The Jungle Book Summary
by Rudyard Kipling

The Jungle Book book cover
Start Your Free Trial

The Jungle Book Summary

The Jungle Book is a collection of seven short stories by Rudyard Kipling. Much of the book focuses on Mowgli, a boy who grows up in the jungle.

  • In “Mowgli’s Brothers,” Mowgli is raised by the Wolf Pack and learns the Law of the Jungle. He eventually leaves the wolves but vows to return when he has defeated the tiger Shere Khan.
  • In “Kaa’s Hunting,” Mowgli is taken to the Cold Lairs by the Monkey People and rescued by Baloo the bear, Bagheera the panther, and Kaa the python.
  • In “Tiger! Tiger!,” Mowgli defeats Shere Khan and decides to become a lone hunter.

Summary

Mowgli’s Brothers

Shere Khan, the tiger, is pursuing a child barely old enough to walk when the boy is found by a Father and Mother Wolf, who raise him alongside their cubs. The child, Mowgli, becomes a member of the Wolf Pack and is taught the Law of the Jungle by Baloo the bear. Bagheera the panther also looks after him, and one day, ten or eleven years after Mowgli joins the pack, Bagheera tells him that he is in danger. Akela, the leader of the pack and Mowgli’s protector, is becoming old and weak. Many of the younger wolves have fallen under the influence of Shere Khan. To protect himself, Bagheera suggests, Mowgli must steal the Red Flower, fire, from the village nearby.

Download The Jungle Book Study Guide

Subscribe Now

Mowgli steals the fire, tends it with sticks, and takes his fire-pot to the Council Rock, where the wolves meet. Akela is too weak to lead the wolves, and Shere Khan demands they give Mowgli to him. Mowgli starts a fire and beats Shere Khan with a flaming branch, burning his coat. He leaves the Wolf Pack but vows to return when he has killed Shere Khan and to spread the tiger’s skin over the Council Rock.

Kaa’s Hunting

This story takes place while Mowgli is still a member of the Wolf Pack. Baloo the bear is teaching him the Law of the Jungle, and Mowgli, despite being an apt pupil, is bored and fractious. He starts talking to the Monkey People, who follow no law and are despised by the other Jungle People.

One day, the Monkey People carry Mowgli away while he is sleeping. They take him to a ruined city, where they sing and dance and imitate the men who used to live there. Mowgli wants to leave, but they will not allow him to do so. Meanwhile, Bagheera and Baloo seek help from Kaa, the python. The three of them rescue Mowgli, and Kaa hypnotizes the Monkey People. Bagheera and Baloo narrowly escape being hypnotized as well, and Bagheera beats Mowgli soundly for causing so much trouble.

“Tiger! Tiger!”

This story takes place immediately after the events of “Mowgli’s Brothers.” Having left the wolves, Mowgli goes to the nearby village, where he is taken in by a woman named Messua, who lost her son to Shere Khan. Mowgli works hard to learn the ways of men and is soon given the responsibility of herding the village cattle. One day, he learns that Shere Khan intends to attack him that evening and is now sleeping in a nearby ravine. Mowgli drives the cattle to the ravine, then starts a stampede, which kills Shere Khan. He returns to the village, but one of the hunters he has insulted has turned the people against him, persuading them that the boy is a demon. Mowgli returns to the wolves’ Council Rock with Shere Khan’s skin, fulfilling the vow he made at the end of the first story. The wolves ask him to be their leader, but Mowgli says that he has been cast out by both wolves and men, and now prefers to hunt alone.

The White Seal

Kotick is a fur seal who is born with a unique white skin. When he is a year old, he notices two men driving his fellow young fur seals, known as “holluschickie,” away from the beach. He follows the men as they drive the seals to the killing grounds, where they club and skin the other holluschickie.

Kotick is horrified by what he has seen, but the other seals, who have never witnessed the slaughter, do not seem to care much. Kotick spends the next five years seeking an uninhabited beach, until he is finally led to one by a herd of...

(The entire section is 1,262 words.)