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Festivals of Midnapore District
Festivals of East and West Medinipur (Midnapore)
Books on Midnapore (Medinipur) District
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The Diary of the Wolf-Children of Midnapore
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Economics of Mat Industry - A study of P.S. Sabang, Midnapore
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Anselm Beaumont - Bangal Merchant (By Dr. P A K Covey-Crump)
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Life of an English Memsaheb in India in the late 19th Century (By Rajeswari Chatterjee)
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LAL JAL Rock Painting
 
 
 

The Diary of the Wolf-Children of Midnapore

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The Reverend J. A. L. Singh -  Missionary S. P. G. Mission and the Rector, The Orphanage, Midnapore, India

Written by The Reverend J. A. L. Singh
Missionary S. P. G. Mission and the Rector
The Orphanage, Midnapore
Midnapore, India.


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These are Singh's diaries, as also published in Wolf-Children and The Feral Man .

 

August 6, 1922

It was noticed that when, instead of biscuits or sweets, any drink like milk which she could not raise to her mouth with her hands, was placed on the table, she just bent her neck and lowered her mouth to the plate in the same manner as lapping.

From this time, we stopped giving her anything on the floor. We made nineteen small tables two feet and two and, one-half feet high for Kamala and the crawling babies, and regularly placed their food on those tables. The babies and Kamala commenced taking their food from the tables, all kneeling.

August 19, 1922

It was noticed that Kamala took up her plate, placed it on the ground, and began to eat with her mouth, lowering it down to the plate on the ground and not using her hand.

Appetite

Kamala had a ravenous appetite and would eat and drink to the full capacity of her stomach. At times she ate so much that she became sick, and we had to stop her food. If she showed signs of appetite after this, then only liquid diet was given. She had a great appetite for meat. But unfortunately, we had stopped meat altogether. We never found her killing any animal or bird in the house. But if she found any dead animal or bird, whether in the house or in the maidan, she would grab it at once.

September 2, 1922

Not only did she eat carrion, but she even attacked the vultures and crows and drove them from a carcass in the field on this date. After driving them away, she commenced eating the meat very ferociously. At times, she dragged the dead body to and fro, and if the vultures approached it, she drove them away again and again, with a peculiar harsh noise proceeding from the mouth and nose.

March 6, 1922

Before this, it was noticed, when she found a dead chicken lying in the courtyard, that she at once took it in her mouth and ran out on all fours so quickly that she could not be overtaken. She hid herself inside the lantana bushes, and was not found till she herself came out after finishing the chicken. A feather and particles of meat were found on her lips and on the sides of her cheek. Mrs. Singh caught hold of her and asked her about it with endearments which Kamala understood, and she nodded her head to say "yes."

September 14, 1922

This day, when Kamala was taken out early in the morning, she was found running to a distance in search of something. We did not mind her running in the field like that; but after some time when we approached a bush, we found her busy biting a big bone, rubbing it at times to separate the meat from it, and producing a harsh sound. I wanted to snatch away the bone, but she looked at me with great ferocity.

April 9, 1923

She was very fond of sweets, biscuits, chocolates, and cakes. After a time, she used to follow Mrs. Singh or Miss Singh like the crawling babies for sweets and cakes. When Mrs. Singh opened the meat safe, Kamala came crawling to her side and pointed with her right hand to the jar containing some cakes. She stood in such a manner, pressing the door that the door could not be shut, and Mrs. Singh had to yield and give her a piece of cake. On receipt of the piece, she went away hurriedly to eat it. The babies, finding the piece in her hand, followed her, but she showed her temper by producing a sound and rolling her eyes in a peculiar fashion, to discourage them from following her. She quietly sat in her corner and ate it, nor did she leave the corner till she had finished.

May 17, 1922

She did not like salt at all. This day Kamala found the meat safe open, and there was some dried salted fish in a plate inside it. She took out a big piece from the plate, but dropped it on her way to her corner. We thought she had dropped it accidentally, and I picked it up and brought it to her in her corner. I offered it to her, but she turned her face away from it. I offered it again, but she refused to accept it. Then I dropped the piece near her. We found afterwards that it lay there untouched.

June 11, 1923

Another time a piece of salt meat was offered to her. She took a bite and then dropped it on the ground and moved away from me to her corner.

April 9, 1921

Prior to this, when Amala was alive, this very thing had been tested and both had left the pieces in their plates on the ninth of April, 1921.

April 3, 1921

Kamala was not only fond of sweets, but if she found her milk and barley not sufficiently sweetened with sugar, she would refuse it.

June 20, 1923, and June 21, 1923

Kamala had a great appetite for fried eggs. Once on the twentieth of June, 1923, she came by herself to Mrs. Singh at the table, and as usual she stretched out her hand to get something. A piece of egg was given to her with a biscuit; she received both all right, but kept the biscuit and ate the egg slowly with great relish. I asked Mrs. Singh to give her an egg at teatime. Kamala became a regular member of the tea table. She would crawl and patiently wait till she got her egg from me every morning. An egg was ordered for her every morning from the twenty-first of June, 1923.

November 19, 1920

At the beginning, her attitude while eating was ferocious. Amala was somewhat less of the same nature. On this day, Kamala had gone to the dogs to eat with them, and Amala followed. To our astonishment, the dogs, who generally get ferocious at the time of their dinner at 4 p.m. every day, did not growl at Kamala. Fearing that Amala would be attacked by the dogs, we prevented her from going to them. But Kamala we could not, on account of her ferocious nature at that time.

Kamala and the dogs ate from the same, plate whenever she got a chance of approaching them at such a time.

Kamala and Amala asleep overlapping
Kamala and Amala asleep overlapping

Mode of Sleeping December 16, 1920

From the very beginning it was noticed that Amala and Kamala used to sleep like pigs when lying in a litter, overlapping one another. This was first noticed (as soon as Kamala got cured of her sores) on the above date.

December 14 and 15, 1920

While they were sleeping separately during illness, they always slept with bent legs, bringing the knees up to the chest. This was first noticed on the fourteenth of December, 1920. Even while sleeping on their back, they used to bring their knees up to their chest. This was noticed on the fifteenth of December, 1920.

August 13, 1923

The first time Kamala was seen sleeping with outstretched legs was on this date.

November 5, 1920

Kamala always snored while sleeping, and so did Amala. Both Kamala and Amala used to grind their teeth while sleeping, and at times used to howl. The howling during sleeping was first heard during illness on the above date.

Both of them used to lie down sometimes at noon, and from 10 p.m. to 12 p.m. if they liked. Otherwise, they kept awake the whole day, only they were sometimes found dozing while sitting in their corner.

Chapter XIV
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Activity August 12, 1922

KAMALA'S chief activity at this time was very prominent. She loved to pull the punkah. She was caught pulling it by herself on this day. From this time we permitted her to do what she liked. She used to come whenever she liked and sit for hours to pull the punkah. This willing offer of hers relieved the punkah-puller a good deal.

She used to roam about with us in the maidan early in the morning freely with the favorite cat or a young dog who used to follow us with Kamala.

September 14, 1923

On this date Kamala was caught meddling with the lock of the meat safe.

October 21, 1923

Kamala used to accompany the babies in their strolls on the path inside the garden whenever she liked. She used to come herself; we never forced her to do this. She came out with the babies for the first time on this date.

December 2, 1923

Kamala tried to force open the kitchen door, but failed.

December 29, 1923

If a piece of raw meat was shown to Kamala and thrown as far as possible, Kamala would be sure to find it by her instinct. Noticed first on this date.

When she wanted to run fast she always used to go on all fours. But when she wanted to go slowly, she crawled.


Kamala coming out with the babies for a stroll

August 30, 1922

Kamala took a fancy to swinging, but she was not secure in swinging. Later on, Kamala learned to swing daily with the babies and other children, by turns. Kamala used to crawl down to the swing and wait there till she was invited by the children; then she used to be delighted and crawl up to it at once. All this was noticed for the first time on the above date.

October 18, 1923

Kamala was found peeping into the well, leaning against the pavement round the well, hanging her legs down on the sides.

September 18, 1923

Kamala was purposely left outside the house. At this time, she did not like so much as formerly to be out at night. After some time, at about 11:30 p.m., when she found out that everyone had entered the house and the doors were closed, she moved from door to door to get an entrance into the rooms. She found all the doors closed from the inside, and she could not get in. She moved up and down for some time, and at last she came to the entrance (to the inside courtyard) and commenced scratching the door with her finger nails. Afterwards when she found the door was not opened, she began to howl.

December 5, 1923

Some pulse had been spread out in the sun, and the poultry and crows commenced picking it up. Kamala watched them for some time; then at last she came to the mat on which the pulse was spread, and then finding the birds coming to pick up the grain again, she drove them away. Kamala became quite useful in this way.

January 7, 1924

The cat had caught hold of a pigeon and was running away with it. A hue and cry was raised, and it attracted Kamala's notice. Coming out, she found the cat running away with the pigeon in its mouth. All the children followed the cat, and so did Kamala. The cat hid from place to place, and Kamala followed at her heels. At last we found that Kamala had rescued the pigeon, almost dead. She brought the pigeon and dropped it in the courtyard. Kamala did not share it with the cat, and she gained our confidence little by little this way.

May 13, 1923

There was a rooster among the fowls who was a great fighter and very ferocious. He used to chase the little children and sometimes grown-up men too. He used to be caged during the day, except for three hours. On this day, Kamala got into the cage while he was out. A little while after, the rooster turned up and entered the cage. But it did not do any harm to Kamala. The bird came close up to Kamala and she patted it with her left hand on its back. They remained friends till the bird died.

June 17, 1923

The top was a puzzle to Kamala. She would watch the top whirling, while the boys were playing with it. At times, she would catch it while it was turning round and examine it thoroughly. She would throw it down, trying to make it go round, but when she found the top did not spin, she would get angry and bite it. This was first noticed on the above date.

Kamala biting the top
Kamala biting the top

January 9, 1924

It was noticed on the night of the ninth of January, 1924, that Kamala followed us into the field with some sort of fear in her attitude. She was not so willing to accompany us at that hour in the open field, but she appeared to come grudgingly. We did not carry any light except a torch. She was found to be suspicious and hesitated to move along. She behaved just like a baby of one and one-half years or so. She looked this side and that, and kept very close to us. She was no longer the same Kamala who

had moved with the wolves in the dark. Now she had become timid and expected danger at such hours. This was a great change.

January 22, 1924

One of the children came to me and said that Kamala was very angry and would not come to eat her food. At this period, Mrs. Singh was absent in Calcutta. I went in and found Kamala sitting in her corner, very much displeased to all appearances. I approached her and called her name to make known to her my presence, but she did not move nor even look at me. I went on calling her name, making my tone as affectionate as I could. At last after fifteen or twenty minutes, she looked up. Her expression and the movements of her eyes clearly showed that she was displeased. I asked her at once where Mama was and she looked up again. I could see that she was anxious. I placed my hand affectionately on her and said, "I know these children are troubling you; they are very naughty." I invited her to come to her food, and she obeyed after a great deal of coaxing. During Mrs. Singh's absence, Kamala became morose again and somewhat peevish.

January 28, 1924

Mrs. Singh returned on this date. As soon as Kamala heard that Mama had come, she rushed out on all fours to her side and came close up to her, rubbing her body against Mrs. Singh's thighs and turning round and round; Mrs. Singh patted her, caught hold of her chin and kissed her, and showed her affection in tone, gesture, and posture. Kamala walked by her side and left me unnoticed. Now Kamala was jolly and no longer morose or peevish.

 

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