It is almost a month since my last published post. Many things have happened and I will update you in later posts. Today, though, I want to tell you a story of a brave soul. This is dedicated to a very special little man.
"Keep him!" she gasped. "He came naked, by night, alone and very hungry; yet he was not afraid! 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."
Mowgli was a beautiful black kitten, but he was a Bengal cat and human breeders do not want black in this breed. They call black bengals 'melanistic' and it is a gene breeders are trying to eradicate. But the odd black kitten pops up again and again naturally in the breed, just like the occasional labrador dog is born with white marks. Mowgli's mum, a beautiful blue bengal, called Lily loved him regardless of his colour and her human mum loved him too, but she couldn't keep him, so rather than drown him at birth, which some wicked breeders do, the human mum offered him to someone who would see past his colour - that is when I entered Mowgli's life story.
Mowgli joined our family when he was nine weeks old. A ball of glossy black fluff, but when the light caught him at the right angle you could see just the hint of spots and stripes in Mowgli's fur, the shadows of his birthright.
He was just what we needed. Our Dog, Misha, had recently passed away and we felt a gaping hole in our family unit. He was mischievous and young. He made us laugh and sometimes cry - he smashed my itouch onto the tiled floor breaking the screen in the split second that I turned away to get his food. He could be impatient and angry, but he was definitely brave and loving. He would kiss you when you spoke to him and sometimes bite your chin but he never really hurt you. He loved to hide in boxes and pounce when you least expected. He was full of life and we all adored him.
'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.'
We had the pleasure of watching Mowgli grow into a wonderful cat. He was handsome, intelligent, witty, athletic and fast. He was a magnificient tree climber and would scale heights mere humans wouldn't dream of attempting. He loved to chase butterflies and birds. He loved his home, his dog sister Rosie and his bed and especially sleeping on daughter first born's bed. He loved everyone he met: Raphael, my daughter's lizard; my Mum and Dad and the rest of my family; my husband's parents; the veterinary nurse; the vet; yes, everyone. He became affectionateley know as 'The Mowgles'.
He wasn't a very big cat. In fact, he was really quite small but what he lacked in stature, he made up for abundantly in personality. Such a vocal cat, he would hold a conversation with you over whether to go outside or not or the fact that he couldn't open your bedroom door at five in the morning. He had a perfect melodic mew. It sounded sometimes like he was saying 'hello', 'good morning', 'where's my tea?' Such a charming young man, always polite and immaculately groomed; that was our Mowgli, the Mowgles.
Mowgli, sixteen months old, bold, beautiful and every inch of his sleek black body was fit and healthy, was a very brave boy.
Yes, Mowgli was brave: braver than the cat two houses down; braver than the three foxes who steal into his garden each night; braver than his dog sister, Rosie, whose bottom he loved to bite; braver than his human dad who doesn't like spiders; braver than his human sisters who don't like spiders or scarey rides; braver than his human mum who doesn't like scarey rides or wasps and much, much braver than the person who drove the car that hit and killed him Saturday evening outside our home and didn't stop, just kept on driving...God Bless you, Mowgli, the Mowgles, now brave in a better place than this and biting dog sister Misha's bottom.
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? What is it?" he said. "I do not wish to leave the jungle, and I do not know what this is. Am I dying, Bagheera?"
"No, Little Brother. That is only tears such as men use," said Bagheera. "Now I know thou art a man, and a man's cub no longer. The jungle is shut indeed to thee henceforward. Let them fall, Mowgli. They are only tears." So Mowgli sat and cried as though his heart would break; and he had never cried in all his life before.
"Now," he said, "I will go to men. But first I must say farewell to my mother." And he went to the cave where she lived with Father Wolf, and he cried on her coat, while the four cubs howled miserably.
"Ye will not forget me?" said Mowgli.
"Never while we can follow a trail," said the cubs. "Come to the foot of the hill when thou art a man, and we will talk to thee; and we will come into the croplands to play with thee by night."
"Come soon!" said Father Wolf. "Oh, wise little frog, come again soon; for we be old, thy mother and I."
"Come soon," said Mother Wolf, "little naked son of mine. For, listen, child of man, I loved thee more than ever I loved my cubs."
|Mowgli, A Bengal, 24/06/10 - 22/10/11|
(Thank you to my daughter for the use of some of her beautiful photos; the extracts, of course, are from Rudyard Kipling's 'The Jungle Book'.)