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Into it he drops a sum of money—a dollar, or perhaps five dollars, according to his power, and his estimate of the value of the privilege.

The guests are expected to pay for this entertainment; if they be proper guests, they will see that there is a neat sum left over for the bride and bridegroom to start life upon.

Most fearful they are to contemplate, the expenses of this entertainment. There are able-bodied men here who work from early morning until late at night, in ice-cold cellars with a quarter of an inch of water on the floor—men who for six or seven months in the year never see the sunlight from Sunday afternoon till the next Sunday morning—and who cannot earn three hundred dollars in a year.

There are little children here, scarce in their teens, who can hardly see the top of the work benches—whose parents have lied to get them their places—and who do not make the half of three hundred dollars a year, and perhaps not even the third of it.

And then to spend such a sum, all in a single day of your life, at a wedding feast! For obviously it is the same thing, whether you spend it at once for your own wedding, or in a long time, at the weddings of all your friends.

It is very imprudent, it is tragic—but, ah, it is so beautiful! Bit by bit these poor people have given up everything else; but to this they cling with all the power of their souls—they cannot give up the veselija!

To do that would mean, not merely to be defeated, but to acknowledge defeat—and the difference between these two things is what keeps the world going.

The veselija has come down to them from a far-off time; and the meaning of it was that one might dwell within the cave and gaze upon shadows, provided only that once in his lifetime he could break his chains, and feel his wings, and behold the sun; provided that once in his lifetime he might testify to the fact that life, with all its cares and its terrors, is no such great thing after all, but merely a bubble upon the surface of a river, a thing that one may toss about and play with as a juggler tosses his golden balls, a thing that one may quaff, like a goblet of rare red wine.

Thus having known himself for the master of things, a man could go back to his toil and live upon the memory all his days.

Endlessly the dancers swung round and round—when they were dizzy they swung the other way. Hour after hour this had continued—the darkness had fallen and the room was dim from the light of two smoky oil lamps.

The musicians had spent all their fine frenzy by now, and played only one tune, wearily, ploddingly. There were twenty bars or so of it, and when they came to the end they began again.

Once every ten minutes or so they would fail to begin again, but instead would sink back exhausted; a circumstance which invariably brought on a painful and terrifying scene, that made the fat policeman stir uneasily in his sleeping place behind the door.

It was all Marija Berczynskas. Marija was one of those hungry souls who cling with desperation to the skirts of the retreating muse.

All day long she had been in a state of wonderful exaltation; and now it was leaving—and she would not let it go. And she would go back to the chase of it—and no sooner be fairly started than her chariot would be thrown off the track, so to speak, by the stupidity of those thrice accursed musicians.

Each time, Marija would emit a howl and fly at them, shaking her fists in their faces, stamping upon the floor, purple and incoherent with rage.

In vain the frightened Tamoszius would attempt to speak, to plead the limitations of the flesh; in vain would the puffing and breathless ponas Jokubas insist, in vain would Teta Elzbieta implore.

What are you paid for, children of hell? She bore all the burden of the festivities now. Ona was kept up by her excitement, but all of the women and most of the men were tired—the soul of Marija was alone unconquered.

She drove on the dancers—what had once been the ring had now the shape of a pear, with Marija at the stem, pulling one way and pushing the other, shouting, stamping, singing, a very volcano of energy.

Now and then some one coming in or out would leave the door open, and the night air was chill; Marija as she passed would stretch out her foot and kick the doorknob, and slam would go the door!

Once this procedure was the cause of a calamity of which Sebastijonas Szedvilas was the hapless victim. Passing through the doorway the door smote him full, and the shriek which followed brought the dancing to a halt.

Marija, who threatened horrid murder a hundred times a day, and would weep over the injury of a fly, seized little Sebastijonas in her arms and bid fair to smother him with kisses.

There was a long rest for the orchestra, and plenty of refreshments, while Marija was making her peace with her victim, seating him upon the bar, and standing beside him and holding to his lips a foaming schooner of beer.

In the meantime there was going on in another corner of the room an anxious conference between Teta Elzbieta and Dede Antanas, and a few of the more intimate friends of the family.

A trouble was come upon them. The veselija is a compact, a compact not expressed, but therefore only the more binding upon all.

Now, however, since they had come to the new country, all this was changing; it seemed as if there must be some subtle poison in the air that one breathed here—it was affecting all the young men at once.

They would come in crowds and fill themselves with a fine dinner, and then sneak off. Or now and then half a dozen of them would get together and march out openly, staring at you, and making fun of you to your face.

Still others, worse yet, would crowd about the bar, and at the expense of the host drink themselves sodden, paying not the least attention to any one, and leaving it to be thought that either they had danced with the bride already, or meant to later on.

All these things were going on now, and the family was helpless with dismay. So long they had toiled, and such an outlay they had made! Ona stood by, her eyes wide with terror.

Those frightful bills—how they had haunted her, each item gnawing at her soul all day and spoiling her rest at night.

How often she had named them over one by one and figured on them as she went to work—fifteen dollars for the hall, twenty-two dollars and a quarter for the ducks, twelve dollars for the musicians, five dollars at the church, and a blessing of the Virgin besides—and so on without an end!

Worst of all was the frightful bill that was still to come from Graiczunas for the beer and liquor that might be consumed.

One could never get in advance more than a guess as to this from a saloon-keeper—and then, when the time came he always came to you scratching his head and saying that he had guessed too low, but that he had done his best—your guests had gotten so very drunk.

By him you were sure to be cheated unmercifully, and that even though you thought yourself the dearest of the hundreds of friends he had.

He would begin to serve your guests out of a keg that was half full, and finish with one that was half empty, and then you would be charged for two kegs of beer.

He would agree to serve a certain quality at a certain price, and when the time came you and your friends would be drinking some horrible poison that could not be described.

You might complain, but you would get nothing for your pains but a ruined evening; while, as for going to law about it, you might as well go to heaven at once.

The saloon-keeper stood in with all the big politics men in the district; and when you had once found out what it meant to get into trouble with such people, you would know enough to pay what you were told to pay and shut up.

What made all this the more painful was that it was so hard on the few that had really done their best. And then there was withered old poni Aniele—who was a widow, and had three children, and the rheumatism besides, and did washing for the tradespeople on Halsted Street at prices it would break your heart to hear named.

Aniele had given the entire profit of her chickens for several months. Eight of them she owned, and she kept them in a little place fenced around on her backstairs.

All day long the children of Aniele were raking in the dump for food for these chickens; and sometimes, when the competition there was too fierce, you might see them on Halsted Street walking close to the gutters, and with their mother following to see that no one robbed them of their finds.

Money could not tell the value of these chickens to old Mrs. Jukniene—she valued them differently, for she had a feeling that she was getting something for nothing by means of them—that with them she was getting the better of a world that was getting the better of her in so many other ways.

So she watched them every hour of the day, and had learned to see like an owl at night to watch them then. One of them had been stolen long ago, and not a month passed that some one did not try to steal another.

As the frustrating of this one attempt involved a score of false alarms, it will be understood what a tribute old Mrs.

Jukniene brought, just because Teta Elzbieta had once loaned her some money for a few days and saved her from being turned out of her house.

More and more friends gathered round while the lamentation about these things was going on. Some drew nearer, hoping to overhear the conversation, who were themselves among the guilty—and surely that was a thing to try the patience of a saint.

Finally there came Jurgis, urged by some one, and the story was retold to him. Jurgis listened in silence, with his great black eyebrows knitted.

Now and then there would come a gleam underneath them and he would glance about the room. Perhaps he would have liked to go at some of those fellows with his big clenched fists; but then, doubtless, he realized how little good it would do him.

No bill would be any less for turning out any one at this time; and then there would be the scandal—and Jurgis wanted nothing except to get away with Ona and to let the world go its own way.

We will pay them all somehow. I will work harder. He had said it again in New York, when the smooth-spoken agent had taken them in hand and made them pay such high prices, and almost prevented their leaving his place, in spite of their paying.

Now he said it a third time, and Ona drew a deep breath; it was so wonderful to have a husband, just like a grown woman—and a husband who could solve all problems, and who was so big and strong!

The last sob of little Sebastijonas has been stifled, and the orchestra has once more been reminded of its duty.

The ceremony begins again—but there are few now left to dance with, and so very soon the collection is over and promiscuous dances once more begin.

It is now after midnight, however, and things are not as they were before. The dancers are dull and heavy—most of them have been drinking hard, and have long ago passed the stage of exhilaration.

They dance in monotonous measure, round after round, hour after hour, with eyes fixed upon vacancy, as if they were only half conscious, in a constantly growing stupor.

Some couples do not care to dance, and have retired to the corners, where they sit with their arms enlaced.

Others, who have been drinking still more, wander about the room, bumping into everything; some are in groups of two or three, singing, each group its own song.

As time goes on there is a variety of drunkenness, among the younger men especially. Now the fat policeman wakens definitely, and feels of his club to see that it is ready for business.

The thing to do is to crack every fighting head that you see, before there are so many fighting heads that you cannot crack any of them. There is but scant account kept of cracked heads in back of the yards, for men who have to crack the heads of animals all day seem to get into the habit, and to practice on their friends, and even on their families, between times.

This makes it a cause for congratulation that by modern methods a very few men can do the painfully necessary work of head-cracking for the whole of the cultured world.

There is no fight that night—perhaps because Jurgis, too, is watchful—even more so than the policeman. Jurgis has drunk a great deal, as any one naturally would on an occasion when it all has to be paid for, whether it is drunk or not; but he is a very steady man, and does not easily lose his temper.

Only once there is a tight shave—and that is the fault of Marija Berczynskas. Marija has apparently concluded about two hours ago that if the altar in the corner, with the deity in soiled white, be not the true home of the muses, it is, at any rate, the nearest substitute on earth attainable.

And Marija is just fighting drunk when there come to her ears the facts about the villains who have not paid that night. Marija goes on the warpath straight off, without even the preliminary of a good cursing, and when she is pulled off it is with the coat collars of two villains in her hands.

Fortunately, the policeman is disposed to be reasonable, and so it is not Marija who is flung out of the place. All this interrupts the music for not more than a minute or two.

Then again the merciless tune begins—the tune that has been played for the last half-hour without one single change.

In the good old summertime—in the good old summertime! It has put a stupor upon every one who hears it, as well as upon the men who are playing it.

There is no exception to this rule, not even little Ona—who has asked for a holiday the day after her wedding day, a holiday without pay, and been refused.

While there are so many who are anxious to work as you wish, there is no occasion for incommoding yourself with those who must work otherwise.

Little Ona is nearly ready to faint—and half in a stupor herself, because of the heavy scent in the room.

She has not taken a drop, but every one else there is literally burning alcohol, as the lamps are burning oil; some of the men who are sound asleep in their chairs or on the floor are reeking of it so that you cannot go near them.

Now and then Jurgis gazes at her hungrily—he has long since forgotten his shyness; but then the crowd is there, and he still waits and watches the door, where a carriage is supposed to come.

It does not, and finally he will wait no longer, but comes up to Ona, who turns white and trembles. He puts her shawl about her and then his own coat.

They live only two blocks away, and Jurgis does not care about the carriage. There is almost no farewell—the dancers do not notice them, and all of the children and many of the old folks have fallen asleep of sheer exhaustion.

Dede Antanas is asleep, and so are the Szedvilases, husband and wife, the former snoring in octaves. There is Teta Elzbieta, and Marija, sobbing loudly; and then there is only the silent night, with the stars beginning to pale a little in the east.

Jurgis, without a word, lifts Ona in his arms, and strides out with her, and she sinks her head upon his shoulder with a moan.

When he reaches home he is not sure whether she has fainted or is asleep, but when he has to hold her with one hand while he unlocks the door, he sees that she has opened her eyes.

I dare not! It will ruin us! I will earn more money—I will work harder. Jurgis talked lightly about work, because he was young.

They told him stories about the breaking down of men, there in the stockyards of Chicago, and of what had happened to them afterward—stories to make your flesh creep, but Jurgis would only laugh.

He had only been there four months, and he was young, and a giant besides. There was too much health in him. He could not even imagine how it would feel to be beaten.

Jurgis was like a boy, a boy from the country. He was the sort of man the bosses like to get hold of, the sort they make it a grievance they cannot get hold of.

When he was told to go to a certain place, he would go there on the run. When he had nothing to do for the moment, he would stand round fidgeting, dancing, with the overflow of energy that was in him.

If he were working in a line of men, the line always moved too slowly for him, and you could pick him out by his impatience and restlessness.

Of this he was very proud, and it made him more disposed than ever to laugh at the pessimists. In vain would they all tell him that there were men in that crowd from which he had been chosen who had stood there a month—yes, many months—and not been chosen yet.

Broken-down tramps and good-for-nothings, fellows who have spent all their money drinking, and want to get more for it.

This is a great tract of a hundred thousand acres, which from time immemorial has been a hunting preserve of the nobility. There are a very few peasants settled in it, holding title from ancient times; and one of these was Antanas Rudkus, who had been reared himself, and had reared his children in turn, upon half a dozen acres of cleared land in the midst of a wilderness.

There had been one son besides Jurgis, and one sister. The former had been drafted into the army; that had been over ten years ago, but since that day nothing had ever been heard of him.

The sister was married, and her husband had bought the place when old Antanas had decided to go with his son. It was nearly a year and a half ago that Jurgis had met Ona, at a horse fair a hundred miles from home.

So Jurgis went home with a heavy heart, and that spring and summer toiled and tried hard to forget. There was also her brother Jonas, a dried-up little man who had worked upon the farm.

They were people of great consequence, as it seemed to Jurgis, fresh out of the woods; Ona knew how to read, and knew many other things that he did not know, and now the farm had been sold, and the whole family was adrift—all they owned in the world being about seven hundred rubles which is half as many dollars.

They would have had three times that, but it had gone to court, and the judge had decided against them, and it had cost the balance to get him to change his decision.

Ona might have married and left them, but she would not, for she loved Teta Elzbieta. It was Jonas who suggested that they all go to America, where a friend of his had gotten rich.

He would work, for his part, and the women would work, and some of the children, doubtless—they would live somehow. Jurgis, too, had heard of America.

That was a country where, they said, a man might earn three rubles a day; and Jurgis figured what three rubles a day would mean, with prices as they were where he lived, and decided forthwith that he would go to America and marry, and be a rich man in the bargain.

In that country, rich or poor, a man was free, it was said; he did not have to go into the army, he did not have to pay out his money to rascally officials—he might do as he pleased, and count himself as good as any other man.

So America was a place of which lovers and young people dreamed. If one could only manage to get the price of a passage, he could count his troubles at an end.

It was arranged that they should leave the following spring, and meantime Jurgis sold himself to a contractor for a certain time, and tramped nearly four hundred miles from home with a gang of men to work upon a railroad in Smolensk.

This was a fearful experience, with filth and bad food and cruelty and overwork; but Jurgis stood it and came out in fine trim, and with eighty rubles sewed up in his coat.

He did not drink or fight, because he was thinking all the time of Ona; and for the rest, he was a quiet, steady man, who did what he was told to, did not lose his temper often, and when he did lose it made the offender anxious that he should not lose it again.

When they paid him off he dodged the company gamblers and dramshops, and so they tried to kill him; but he escaped, and tramped it home, working at odd jobs, and sleeping always with one eye open.

So in the summer time they had all set out for America. Marija was an orphan, and had worked since childhood for a rich farmer of Vilna, who beat her regularly.

It was only at the age of twenty that it had occurred to Marija to try her strength, when she had risen up and nearly murdered the man, and then come away.

There were twelve in all in the party, five adults and six children—and Ona, who was a little of both. They had a hard time on the passage; there was an agent who helped them, but he proved a scoundrel, and got them into a trap with some officials, and cost them a good deal of their precious money, which they clung to with such horrible fear.

This happened to them again in New York—for, of course, they knew nothing about the country, and had no one to tell them, and it was easy for a man in a blue uniform to lead them away, and to take them to a hotel and keep them there, and make them pay enormous charges to get away.

The law says that the rate card shall be on the door of a hotel, but it does not say that it shall be in Lithuanian. They knew that one word, Chicago and that was all they needed to know, at least, until they reached the city.

They were pitiable in their helplessness; above all things they stood in deadly terror of any sort of person in official uniform, and so whenever they saw a policeman they would cross the street and hurry by.

For the whole of the first day they wandered about in the midst of deafening confusion, utterly lost; and it was only at night that, cowering in the doorway of a house, they were finally discovered and taken by a policeman to the station.

They sat and stared out of the window. They were on a street which seemed to run on forever, mile after mile—thirty-four of them, if they had known it—and each side of it one uninterrupted row of wretched little two-story frame buildings.

Down every side street they could see, it was the same—never a hill and never a hollow, but always the same endless vista of ugly and dirty little wooden buildings.

Here and there would be a bridge crossing a filthy creek, with hard-baked mud shores and dingy sheds and docks along it; here and there would be a railroad crossing, with a tangle of switches, and locomotives puffing, and rattling freight cars filing by; here and there would be a great factory, a dingy building with innumerable windows in it, and immense volumes of smoke pouring from the chimneys, darkening the air above and making filthy the earth beneath.

But after each of these interruptions, the desolate procession would begin again—the procession of dreary little buildings.

A full hour before the party reached the city they had begun to note the perplexing changes in the atmosphere.

It grew darker all the time, and upon the earth the grass seemed to grow less green. Every minute, as the train sped on, the colors of things became dingier; the fields were grown parched and yellow, the landscape hideous and bare.

And along with the thickening smoke they began to notice another circumstance, a strange, pungent odor. They were not sure that it was unpleasant, this odor; some might have called it sickening, but their taste in odors was not developed, and they were only sure that it was curious.

Now, sitting in the trolley car, they realized that they were on their way to the home of it—that they had traveled all the way from Lithuania to it.

It was now no longer something far off and faint, that you caught in whiffs; you could literally taste it, as well as smell it—you could take hold of it, almost, and examine it at your leisure.

They were divided in their opinions about it. It was an elemental odor, raw and crude; it was rich, almost rancid, sensual, and strong.

There were some who drank it in as if it were an intoxicant; there were others who put their handkerchiefs to their faces. They were left standing upon the corner, staring; down a side street there were two rows of brick houses, and between them a vista: half a dozen chimneys, tall as the tallest of buildings, touching the very sky—and leaping from them half a dozen columns of smoke, thick, oily, and black as night.

It might have come from the center of the world, this smoke, where the fires of the ages still smolder. It came as if self-impelled, driving all before it, a perpetual explosion.

It was inexhaustible; one stared, waiting to see it stop, but still the great streams rolled out. They spread in vast clouds overhead, writhing, curling; then, uniting in one giant river, they streamed away down the sky, stretching a black pall as far as the eye could reach.

Then the party became aware of another strange thing. This, too, like the color, was a thing elemental; it was a sound, a sound made up of ten thousand little sounds.

Give it to me. But Father Wolf knew that the mouth of the cave was too narrow for a tiger to come in by. What talk is this of choosing?

It is I, Shere Khan, who speak! Mother Wolf shook herself clear of the cubs and sprang forward, her eyes, like two green moons in the darkness, facing the blazing eyes of Shere Khan.

He shall not be killed. He shall live to run with the Pack and to hunt with the Pack; and in the end, look you, hunter of little naked cubs—frog-eater—fish-killer—he shall hunt thee!

Now get hence, or by the Sambhur that I killed I eat no starved cattle , back thou goest to thy mother, burned beast of the jungle, lamer than ever thou camest into the world!

Father Wolf looked on amazed. Shere Khan might have faced Father Wolf, but he could not stand up against Mother Wolf, for he knew that where he was she had all the advantage of the ground, and would fight to the death.

So he backed out of the cave mouth growling, and when he was clear he shouted:. We will see what the Pack will say to this fostering of man-cubs.

The cub is mine, and to my teeth he will come in the end, O bush-tailed thieves! Mother Wolf threw herself down panting among the cubs, and Father Wolf said to her gravely:.

The cub must be shown to the Pack. Wilt thou still keep him, Mother? Look, he has pushed one of my babes to one side already. And that lame butcher would have killed him and would have run off to the Waingunga while the villagers here hunted through all our lairs in revenge!

Keep him? Assuredly I will keep him. Lie still, little frog. O thou Mowgli—for Mowgli the Frog I will call thee—the time will come when thou wilt hunt Shere Khan as he has hunted thee.

The Law of the Jungle lays down very clearly that any wolf may, when he marries, withdraw from the Pack he belongs to.

But as soon as his cubs are old enough to stand on their feet he must bring them to the Pack Council, which is generally held once a month at full moon, in order that the other wolves may identify them.

After that inspection the cubs are free to run where they please, and until they have killed their first buck no excuse is accepted if a grown wolf of the Pack kills one of them.

The punishment is death where the murderer can be found; and if you think for a minute you will see that this must be so. Father Wolf waited till his cubs could run a little, and then on the night of the Pack Meeting took them and Mowgli and Mother Wolf to the Council Rock—a hilltop covered with stones and boulders where a hundred wolves could hide.

Akela, the great gray Lone Wolf, who led all the Pack by strength and cunning, lay out at full length on his rock, and below him sat forty or more wolves of every size and color, from badger-colored veterans who could handle a buck alone to young black three-year-olds who thought they could.

The Lone Wolf had led them for a year now. He had fallen twice into a wolf trap in his youth, and once he had been beaten and left for dead; so he knew the manners and customs of men.

There was very little talking at the Rock. The cubs tumbled over each other in the center of the circle where their mothers and fathers sat, and now and again a senior wolf would go quietly up to a cub, look at him carefully, and return to his place on noiseless feet.

Sometimes a mother would push her cub far out into the moonlight to be sure that he had not been overlooked. Look well, O Wolves!

Give him to me. What have the Free People to do with the orders of any save the Free People? Look well!

Then the only other creature who is allowed at the Pack Council—Baloo, the sleepy brown bear who teaches the wolf cubs the Law of the Jungle: old Baloo, who can come and go where he pleases because he eats only nuts and roots and honey—rose upon his hind quarters and grunted.

I have no gift of words, but I speak the truth. Let him run with the Pack, and be entered with the others. I myself will teach him.

Who speaks besides Baloo? A black shadow dropped down into the circle. It was Bagheera the Black Panther, inky black all over, but with the panther markings showing up in certain lights like the pattern of watered silk.

Everybody knew Bagheera, and nobody cared to cross his path; for he was as cunning as Tabaqui, as bold as the wild buffalo, and as reckless as the wounded elephant.

But he had a voice as soft as wild honey dripping from a tree, and a skin softer than down. And the Law does not say who may or may not pay that price.

Am I right? The cub can be bought for a price. It is the Law. Besides, he may make better sport for you when he is grown. Baloo has spoken in his behalf.

Is it difficult? He will die in the winter rains. He will scorch in the sun. What harm can a naked frog do us? Let him run with the Pack.

Where is the bull, Bagheera? Let him be accepted. Mowgli was still deeply interested in the pebbles, and he did not notice when the wolves came and looked at him one by one.

Shere Khan roared still in the night, for he was very angry that Mowgli had not been handed over to him. He may be a help in time.

Akela said nothing. He was thinking of the time that comes to every leader of every pack when his strength goes from him and he gets feebler and feebler, till at last he is killed by the wolves and a new leader comes up—to be killed in his turn.

Now you must be content to skip ten or eleven whole years, and only guess at all the wonderful life that Mowgli led among the wolves, because if it were written out it would fill ever so many books.

He grew up with the cubs, though they, of course, were grown wolves almost before he was a child. When he was not learning he sat out in the sun and slept, and ate and went to sleep again.

When he felt dirty or hot he swam in the forest pools; and when he wanted honey Baloo told him that honey and nuts were just as pleasant to eat as raw meat he climbed up for it, and that Bagheera showed him how to do.

He took his place at the Council Rock, too, when the Pack met, and there he discovered that if he stared hard at any wolf, the wolf would be forced to drop his eyes, and so he used to stare for fun.

At other times he would pick the long thorns out of the pads of his friends, for wolves suffer terribly from thorns and burs in their coats.

He would go down the hillside into the cultivated lands by night, and look very curiously at the villagers in their huts, but he had a mistrust of men because Bagheera showed him a square box with a drop gate so cunningly hidden in the jungle that he nearly walked into it, and told him that it was a trap.

He loved better than anything else to go with Bagheera into the dark warm heart of the forest, to sleep all through the drowsy day, and at night see how Bagheera did his killing.

Bagheera killed right and left as he felt hungry, and so did Mowgli—with one exception. That is the Law of the Jungle.

And he grew and grew strong as a boy must grow who does not know that he is learning any lessons, and who has nothing in the world to think of except things to eat.

Mother Wolf told him once or twice that Shere Khan was not a creature to be trusted, and that some day he must kill Shere Khan. But though a young wolf would have remembered that advice every hour, Mowgli forgot it because he was only a boy—though he would have called himself a wolf if he had been able to speak in any human tongue.

Shere Khan was always crossing his path in the jungle, for as Akela grew older and feebler the lame tiger had come to be great friends with the younger wolves of the Pack, who followed him for scraps, a thing Akela would never have allowed if he had dared to push his authority to the proper bounds.

Bagheera, who had eyes and ears everywhere, knew something of this, and once or twice he told Mowgli in so many words that Shere Khan would kill him some day.

Why should I be afraid? It was one very warm day that a new notion came to Bagheera—born of something that he had heard.

I am sleepy, Bagheera, and Shere Khan is all long tail and loud talk—like Mao, the Peacock. Baloo knows it; I know it; the Pack know it; and even the foolish, foolish deer know.

Tabaqui has told thee too. But I caught Tabaqui by the tail and swung him twice against a palm-tree to teach him better manners.

Open those eyes, Little Brother. Shere Khan dare not kill thee in the jungle. But remember, Akela is very old, and soon the day comes when he cannot kill his buck, and then he will be leader no more.

Many of the wolves that looked thee over when thou wast brought to the Council first are old too, and the young wolves believe, as Shere Khan has taught them, that a man-cub has no place with the Pack.

In a little time thou wilt be a man. I have obeyed the Law of the Jungle, and there is no wolf of ours from whose paws I have not pulled a thorn. Surely they are my brothers!

Bagheera stretched himself at full length and half shut his eyes. It was because of this that I paid the price for thee at the Council when thou wast a little naked cub.

Yes, I too was born among men. I had never seen the jungle. And because I had learned the ways of men, I became more terrible in the jungle than Shere Khan.

Is it not so? And Mowgli looked at him steadily between the eyes. The big panther turned his head away in half a minute.

The others they hate thee because their eyes cannot meet thine; because thou art wise; because thou hast pulled out thorns from their feet—because thou art a man.

Strike first and then give tongue. By thy very carelessness they know that thou art a man. But be wise. It is in my heart that when Akela misses his next kill—and at each hunt it costs him more to pin the buck—the Pack will turn against him and against thee.

They will hold a jungle Council at the Rock, and then—and then—I have it! Get the Red Flower. By Red Flower Bagheera meant fire, only no creature in the jungle will call fire by its proper name.

Every beast lives in deadly fear of it, and invents a hundred ways of describing it. I will get some. Get one swiftly, and keep it by thee for time of need.

Mowgli was far and far through the forest, running hard, and his heart was hot in him. He came to the cave as the evening mist rose, and drew breath, and looked down the valley.

The cubs were out, but Mother Wolf, at the back of the cave, knew by his breathing that something was troubling her frog. There he checked, for he heard the yell of the Pack hunting, heard the bellow of a hunted Sambhur, and the snort as the buck turned at bay.

Let the Lone Wolf show his strength. Room for the leader of the Pack! Spring, Akela! The Lone Wolf must have sprung and missed his hold, for Mowgli heard the snap of his teeth and then a yelp as the Sambhur knocked him over with his forefoot.

He did not wait for anything more, but dashed on; and the yells grew fainter behind him as he ran into the croplands where the villagers lived.

Then he pressed his face close to the window and watched the fire on the hearth. Halfway up the hill he met Bagheera with the morning dew shining like moonstones on his coat.

They were looking for thee on the hill. I am ready. Now, I have seen men thrust a dry branch into that stuff, and presently the Red Flower blossomed at the end of it.

Art thou not afraid? Why should I fear? I remember now—if it is not a dream—how, before I was a Wolf, I lay beside the Red Flower, and it was warm and pleasant.

All that day Mowgli sat in the cave tending his fire pot and dipping dry branches into it to see how they looked.

He found a branch that satisfied him, and in the evening when Tabaqui came to the cave and told him rudely enough that he was wanted at the Council Rock, he laughed till Tabaqui ran away.

Then Mowgli went to the Council, still laughing. Akela the Lone Wolf lay by the side of his rock as a sign that the leadership of the Pack was open, and Shere Khan with his following of scrap-fed wolves walked to and fro openly being flattered.

When they were all gathered together, Shere Khan began to speak—a thing he would never have dared to do when Akela was in his prime. He will be frightened.

Mowgli sprang to his feet. What has a tiger to do with our leadership? The leadership of the Pack is with the Pack alone. Now I have missed my kill.

Ye know how that plot was made. Ye know how ye brought me up to an untried buck to make my weakness known. It was cleverly done.

Your right is to kill me here on the Council Rock, now. Therefore, I ask, who comes to make an end of the Lone Wolf? For it is my right, by the Law of the Jungle, that ye come one by one.

There was a long hush, for no single wolf cared to fight Akela to the death. What have we to do with this toothless fool? He is doomed to die!

It is the man-cub who has lived too long. Free People, he was my meat from the first. I am weary of this man-wolf folly.

He has troubled the jungle for ten seasons. Give me the man-cub, or I will hunt here always, and not give you one bone. A man! What has a man to do with us?

Let him go to his own place. He is a man, and none of us can look him between the eyes. He has slept with us. He has driven game for us.

He has broken no word of the Law of the Jungle. In truth, I have lived too long. Therefore I know ye to be cowards, and it is to cowards I speak.

But for the sake of the Honor of the Pack,—a little matter that by being without a leader ye have forgotten,—I promise that if ye let the man-cub go to his own place, I will not, when my time comes to die, bare one tooth against ye.

I will die without fighting. That will at least save the Pack three lives. More I cannot do; but if ye will, I can save ye the shame that comes of killing a brother against whom there is no fault—a brother spoken for and bought into the Pack according to the Law of the Jungle.

And most of the wolves began to gather round Shere Khan, whose tail was beginning to switch. Mowgli stood upright—the fire pot in his hands. Then he stretched out his arms, and yawned in the face of the Council; but he was furious with rage and sorrow, for, wolflike, the wolves had never told him how they hated him.

So I do not call ye my brothers any more, but sag [dogs], as a man should. What ye will do, and what ye will not do, is not yours to say.

That matter is with me; and that we may see the matter more plainly, I, the man, have brought here a little of the Red Flower which ye, dogs, fear.

He flung the fire pot on the ground, and some of the red coals lit a tuft of dried moss that flared up, as all the Council drew back in terror before the leaping flames.

Mowgli thrust his dead branch into the fire till the twigs lit and crackled, and whirled it above his head among the cowering wolves.

He was ever thy friend. Akela, the grim old wolf who had never asked for mercy in his life, gave one piteous look at Mowgli as the boy stood all naked, his long black hair tossing over his shoulders in the light of the blazing branch that made the shadows jump and quiver.

I go from you to my own people—if they be my own people. The jungle is shut to me, and I must forget your talk and your companionship.

But I will be more merciful than ye are. Because I was all but your brother in blood, I promise that when I am a man among men I will not betray ye to men as ye have betrayed me.

But here is a debt to pay before I go. Bagheera followed in case of accidents. Thus and thus, then, do we beat dogs when we are men.

Stir a whisker, Lungri, and I ram the Red Flower down thy gullet! Singed jungle cat—go now! For the rest, Akela goes free to live as he pleases.

Ye will not kill him, because that is not my will. Nor do I think that ye will sit here any longer, lolling out your tongues as though ye were somebodies, instead of dogs whom I drive out—thus!

Then something began to hurt Mowgli inside him, as he had never been hurt in his life before, and he caught his breath and sobbed, and the tears ran down his face.

What is it? Am I dying, Bagheera? The jungle is shut indeed to thee henceforward. Let them fall, Mowgli. They are only tears.

But first I must say farewell to my mother. For, listen, child of man, I loved thee more than ever I loved my cubs. Do not forget me! Tell them in the jungle never to forget me!

The dawn was beginning to break when Mowgli went down the hillside alone, to meet those mysterious things that are called men.

All that is told here happened some time before Mowgli was turned out of the Seeonee Wolf Pack, or revenged himself on Shere Khan the tiger.

It was in the days when Baloo was teaching him the Law of the Jungle. The boy could climb almost as well as he could swim, and swim almost as well as he could run.

So Baloo, the Teacher of the Law, taught him the Wood and Water Laws: how to tell a rotten branch from a sound one; how to speak politely to the wild bees when he came upon a hive of them fifty feet above ground; what to say to Mang the Bat when he disturbed him in the branches at midday; and how to warn the water-snakes in the pools before he splashed down among them.

None of the Jungle People like being disturbed, and all are very ready to fly at an intruder. All this will show you how much Mowgli had to learn by heart, and he grew very tired of saying the same thing over a hundred times.

That is why I teach him these things, and that is why I hit him, very softly, when he forgets. What dost thou know of softness, old Iron-feet?

He can now claim protection, if he will only remember the words, from all in the jungle. Is not that worth a little beating?

He is no tree trunk to sharpen thy blunt claws upon. But what are those Master Words? Come, Little Brother!

I know them all. See, O Bagheera, they never thank their teacher. Not one small wolfling has ever come back to thank old Baloo for his teachings.

Say the word for the Hunting-People, then—great scholar. What is all this dancing up and down? That is great shame. No one else cared. The cool of the summer sun!

And then, man-cub? They have always lied. Why have I never been taken among the Monkey People? They stand on their feet as I do. They do not hit me with their hard paws.

They play all day. Let me get up! Bad Baloo, let me up! I will play with them again. They have no law. They are outcasts.

They have no speech of their own, but use the stolen words which they overhear when they listen, and peep, and wait up above in the branches.

Their way is not our way. They are without leaders. They have no remembrance. They boast and chatter and pretend that they are a great people about to do great affairs in the jungle, but the falling of a nut turns their minds to laughter and all is forgotten.

We of the jungle have no dealings with them. We do not drink where the monkeys drink; we do not go where the monkeys go; we do not hunt where they hunt; we do not die where they die.

Hast thou ever heard me speak of the Bandar-log till today? They are very many, evil, dirty, shameless, and they desire, if they have any fixed desire, to be noticed by the Jungle People.

But we do not notice them even when they throw nuts and filth on our heads. He had hardly spoken when a shower of nuts and twigs spattered down through the branches; and they could hear coughings and howlings and angry jumpings high up in the air among the thin branches.

How was I to guess he would play with such dirt. The Monkey People! A fresh shower came down on their heads and the two trotted away, taking Mowgli with them.

What Baloo had said about the monkeys was perfectly true. But whenever they found a sick wolf, or a wounded tiger, or bear, the monkeys would torment him, and would throw sticks and nuts at any beast for fun and in the hope of being noticed.

Then they would howl and shriek senseless songs, and invite the Jungle-People to climb up their trees and fight them, or would start furious battles over nothing among themselves, and leave the dead monkeys where the Jungle-People could see them.

None of the beasts could reach them, but on the other hand none of the beasts would notice them, and that was why they were so pleased when Mowgli came to play with them, and they heard how angry Baloo was.

They never meant to do any more—the Bandar-log never mean anything at all; but one of them invented what seemed to him a brilliant idea, and he told all the others that Mowgli would be a useful person to keep in the tribe, because he could weave sticks together for protection from the wind; so, if they caught him, they could make him teach them.

The Monkey-People, watching in the trees, considered his play most wonderful. There was a light of wonder in her eyes and her lids trembled, and her otherwise wan little face was flushed.

She wore a muslin dress, conspicuously white, and a stiff little veil coming to her shoulders. There were five pink paper roses twisted in the veil, and eleven bright green rose leaves.

There were new white cotton gloves upon her hands, and as she stood staring about her she twisted them together feverishly.

It was almost too much for her--you could see the pain of too great emotion in her face, and all the tremor of her form. Home More Books About Us Copyright No Reviews Available for this book.

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The Jungle Book. Overall rating: 3 2 votes. Book Rating:. Overall rating: 4 2 votes. The Jungle Book is a popular book by Rudyard Kipling.

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Hunting-Song of the Seeonee Pack. Road-Song of the Bandar-Log. Toomai of the Elephants. Shiv and the Grasshopper.

Heart wrenching tale of a common labour man. Forgetting that the people who started these ideas, only wished to Yatzi the enlightened. Otmar Penker, Joanne Reay, Gerald Salmina.
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