In my youthful days I thrilled to the description of Bagheera.
A black shadow dropped down into the circle. It was Bagheera the black panther, inky black all over, but with the panther markings showing up in certain lights, like the pattern of watered silk
Often I practiced dropping down from a branch or the kitchen table, rippling my fur as I did so in an attempt to create the effects of the watered silk. No one seemed to notice except the woman who has always harboured a strange abhorrence to me being on the table in the first place.
Bagheera still whispers to me
Fond memories of youth
Back in the days of my youth, the woman who feeds me would read aloud to the younger members of her litter, and my favourite was Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book.
The bits about Bagheera were the best.
When I grew up, I said to myself, I too would be as bold as the wild buffalo, and as reckless as the wounded elephant.
Those days are now long gone, the world has moved past and I spend my hours in the morning sun contemplating the lost dreams of youth but, inside me, the voice of Bagheera still whispers.
Softly he whispers, as soft as wild honey dripping from a tree.
Why Bagheera is my Hero He once wore a collar and chain
You may not realise this, but Bagheera did not always run free in the jungle. He was born in captivity in the menagerie of the Rajah of Oodeypore, and tells Mowgli in confidence ..
In the cage my life began
But Bagheera seized his opportunity when he grew strong enough to break the lock on the cage and, turning his back on the decadent luxury of the Rajah’s palace, escaped into the jungle where his natural intelligence, ferocity and innate blackness earned him the respect of all the denizens of the Wild. (Except for one conceited tiger).
Once I lay languishing in a cage at the Veterinary Hospital, and it was the image of Bagheera breaking out to run free that kept my spirits from going under. If Bagheera could do it, I could too
Natural Superiority will triumph
When Bagheera escaped he took up his rightful pace as Numero Uno of the Night.
All the other jungle creatures recognised the natural superiority of Bagheera, with one exception, the arrogant Shere Khan.
But Bagheera triumphed over Shere Khan and brought Mowgli safely to the man-village just as I will eventually triumph over the arrogant Siamese who hurls insults at me from the fence.