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They saw a shiny, snaky black trunk lifted for an instant, scattering sodden thatch. It disappeared, and there was another crash, followed by a squeal. Hathi had been plucking off the roofs of the huts as you pluck water-lilies, and a rebounding beam had pricked him. He needed only this to unchain his full strength, for of all things in the Jungle the wild elephant enraged is the most wantonly destructive. He kicked backward at a mud wall that crumbled at the stroke, and, crumbling, melted to yellow mud under the torrent of rain.


This is from “Letting in the Jungle“, in The Second Jungle Book.

Mowgli hears that Messua and her husband are accused of being witches by the villagers. He goes there hot foot, and finds them bound and wounded in their hut. Furious at the sight and smell of his foster-mother’s blood, he releases them and sends them through the jungle to a neighbouring town, where they will be safe.

Then, in one of the most implacable passages in Kipling’s writings, Mowgli visits retribution on the villagers, who he sees as idle, senseless, cruel, and cowardly. He claims the help of Hathi the wild elephant and his sons, and they destroy the village and its livelihood without killing its people. The deer and the pig spoil the crops around it, the elephants break the roofs and scatter the stored seed-corn, and the eaters of flesh terrify the villagers until they flee. ‘By the end of the Rains there was the roaring Jungle in full blast on the spot that had been under plough not six months before.’