quotes_jan18_2009.htm

(January 18th to 24th)



Format: Triple

…. the scramble up bridle-paths that only an elephant could take; the dip into the valley below; the glimpses of the wild elephants browsing miles away; the rush of the frightened pig and peacock under Kala Nag’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 hullabaloo 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.

  

This is from “Toomai of the Elephants” in The Jungle Book.

Kala Nag, a wise old elephant, has been taken up to the Garo hills to help in the yearly drive to catch wild elephants and break them in. His driver, Big Toomai, takes no pleasure in the work, but Little Toomai, his ten year old son, delights in the camp life. When the wild tuskers are being driven into the Keddah (the stockade) Little Toomai sits high on a post shouting and waving, and when a driver drops the end of a rope, he slips down among the feet of the elephants at peril of his life and throws it up to him. One day he will be Toomai of the Elephants.


There were still, hot hollows surrounded by wet rocks where he could hardly breathe for the heavy scents of the night flowers and the bloom along the creeper buds; dark avenues where the moonlight lay in belts as regular as checkered marbles in a church aisle; thickets where the wet young growth stood breast-high about him and threw its arms round his waist; and hilltops crowned with broken rock, where he leaped from stone to stone above the lairs of the frightened little foxes…

   

This is from “The Spring Running”, in The Second Jungle Book.

As Spring comes to the jungle, the new growth begins, and there are new smells and sights everywhere, Mowgli feels a strange sense of unhappiness. He decides to make a running to the marshes of the north, and here he is rushing, with all his young strength, through the night. Despite the exhilaration of the journey, his unhappiness returns, worse than ever, and he knows that he must return to the world of men.


‘That’s from the west,’ he muttered; ‘there’s something on foot there.’ The noise increased—crash on crash, plunge on plunge—with the thick grunting of a hotly pressed nilghai, flying in panic terror and taking no heed to his course.

A shadow blundered out from between the tree-trunks, wheeled back, turned again grunting, and with a clatter on the bare ground dashed up almost within reach of his hand. It was a bull nilghai, dripping with dew—his withers hung with a torn trail of creeper, his eyes shining in the light from the house. The creature checked at sight of the man, and fled along the edge of the rukh till he melted in the darkness.

   

This is from “In the Rukh” in Many Inventions.

Gisborne, a Forest Officer living deep in the jungle, has encountered Mowgli, who leads him to find a tiger that has killed one of his men. Later Mowgli appears when Gisborne is having an after-dinner pipe on his verandah. He tells Mowgli that he is responsible for the care of this part of the jungle. Mowgli speaks of the animals as if he knows them intimately, and when Gisborne is sceptical, has a bull Nilghai driven up towards the house. Mowgli later becomed a forest guard, and Gisborne discovers his secret, that he is accompanied by his brother wolves, who do his bidding.

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