Rudyard Kipling has had such an interesting impact on Western culture. Cub Scouts are encouraged to “dyb dyb dyb” (do your best) because Baden-Powell developed the Scouts movement. He in turn relied on inspiration from a variety of sources, including Kipling’s writings. “The Jungle Book” became the basis for naming leaders of the Wolf Pack, and the Cub Scout Law requires respect for the “old wolf”, Akela. My interests in scouting and in books – heck, even in Kipling – intersected this week when a first edition was discovered with an inscription by Kipling to his daughter written inside.

The story, courtesy of the BBC.

Another book that had an impact on the scouting movement was Kipling’s Kim, the story of an orphan in India who ends up becoming part of a spy network for the British.  A great book, worth reading to any boy or girl who is interested in adventure and mystery.  It’s available as an e-book, if you have a device to read it; I read it on my Palm T|X before buying a paper copy.

I had not realized Kipling lived in the United States until two of my favorite musicians, John Roberts and Tony Barrand, were commissioned to record a number of his poems and songs.  You can find them in Naulakha Redux, named after Kipling’s house in Vermont.  It was at Naulakha that Kipling wrote The Jungle Book.  My favorites from the recording are Ford of Kabul River, Mandalay, and An Astrologer’s Song, the first two of which I have often sung to the kids at bedtime (with minor alterations).