(March 7th to 13th)
…inch by inch, the untempered heat crept into the heart of the Jungle, turning it yellow, brown, and at last black. The green growths in the sides of the ravines burned up to broken wires and curled films of dead stuff; the hidden pools sank down and caked over, keeping the last least footmark on their edges as if it had been cast in iron; the juicy-stemmed creepers fell away from the trees they clung to and died at their feet; the bamboos withered, clanking when the hot winds blew, and the moss peeled off the rocks…
This is from “How Fear Came” in The Second Jungle Book.
It describes the onset of drought in the Jungle after the rains had failed, a time when under the Jungle Law there is a Water Truce, which forbids killing at the drinking places on the river. Shere Khan, the lame tiger, has killed Man, as is the ancient right of the tigers for one night in the year, and is driven from the river for defiling the scarce water.
…Then came the Rains with a roar, and the rukh was blotted out in fetch after fetch of warm mist, and the broad leaves drummed the night through under the big drops; and there was a noise of running water, and of juicy green stuff crackling where the wind struck it, and the lightning wove patterns behind the dense matting of the foliage, till the sun broke loose again …Then the heat and the dry cold subdued everything to tiger-colour again…
This is from “In the Rukh” in Many Inventions.
It describes the work of Gisborne, a young officer in the Department of Woods and Forests, who lives deep in the jungle, caring for the forests and their precious timber. He encounters Mowgli, who is now grown up, and makes him a forest ranger. This was the first of the Mowgli stories to be published, though the last in time sequence.
…(he) 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…(he) 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 porcupine’s quills rattled in the thicket, and in the darkness between the tree-stems he heard a hog-bear digging hard in the moist warm earth, and snuffing as it digged. Then the branches closed over his head again…
This is from “Toomai of the Elephants” in The Jungle Book.
Little Toomai is on the back of his father’s elephant, Kala Nag, in the jungle in the small hours of the night. Kala Nag is on his way to join a great company of wild elephants, meeting deep in the jungle to dance their dance. Little Toomai will see what no man has ever seen before.