Other kids thought the Jungle Book was a Disney movie with goofy songs; I thought it was part of my father’s wardrobe, since for several years of my life, he was rarely seen without one volume or another of Kipling’s fables of animals who behave like humans, or a little bit better. Kipling imbued his monkeys, the Bandar Log, with our callow, smug, self-satisfaction, reflected in their motto: We are great. We are free. We are wonderful. We are the most wonderful people in all the jungle! We all say so, and so it must be true.
Here is an excerpt from the Road Song of the Bandar Log:
Here we sit in a branchy row,
Thinking of beautiful things we know;
Dreaming of deeds that we mean to do,
All complete, in a minute or two–
Something noble and wise and good,
Done by merely wishing we could.
We’ve forgotten, but–never mind,
Brother, thy tail hangs down behind!