THE JUNGLE BOOK
It was seven o'clock of a very warm evening in the Seeonee hills when Father Wolf woke up from his day's rest, scratched himself, yawned, and spread out his paws one after the otherto get rid of the sleepy feeling in their tips. Mother Wolf lay with her big gray nose dropped across her four tumbling, squealing cubs, and the moon shone into the mouth of the cave where they alllived.
"Augrh!" said Father Wolf. "It is time to hunt again." He was going to spring down hill when a little shadow with a bushy tail crossed the threshold and whined: "Good luck go with you, O Chiefof the Wolves. And good luck and strong white teeth go with noble children that they may never forget the hungry in this world."
It was the jackal--Tabaqui, the Dish-licker--and the wolves of Indiadespise Tabaqui because he runs about making mischief, and telling tales, and eating rags and pieces of leather from the village rubbish-heaps. But they are afraid of him too, because Tabaqui, more thananyone else in the jungle, is apt to go mad, and then he forgets that he was ever afraid of anyone, and
runs through the forest biting everything in his way. Even the tiger runs and hides whenlittle Tabaqui goes mad, for madness is the most disgraceful thing that can overtake a wild creature. We call it hydrophobia, but they call it dewanee--the madness-- and run.
"Enter, then, and look," saidFather Wolf stiffly, "but there is no food here."
"For a wolf, no," said Tabaqui, "but for so mean a person as myself a dry bone is a good feast. Who are we, the Gidur-log [the jackal people], topick and choose?" He scuttled to the back of the cave, where he found the bone of a buck with some meat on it, and sat cracking the end merrily.
"All thanks for this good meal," he said, licking hislips.
"How beautiful are the noble children! How large are their eyes!
And so young too! Indeed, indeed, I might have remembered that the children of kings are men from the beginning."
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