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Bagheera's Secret



"Little Brother" said he, "feel under my jaw."

Mowgli put up his strong brown hand, and just under Bagheera's silky chin, where the giant rolling muscles were all hid by the glossy hair, he came upon a little bald spot.

"There is no one in the jungle that knows that I, Bagheera, carry that mark -- the mark of the collar; and yet, Little Brother, I was born among men, and it was among men that my mother died -- in the cages of the King's Palace at Oodeypore. It was because of this that I paid the price for thee at the Council when thou wast a little naked cub. Yes, I too was born among men. I had never seen the jungle. They fed me behind bars from an iron pan till one night I felt that I was Bagheera, the Panther, and no man's plaything, and I broke the silly lock with one blow of my paw, and came away; and because I had learned the ways of men, I became more terrible in the jungle than Shere Khan. Is it not so?"

"Yes," said Mowgli; "all the jungle fear Bagheera -- all except Mowgli."

--Rudyard Kipling, The Jungle Book

A belated happy birthday to one of my favourite authors.
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Bagheera was having some sensual thoughts about having the very innocent Mowgli alone out with him. Bagheera glared at Mowgli's soft, smooth feet too. But unknown to all, Kaa was ready to grab the very naive Mowgli from his resting place.