Mowgli's Brothers

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"Mowgli's Brothers" is a short story by Rudyard Kipling. Chronologically it is the first story about Mowgli although it was written after "In the Rukh" in which Mowgli appears as an adult.

The story first appeared in the January 1894 issue of St. Nicholas Magazine [1] and was collected as the first story in The Jungle Book later in 1894 where it is accompanied by the poem "Hunting Song of the Seeonee Pack". The story also appears in All the Mowgli Stories. In 1992 it was published as a separate volume with woodcut illustrations by Christopher Wormell. The text is available on-line from several sources as part of The Jungle Book.

The story was adapted as a 25-minute animated television cartoon by Chuck Jones in 1976.

Plot summary[edit]

Father Wolf and Mother Wolf (Raksha), a pair of Indian wolves raising a family of cubs, are furious to learn that Shere Khan the lame tiger is hunting in their part of the jungle because he might kill men and bring human retribution upon the jungle. But when Father Wolf hears something approaching their den it turns out not to be the tiger but a naked baby. Mother Wolf decides to adopt the hairless "man-cub". Her determination is only strengthened by the arrival of Shere Khan who demands the cub for his meal. The wolves drive off the tiger and Raksha names him Mowgli the Frog because of his hairlessness.

At the wolf pack's meeting at Council Rock Baloo the bear speaks for the man-cub and Bagheera the panther buys his life with a freshly killed bull. Baloo and Bagheera undertake the task of educating Mowgli as he grows. Meanwhile Shere Khan plans to take revenge on the wolf pack by persuading the younger wolves to depose their leader Akela.

When Mowgli is about 11 or 12 Bagheera tells him of Shere Khan's plan. Mowgli, being human, is the only creature in the jungle that does not fear fire, so he steals a pot of burning coals from a nearby village in order to use it against Shere Khan.

The young wolves prevent Akela from catching his prey, and at that night's meeting Shere Khan demands that Akela be killed and the man-cub given to him. Mowgli, despite being naked and unprotected, attacks Shere Khan with a burning branch and drives him and his allies away, but realises to his sorrow that he must now leave the pack and return to humanity. As he leaves he vows to return one day and lay Shere Khan's hide upon the Council Rock.

The story of Mowgli's return to humanity is told in "Tiger! Tiger!" and continued in "Letting in the Jungle".[2]

Animated Special[edit]

Main Article: Mowgli's Brothers (1976 TV Special)

In 1976 Mowgli's Brothers was adapted and directed as a half-hour television animated special of the same name by veteran animator Chuck Jones, with narration by Roddy McDowall. This could be seen as a bold move considering the success of Disney's Jungle Book.

Unlike Disney's version, Jones adhered to the original story, although Shere Khan becomes a white tiger and there is no reference to his lame leg. There is also a brief scene (taken from a notation in the short story and included to avoid depicting Mowgli's nudity) in which he steals some cloth and makes himself a loin cloth after seeing humans wearing clothes.

Jones also directed adaptations of "Rikki-Tikki-Tavi" and "The White Seal".

External links[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Kipling, Rudyard (January 1894). "Mowgli's Brothers". St. Nicholas (The Century Co) XXI (3): 195–206. Retrieved 31 March 2011. 
  2. ^ http://www.readbookonline.net/read/486/10057/