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[Rudyard Kipling]



The story of Ung
Tiger! Tiger!


The Law of the Jungle
[La ley de la jungla]


The Overland Mail

The Threshold





The story of Ung

Once, on a glittering ice-field, ages and ages ago,
Ung, a maker of pictures, fashioned an image of snow.
Fashioned the form of a tribesman — gaily he whistled and sung,
Working the snow with his fingers. Read ye the Story of Ung!

Pleased was his tribe with that image — came in their hundreds to scan –
Handled it, smelt it, and grunted: “Verily, this is a man!
Thus do we carry our lances — thus is a war-belt slung.
Lo! it is even as we are. Glory and honour to Ung!”

Later he pictured an aurochs — later he pictured a bear –
Pictured the sabre-tooth tiger dragging a man to his lair –
Pictured the mountainous mammoth, hairy, abhorrent, alone –
Out of the love that he bore them, scribing them clearly on bone.

Swift came the tribe to behold them, peering and pushing and still –
Men of the berg-battered beaches, men of the boulder-hatched hill –
Hunters and fishers and trappers, presently whispering low:
“Yea, they are like — and it may be — But how does the Picture-man know?”

“Ung — hath he slept with the Aurochs — watched where the Mastodon roam?
Spoke on the ice with the Bow-head — followed the Sabre-tooth home?
Nay! These are toys of his fancy! If he have cheated us so,
How is there truth in his image — the man that he fashioned of snow?”

Wroth was that maker of pictures — hotly he answered the call:
“Hunters and fishers and trappers, children and fools are ye all!
Look at the beasts when ye hunt them!” Swift from the tumult he broke,
Ran to the cave of his father and told him the shame that they spoke.

And the father of Ung gave answer, that was old and wise in the craft,
Maker of pictures aforetime, he leaned on his lance and laughed:
“If they could see as thou seest they would do what thou hast done,
And each man would make him a picture, and — what would become of my son?

“There would be no pelts of the reindeer, flung down at thy cave for a gift,
Nor dole of the oily timber that comes on the Baltic drift;
No store of well-drilled needles, nor ouches of amber pale;
No new-cut tongues of the bison, nor meat of the stranded whale.

“Thou hast not toiled at the fishing when the sodden trammels freeze,
Nor worked the war-boats outward through the rush of the rock-staked seas,
Yet they bring thee fish and plunder — full meal and an easy bed –
And all for the sake of thy pictures.” And Ung held down his head.

“Thou hast not stood to the Aurochs when the red snow reeks of the fight;
Men have no time at the houghing to count his curls aright.
And the heart of the hairy Mammoth, thou sayest, they do not see,
Yet they save it whole from the beaches and broil the best for thee.

“And now do they press to thy pictures, with opened mouth and eye,
And a little gift in the doorway, and the praise no gift can buy:
But — sure they have doubted thy pictures, and that is a grievous stain –
Son that can see so clearly, return them their gifts again!”

And Ung looked down at his deerskins — their broad shell-tasselled bands –
And Ung drew downward his mitten and looked at his naked hands;
And he gloved himself and departed, and he heard his father, behind:
“Son that can see so clearly, rejoice that thy tribe is blind!”

Straight on the glittering ice-field, by the caves of the lost Dordogne,
Ung, a maker of pictures, fell to his scribing on bone
Even to mammoth editions. Gaily he whistled and sung,
Blessing his tribe for their blindness. Heed ye the Story of Ung!





Tyger! Tyger!


What of the hunting, hunter bold?
Brother, the watch was long and cold.

What of the quarry ye went to kill
Brother, he crops in the jungle still.

Where is the power that made your pride?
Brother, it runs from my flank and side.

Where is the haste that ye hurry by?
Brother, I go to my laire
 to die.






The Law of the Jungle

Now this is the Law of the Jungle –  as old and as true as the sky;

And the Wolf that shall keep it may prosper, but the Wolf that shall break it must die.


AAs the creeper that girdles the tree-trunk the Law runneth forward and back – 

For the strength of the Pack is the Wolf, and the strength of the Wolf is the Pack.

Wash daily from nose-tip to tail-tip; drink deeply, but never too deep;
And remember the night is for hunting, and forget not the day is for sleep.

The Jackal may follow the Tiger, but, Cub, when thy whiskers are grown,
Remember the Wolf is a Hunter go forth and get food of thine own.

Keep peace withe Lords of the Jungle  the Tiger, the Panther, and Bear.
And trouble not Hathi the Silent, and mock not the Boar in his lair.

When Pack meets with Pack in the Jungle, and neither will go from the trail,
Lie down till the leaders have spoken  it may be fair words shall prevail.

When ye fight with a Wolf of the Pack, ye must fight him alone and afar,
Lest others take part in the quarrel, and the Pack be diminished by war.

The Lair of the Wolf is his refuge, and where he has made him his home,
Not even the Head Wolf may enter, not even the Council may come.

The Lair of the Wolf is his refuge, but where he has digged it too plain,
The Council shall send him a message, and so he shall change it again.

If ye kill before midnight, be silent, and wake not the woods with your bay,
Lest ye frighten the deer from the crop, and your brothers go empty away.

Ye may kill for yourselves, and your mates, and your cubs as they need, and ye can;
But kill not for pleasure of killing, and seven times never kill Man!

If ye plunder his Kill from a weaker, devour not all in thy pride;
Pack-Right is the right of the meanest; so leave him the head and the hide.

The Kill of the Pack is the meat of the Pack. Ye must eat where it lies;
And no one may carry away of that meat to his lair, or he dies.

The Kill of the Wolf is the meat of the Wolf. He may do what he will;
But, till he has given permission, the Pack may not eat of that Kill.

Cub-Right is the right of the Yearling. From all of his Pack he may claim
Full-gorge when the killer has eaten; and none may refuse him the same.

Lair-Right is the right of the Mother. From all of her year she may claim
One haunch of each kill for her litter, and none may deny her the same.

Cave-Right is the right of the Father  to hunt by himself for his own:
He is freed of all calls to the Pack; he is judged by the Council alone.

Because of his age and his cunning, because of his gripe and his paw,
In all that the Law leaveth open, the word of your Head Wolf is Law.

Now these are the Laws of the Jungle, and many and mighty are they;
But the head and the hoof of the Law and the haunch and the hump is – Obey!






La ley de la jungla

Esta es la Ley de la Jungla -como el cielo vieja y cierta;
prosperará el Lobo que la cumpla. mas el Lobo que la transgreda habrá de morir.

Igual que trepa la hiedra alrededor del tronco del árbol avanza la Ley y retrocede-
pues es el Lobo la fuerza de la Manada y la fuerza del Lobo está en la Manada.

Cada día lávate desde el hocico hasta la cola; bebe mucho, pero no muy deprisa nunca;
y recuerda que la noche para la caza está hecha, y no olvides que el día se debe al sueño.

Puede el Chacal seguir al Tigre, pero, Cachorro, cuando te hayan crecido los bigotes,
recuerda que el Lobo es un cazador -sigue adelante y por tu cuenta consigue la comida.

Mantén la paz con los Señores de la Jungla el Tigre, la Pantera, el Oso;
y no importunes a Hathi el Silencioso, ni te burles del Jabalí en su guarida.

Si una Manada con otra Manada se encuentra en la Selva, y no quiere ninguna retroceder,
descansa hasta que los jefes hayan hablado -tal vez las palabras justas prevalezcan.

Cuando pelees con un Lobo de la Manada, debes enfrentarte a solas, alejado,
pues otros tomarían parte en la disputa, y la batalla debilitaría la Manada.

La Guarida del Lobo es su refugio, donde ha construido su hogar,
ni siquiera el Jefe de la Manada puede entrar, ni siquiera el Consejo.

La Guarida del Lobo es su refugio, pero si no es profunda,
el Consejo enviará una orden y deberá otra vez mudarse.

Si antes de medianoche matas, hallo en silencio y no despiertes al bosque con tu aullido,
asustarás a los ciervos que en la maleza se esconden, y regresarán con las manos vacías tus hermanos.

Para ti puedes matar y para tus compañeros y para tus cachorros tanto como necesiten;
pero no mates por el placer de matar, y siete veces nunca mates al Hombre.

Si robas la Presa de uno más débil, no la devores con orgullo;
el Derecho de la Manada es el del más humilde, cédele pues la cabeza y la piel.

La Presa de la Manada es la carne de la Manada. Debes comerla allí donde se encuentre;
y nadie podrá llevar esa carne a su guarida, o morirá.

La Presa del Lobo es la carne del Lobo. Con ella puede hacer su voluntad,
y, hasta que dé su permiso, no puede la Manada comer de esa Presa.

El Derecho del Cachorro es el derecho del Primero. De cualquiera puede exigir en su Manada,
y hartarse de comer cuando haya comido el Cazador; y nadie podrá negárselo.

El Derecho de la Guarida es el derecho de la Madre. De cualquiera de su misma edad puede exigir
una pata de cada presa para su camada; y nadie podrá negárselo.

El Derecho de la Cueva es el derecho del Padre
(azar a solas para sí:
libre para no seguir a la Manada; por el Consejo sólo juzgado.

Por su edad y su astucia, por su fuerza y sus garras,
en todo aquello que la Ley deja abierto, es Ley la palabra del Jefe de los Lobos.

Estas son las Leyes de la Jungla. muchas y muy rígidas;
pero la cabeza y las uñas de la Ley y la patas y el lomo es ¡Obedece!

[Poemas, Visor, Traducción de Luis Cremades, Madrid 2001]






The Threshold

In their deepest caverns of limestone
They pictured the Gods of Food

The Horse, the Elk, and the Bison
That the hunting might be good;
With the Gods of Death and Terror

The Mammoth, Tiger, and Bear.
And the pictures moved in the torchlight
To show that the Gods were there!
But that was before Ionia

(Or the Seven Holy Islands of Ionia)
Any of the Mountains of Ionia,
Had bared their peaks to the air.

The close years packed behind them,
As the glaciers bite and grind,
Filling the new-gouged valleys
With Gods of every kind.
Gods of all-reaching power

Gods of all-searching eyes

But each to be wooed by worship
And won by sacrifice.
Till, after many winters, rose Ionia

(Strange men brooding in Ionia)
Crystal-eyed Sages of Ionia
Who said, "These tales are lies.

"We dream one Breath in all things,
"That blows all things between.
"We dream one Matter in all things

"Eternal, changeless, unseen.
"'That the heart of the Matter is single
"Till the Breath shall bid it bring forth

"By choosing or losing its neighbour

"All things made upon Earth."
But Earth was wiser than Ionia
(Babylon and Egypt than Ionia)
And they overlaid the teaching of Ionia
And the Truth was choked at birth.

It died at the Gate of Knowledge

The Key to the Gate in its hand

And the anxious priests and wizards
Re-blinded the wakening land;
For they showed, by answering echoes,
And chasing clouds as they rose,
How shadows should stand for bulwarks
Between mankind and its woes.
It was then that men bethought them of Ionia
(The few that had not allforgot Ionia)
Or the Word that was whispered in Ionia;
And they turned from the shadows and the shows.

They found one Breath in all things,
That moves all things between.
They proved one Matter in all things

Eternal, changeless, unseen;
That the heart of the Matter was single
Till the Breath should bid it bring forth

Even as men whispered in Ionia,
(Resolute, unsatisfied Ionia)
Ere the Word was stifled in Ionia

All things known upon earth!






The Overland Mail
(Foot-Service to the Hills)

In the name of the Empress of India, make way,
O Lords of the Jungle, wherever you roam.
The woods are astir at the close of the day

We exiles are waiting for letters from Home.
Let the robber retreat
let the tiger turn tail
In the Name of the Empress, the Overland Mail!

With a jingle of bells as the dusk gathers in,
He turns to the foot-path that heads up the hill

The bags on his back and a cloth round his chin,
And, tucked in his waist-belt, the Post Office bill:
"Despatched on this date, as received by the rail,
Per runner, two bags of the Overland Mail."

Is the torrent in spate? He must ford it or swim.
Has the rain wrecked the road? He must climb by the cliff.
Does the tempest cry "Halt"? What are tempests to him?
The Service admits not a "but" or and "if."
While the breath's in his mouth, he must bear without fail,
In the Name of the Empress, the Overland Mail.

From aloe to rose-oak, from rose-oak to fir,
From level to upland, from upland to crest,
From rice-field to rock-ridge, from rock-ridge to spur,
Fly the soft sandalled feet, strains the brawny brown chest.
From rail to ravine
to the peak from the vale
Up, up through the night goes the Overland Mail.

There's a speck on the hillside, a dot on the road

A jingle of bells on the foot-path below

There's a scuffle above in the monkey's abode
The world is awake, and the clouds are aglow.
For the great Sun himself must attend to the hail:
"In the name of the Empress the Overland Mail!"






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