As expected, a few of the tales
pertain to the most dreaded beast of the jungle óthe tiger.
Others include all kinds of animals from a bear to a deer and
are written in all styles, from tragic to humourous.
In one bizarre
story, a tiger nabs both the grandfather and his grandson in an
identical but weird fashion. Another hair-raising episode
describes a grim situation in which a man finds himself sharing
his bed with a venomous snake. With an almost superhuman
endurance he suffers the cold reptile crawling all over his
body. A story by Rudyard Kipling brings to light the strong
affinity between a dog and his master. Both of them share with
each other the same chemistry as bonds two very intimate friends
Later, in a
heart-rending tale, we come across the raw reaction of a couple
in the face of death. Unmindful of his own safety, a husband
single-handedly grapples with an alligator to rescue his wife
from its vicious jaws. The pathos of his predicament are further
intensified when his wife pleads him to go and let her die for
she canít endure the excruciating pain. In another dramatic
incident a travel writer unwittingly disturbs a hornetís nest
and suddenly finds himself being stung and chased by a cloud of
wild bees. As he runs for his life, howling like a madman, he
terrifies a group of apes he encounters en route!
prose of C.M. Donald, studded with subtle humour, merits special
consideration. His writing strikes one as being so familiar,
that one canít help thinking of him as a long-lost brother of
the editor himself! The writing styles of both seem curiously
to this collection with three stories among which The
Regimental Myna has been published here for the first time.
Peppered with humour, wit and amusing anecdotes, itís a
delightful read. Rudyard Kiplingís narrative has a nostalgic
feel and historical significance. In his journey from Ambala
(then Umbala) to Shimla, he recounts, how in the absence of
automobiles and the railways, it was a horse carriers that
dragged one to over 7000ft above the sea level. Moreover, one
had also to change oneís horses at least 14 times between
these two destinations.
introduction to the book, Ruskin brushes aside those stories in
which animals engage in human dialogue and mentions that he has
excluded such yarns from this collection. I wonder what R.K.
Narayan would have said about that. In one of his extremely
hilarious novels, A Tiger for Malgudi, it is the king of
the jungle who himself recount his eventful life!