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Mowgli and Messua in 'Tiger! Tiger!'

Messua is the woman that takes care of Mowgli when he goes back to the village.

Spoilers follow

She is the only human who shows Mowgli any real kindness. Later on, when Mowgli has been driven out of the village for "witchcraft" and the villagers are about to execute Messua and her husband for harbouring him, Mowgli rescues them and makes sure the villagers do not follow them.

About five years later Mowgli finds the now-widowed Messua living in another village with her new infant son. She is astonished to see how tall and handsome Mowgli has grown, and asks him to stay and help raise his brother. Mowgli is reluctant to leave the jungle, but his animal friends eventually persuade him that he should return to his own kind.

From The Jungle Book 'Tiger! Tiger':

"Arré! Arré!" said two or three women together. "To be bitten by wolves, poor child! He is a handsome boy. He has eyes like red fire. By my honour, Messua, he is not unlike thy boy that was taken by the tiger."
"Let me look," said a woman with heavy copper rings on her wrists and ankles, and she peered at Mowgli under the palm of her hand. “Indeed he is not. He is thinner, but he has the very look of my boy."
The priest was a clever man, and he knew that Messua was wife to the richest villager in the place. So he looked up at the sky for a minute and said solemnly: "What the jungle has taken the jungle has restored. Take the boy into thy house, my sister, and forget not to honour the priest who sees so far into the lives of men."

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Page last modified on February 06, 2013, at 06:07 AM