Be clean, for the strength of the hunter is known by the gloss of his hide.
If ye find that the bullock can toss you, or the heavy-browed Sambhur can gore;
Ye need not stop work to inform us: we knew it ten seasons before.
Oppress not the cubs of the stranger, but hail them as Sister and Brother,
For though they are little and fubsy, it may be the Bear is their mother.
There is none like to me! says the Cub in the pride of his earliest kill;
But the Jungle is large and the Cub he is small. Let him think and be still.
Maxims of Baloo
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 big, serious, old brown bear was delighted to have so quick a pupil, for the young wolves will only learn as much of the Law of the Jungle as applies to their own pack and tribe, and run away as soon as they can repeat the Hunting Verse: Feet that make no noise; eyes that can see in the dark; ears that can hear the winds in their lairs, and sharp white teeth, all these things are the marks of our brothers except Tabaqui the Jackal and the Hyena whom we hate. But Mowgli, as a man cub, had to learn a great deal more than this. Sometimes Bagheera, the Black Panther, would come lounging through the Jungle to see how his pet was getting on, and would purr with his head against a tree while Mowgli recited the days lesson to Baloo. 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; how to warn the water-snakes in the pools before he splashed down among them. None of the Jungle-People liked being disturbed, and all very ready to fly at an intruder. Then, too, Mowgli was taught the Strangers Hunting Call, which must be repeated aloud till it is answered, whenever one of the Jungle-People hunts outside his own grounds. It means, translated: Give me leave to hunt here because I am hungry, and the answer is, Hunt then for food, but not for pleasure.
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; but, as Baloo said to Bagheera, one day when Mowgli had been cuffed and run off in a temper, A man cub is a man cub, and he must learn all the Law of the Jungle.
But think how small he is, said the Black Panther, who would have spoiled Mowgli if he had had his own way. How can his little head carry all thy long talk?
Is there anything in the Jungle too little to be killed? No. That is why I teach him these things, and that is why I hit him, very softly, when he forgets.
Softly! What dost thou know of softness, old Ironfeet?Bagheera grunted. His face is all bruised today by thysoftness. Ugh!
Better he should be bruised head to foot by me who love him than that he should come to harm through ignorance, Baloo answered very earnestly. I am now teaching him the Master-Words of the Jungle that shall protect him with the birds and the Snake-People, and all that hunt on four feet, except his own pack. He can now claim protection, if he will only remember the words, from all in the Jungle. Is not that worth a little beating?
Well, look to it then that thou dost not kill the man cub. He is no tree-trunk to sharpen thy blunt claws upon. But what are those Master-Words? I am more likely to give help than to ask it Bagheera stretched out one paw and admired the steel-blue, ripping talons at the end of it still I should like to know.
I will call Mowgli and he shall say themif he will. Come, Little Brother!
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