The Night we felt the Earth would move

(notes by Philip Holberton)


Published with “The Miracle of Purun Bhagat”  in The Second Jungle Book. It was not included in the original magazine publication of the story.

The poem echoes the climax of the story. Purun Bhagat has retired as a holy man to a shrine above a village in the Himalayas, where he sits and meditates, so still that the wild animals decide he is harmless. When in the night, langurs first, they sense that there will be a landslide, they come to warn him. They lead him to safety but he dies from the exertion:

The night we felt the earth would move
We stole and plucked him by the hand…

…We saved him, we the Little Folk,
But lo! He does not come again!


©Philip Holberton 2020 All rights reserved