What are the Laws of the Jungle?

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The Laws of the Jungle dictate to the wolves and other creatures of the jungle what is permissible and what is not. These laws include rules regarding hunting and that one must, generally, keep the peace.

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The Laws of the Jungle are found throughout the text of The Jungle Book. Readers learn them alongside Mowgli or through discussions between the wolves.

Now this is the Law of the Jungle—as old and as true as the sky;
And the Wolf that shall keep it may prosper, but the wolf that shall break it must die.

The first Law of the Jungle readers learn about is spoken by Father Wolf. He states that Shere Khan has no right to change his hunting grounds on a whim. Shere Khan is supposed to warn the other creatures first, as his presence will scare away other prey, forcing the hunters to go hungry.

By the Law of the Jungle he has no right to change his quarters without due warning.

The second law readers learn is that the animals of the jungle are forbidden to eat humans, except in order to teach their young to hunt and kill. Even then, the hunting of "Man" must be done outside of one's usual hunting grounds.

The Law of the Jungle, which never orders anything without a reason, forbids every beast to eat Man except when he is killing to show his children how to kill, and then he must hunt outside the hunting grounds of his pack or tribe.

The third law states that a wolf may remove himself from the pack when he marries; however, the couple must bring their cubs, when old enough to walk, before the Pack Council so that "the other wolves may identify them" and understand they are of the same tribe.

The Law of the Jungle also states that a disputed cub must be spoken for by two members of the pack that are not its father or mother. Baloo the bear and Bagheera the panther both speak for Mowgli.

Other laws state that one must not kill for pleasure; one must keep peace with the Lords of the Jungle (tigers, bears, panthers, boars, etc.); and one's dispute with another must be handled alone, without pack involvement, as the pack would then be "diminished by war."

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