© 2010 Lance. All rights reserved.

Once, twice and again!

We have been reading the Jungle Book for the past few nights. Despite coming to the book after repeated viewings of the Disney movie, you insist that Shere Khan is female, and you correct me every time I say “he”.

We’re only reading a few pages per night, because you have lots of questions and there are no pictures to distract you from asking them. So we’ve only just reached the hunting-song of the Seeonee pack. It comes only a couple of pages after the pack’s tiger-corrupted youth rise up and drive Mowgli out, and when the song is read in the kind of voice you use when reading to someone who is 18 inches away, it sounds lean, angular and dangerous.

You had me read it twice more after the first time through, and you would have had me read it again if I hadn’t insisted on moving on. You acted like you’d never heard anything like it. And maybe you hadn’t.

Hunting-Song of the Seeonee Pack

As the dawn was breaking the sambhur belled

Once, twice, and again!

And a doe leaped up, and a doe leaped up

From the pond in the wood where the wild deer sup.

This I, scouting alone, beheld

Once, twice, and again!

As the dawn was breaking the sambhur belled

Once, twice, and again!

And a wolf stole back, and a wolf stole back

To carry the word to the waiting pack,

And we sought and we found and we bayed on his track

Once, twice, and again!

As the dawn was breaking the wolf pack yelled

Once, twice, and again!

Feet in the jungle that leave no mark!

Eyes that can see in the dark—the dark!

Tongue—give tongue to it! Hark! O hark!

Once, twice, and again!


Today I discovered that you already know at least two things that I had thought you might learn from me. First, you can point out which rectangles are squares and which are not, although you have not so far articulated what the difference is. Second, you know the Peanut Butter Jelly Time song. I’ve been meaning to share that with you for like a year, and just never got around to it. But it’s like in Jurassic Park—the Peanut Butter Jelly Time song will find a way.

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