Three Quotations

(July 28th to August 4th)


1. ...they ate wild sheep roasted on the hot stones, and flavoured with wild garlic and wild pepper; and wild duck stuffed with wild rice and wild fenugreek and wild coriander; and marrow-bones of wild oxen; and wild cherries, and wild grenadillas. This is from "The Cat that Walked by Himself" in Just-so Stories.

Once all the animals were wild, and the Man was wild too. He didn’t begin to be tame till he met the Woman, and she told him that she did not like living in his wild ways. She picked out a nice dry Cave, instead of a heap of wet leaves, to lie down in; and she strewed clean sand on the floor; and she lit a nice fire of wood at the back of the Cave; and cooked for them both, magically transforming wild meat and plants into delicious meals.


2. Mahbub hired a room over against the railway station, sent for a cooked meal of the finest with almond-curd sweetmeats (balushai we call it) and fine-chopped Lucknow tobacco...

“...assuredly they give no such victuals at my madrissah.”

“I have a desire to hear of that same madrissah.” Mahbub stuffed himself with great boluses of spiced mutton fried in fat with cabbage and golden-brown onions.
This is from Kim.

Kim is established at St Xavier's school in Lucknow, and is learning to be a sahib. In the long summer holidays he is told that he will stay at a barrack school in the hills under the care of Father Victor, the Catholic chaplain of his father's regiment, but this does not appeal to Kim. Dressed as a street boy, he absconds and takes the road through northern India. Here he is about to tell his friend Mahbub Ali, the Afghan horse dealer, of his many adventures.


3. ...all the housewives of the village said, ‘Think you he will stay with us?’ and each did her best to cook the most savoury meal for the Bhagat. Hill-food is very simple, but with buckwheat and Indian corn, and rice and red pepper, and little fish out of the stream in the valley, and honey from the flue-like hives built in the stone walls, and dried apricots, and turmeric, and wild ginger, and bannocks of flour, a devout woman can make good things... This is from "The Miracle of Purun Baghat" in The Second Jungle Book.

Purun Dass, the distinguished administrator of a native state, has abandoned his official life and become a a Sunnyasi—a houseless, wandering mendicant, depending on his neighbours for his daily bread. After many journeys he finds a deserted shrine above a village in the hills, and settles down there to ponder on the meaning of existence. The women of the village, hoping he will stay, are happy to fill his bowl each day.