Overview of 'The Jungle Book' - By Rudyard Kipling
The Jungle Book is a collection of stories from the author Rudyard Kipling. The Jungle Book’s stories are set in an Indian forest. Ancient Indian stories like the Panchatantra and the Jataka tales, which use animals to teach moral lessons, were a source of inspiration for the Jungle Book. It has continued to thrive, with numerous film and other media adaptations.
The Jungle Book is the story of a man cub named Mowgli. He got separated from his family at a very young age and was raised by wolves, taught by a soft spoken yet firm black panther Bagheera, and a happy go lucky bear Balloo. With his wolf brothers and friends like the elephants, python, kite, porcupine, and many others he goes through many adventures and learns a lot of lessons.
Mowgli also has an enemy, a tiger who has his eyes on him since he was an infant, the roaring, influencing, cunning Sher Khan. Throughout his life in the jungle, Mowgli learns various lessons, like who to trust and who not to, and the biggest one is to face his fears and never back away.
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Ch 1: The Man's Cub
Mama and Papa Wolf were relaxing in their cave with their cubs, when Tabaqui the shrewd jackal told them about Sher Khan’s changing territories and starting to hunt in their jungle. As they hear Sher Khan in the distance, they realize that Mowgli, a little child, has reached their cave and mingled with their own cubs.
He is being hunted by Sher Khan but the wolves love him instantly as their own, and would do anything to protect the little baby. Yet there is a big hurdle that Mowgli has to pass to live as their own, and that is to be accepted in the wolf pack.
Ch 2: The Pack Meeting
The pack meeting is presided by Akela, the kind old wolf, who is also the pack leader. Akela was a ferocious one in his prime. In the pack meeting, all the little wolves come and get examined by other wolves for them to be accepted in the pack. There are at least two voices needed for accepting the wolves in the pack.
Mama and Papa wolf are anxious whether Mowgli being a man-cub, will be accepted in the pack or not. But he manages to get two votes, one from Baloo, the bear, and the other from Bagheera, the panther.
Ch 3: Mowgli of the Seeonee Wolf Pack
For next 10 or 11 years, Mowgli started to live life of wolves. Learning various things from Bagheera and Baloo. They taught him things like how to copy various animals’ calls, how to survive a huge fall, how to swim and befriend other animals.
They also taught him master words of the jungle in order to defend himself. Baloo and Bagheera were always with him and Mowgli’s ideal day would pass riding on Bagheera’s back. There was only one species of animals they warned Mowgli against, and they were the monkeys, The Bandar Log.
Ch 4: The Lawless Bandar Log
Mowgli is kidnapped by the Bandar log. They are loud, rowdy and do not follow any law. Off they take Mowgli, carrying him over the trees, while making horrifying noises. Meanwhile Mowgli sends the message to Baloo and Bagheera through Rann the kite, to rescue him from the monkeys from a city which is difficult to be found, but is home to the monkeys.
This city has no law, and thus is most suited to the lawless creatures. While the Bandar log have brought Mowgli thinking that he will be of use to them, Bagheera and Baloo on the other side have approached Kaa, the python to help them rescue Mowgli.
Ch 5: The Lost City
The lost city is home to Bandar log, they look down upon those who live in jungles. They have no rules, they always know how to dance and play and do not use their efforts in anything. They think of Mowgli as their captive.
Mowgli finally realizes the reason why he was warned against the monkeys by Baloo and Bagheera. Later the Bandar log do a ceremonial dance around Mowgli. All the ruckus continues till Bagheera, Baloo and Kaa arrive there and declare war.
Ch 6: The Fierce Combat
Bagheera and Baloo start their havoc on the monkeys and begin the fight. Then comes Kaa, whom the monkeys are afraid of, because when hungry Kaa shows no mercy. Together they fight the Bandar log and rescue Mowgli.
Later Kaa begins his fierce dance and gives monkeys a really hard time. While Mowgli resting on Bagheera’s back and alongside Baloo, leave for the jungle.
Ch 7: Un-trustable Sher Khan
While relaxing under the sun one day, Bagheera and Baloo are sitting with Mowgli and tell him that Sher Khan’s sole aim is to have Mowgli for himself. While Mowgli feels he is one of the Jungle’s. Bagheera makes him realize that it’s because he is different from the rest that Sher Khan cannot be trusted for him.
Sher khan is influencing other wolves against Mowgli. Akela, the old pack leader is not the same wolf he once was, he could be removed as the leader anytime, So it is high time that Mowgli now stands up against Sher Khan. They advise Mowgli to get The Red Flower, which is fire, from the village.
Ch 8: The Red Flower
Finally the day came when Akela missed his kill. The next day was crucial for both Mowgli and him. Mowgli had no option but to run and get the red flower. He reached the village and quickly took the pot full of burning coal to the council rock. He along with his brothers reached the council rock where Sher Khan was also present with his accomplice.
Sher Khan wanted nothing but Mowgli; this had been his demand for years. Akela did not agree to it as before. Baloo and Bagheera incited Mowgli to now take charge.
Ch 9: Mowgli, The Man
Mowgli picked up the pot and threw them on Sher Khan and his accomplice wolves. They yelped in pain, and with burning furs ran away. Mowgli however got the message that he was in a way banished from the pack.
Heartbroken Mowgli vowed to leave the jungle and start living in the village with men. He also promised everyone that he will be back but only after getting Sher Khan’s hide with him. Till then with the retort to live as a man among men, he bade an emotional farewell to his wolf mother and left for the village.
Ch 10: A Man's Life
Mowgli reached the village and upon meeting the men folk, was shocked by their behavior. The village people gathered together on the priest’s call and were pointing fingers on him. they were also shocked to see how a child could have so many bite marks on him.
Finally it was decided that Mowgli will live with Messua, a village lady whose son was taken to the jungle by the tiger who was lame. Messua and her husband were glad to have him in. Mowgli found it difficult to live under a roof on his first day. He was visited by Gray Brother, the eldest of mother wolf’s cub, who told him about how things were in the jungle.
Ch 11: The Village Herd
Mowgli started living as a man in the village, it had been three months. He started wearing clothes and following the ways of men. Buldeo the hunter had many tales about his hunting expedition to the villagers. During one such speech he mentioned about the lame tiger, who actually was a village man reincarnated.
When Mowgli laughed it off he was given the task to graze the village cattle with other boys. Mowgli really liked doing it and got the chance to go nearer to the jungle.
There he met Gray brother and asked about the whereabouts of Sher Khan, and instructed him to get himself or any of his four wolf brothers to sit on the jungle’s edge everyday to denote that there was no news of Sher Khan.
Ch 12: The End of Sher Khan
At last a day came when there were none of the wolf brothers on the jungle’s edge, signaling that Sher Khan was back and was on a hunt for Mowgli. Along with Gray Brother, there was Akela and Mowgli was delighted to meet him.
They chalked out a plan to trap Sher Khan using the village cattle. Finally came the time when Mowgli sitting on the village buffalo Rama, called out the name of his enemy Sher Khan to lure him to the trap, where Gray Brother and Akela stood guard. Sher Khan, without thinking came out and got killed by the cattle hooves.
Ch 13: Jungle Demon
Sher Khan was dead and Mowgli has to skin him to keep the promise he made at the council rock. While he was trying to do that Buldeo, the village hunter caught Mowgli and tried to talk to him about taking credit of killing the tiger in order to win the prize money on his head. But Buldeo had to flee when Akela grounded him.
As Mowgli returned he realized that Buldeo had incited all the villagers against him. They threw stones at him and called him a demon. He was outcast again, this time, by Men, calling him wolf. Mowgli thanked a crying Messua, and left for the jungle, never to return.
Ch 14: The Free Person
Mother wolf was proud to see that the hunted had become the hunter. Mowgli took Sher khan’s hide on the council rock and showed it to the other wolves. When asked by them to lead the pack, he left saying that he was a free person, who will hunt and live for himself. His wolf brothers left with him.
FAQ on The Jungle Book Story
Mr. Rudyard Kipling is the original author of this work. Mr. Kipling was born in Mumbai during the reign of British in India and spent his first five years in India before moving back to England for his studies. But he returned back to spend more time in India when he was about 16 years old.
The story of Jungle Book is set in India. It’s author, Mr. Kipling was born in British India and he also did his first job in India. Hence his work and often names of his characters are heavily influenced by India and its culture.
Mowgli is the name of the boy and this name is given to him by his wolf mother.
Sher Khan is a tiger in the fictional story of Jungle Book. Sher Khan is the lead villain of this story and for some reason has developed deep animosity against Mowgli and wants to kill him.