The Tigress

Here’s a small passage these guys were discussing, from a book named My India by Jim Corbett:

I once saw a tigress stalking a month-old kid. The ground was very open and the kid saw the tigress while she was still some distance away and started bleating, whereupon the tigress gave up her stalk and walked straight up to it. When the tigress had approached to wihin a few yards, the kid went forward to greet her, and on reaching the tigress it stretched ot its neck and put up its head to smell her. For the duration of a few heartbeats the month-old kid and the Queen of the Forest stood nose to nose, and then the queen walked off in the direction from which she had come.

This passage describes the majesty and grace of the queen of the forest. One who reigns because she wears her power with ease and without offending sensibilities. And one who, at the same time, is dignified enough to know what she should and what she shouldnt do.

So who was this man who was so in love with the inhabitants of the forest, who could describe so poetically the conduct of the queen? Jim Corbett was born in Nainital, in present-day Uttarakhand in northern India. Over time, he became a highly proficient tracker and hunter, one could say, among the best. Not the sort who killed for sport. He was called in a number of times by the authorities to help with killing man-eaters, and in fact, he shot 33 man-eaters. He was deeply concerned about the fate of the tigers of Kumaon and and their habitat, and worked on creating awareness about the need for conserving forests. Jim Corbett also wrote a number of books, including Man-Eaters of Kumaon, My Kumaon, The Man-Eating Leopard of Rudraprayag, and My India.

He famously wrote, in the visitor’s register of the Tree-Tops Hotel, about Princess Elizabeth, who was staying there when King George VI died:

For the first time in the history of the world, a young girl climbed into a tree one day a Princess, and after having what she described as her most thrilling experience, she climbed down from the tree the next day a Queen – God bless her.

His legacy lives on in the form of the Jim Corbett National Park in Uttarakhand in northern India.

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