These nine lines are the heading of “Red Dog” in The Second Jungle Book. Collected in Songs from Books as a Chapter Heading, where there is no capital letter in the final ‘Bay!’, as in First American Edition..
These are the wolves of Mowgli’s Seeonee pack thinking back over their happy lives.
Now their way of life is threatened by the dhole, the Red Dog, and they know that it is worth fighting for.
Notes on the Text
white nights Nights of full moon when sleep is impossible: most humans do not like them. But see “The Spring Running” (p. 274, l. 20) where a white night is called ‘perfect’ rather than ‘excellent’
sambhur a large Indian deer, genus Rusa. The best known of the five species within this genus, Rusa unicolor is a very massive animal standing as much as 54 inches (some 140 cm) at the shoulder, with, in the case of some stags, antlers up to 45 or 50 inches (130 cm) in length.
It is met a warcry and cry of defiance. This usage seems to be Kipling’s own. See The Second Jungle Book p. 231 line 22:
‘For the Pack—for the Full Pack—for the lair and the litter; for the in-kill and the out-kill; for the mate that drives the doe and the little, little cub within the cave; it is met! it is met! it is met!”
the Pack answered with one deep crashing bark. “It is met!” they cried.
[F. A. U./P.H.]
©Alan Underwood 2020 All rights reserved