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The Bridge-Builders, Rudyard Kipling Demons they are, and sons of demons! And ye left Mother Gunga alone for their fire-carriage to make a mock of The Justice of the Gods on the bridge-builders!” The Bull turned the cud in his mouth and answered slowly: “If the Justice of the Gods caught all who made a mock of holy things there would be many dark altars in the land, mother.” “But this goes beyond a mock,” said the Tigress, darting forward a griping paw. “Thou knowest, Shiv, and ye, too, Heavenly Ones; ye know that they have defiled Gunga. Surely they must come to the Destroyer. Let Indra judge.” The Buck made no movement as he answered: “How long has this evil been? “Three years, as men count years,” said the Mugger, close pressed to the earth. “Does Mother Gunga die, then, in a year, that she is so anxious to see vengeance now? The deep sea was where she runs but yesterday, and to-morrow the sea shall cover her again as the Gods count that which men call time. Can any say that this their bridge endures till to-morrow?” said the Buck. There was a long hush, and in the clearing of the storm the full moon stood up above the dripping trees. “Judge ye, then,” said the River, sullenly. “I have spoken my shame. The flood falls still. I can do no more.” “For my own part,”--it was the voice of the great Ape seated within the shrine--“it pleases me well to watch these men, remembering that I also builded no small bridge in the world’s youth.” “They say, too,” snarled the Tiger, “that these men came of the wreck of thy armies, Hanuman, and therefore thou hast aided--” “They toil as my armies toiled in Lanka, and they believe that their toil endures.


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