I'm trying to read some of the short story collections I have, and read two very different stories recently!
Mowgli's Brothers by Rudyard Kipling
The Jungle Book is one of my favorite Disney movies. My brother and I watched the heck out of that VHS tape when we were little. So, I’d always thought I’d enjoy reading the original story by Kipling. In encountering Mowgli’s Brothers, I realized I had thought that The Jungle Book was a novel – not a short story collection. And, it’s the same short story collection that contains Rikki Tikki Tavi, which TERRIFIED me as a child. I HATED that mongoose. What’s that you say? The mongoose is the hero? I refuse to believe it! It’s an evil, evil monster, and I was horrified to learn that mongooses (mongeese?) are real! I have absolutely no idea what caused my terror, especially since my mom enjoyed the story because she hates snakes, but I still get the shivers when I hear the name of the book. I actually don’t mind snakes and often held and played with grass snakes when I was younger, so maybe that’s part of it and I felt sorry for them or something. I also remember the evil mongoose having terrifying red eyes that still haunt me. I should probably check it out at the library to see what was so scary, but I’m scared to! :)
So by the time I actually read Mowgli’s Brothers, I was a little on edge having relived my nightmares about Rikki Tikki Tavi. I really did not enjoy Mowgli’s Brothers. I’m not sure how much of that to place on Rikki Tikki Tavi and how much to blame Disney. Disney’s version of The Jungle Book is awesome! There are singing animals, lovable Baloo, the cute little wolves, and Mowgli having fun. Mowgli’s Brothers was much darker and sadly, kind of boring. Kipling skips the interesting stuff about what it would be like to grow up in a wolf pack and skips from Mowgli’s initial appearance as a toddler to his becoming a man and being banished. As a result, there wasn’t much to this story. I know Mowgli continues to make appearances in many other short stories by Kipling, and some of those are used as part of the Disney movie as well, but this just didn’t make me want to go out and read more. There was something very stilted in the language and so many references to the Laws of the Jungle that I felt like I was reading a law text book instead of an adventure story.
Two Friends by Guy de Maupassant
What a sad, tragic little story! It starts off as this uplifting story of friendship and how even in dark times, friends are there and you sometimes just need to go fishing together, to do something familiar and enjoyable to forget the stress of life. And then BOOM! There is no escaping the stress! There is no escaping war! It will find you. I don’t want to spoil this for anyone, but encourage you to check it out. It’s very short, even for a short story!