Rainer Maria Rilke

"Live a while in these books, learn from them what seems to you worth learning, but above all love them. This love will be repaid you a thousand and a thousand times, and however your life may turn,-it will, I am certain of it, run through the fabric of your growth as one of the most important threads among all the threads of your experiences, disappointments, and joys."--Rainer Maia Rilke

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Monday, November 11, 2013

Childhood Classic

The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling


Most people probably think of the cute animated Mowgli from Disney when they think of The Jungle Book, but the story of Mowgli is just one-half of the book. These stories are nothing like the Disney version. This is actually a collection of many stories and songs--14 in all including: "Mowgli's Brothers", "Hunting--Song of the Seeonee Pack", "Kaa's Hunting", "Road Sonf of the Bandar Log", "The White Seal", "Lukannon", "Rikki-Tikki-Tavi", "Darsee's Chaunt", "Toomai of the Elephants", "Shiv and the Grasshopper", "Her Majesty's Servants", and "Parade Song of the Camp Animals".

It's important to note that Kipling wrote these stories for an audience, his six-year old daughter who died quite young.  They were probably meant to be read aloud, and perhaps as a bedtime story.  I imagine they would be better read out loud and much more fun.  The story of Mowgli almost gets lost in a silent read.  For today's young people, it might be considered an adventure story, but adults will see the racism and imperialism present during the time of Britain's rule of India.

My favorite story, by far, was "Rikki-Tikki-Tavi".  This was one of my favorite childhood television animated specials, a no-frills cartoon that came on once per year and captured the playful personality of the mongoose and the suffocating evil of the cobra perfectly.  Rikki is equally delightful in print and it almost makes me want to have a mongoose of my own.

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