Now Rann the Kite brings home the night
That Mang the Bat sets free–
The herds are shut in byre and hut
For loosed till dawn are we.
This is the hour of pride and power,
Talon and tusk and claw.
Oh, hear the call!–Good hunting all
That keep the Jungle Law!
“Night-Song in Jungle” by Rudyard Kipling
In the world of literature we associate Rudyard Kipling first and foremost with India, although in reality he only spent about 12 years of his life here. Born December 30th 1865 in Bombay to English parents, he spent his very early childhood there before returning to England at the age of 5. In his mid-teens he returned to India and spent an additional 6 and half years working as an editor in Punjab. Despite living the majority of his life elsewhere (England and the United States), India and his self-identification as an “Anglo-Indian” defines much of Kipling’s work.
The Jungle Book first appeared in serialized versions but was eventually published in 1894 under one cover, with illustrations by Kipling’s father, John Lockwood Kipling. The Jungle Book and the Just So Stories still remain among Kipling’s most beloved works.
Our family has lived outside of the U.S. for many years, mostly in the tropics of Central America, but also in in Europe and now India, and nature and books have been two very consistent features in our lives. Partially due to the subject matter (animals) and partially due to his compelling storytelling style, Kipling always featured high on the “request” list.
One aspect of living in India that never fails to excite is the close proximity to the entire cast of characters!
Bagheera- Black Panther
Akela – Indian Wolf (means “solitary” in Hindi)
Mang- Malabar Bat
Raan – Brahmani Kite
Mor- Indian Peafowl
Shere Khan- Royal Bengal Tiger
Bandar-log- Tribe of Mischievous Macaques