Three Quotations

(Jan 27th to Feb 2nd)


1. (he) braced his back against the bulge of the red earthenware to hold down the head. This gave him just one second's purchase, 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 in great circles, but his eyes were red, and he held on ...he closed his jaws tighter and tighter, for he made sure he would be banged to death, and, for the honour of his family, he preferred to be found with his teeth locked... This is from "Rikki-Tikki-Tavi" in The Jungle Book.

Rikki Tikki, the fighting mongoose, has taken on the task of guarding the garden against snakes, the ancestral enemies of all mongooses. Here he is locked in a life and death struggle with Nag, the male cobra, from which he is rescued by the big man, with a gun. Later he defeats Nagaina, the female cobra, and thereafter no snake dares to show its face in the garden.



2. . From time to time a greenish wave of the Northern Lights would roll across the hollow of the high heavens, flick like a flag and disappear; or a meteor would crackle from darkness to darkness trailing a shower of sparks behind. Then they could see the ridged and furrowed surface of the floe all tipped and laced with strange colours - red, copper, and bluish; but in the ordinary starlight everything turned to one frost-bitten gray... This is from "Quiquern" in The Second Jungle Book.

It is a terrible savage winter in the Arctic, and the Eskimo people are starving. Kotuko and his companion are sledging to the edge of the ice to find the seals, without which the people will die ...



3. ...he wanted to scratch, but that made it worse; and then he lay down on the sand and rolled and rolled and rolled, and every time he rolled the cake crumbs tickled him worse and worse and worse ... it spoiled his temper, but it didn't make the least difference to the cake-crumbs. They were inside his skin, and they tickled. So he went home, very angry indeed and horribly scratchy ... This is from "How the Rhino got his Skin" in The Just-so Stories.

The Rhino has eaten the Parsee's cake, and in revenge the Parsee has filled the Rhino's skin with cake-crumbs. Ever since, the Rhino has had a very bad temper, all on account of the cake-crumbs.