Mowgli's Song


The Song of Mowgli—I, Mowgli, am singing.  
   Let the jungle listen to the things 
   I have done.

Shere Khan said he would kill—would kill!  
   At the gates in the twilight he would 
   kill Mowgli, the Frog!

He ate and he drank.  Drink deep, Shere 
   Khan, for when wilt thou drink again?
   Sleep and dream of the kill.

I am alone on the grazing-grounds.  Gray 
    Brother, come to me! Come to me, Lone 
    Wolf, for there is big game afoot!

Bring up the great bull buffaloes, the 
   blue-skinned herd bulls with the angry 
   eyes.  Drive them to and fro as I order.

Sleepest thou still, Shere Khan?  Wake, 
   oh, wake!  Here come I, and the bulls 
   are behind.

Rama, the King of the Buffaloes, stamped 
   with his foot.  Waters of the Waingunga, 
   whither went Shere Khan?

He is not Ikki to dig holes, nor Mao, the
   Peacock, that he should fly.  He is not 
   Mang the Bat, to hang in the branches.
   Little bamboos that creak together, tell
   me where he ran?

Ow!  He is there.  Ahoo!  He is there.  
   Under the feet of Rama lies the Lame One!
   Up, Shere Khan!

Up and kill!  Here is meat; break the necks
   of the bulls!

Hsh!  He is asleep.  We will not wake him, 
   for his strength is very great.  The kites
   have come down to see it.  The black ants 
   have come up to know it.  There is a great
   assembly in his honor.

Alala!  I have no cloth to wrap me.  The 
   kites will see that I am naked.  I am 
   ashamed to meet all these people.

Lend me thy coat, Shere Khan.  Lend me thy
   gay striped coat that I may go to the 
   Council Rock.

By the Bull that bought me I made a promise—a 
   little promise. Only thy coat is lacking 
   before I keep my word.

With the knife, with the knife that men use,
   with the knife of the hunter, I will stoop
   down for my gift.

Waters of the Waingunga, Shere Khan gives me 
   his coat for the love that he bears me.  
   Pull, Gray Brother!  Pull, Akela!  Heavy is
   the hide of Shere Khan.

The Man Pack are angry.  They throw stones 
   and talk child's talk. My mouth is 
   bleeding.  Let me run away.

Through the night, through the hot night, run
   swiftly with me, my brothers.  We will leave
   the lights of the village and go to
   the low moon.

Waters of the Waingunga, the Man-Pack have cast
   me out.  I did them no harm, but they were
   afraid of me.  Why?

Wolf Pack, ye have cast me out too.  The jungle
   is shut to me and the village gates are shut.

As Mang flies between the beasts and birds, so
   fly I between the village and the jungle.

I dance on the hide of Shere Khan, but my heart
   is very heavy.  My mouth is cut and wounded
   with the stones from the village, but
   my heart is very light, because I have come
   back to the jungle.

These two things fight together in me as the
   snakes fight in the spring.  The water comes
   out of my eyes; yet I laugh while it falls.

I am two Mowglis, but the hide of Shere Khan 
   is under my feet.

All the jungle knows that I have killed Shere 
   Khan.  Look—look well, O Wolves!

Ahae!  My heart is heavy with the things that
    I do not understand.

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