the tiger roars kenneth anderson pdf download. The Tiger Roars Kenneth Anderson Pdf Download. 30 Reads 0 Votes 1 Part Story. bilpiesnapchin. What was more frightening was a prolonged roar from the streambed now only a .. THE KENNETH ANDERSON OMNIBUS As I expected, the tiger could. The Tiger Roars by Kenneth Anderson; 3 editions; First published in
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The Tiger Roars book. Read 2 reviews from the world's largest community for readers. KENNETH ANDERSON: Jungles Long Ago. KENNETH ANDERSON: Tales From The Indian Jungles. KENNETH ANDERSON: The Tiger Roars. Kenneth Anderson (8 March – 30 August ) was an Indian-born, British writer and As a hunter, he tracked down man-eating tigers and leopards.
But the author, who has spent a lifetime in trying to understand the minds of jungle creatures, takes us into his confidence and explains the methods by which he has been able to rid the remoter inhabitants of India of some of their most terrible enemies. In doing so he builds up a vivid picture of the forest scene, which no reader is likely to forget. Nine Man-Eaters And One Rogue by Kenneth Anderson is the author's very first book about hunting man-eating tigers and leopards in the southern Indian jungles of Mysore, Madras, Hyderabad state and northern Malabar from Free eBook.
Hunter and wildlife chronicler Kenneth Anderson recalls real-life jungle tales, some macabre and some incredible, of adventures in pursuit of man-eating tigers and leopards. He brings the animal and human characters alive against the background of the jungle and the excitement and danger their co-existence generates.
The Tiger Roars by Kenneth Anderson The author is the famed British hunter and raconteur who had spent the greater part of his life in the tiger country of India. Not a trophy hunter, Anderson has often been called to handle situations where a village or a locality has to be delivered from the menace of the man-eater. Called upon to rid an affected locality of the prowling man-eaters, Anderson, the hunter rises to the occasion. Step by step he takes the reader through the adventure, explaining his modus operandi and the terrible excitement and lurking danger.
Stirring tales of wild animal's cunning pitted against human wit and presence of mind told by the master story-teller himself. This Is The Jungle: The author tracked man-eating tigers and leopards in the southern Indian jungles of Mysore, Madras, Hyderabad and northern Malabar. In this volume he relates 8 thrilling stories. Jungles Long Ago by Kenneth Anderson was published posthumously, after the editor, Malcolm Barness, went through Anderson's manuscripts and notes.
This is the only book that has a detailed biography of Anderson by his long time editor. This book contains six chapters of Anderson's recollections of his experience in various parts of the Indian jungles, illustrated with numerous photographs by Anderson and others.
Jungle Tales For Children by Kenneth Anderson is one of 4 previously unpublished books written after Kenneth Anderson had retired from hunting. It is a wonderful collection of stories that will entertain children as well as teach them important life lessons. The Last White Hunter: From hunting tigers and panthers and angling for the mahseer, to being a stunt double in a Hollywood film, and eventually living his last days in penury, Donald Anderson chronicles his life from to Times change, and Donald may not have achieved the fame his father attained; but his story is interesting in its own way, and Joshua Mathew does justice to his subject in a fair, sympathetic and very readable biography".
An interesting video tribute to Kenneth Anderson's son, Donald who died in Thar, too, under its very own engine and chassis serial numbers. The law was powerless after that to prosecute me for dnving about on a chassis that did not have a regular body, for the portable machan could not officially be regarded as such. The car that had been presented in its place resumed m own.
There were two other features about 'Sudden Death' which I have still to record. A Model T. So motoring on kerosene was economical indeed. Engine oil was VA Rs. The other feature of 'Sudden Death' was a Ruxtel back axle. This provided a very low and a very high gear, in addition to the two transmission gears operated by pedal on every Model T.
As for a failing spark plug, I never bothered to carry a spare. Pending cleaning it when I had the time to do so, all that was required was removal from the cylinder head, for 'Sudden Death' would then snort along on three cylinders as if she had never had a fourth! As we would be on the move all night, we planned to wear the lightest clothing, the proverbial khaki, while 1 donned the pair of knee-length, alpaca-lined, rubber-soled boots that I generally wore on such prowls. They are light, noiseless and soft, but thick enough to absorb the fangs of any Russell's viper or a cobra that might be lurking in the undergrowth and inadvertently stamped upon.
Eric wore rubber-soled boots with the ends of his pants tucked into them. Snakes offer the greatest hazard at night, far greater than that of running into an elephant or a bear. Tigers and panthers, unless man-eaters, wounded or in the act of mating, offer practically no danger at all.
Here we had dinner. I had a five-cell torch hanging in a cloth case at my side while I used a three-cell torch handier for spotting.
Eric carried a pair of three-cell torches There is a fire-line leading through the forest in a southeasterly direction from the lodge. After nearly a mile this S ' i? Our torches revealed a row of twin-pointed green lights on the opposite bank of the pool which kept bobbing up and down restlessly in an attempt to escape the unwinking stare of our torch-beams A herd o spotted deer had been caught m the act of drinking- J sank to my haunches to watch them, but Eric left the path we were following and moved down towards the water This was a mistake, for his clothing got caught in the wait- a-bu thorns that clustered around the pool.
Apart from scratching himself, he made quite a lot of noise and made yet another mistake. But a far more ominous sound took its place. So he went down to the pool just ahead of Eric. Being hard of hearing and poor of S1 ght, the bear did not hear us at first, nor notice our torch-beams.
But when Eric began to crash about and show himself in my light, and the spotted deer thundered away in alarm, the bear realised that something was cooking and that something was directly behind him. Like all his kind when they get alarmed, he did not wait to think.
It did not even occur to him to run away. Instead, he rushed headlong at the intruder. Time enough for him to find out the nature of the intruder later. So he charged straight at Eric at top speed, and Eric at the moment was caught in the wait-a-bit thorns! What did he do at this critical moment! He hurled his three-cell torch straight at the oncoming bear, then only a few feet away.
Only he could have done such a thing. Here was a bear coming hell for leather at the light when — behold! By luck the torch struck Bruin somewhere in the face, with the result that, as quickly as he had made up his mind to charge, he now made up his mind to run away Veering to his left he disappeared in a crashing of bushes and loud'Woofs!
We turned due west for some time and then south along a much narrower track, which was the pathway we were to follow for twenty miles till it met the Chinar river. It led downhill and we entered Spider Valley.
The vegetation grew densely on all sides; the lantana bushes, with their clusters of red, pink and orange-coloured flowers, visible in our torch-beams, were rapidly giving away to increasingly dense clumps of bamboo. Then we heard the sound of elephants: Finally the thicker base stem was cast away. Truly wasteful creatures they are; for the sake of a basketful of tender leaves and skin, a whole massive culm had been destroyed. We squatted on the ground to await further evidence, and for a while there was absolute silence.
Then we heard the swishing as the elephant beat upon the ground a bunch of leaves that he had gathered at the end of his trunk preparatory to stuffing the whole lot into his mouth. Then silence again, but not for long: He was closer to us than we had thought for these sounds revealed that he was answering the call of nature.
It was also becoming apparent that he was probably alone. He was directly ahead of us and the breeze was blowing from us in his direction, so that it could only be a matter of minutes, if not seconds, before he caught our scent. Then one of three things might happen. Normally he should just have melted away into the jungle as elephants have a habit of doing, regardless of their great bulk, when they get scent of man.
On the other hand he might stand absolutely still, as motionless as a rock, hoping that we might either pass him by without noticing his presence, or if he was on mischief bent, to allow us to come close enough to enable him to charge down upon us devastatingly. The third, but most improbable alternative, was to charge us without further ado. Elephants, even when in tnusth or in any other irritable mood, are unlikely to do this. The majority think things over for a minute or two before acting.
QuinkP The sound of a baby elephant nuzzling up to its mother. We now knew we were in far less danger: It is the solitary elephant one has to be careful of. At least, that was the way things ought to have gone. But there were other factors. For one thing, it was night; for another, the beams from our torches would frighten the elephants, even annoy them. We had deliberately chosen a dark night, for although the jungle looks pleasantly ethereal in the moonlight, to move about in such light gives one's position away far sooner than in real darkness.
Further, our torch-beams would not carry very far in moonlight and the reflection of the eyes of an animal would be far weaker than in pitch darkness.
We had already agreed to talk as little as possible, so 1 extinguished my torch and with my free hand reached out to grasp and turn off Eric's too. For a moment the darkness was intense, then as our eyes became accustomed to the the darkness softened and the glitter of the stars added arable illumination to our surroundings.
The silence continued to be intense. It became oppressive. It got on our nerves. Eventually it became ominous as we began to feel we were being watched. A low and continued rumbling like distant thunder came from our right. But the sky was clear and star-spangled, so the noise could not possibly herald rain.
Where did it come from? Eric was staring hard to the right as we heard the rumbling again. I could see he was a little alarmed. Finally he put his lips to my ear and asked in a whisper, 'Do you hear that?
Can it be a tiger? The starlight was bright enough for us to see each other and Eric recognised my action. I was trying to tell him that the rumbling sound came from the digestive processes of an elephant's stomach. There are five fundamental lessons a night-prowler should learn if he hopes to prowl with success, whether 'ghooming' like ourselves or reconnoitring the front lines of an 'enemy'.
The first is not to talk, or even whisper, on any account. The third is to keep to the shadows and avoid crossing open spaces. The fourth is to be careful where you place your foot, for even if it is too dark to see, taking a false step into thorns or causing the dried leaves to rustle, will give away your position.
You must cultivate the habit on these occasions of moving each foot forward in the manner of soldiers on a ceremonial slow-step parade rather than raising the knee and bringing the foot downwards, as in normal walking.
You should never forget that the faintest whisper becomes audible in the still night air, while the slightest motion attracts the attention of an alert animal, or an enemy, as the case may be, and will give you away. An instant later there came an earth-shaking Tn-aa-ank. Tri-aa-ank'— the alarm cry of a frightened female. These huge creatures are almost unpredictable. You can never say how they may react even under exactly similar circumstances, though with a wide experience of them m the wild, I can say that usually, under certain conditions, you may expect one of them to behave in this way or that.
After that alarm call, pandemonium reigned for a short time. Then followed a chorus of cries from all around us: What was more frightening was a prolonged roar from the streambed now only a few yards in front o us. Then the first bull, coming headlong toward us, splashed through the water.
We heard the squelching as he hurried across the stream, roaring as he came. We were unarmed, remember, and on foot. I grabbed brie by the elbow. We turned and scurried back along the path. No time, now, for cautious walking. Rather, we broke into a jog trot. He had stopped roaring now.
Only the squeals and squeaks of the young and the coughing 'Kakk! The second bull, who had also been roaring, had probably joined them as well, for his roars stopped too. This would be quite different in timbre from the shrill cry of fear and alarm first voiced by the frightened cow. The attacking note is pitched higher and is more prolonged. There is no mistaking the quality of hatred, anger and menace that is put into such a sound, while the alarm-cry is lower-pitched and of shorter, quicker duration, rarely voiced more than twice in succession.
Instead, we heard crashing sounds which seemed to be receding behind us. Evidently the leader had decided that discretion was the better part of valour and was taking his charges away Now numerous splashings announced that the animals were crossing the stream. We stopped running and sat down to listen. A few moments later complete silence reigned except for a distant Tonk! Ponkr as a sambar doe, high up on a hillside to our right, who had heard all the commotion below, decided some danger might be afoot and voiced her own alarm.
Eric brought his lips to my ear again and whispered 'what now? Eric saw my point. Having started, we were not going back just for the sake of a few elephants. We waited perhaps fifteen minutes to allow the herd to move out of the way.
Then we got up and continued our cautious progress down the valley. Very soon we reached the stream. It was perhaps twenty yards wide at this spot. The water reached almost from bank to bank, which accounted for the great amount of splashing we heard when the elephants JUNGLES LONG AGO crossed over, but it was barely knee-deep, as we found out for ourselves when we followed the path which cut across the stream for the first time.
The undergrowth on the farther bank was very dense. There was less lan tan a here and a great deal of vellari shrubbery in its place, while mighty trees with trunks of great girth met overhead, their branches crowding and completely obscuring the starlight.
Bamboos in profusion grew in massive clumps on both banks of the stream. The darkness was stygian and a high breeze, which had just risen, blowing down the valley from behind us, caused the bamboos to creak and groan and their culms to bend and thrash wildly against one another. This breeze was unfortunate; we did not like it at all. Coming from behind, it would spread our scent far and wide and warn the animals ahead of our approach. Carnivora have a very poor sense of smell, so it hardly mattered as far as they were concerned, but deer and elephant would know we were coming long in advance of our arrival.
We would not see many of the former, while the latter, unless on mischief bent, would give us a wide berth. At the same time, the noise made by the breeze filled the air and prevented us from hearing anything else. I walked ahead, flashing my three-cell, while Eric followed closely. I had cautioned him not to use his torch, as its beams would fall upon myself and advertise my presence.
Further, the light of a second torch from behind is very distracting to the person in front, for various reasons. I could not see it although my torch was lit. Then I recognised what it was: I had walked into the web of one of those enormous spiders that live in large numbers in this valley, and for which reason I had called it 'Spider Valley'.
These spiders are huge, often measuring as much as ten inches from leg-tip to leg-tip across the body. This one was not great in bulk, however; it was perhaps the size of a large marble. The abdomen and thorax were black with vivid stripes of yellow running around and across.
The eyes were large and blood-red and reflected torchlight as if two large rubies were hanging side by side in midair. The legs were long, hairless, black and powerful, as if made of wire. I had watched these creatures spinning their webs in daylight- They climb to a high branch and from there they let themselves drop, emitting a thread behind them. When they judge they have fallen far enough, they control any further fall by the simple expedient of not emitting further thread.
In this position, head downwards, they hang till a gust of breeze blows the thread close enough to some leaf or branch, to which they immediately cling and attach the thread. If no breeze comes within an appreciable time, the spider climbs up the line of web thread by which it has descended, and tries all over again from a more advantageous position. Having secured the first line of its thread as a sort of bridgehead, it climbs to the top of this second tree and repeats the action by dropping itself from there while adjusting the length of thread emitted from its abdomen till it meets the first line of web, to which it attaches this new strand.
Waiting for the breeze again, it drops lower to reach some point a few feet off the ground and a little distance from the first tree from which it began its operation. It now returns to the point it had started from and begins to connect all four corners of the letter X to each other by running up and down the arms of the letter X until it has made a huge rectangle with the X in the centre.
The rest is simple; the spider moves around and around, weaving strands of web in parallel lines all around, and perhaps half-an-inch from each other. All this is mighty hard work, but the spider I watched one morning, just starting work on its web as I walked down this valley, had finished by the time I returned that way late the same evening: These creatures will devour anything that gets caught in their webs, butterflies, moths, beetles, and even the smaller species of birds whose blood it consumes.
The strands of its webs, although no thicker than the finest thread are very elastic and incredibly strong. Even a single strand will not break easily under strain. Moreover, the substance that forms this strand is very sticky. Once the work is done, the spider takes up its position in the centre of the web with its legs outstretched.
In this position, due to its colouring, it looks like some leaf-stem or other insignificant object suspended in midair. It hangs motionless, but entirely alert. As soon as some creature flies inadvertendy against the web, the sticky substance of which the strands are made adhere to it. The creature flutters and struggles, thus fouling other sticky strands. Immediately, the spider in the middle of the web comes to life. It scurries towards its prey and scampers swiftly round and round it, emitting an endless flow of threads until the prey is entirely encased and enmeshed.
Then comes the final sad scene.
Kenneth Anderson Books
The prey, on the other hand, collapses as an empty bag of outer skin or as an empty shell, should the victim happen to be a beetle. When all is over, the spider repairs the damage done to its web in the struggle; it does this at once, without postponing the work till some future opportunity.
Then it returns to its position in the centre, pending the arrival of its next victim. Spiders are voracious and seem to possess an insatiable appetite.
This spider is very pugnacious and will fight to the death against any one of its own kind who attempts to tresspass into its web. I witnessed this for myself years ago, when I deliberately placed one of these spiders upon the web of a companion of the same species. A battle royal ensued, in the process of which legs were quickly torn off each combatant. The tresspaser lost in the end, after five of its legs had been bitten off by the spider who owned the web and who had lost two of its own legs in the battle.
Those that remained, however, were enough to enmesh the trespasser securely in a ball of webbing, then came the coup de grace, the blood-sucking process, at which stage I ended my observations. I brushed the web from my face and continued on our way. The path became narrower and the forest on both sides became dense. My torch-beam danced from one grey tree-trunk to the next; the moss and lichens that covered them looked like the beards of thousands of old men hanging to the ground.
Suddenly a stillness fell upon the jungle, a hush that could be felt as well as heard. Eric observed it, too, and quickened his steps. His toes kicked against my heels and he involuntarily touched my elbow. I halted in my tracks and he bumped into me.
I extinguished the torch and sank down upon my haunches. In a jungle, the closer one can get to the ground, the better one can hear. Then he whispered 'Scotchie? My old schoolpals have practically disappeared. Many have gone abroad, while a large number have made the last journey we all must make.
THE TIGER ROARS
The thought makes me feel lonely at times. I wondered what could be the cause of that hush, that almost palpable silence that hung so heavily about us. Reason told me there might be many explanations.
The sudden cutting- off of the breeze that was blowing all this while from behind us by some hilly spur that we had circumvented in the darkness; an opposing breeze, blowing northwards up the great rift yawned before us in the night; a hush before a storm, a moment when all Nature appears to hold her breath in preparation for the fast approaching tempest.
The darkness was intense and there was no break in the gloom, even when I gazed upwards, the tree-tops were lost in obscurity and the stars that until a few moment ago were visible here and there through the canopy of leaves were now completely obliterated.
That was when I came to know the reason for the strange silence that had fallen all around us. Indeed, a storm was approaching! To witness such a phenomenon in the tropics is unforgettable, whether on land or at sea; but to have to undergo it upon the ground in a dense forest is hardly an enviable prospect People sometimes run under a tree to shelter from the rain, but that is not the kind of rain we have in India, particularly in the jungles, and it certainly was no safe place when the tree itself might be split in two by lightning or torn up by the roots in the wind, A moment later came a vivid flash overhead.
The heart of the storm was so close that it seemed but a fraction of a second before the thunderclap followed in an outrageous, monstrous roar, as of thousand cannon firing in unison. The earth upon which we stood shuddered and the overhanging foliage quivered with the resonance of the thunder; the very universe seemed to tremble.
There was nothing to do but crouch close to the ground. To remain standing is to invite injury from falling branches. Together we scrambled towards the trunk of a nearby tree.
I made certain it was one of medium height and not one of the greater specimens whose top would reach to the upper trellises of the jungle, for the loftier the tree the more it would present itself as a target for the lightning which, in violent electrical storms of this kind, can be expected to strike at any moment.
The hush and the darkness returned, but not for long. There was another, more intense flash, followed by an even louder clap of thunder. The third flash was not a flash at all. Like a great serpent of fire from the sky, the lightning struck a giant tree somewhere in the jungle and the thunder that followed seemed to burst our eardrums and numb us with its intensity. The next moment we heard a mighty, rushing uproar approaching towards us up the valley, like a hundred breakers in unison dashing upon a rocky beach.
This was the wind and as it came closer one gained the impression that the trees of the forest were bracing themselves for the onslaught. It was almost upon us now, and together with this fearsome, roaring sound we heard the staccato reports of hundreds of branches as they snapped like matchwood in the irresistible squall.
Here and there, trees of outstanding height or bulk, by reason of their top-weight and resistance to the wind, were uprooted from the earth and fell with resounding crashes, bringing down a host of minor trees and saplings that were unlucky enough to be sheltering below.
The gale continued for a few minutes only then passed as suddenly as it had begun. The trees lifted themselves again, many of them bereft of half their foliage.
All was quiet for a short while except for the diminishing roar of the wind as it receded up the valley. A new sound soon became audible, growing rapidly in intensity as it drew nearer; a continuous, hissing noise like escaping steam. The rain. Now it was upon us. What was dry ground and foliage a moment earlier was in the twinkling of an eye converted into a sodden morass of mud and greenery.
The best of umbrellas and raincoats would be of no avail in a downpour of this intensity, and we were carrying no umbrellas or raincoats anyway. Not only were we soaked to the skin, but the little equipment and food on our backs was equally saturated. Water poured down our bodies and flowed down our pants, filling our shoes, including my prized alpaca-lined boots, to the brim.
This footwear was sold under a guarantee of being waterproof. It now proved the merit of that advertisement, but in an inverse manner. The water that had filled it remained where it was and refused to leak out. The rain went on and on. The little stream which was wont to purl and ripple over smooth, mossy stones as it meandered hither and thither, gliding down its course, did none of these nice things any longer.
The ground upon which we were standing was a foot deep in mud and there was not the slightest indication of the rain abating. But it lasted only a little more than an hour, and then it passed as swiftly as its precursor, the wind. We felt very miserable indeed. Unspoken thoughts turned to home, the comfort of bed and warm blankets, a steaming cup of tea, a relaxing pipe and a good book. What insane idea ever impelled us to start on a trip like this and place ourselves in such a predicament?
Then recriminations passed. We forced ourselves to smile and begin to think what we should do next. We could only go back or press on. And who would think seriously of going back?
One thing was certain: As evaporation set in, our garments would grow colder and colder upon our bodies. Without clothes we could feel cold, admittedly, but at least we would not grow colder. However logical or illogical this argument might seem, we divested ourselves entirely, poured the water from our boots and put them on again. Our wet clothes we secured to pieces of bamboo, which we shouldered in addition to our kit Now we were ready to continue but far from comfortable, I can assure you.
Soon another hazard presented itself. We found ourselves slipping and slithering in the mud and ooze. The noise we were making by floundering along the soaked pathway and against the undergrowth on both sides of it would advertise our movements in the jungle for a furlong around.
In any event, few animals would be on the move after the heavy downpour. Even the elephants would be inclined to call it a day — or rather, a night — and huddle together in some sheltered spot. Every creature would lie quiet; that is, every creature but the snakes!
They would be up and about, hunting and gorging themselves upon the frogs that were making this night an occasion for rejoicing.
All around us we could hear these creatures croaking, particularly along the banks of the swollen stream. Korrl Quacker!
The air droned with the noise. It vibrated and pulsated to the chorus of joy voiced by what was obviously the whole frog-population of the Spider Valley.
For this was mating time, and the forest floor was littered with squashy, lovemaking couples upon which we could not avoid treading in the darkness. For a moment I caught a glimpse of something white in the middle of the path. Then it was gone. Again it appeared briefly and then disappeared once more. I could see the ground where it vanished and got the impression of movement, although I could not recognise what it was. I came to a stop and directed the torch-beam steadily upon the movement.
Eric halted behind me. For a few seconds 1 could not make out what lay on the pathway, then I knew what it was: Snakes have no ears, but they make up for lack of hearing by an acute sense of feeling. Through the scale upon their bellies that rest against the ground they are able to sense danger from anything that moves by detecting the vibration caused by that movement.
The boots I was wearing had soft rubber soles and I was able to approach relatively undetected. The beam of my torch was directed upon the reptile but it did not appear to be disturbed. Coming from behind, the source of the torchlight was beyond the range of the snake's vision. Snakes 1 eyes are lidless and fixed, and cannot turn sideways or backwards.
Nor did my approach register itself upon the reptile's brain which, at the moment, was completely engrossed upon the work in hand, the swallowing of a very large bull frog in one piece.
I was close enough now to make out the details. The snake's jaws, not being hinged together, were distended grotesquely and the gullet swollen out of all proportion. The head and one foreleg of the unfortunate frog had already disappeared down this passage, while the other three legs and the body hung limply outside.
Normally, the creature should be kicking and struggling desperately to escape, but this frog was quite dead, and the reason was apparent. The snake was a cobra. The venom had killed the frog in a few seconds.
The cobra had not raised its hood in either alarm or anger, for it was still unaware of my approach, but the bulk of the bull-frog already in its gullet had sufficiently expanded the skin in the region to show up the characteristic V-mark. I was an ardent collector of snakes at that time, and' the specimen before me was of outsize dimensions. I decided to catch it. Unfortunately, the thick cloth bag I had brought for just such a purpose was with the kitbag on my back.
It ejected the frog it had half- swallowed, turned around to face me and raised its hood, trembling with fury. It was a magnificent specimen, but it would slither away in another second if I failed to put it into a fighting mood, so to do this I stamped my foot heavily upon the ground a couple of feet away.
The cobra responded by raising itself still higher and then struck the ground at the spot where my foot had been but a moment before.
Meanwhile I was working feverishly to get the kitbag off my shoulders, unfasten the zip and grope with my hand amongst the many miscellaneous items in search of that snake- bag. The operation took a long time. The outside of the bag was soaking wer for one thing and I was working with one hand, unable to look for the bag as 1 had to keep my eyes fixed upon the cobra.
At last I found it, pulled it out quickly and advanced towards the snake, which turned itself fully around to face me. Catching a cobra is really very easy once you rivet its attention.
It is only when the reptile is in rapid motion that the operation becomes difficult and entails considerable risk. In this instance, I stretched out my right hand, holding the cloth bag by its handle close to the snake's head. It quivered with fury, hissed loudly, and lunged at the bag. That is when I withdrew the bag so that the cobra, with hood fully distended, struck its head upon the ground for the second time. One has to be quick at this moment, but there is really nothing to it.
The quickness of action comes with practice. The length of bamboo on which I had slung my wet clothes was in my left hand. It came in handy now. The ground was wet, so I had to be careful not to allow the head to slip free, Eric was to be of no assistance to me. I saw that he had retired a good ten yards away. I called to him urgently to come and hold my torch.
He advanced reluctantly and took it from me. Then I stooped down, dropped the cloth bag and grasped the snake behind its neck with the thumb and forefinger of my right hand.
Then I removed the bamboo. The snake coiled itself around my hand and forearm, but I uncoiled it with my left hand while urging Eric to pick up the bag. Lastly I thrust the head inside, keeping the fingers of my left hand around the neck of the bag, released the snake's head and jerked my right hand out of the bag very quickly.
Almost in one motion, I closed the neck of the bag with the fingers and thumb of my left hand. That is all there is to catching a cobra. Some people have told me that it calls for nerve. Don't you believe that. In my opinion, it is just the opposite. For if there are nerves, the snake-catcher may not be able to catch his snake.
Worse still, he may hesitate in the middle of the operation, and that would be just too bad for him! The snake would catch him then with a bite upon his finger or hand. I took care to tie up the neck of the bag very firmly and then thrust it back into my kitbag.
A few minutes later we were on our way again. For the next thirty minutes or so our discomfort increased because of the wet and cold. Mind conquers such obstacles and we pressed on forgetful of our physical discomfort. Except for encountering the elephants at the head of the valley, we had had no fun and we were longing for something to happen.
The stream began to flow rapidly now among steep rocks; the ground became hard and the trees and bamboos were shorter and more sparse. Larger expanses of sky were visible, and we noticed that the clouds had cleared. Myriads of stars hung over us and shone brightly.
The parallel ranges of mountains to the right and left of us, as we walked southwards, corresponded respectively to the western and eastern banks of the stream. Now we observed that they seemed to be converging upon each other while the valley narrowed to the proportions of a ravine. We could see the dark, unbroken outline of ridges and mountaintops on both sides as they towered upwards into the star-bedecked sky.
Oo-ooo ngh! Ooo-ooo- ooongh! The canyon in which we were standing reverberated. It was the call of the tiger! The animal was to our left and close ahead. It had come down the eastern range and was about to cross the stream. We extinguished our torches and hurried forwards to try to intercept it. The call was almost continuous now The tiger was being very noisy.
Was this a sign of impatience? I seemed to detect an imperious note. Rather late in February, admittedly, but nevertheless February still — the mating season or the tail end of it! Here was the explanation of the prolonged semi-roars we were hearing. The beast was no tiger but a tigress. She was calling for a mate, and a tigress in this mood is not a very desirable creature to meet when unarmed.
As I have mentioned on many occasions, tigers are generally quite safe to meet, even when one is unarmed, with three exceptions — a man-eater, a wounded tiger, or a tiger in the mood for mating or in the act of mating. None of these conditions were literally fulfilled at that moment, but the third condition was very near. The tigress continued her calling.
She was but a short distance ahead now and still on our side of the stream. We were hurrying along that same bank. The stream was to our right.
The flood water caused by the recent storm had abated considerably, but the stream must have been three or four feet deep at least. It the tigress intended to cross, she would have to swim. As a rule tigers Like water. Particularly in the hotter forests of Andhra Pradesh, I have come across them lying in shady pools to cool themselves when the temperature had reached over degrees in the shade. But it was rather doubtful if this tigress would trust herself to cross the stream which was still foaming and frothing with the extra water fed to it from a myriad trickles reaching it from the forest on both sides.
At that moment my conjectures were interrupted by a fresh sound: A tiger! He had heard and answered the call of a mate.
The tigress heard it too. She answered with a loud 4 Ugh! Ahha-ha-ha-har of delight. To flash our torches now would make our presence known. Most probably both tigers would disappear, unless they actively resented our company. Things would not be so pleasant then. But if we remained in darkness our presence would probably not be detected, as tigers have no sense of smell, while the noise of the stream would muffle any noise we might inadvertently make.
Our eyes had accustomed themselves to the starlight as we came to a halt and stood behind a tree that bordered the track. A few feet to our right was the bank of the stream.
Beyond that and to our left, the jungle was a wall of darkness lit by a thousand flickering, moving lights, the fireflies that dart to and fro in ceaseless motion.
The tumbling waters reflected countless stars, and here and there we could make out the darker forms of bushes or clumps of coarse grass on the bank. Of movement of any kind, we could see nothing. Both tigers had now stopped calling. For them to meet, one or the other would have to ford the stream that lay between.
The question was, which would be the one to cross?
If the tigress crossed, we would be safe. If the tiger came over, both animals would be very close to us and would certainly resent our presence if they detected us. The tigress clinched the matter by calling once more.
This time she was almost mewing, like a very gruff and hoarse cat. Like all females in her circumstances, she was revelling in her position of advantage and was enticing the male to come to her; she would not condescend to go to him. Would the tiger be able to resist such a temptation? He roared and roared again. It was a roar of defiance and challenge at the same time. Clearly he was warning all other tigers to keep away from his newly-founded mate.
A long, dark silhouette emerged from the black wall of forest on the other bank, hesitated for a few seconds and then slid into the water of the stream.
I have already said that this watercourse is neither broad nor deep and it took him a very short time to cross. The silhouette became a solid grey form as he waded and then walked ashore, perhaps some fifty yards away.
All this while the tigress had not revealed herself. She now broke cover with a bound, herself another grey shape, leaped forward to meet the tiger with a loud growl and reared up on her hind legs to slap him across his neck. The mock- fighting in which mating tigers indulge was about to begin. Neither animal intends to hurt the other, but frequently during this fighting, through excitement or a stray bite or scratch, tempers run high and the tigress invariably gets really rough.
The tiger tolerates a lot until she at last goes too far. Then he loses his temper and sets about her in real earnest Both animals can be badly scratched and bitten and bleed freely by the time the repeated mating is over, but both animals appear to revel in the routine, soon forget their differences and cling together as a couple till the cubs are about to be born, at which time the tigress will separate herself from her lord for a while through fear that he might devour the cubs.
Thereafter they will rejoin for maybe a year, along with their cubs, when they will part to seek fresh mates with the next season, approximately two years after the last, although the cubs sometimes remain with their mother for a few months more.
We had lost our chance of beating a retreat while the going was good before the tiger crossed the stream. If that should happen, our extinction was more than probable as both the felines, and particularly the male would not tolerate our eavesdropping on their lovemaking. It is equally likely that the tigress, in the excitement of mating, would resent our presence.
It was too late now, anyway, to do anything about it. The only course open to us was to sink down to earth behind the tree-trunk that hid us and hope that the mating animals would not move in our direction. For the next hour we were compelled to listen to a pandemonium of grunts, snarls, roars, prolonged mewing and a medley of other noises as the two animals pursued their lovemaking, the sounds differing in accordance with their mood and temper at each moment.
As the mating progressed to reach climax, the Ioveplay became rougher and rougher, until it reached a point when they were almost fighting each other tooth and nail. In mating the tiger bites the female in the neck and literally holds her down. They then separate a while and rest before starting all over again. Several times, in the course of their gambols and struggles, they dashed hither and thither, on more than one occasion coming within ten yards of us.
Occasionally, we thought we were discovered and prepared to make a dash for it, although we knew such a step would only hasten our destruction. The tree that hid us was too thick to climb, and the next was twenty feet away, but we could not climb it together.
The first to reach it might possibly escape, provided the tigers did not follow him up, but the second man would be doomed. So we stayed where we were.
Finally the two felines tired of their efforts. The tigress curled up to rest like a cat, while the tiger sat on his haunches beside her to recuperate. And we wondered if never go away. Another tiger, a male, had heard the sounds of revel and had come to see if there was chance to join in. The first tiger at once sprang to his feet to give an answering roar in challenge to the newcomer.
The tigress uncurled herself, stood on her four legs twitched her tail from side to side, and then settled down on her haunches. Clearly she was enjoying the situation, no doubt extremely pleased with herself at the prospect of two males about to engage in a titanic contest on her account.
The tiger on the further bank answered the challenge with roars of his own. Then he broke cover and stood revealed. Now the two males faced each other, the stream between them. The tigress, upon her haunches still, snarled mildly, mewed and almost purred in glee. It was obvious she was enjoying herself. This provoked the first tiger beyond endurance. Coughing a loud 'Whoff!
The level of the water appeared to have dropped appreciably, for this time he was able to wade the whole distance. The challenger awaited his coming, coughing and roaring.
The first tiger reached the other bank, crouched low for a moment, and then hurled himself at his rival. But something quite unexpected happened at the last moment. All this while the newcomer had given every indication that he was prepared to stand and do battle for the handsome female across the stream, but as her first lover crouched for his final spring, his courage turned to water.
He whirled around and bolted for dear life. Seeing this and gathering momentum the first tiger charged after him with a series of victorious roars. The female on our bank, disappointed that there was not going to be a fight for her favours, but anxious now to endear JUNGLES LONG AGO herself to her lord, coughed once and galloped across the stream to follow the two males that had vanished into the blackness of the jungle. At that Eric and I lost no time. We raced away to get out of the vicinity of the three tigers and leave them to settle their lovemaking problems.
We stumbled along through the gloom for the best part of half a mile before we risked switching on our torches again, for we did not dare to attract the attention of the three animals who had gone up the rising ground across the stream and might return at any moment. The track leads up a slope to the hamlet, and we followed it till we reached the mud-wattle huts of Kempekerai.
A cur barked but none of the inmates bothered to stir, and it was only after repeated calling that a very tousled and sleepy head was thrust from a slightly-opened doorway. The half-closed eyes blinked in the glare of my torch. The head and eyes were those of my old friend Byra the Poojaree, of whom 1 have told you in other stories.
For the greater part of the year this man lived with his wife and children almost stark naked in a burrow called 'gavvies' excavated in the steep banks of the Chinar river. In those days this fee was four annas a fraction below four pence per head for the whole period of five months grazing. The usual procedure was to download a licence for about fifty head of cattle, paying the government twelve-and-a-half rupees as grazing fee at the rate of sixteen annas to the rupee , but to drive anything up to head — or even more— into the forest.
A small gratuity of five rupees to the forest guard would cover the grazing fee for the remaining unlicensed animals. To look after these beasts, Byra and his family would have to build what was called a patti, which was nothing more than a small clearing in the jungle. A smaller circular fence of thorns was constructed within this clearing for actually sheltering the catde from wild animals at night.
It was in the style of the African 'boma', with the difference that, as there are no lions in south India, the thorn fence would not be more than a yard in height and not very thick either. Tigers and panthers are not given to vaulting over thorn fences and carrying off their prey, as are the more daring lions of Africa that hunt in groups.
The hamlet of Kempekerai was nothing more than a multiple cattle patti, accommodating not only Byra and his family but a number of other families as well, all of them engaged in looking after different herds of cattle belonging to different owners. This is indeed a true picture of the state of affairs in those good old days till a certain deadly poison was introduced as an insecticide by the government and made available to farmers, almost free of charge, to protect the crops from insect pests.
Some peasant then discovered that the insecticide, intended to kill caterpillars, beetles and other such pests, would also kill tigers and panthers that preyed upon the domestic herds and, far more important, unwanted mothers-in-law, brother- in-law, in fact all 'in-laws' of both sexes and all ages with happy impartiality, not to mention secret lovers, rivals, elder brothers who were so inconsiderate as to inherit the property when father died, and a whole host of other unwanted characters into the bargain.
To put it in a nutshell, opportunity was rife for those who were disgruntled in one way or another. The carcasses of cattle killed by tigers and panthers were systematically doctored with the result that the felines died in hundreds and have been almost wiped out in southern India, Along with them jackals, hyaenas and vultures, who shared these kills, perished in still larger numbers. There was also a sharp rise in the number of in-laws and other inconvenient people who began to succumb, suddenly, mysteriously and in increasing numbers, to violent stomachache and other alarming symptoms.
To this day, unlicensed still exceed the licensed cattle by many times. The owners save that much money in license fees, the forest guards draw more than their salary now, the government loses much more, and everyone is still happy The only difference from the old days is that there are now no tigers, panthers, hyaenas, jackals or even vultures to join in the general rejoicing.
Nearly all are dead — poisoned. Incidentally, the villagers were not taking very kindly to the family-planning programmes. In fact, the greater number of them were distinctly annoyed about the whole thing. On the one hand, they were being urged to mechanise their farming methods and give up the old-fashioned, cattle-drawn wooden ploughs of their forefathers.
At the same time, the cost of living and the prices of all commodities were rising day by day. The monsoon had a knack of not arriving when it should and of coming when it should not. Either way their crops failed.
Landlords were more grasping and so were the moneylenders. The government had tried to help all it could by distributing land, oxen and ploughs free of cost to any family in order to assist farmers who preferred to stick to the old style; but money, that root of all evil, was a temptation, and the oxen and ploughs were sold or mortgaged shortly after they were distributed.
The land would have followed suit as well, but that was rather too great a risk to take, being immovable property. Finally, the price of kerosene was increasing by leaps and bounds. One could not afford to burn the midnight oil. An early dinner and early to bed became the golden rule. What with rising costs, no kerosenre, an early dinner and early to Zt he hid at least some opportunity here. She was the one soUd item that was entirely his own.
But at this stage along Xing strange devices their forefathers had never heard of fd grudging the poor farmer the one -d on y pleasure and recreation available to him in these hard days So the statisticians were worried at the still steadily r. Byra was very happy when he d. Then we sat down for a chat and 1 told him the reason for our presence The jungle man was surprised and not a little concerned at the fact that we were unarmed. Whereas this elephant had not yet been proclaimed a 'rogue', inasmuch as it had not actual y killed anybody; t was an animal that charged on sight and only the flee nes of foot and jungle-cunning of the poojarees of Kempekera, had saved them, at least so far.
Every time we met it was the same thing. He would pester me to shoot a deer or sambar, and just as steadfastly I refused. Money I was ready to give him, but I had explained a hundred times that I do not like killing deer and sambar. Although he has never succeeded in his efforts to break me down on this point, Byra never fails to try and try again.
Possibly he thinks that he will wear me down eventually, and so must have our preliminary struggle every time we meet. Eric and I decided to eat and bring out our sandwiches. Unfortunately they contained beef, an ingredient that is forbidden to nearly all south Indians, including the humblest forest folk. The cow is sacred, and to eat its flesh is outrageously and unthinkably sinful. So although we did not make the mistake of offering him any, there was a distinct look of disapproval on Byra's simple face.
Eating beef was one of two things that he held against me; of the other I have just spoken. On all other matters he felt we were buddies or, to use a slang expression, 'as thick as thieves'. Considering he had never been to school, this man, aborigine as he was, was an authority on jungle medicines obtained from flowers, fruits, leaves, roots and barks of various trees and herbs. He AThallow hollow in the sands of the nearest stream, P 7in th t Sow he put a thick layer of green leaves.
Next he f t a torn niece of saree cloth and tied one end to the soles of her teet ThU doth was only long enough to reach to her knees. Byra then instructed her to. Byra then toveUedle sand into the hollow until it was entirely f.
There Lo been another female, but she had wandered away some SonSs earlier and had not returned. He went or. The tigress had been calling quite a lot recently, he confirmed. The poojarees in the hamlet had heard her only two nights earlier. All three animals were cattle-lifters, but none of them had shown any inclination to attack the graziers, who had frequently driven them away from their kills to salvage the hides for drying and sale.
He added that there was also a pair of panthers living on the other side of the stream that occasionally killed a stray cow if opportunity allowed.
A month earlier, one of these panthers had pulled down a calf and was killing it when one of the tigers rushed out of the undergrowth, put the panther to flight and carried the calf away, slung across its back. We stood up to leave, when Byra once again remonstrated about the great risk we were running with the 'bad' elephant.
However, to remain in shelter at the patti for the rest of the night was not jungle 'ghooming', and ghooming was the purpose of the trip. We explained this to the poojaree and shouldered our loads, but not before I checked to make certain that the cobra was still safely secured.
Till then, I shall remain with you and offer what protection lies in my power. We reached and crossed the water and followed the narrow path before us into the labyrinths of the jungle. We might have covered a half-nule when Byra vv r , 7 j Wr P d me with his hand upon my arm. Had the breeze been blowing from him to us, we might have been able, exercising the greatest caution, to creep past him undetected.
As matters stood, with practically no breeze in any direction, our situation was one of stalemate. The elephant — supposing there was one ahead — had not so far detected our presence. But he was bound to do so if we moved any closer. Even if he did not scent us, he would certainly hear us in that deathly silence. Byra had come to the same conclusion much earlier. He raised his right palm at waist level. The signal was plain as if he had spoken: The moments dragged by. We heard no sound.
I could smell the strange odour still, but I could not associate it with an elephant. Perhaps Byra was wrong after all and there was no elephant before us. Then the silence was broken. We heard a rustling sound, growing louder and heavier and moving along the pathway on which we were standing. Byra had been right. There was an elephant ahead, and he was moving through the undergrowth in our direction.
It was only a matter of seconds before he would emerge upon the pathway. Byra signalled to us to retreat and gave the lead by turning around and walking on tiptoe down the track along which we had just come. Eric followed, and I brought up the rear. At that moment the breeze decided to take a hand. A gust blew strongly down the valley, passing over us and directly towards the elephant. The cat was now out of the bag!
The elephant scented us and in the next instant was through the rest of the undergrowth.The mountain ranges to west and east tower above the valley bottom, sometimes oppressively close, giving the traveller the impression that he is in a leafy tunnel.
It is terrible to see the poor reptile, white without its outer skin, writhing and twisting in its agony. Like all big bullies, he was accustomed to attack and see his enemies scatter like chaff before the wind. The Tiger Roars. Time enough for him to find out the nature of the intruder later. As might have been expected, the panther resented this familiarity and badly clawed his hand.
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