Jungle Book Wiki

The Jungle Book (1894) is a collection of stories written by Rudyard Kipling. Kipling was born in India and spent the first six years of his childhood there. After about ten years in England, he went back to India and worked there for about six-and-half years. All of the stories were published in magazines in 1893–4. The original publications contained illustrations, some by Rudyard's father, John Lockwood Kipling. These books were written when Kipling lived in Vermont.[1]

The tales in the book (and also those in The Second Jungle Book which followed in 1895, and which includes five further stories about Mowgli) are fables, using animals in an anthropomorphic manner to give moral lessons. The verses of The Law of the Jungle, for example, lay down rules for the safety of individuals, families and communities. Kipling put in them nearly everything he knew or "heard or dreamed about the Indian jungle."[2] Other readers have interpreted the work as allegories of the politics and society of the time.[3] The best-known of them are the three stories revolving around the adventures of an abandoned 'man cub' Mowgli who is raised by wolves in the Indian jungle. The most famous of the other stories are probably "Rikki- Tikki- Tavi", the story of a heroic mongoose, and "Toomai of the Elephants", the tale of a young elephant-handler. Kotick, The White Seal seeking for his people a haven where they would be safe from hunters, has been considered a metaphor for Zionism, then in its beginning.

As with much of Kipling's work, each of the stories is preceded by a piece of verse, and succeeded by another. The title of each is given in italics in the list of stories below.

The Jungle Book, because of its moral tone, came to be used as a motivational book by the Cub Scouts, a junior element of the Scouting movement. This use of the book's universe was approved by Kipling after a direct petition of Robert Baden-Powell, founder of the Scouting movement, who had originally asked for the author's permission for the use of the Memory Game from Kim in his scheme to develop the morale and fitness of working-class youths in cities. Akela, the head wolf in The Jungle Book, has become a senior figure in the movement, the name being traditionally adopted by the leader of each Cub Scout pack. 

Chapters in The Jungle Book[]

The complete book, having passed into the public domain, is on-line at Project Gutenberg's official website and elsewhere.

  • 1. Mowgli's Brothers: A boy is raised by wolves in the Indian Jungle with the help of Baloo the bear and Bagheera the black panther and elephants , and then has to fight the tiger Shere Khan. This story has also been published as a short book in its own right. Night-Song in the Jungle
  • 2. Hunting-Song of the Seeonee Pack
  • 3. Kaa's Hunting: This story takes place before Mowgli fights Shere Khan. When Mowgli is abducted by monkeys, Baloo and Bagheera set out to rescue him with the aid of Chil the Kite and Kaa the python. Maxims of Baloo.
  • 4. Road Song of the Bandar-Log
  • 5. Tiger! Tiger!: Mowgli returns to the human village and is adopted by Messua and her husband who believe him to be their long-lost son Nathoo. But he has trouble adjusting to human life, and Shere Khan still wants to kill him. The story's title is taken from the poem "The Tyger" by William Blake.
  • 6. Mowgli's Song
  • 7. The White Seal: Kotick, a rare white-furred seal, searches for a new home for his people, where they will not be hunted by humans.
  • 8. Lukannon
  • 9. Rikki- Tikki- Tavi: Rikki-Tikki the mongoose defends a human family living in India against a pair of cobras. This story has also been published as a short book.
  • 10. Darzee's Chant
  • 11. Toomai of the Elephants: Toomai, a ten-year old boy who helps to tend working elephants, is told that he will never be a full-fledged elephant-handler until he has seen the elephants dance. This story has also been published as a short book.
  • 12. Shiv and the Grasshopper
  • 13. Her Majesty's Servants (originally titled "Servants of the Queen"): On the night before a military parade a British soldier eavesdrops on a conversation between the camp animals.
  • 14. Parade-Song of the Camp Animals parodies several well-known songs and poems, including Bonnie Dundee.



  • Mowgli — Main character, the young jungle boy.
  • Meshua — A female villager who adopts Mowgli.
  • Meshua's husband
  • Nathoo — Messua's long-lost son(mentioned only).
  • Buldeo — The chief hunter in the village.


  • Father Wolf — Father wolf is a indian wolf who raised Mowgli as his own cub.
  • Raksha — The Mother wolf who raised Mowgli as her own cub.
  • Gray brother — One of Mother and Father Wolf's cubs.
  • Hathi — An Asian Elephant.
  • Bagheera — A Black Panther.
  • Baloo— A Sloth Bear.
  • Kaa — an Indian Python.
  • Shere Khan — A Bengal Tiger.
  • Akela — An Indian Wolf.
  • Tabaqui — A Golden Jackal.
  • Chil — A kite.
  • Mao — An Indian Peafowl.
  • Mang — A Bat.
  • Ikki — An Asiatic Brush-tailed Porcupine (mentioned only).
  • The Bandar-Log — A tribe of monkeys.
  • Rikki-Tikki-Tavi — An Indian Mongoose.
  • Darzee — A tailorbird.
  • Chuchundra — A Muskrat.
  • Nag — A male King cobra.
  • Nagaina — A female King cobra. Nag's mate.
  • Karait — a Common Krait.
  • Kotick — The White Seal
  • Sea catch — A Northern fur seal and Kotick's father
  • Sea vitch — A Walrus.
  • Sea cow — A manatee.


The book's text has often been abridged or adapted for younger readers, and there have also been several comic book adaptations.


  • A comic book series Petit d'homme ("Man Cub") was published in Belgium between 1996 and 2003. Written by Crisse and drawn by Marc N'Guessan and Guy Michel, it resets the stories in a post-apocalyptic world in which Mowgli's friends are humans rather than animals: Baloo is an elderly doctor, Bagheera is a fierce African woman warrior and Kaa is a former army sniper.
  • Classics Illustrated #83 (1951) contains an adaptation of three Mowgli stories.
    • Reprinted in 1997 in a digest size edition with new coloring, accompanied by notes on the original stories, as a Classics Illustrated Study Guide.
  • Between 1953 and 1955 Dell Comics featured adaptations of six Mowgli stories in three issues (#487[1], #582[2] and #620[3]).
  • Some issues of Marvel Fanfare feature adaptations of the Mowgli stories by Gil Kane. These were later collected as an omnibus volume.
  • P. Craig Russell's Jungle Book Stories (1997) collects three stories, actually adapted from The Second Jungle Book, which originally appeared between 1985 and 1996.
  • Fables features an adult Mowgli. He is one of the "Tourists", a group of three Fables monitoring Fables who do not live in Fabletown. He first appears in Fables #39, where he meets up with Baloo and Bagheera, and discusses old times with them. In Fables #48 & 49, Mowgli is the protagonist of a two-part story arc in which he tracks down Bigby Wolf.
  • The French comic book (bande dessinée) Pyrénée (1998), by Regis Loisel and Philippe Sternis, features a girl who is raised by a bear and taught wisdom by a blind old eagle in the French Pyrenees, the bear having named her after the mountains. This story has won critical acclaim and has been translated into German and Dutch, but has also drawn some criticism over the girl's nudity. The version of Rudyard Kipling's Mowgli.

Live-action film[]

  • "Toomai of the Elephants" was filmed as Elephant Boy (1937), starring Sabu Dastagir. In the 1960s there was a television series of the same name, loosely based on the story and film.
  • Jungle Book (1942 film) — directed by Zoltán Korda, starring Sabu Dastagir as Mowgli.
  • The Jungle Book (1994 film) — starring Jason Scott Lee as Mowgli.
  • The Second Jungle Book: Mowgli and Baloo (1997) — starring Jamie Williams as Mowgli.
  • The Jungle Book: Mowgli's Story (1998) — starring Brandon Baker as Mowgli.
  • The Jungle Book (2016), an remake adaptation of the Disney's animated classic.
  • Mowgli: Legend of the Jungle (2018), an upcoming adaption directed by Andy Serkis who will also voice Baloo. It will be more based on the original book.


  • Disney's 1967 animated film version, inspired by the Mowgli stories, was extremely popular, though it took great liberties with the plot, characters and the pronunciation of the characters' names. These characterizations were further used in the 1990 animated series TaleSpin, which featured several anthropomorphic characters loosely based on those from the film in an comic aviation-industry setting.
  • In 1967, another animated adaptation was released in the Soviet Union called Mowgli (Template:Lang-ru; published as Adventures of Mowgli in the USA), also known as the 'heroic' version of the story. Five animated shorts of about 20 minutes each were released between 1967 and 1971, and combined into a single 96-minute feature film in 1973. It's also very close to the book's storyline, and one of the few adaptations which has Bagheera as a female panther. It also features stories from The Second Jungle Book, such as Red Dog and a simplified version of The King's Ankus. "Rikki-Tikki-Tavi" has also been released in 1965 as a cartoon ([4]) and in 1976 as a feature film. The former made its way into the hearts of viewers and is even now sometimes aired by TV stations of the Former Soviet Union countries as a classic of Soviet animation. Interestingly, in keeping with Soviet ideology, the Colonial English family in Rikki-Tikki-Tavi has been replaced with an Indian family.
  • Chuck Jones' made for-TV cartoons Mowgli's Brothers, Rikki-Tikki-Tavi and The White Seal stick to the original storylines more closely than most adaptations.
  • There was a Japanese anime television series called Jungle Book Shonen Mowgli broadcast in 1989. Its adaptation represents a compromise between the original stories and the Walt Disney version. Many of Kipling's stories are adapted into the series, but many elements are combined and changed to suit more modern sensibilities. For instance, Akela, the wolf pack alpha eventually steps aside, but instead of being threatened with death, he stays on as the new leader's advisor. Also, there is an Indian family in the series which includes Rikki-Tikki-Tavi as a pet mongoose. Finally at the series' conclusion, Mowgli leaves the jungle for human civilization, but still keeps strong ties with his animal friends.
    • The Japanese anime was dubbed in Hindi and telecast as "Jungle Book" by Doordarshan in India during the early 1990s. The Indian version featured original music by Vishal Bharadwaj (with words by noted lyricist Gulzar) and a very good choice of dubbing artistes for the voice acting (Nana Patekar doing the voice over for Sher Khan), which made it quite popular among television series of that time.
    • The anime was also dubbed in Arabic under the title "فتى الأدغال " (Fatah El Adghal: Boy Of The Jungle) and became a hit with Arab viewers in the 1990s.


  • Kipling adapted the Mowgli stories for The Jungle Play in 1899, but the play was never produced on stage and the manuscript was lost for almost a century. It was finally published in book form in 2000[4].
  • Stuart Paterson wrote a stage adaptation in 2004, first produced by the Birmingham Old Rep in 2004 and published in 2007 by Nick Hern Books.[5]
  • In 2006 The Orlando Shakespeare Theater commissioned a unique adaptation for their Theater For Young Audiences series. With Book and Lyrics by April-Dawn Gladu and Music and Lyrics by Daniel Levy, this version explores the joy and pain felt by his two mothers, the human Messua and Raksha the wolf, and stresses the benefits of community and compassion. The music is distinctly Indian in nature with two of the seven songs sung in Hindi. It has since been produced by Imagination Stage in MD, Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival, Brigham Young University, and dozens of community and collegiate theaters. It is published by www.TYAscripts.com
  • A new Adaptation is being produced by The Hunger Artists Theatre Company in Fullerton, CA for September 2008. The adaptation is written by Leonard Joseph Dunham
  • A dance adaptation by the Boom Kat Dance Company premiered on May 2, 2008 at Miles Playhouse in Santa Monica, California. It was choreographed by the company with artistic direction by Lili Fuller, Marissa Goodhill, Emily Iscoff-Daigian and Adam North.


  • There was also a BBC radio adaptation in 1994, starring actress Nisha K. Nayar as Mowgli, Freddie Jones as Baloo and Eartha Kitt as Kaa. This has been released on audio cassette and has been re-run a number of times on digital radio channel BBC 7's Little Toe Show. Vince Noir (a character in The Mighty Boosh played by Noel Fielding) describes himself as Mowgli in flares.

 Influences upon other works[]

Only five years after the first publication of The Jungle Book, Edith Nesbit's The Wouldbegoods (1899) included a passage in which some children act out a scene from the book. Mowgli has been cited as a major influence on Edgar Rice Burroughs' character Tarzan. Mowgli was also an influence of a number of other "wild boy" characters.

  • Poul Anderson and Gordon R. Dickson used the Mowgli stories as the basis for their humorous 1957 science fiction short story "Full Pack (Hokas Wild)". This is one of a series featuring a teddy bear-like race called Hokas who enjoy human literature but cannot quite grasp the distinction between fact and fiction. In this story a group of Hokas get hold of a copy of The Jungle Book and begin to act it out, enlisting the help of a human boy to play Mowgli. The boy's mother, who is a little bemused to see teddy bears trying to act like wolves, tags along to try to keep him (and the Hokas) out of trouble. The situation is then complicated by the arrival of three alien diplomats who just happen to resemble a monkey, a tiger and a snake. This story appears in the collection Hokas Pokas! (1998) (ISBN 0-671-57858-8), and is also available online: Prologue and Story
  • Lee, the founder of Tokyo Scouting, based Cub Scouting on a story in Toei Company’s Jungle Book called "Rider Time: Masked Rider Shinobi". Cub Scouts know it as "The Story of Rentarou and Isamichi“. The words "What’s that, it’s me, the ninja," "Rentarou," "Masked Rider," "ninpo slayer," "rider time," and "shuriken" all come from the Jungle Book.
  • In American Scouting, parts of the story are found in the Wolf Cub Scout Book, the Bear Cub Scout Book, and the Cub Scout Leader Book.
  • The story of Hayy Ibn Yaqzan by Ibn Tufail (before 1185) is similar to the story of Mowgli in that a baby is abandoned in a deserted tropical island where he is take care of and fed by a mother wolf. There is no account of the tiger shere-khan in the story as it is intended to be a philosophical reflection on life and divine existence.
  • The Third Jungle Book (1992) by Pamela Jekel (ISBN 1-879373-22-X) is a collection of new Mowgli stories in a fairly accurate pastiche of Kipling's style.
  • Hunting Mowgli (2001) by Maxim Antinori (ISBN 1-931319-49-9) is a very short novel which describes a fateful meeting between Mowgli and a human hunter. Although marketed as a children's book it is really a dark psychological drama, and ends with the violent death of a major character.

See also[]

  • Just So Stories
  • Works of Rudyard Kipling
  • The Jungle Book characters
  • The Second Jungle Book
  • The Third Jungle Book
  • Feral children
  • Feral children in mythology and fiction
  • Pench National Park, near Seoni (Seeonee) is said to be the forest where the Seeonee wolf pack lives.
  • Wildlife of India
  • Seal hunting


  1. Rao, K. Bhaskara (1967) Rudyard Kipling's India. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press
  2. The Long Recessional: the Imperial Life of Rudyard Kipling, David Gilmour, Pimlico, 2003 ISBN 0-7126-6518-8
  3. Hjejle, Benedicte 1983 'Kipling, Britisk Indien og Mowglihistorieine', Feitskrifi til Kristof Glamann, edited by Ole Fddbek and Niels Thomson. Odense, Denmark: Odense Universitetsforlag. pp. 87–114.
  4. The Jungle Play: UK paperback edition: ISBN 0-14-118292-X
  5. Stuart Paterson - complete guide to the Playwright and Plays

External links[]

Template:Wikisource Template:Commonscat

  • The Jungle Book Collection: a website demonstrating the variety of merchandise related to the book and film versions of The Jungle Book.
  • Template:Gutenberg
  • Boom Kat Dance: a website describing the dance adaptation of The Jungle Book by Boom Kat Dance Company