf. "I have never seen one. Bring
A Wolf accustomed to moving his own cubs can, if necessary, mouth an egg
without breaking it, and though Father Wolf's jaws closed right on the
child's back not a tooth even scratched the skin as he laid it down
among the cubs.
"How little! How naked, and--how bold!" said Mother Wolf softly. The
baby was pushing 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