The jungle Book

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Binding of the first edition
London Macmillan 1894

The Jungle Book (English original title The Jungle Book ) is a collection of stories and poems by the British author Rudyard Kipling . The first volume appeared in 1894, the second in 1895 under the title The Second Jungle Book ("The Second Jungle Book"); since then, the stories in the two volumes have mostly been published together, often as The Jungle Books (" The Jungle Books ").

The best-known stories in it are about Mowgli (also spelled Maugli or Mogli in various translations ), a foundling who grew up with animals in the Indian jungle . The stories about Mowgli are close to the genre of the development novel, as they show Mowgli's growing up and becoming aware of everything from the playful child to the master of the animal world. Mowgli has to learn that the laws of nature are tough and require a high level of responsibility. In the struggle with the forces of nature, with animals and with people, the child matures into a self-confident adolescent. Despite various critical considerations - one recognizes in the representation of the characters and the emphasis on the law of the jungle Kipling's positive attitude towards colonialism - the importance of the jungle book for the later literary development as well as its position as one of the most famous and successful youth books in the world can hardly be overestimated .


The jungle book consists of seven stories in the original, each of which is preceded by a short song text and followed by a slightly longer one with its own heading. The first three stories tell the story of Mowgli, while the other stories mostly have individual animals as the main characters and are not related to the Mowgli stories. (The following paragraphs use the original English names)

Chapter 1. Mowgli's Brothers

Lyrics hunting song of Seoni-pack (Hunting Song of the Seeonee Pack)

A little Indian boy is the attack of the lame tiger Shere Khan (Shir Khan) isolated on his parents of these and encounters in the jungle of Seoni ( Madhya Pradesh ), near the Waingunga -Flusses, across a wolf family under him Leading the she-wolf raksha (raksha) raises together with her own litter. The wolves call him “Mowgli” (with the addition “the frog”) and he gradually learns all the skills he needs to survive in the jungle. After some time, like all wolf children, it is presented to the entire pack to be examined and accepted. At the intercession of the bear Baloo (Balu), the "teacher of the law", and the black panther Bagheera , he is accepted into the pack. Since the lead wolf Akela is already old and weak, Shere Khan, who ceaselessly demands his rights on the boy, succeeds in getting more and more wolves on his side until after years the leaderless and disciplined pack is ready to cast Mowgli out . Forewarned and armed with the weapon of fire that all animals fear, he can at least prevent the wolves and Shere Khan from attacking him. Since it was made clear to him that he was human, Mowgli leaves the jungle and goes back to the people.

Chapter 2. The Hunger Dance of the Snake Kaa (Kaa's Hunting)

Lyrics Wanderlied der Bandar-Log (Road Song of the Bandar-Log)

The second story about Mowgli occurs between the events of the first story. Mowgli's friends Baloo and Bagheera taught him how to call out the various animals of the jungle in danger and taught him the law of the jungle. When Mowgli is kidnapped by the lawless Bandar-Log, the apes despised by the other animals , he can test his acquired skills. Baloo and Bagheera come to his aid, but can only achieve something with the support of Kaa, the python .

Chapter 3. Tiger! Tiger! (Tiger! Tiger!)

Lyrics of Mowglis Gesang (Mowgli's Song)

In the third story by Mowgli it is reported how he comes to people after the first story and has to laboriously learn to communicate and act according to people. He becomes a shepherd and oversees the village's buffalo . His wolf brothers warn Mowgli that Shere Khan, the tiger, is chasing him again. Mowgli then uses the buffalo to corner Shere Khan and lets the buffalo trample him. But after his triumph over the archenemy, people believe he has witchcraft and he is driven out of the village. Mowgli returns to the jungle to live with his wolf brothers, with whom he grew up in Raksha's litter.

Chapter 4. The White Seal

Lyrics Lukannon (Lukannon)

The story of Kotick, a little white seal on Saint Paul Island in the northern Pacific Ocean (the song title refers to Lukanin Bay on the east coast of this island) is unrelated to the other stories in the book . When Kotick plays with his peers, sealers come and drive the seals to a remote place where they cut them down. Only Kotick is spared out of superstition because of its white fur. Horrified, Kotick tries to bring what he has seen to the attention of the other seals. But no other seal has seen the slaughter with their own eyes, and lazy and indifferent they pay no heed to it. In the following years, as he grew up, Kotick desperately tried to find a way out of the seals' annual death. Finally he comes to the manatee people , who show him a hidden place that has never been entered by humans and offers a paradise for seals. He returns, defeats the strongest seals in battle, who had to promise to follow him in case of victory, and leads his people to the new land in which they can live safely.

Chapter 5. Rikki-Tikki-Tavi (Rikki-Tikki-Tavi)

Lyrics of Darzee's Prize Song (Darzee's Chaunt, in some editions also Darzee's Chant), sung in honor of Rikki-Tikki-Tavi.

Rikki-Tikki-Tavi is a little mongoose who ends up in the garden of a white family in India. Confidently he makes his home there and bravely rescues the family several times from dangerous snake attacks, once from that of a krait and twice from large king cobras .

Chapter 6. Toomai of the Elephants

Lyrics Shiv and the Grasshopper

Toomai is a ten year old boy who his father Mahut in the third generation in the Garo Hills ( Meghalaya accompanied) by elephant to catch and abzurichten. Toomai is very brave and fearless, and his greatest wish is to become an elephant catcher. But he is told that he cannot become a catcher until he has seen the elephant dance. Since nobody has seen this dance before, it means that he can never become an elephant catcher. But one night he rides Kala Nag ("Black Snake"), his father's elephant, into the jungle and witnesses this extraordinary event.

Chapter 7. Her Majesty's Servants, in the first edition Servants of the Queen

Lyrics Parade Song of bearing animals (Parade Song of the Camp Animals)

The night before a military parade, a soldier overhears the animals talking.

Film adaptations

The stories that focus on Mowgli have been filmed several times under the name The Jungle Book . While the real-life films are aimed more at young viewers, the cartoon versions are children's films .

  • 1942: The Jungle Book (1942) - The first real film adaptation comes from Zoltan Korda , with the Indian child star Sabu .
  • 1966: The Jungle Book - The Adventures of Mowgli (1967–1971) - The most accurate animated film adaptation of the material, made in the USSR under the direction of Roman Dawydow . In contrast to the version by Walt Disney, this film version adheres exactly to the original from Kipling and does not use trivializations.
  • 1967: The Jungle Book (1967) - The best-known cartoon version of the material is certainly The Jungle Book by Walt Disney , directed by Wolfgang Reitherman . However, this is not a film version of the book, but individual motifs of the book are processed into a completely new story. (The opening credits for the film include Inspired by the Rudyard Kipling 'Mowgly' Stories .)
  • 1976: The Jungle Book (1976) - this cartoon adaptation is again based on the original artwork. In this version, Shir-Khan is shown as a white tiger.
  • 1994: The Jungle Book (1994) - Another real-life film adaptation was made by Stephen Sommers in 1994 with Jason Scott Lee as Mowgli . Other actors are Cary Elwes , Sam Neill and John Cleese .
  • In 2003, The Jungle Book 2 was a sequel to the Disney cartoon from 1967. However, the film is not based on the story collection The Second Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling. The story is about Mowgli, who makes his way into the jungle to meet up with his old friends.
  • In 2016, the real-life film adaptation of The Jungle Book , directed by Jon Favreau , was released.
  • In December 2018, the film Mowgli: Legend of the Jungle was released on Netflix . Directed by Andy Serkis . Compared to its predecessor The Jungle Book , which sticks more to the template of the Disney cartoon, this film adaptation is more based on the novel.

In 1937, the film Elefanten-Boy was made to tell the story of Toomai from the elephants . Directed by Robert J. Flaherty and Zoltan Korda ; the main role was played by Sabu , who five years later starred as Mowgli, again under the direction of Korda, in the first film adaptation of the jungle book.

In 1970 the 26-part television series Elefanten-Boy, later re-released as Elefantenjunge , was filmed in Sri Lanka with Esram Jayasinghe in the title role, which was broadcast from 1971. The series is based on characters from the story Toomai from the elephants; the content of the short story does not match.

In 1975 the story Rikki-Tikki-Tavi was filmed as a short cartoon directed by Chuck Jones .

In 1989 Nippon Animation produced the 52-part anime series The Jungle Book - The Series (ジ ャ ン グ ル ブ ッ ク 少年 モ ー グ リ Janguru Bukku Shōnen Mōguri or Jungle Book Shōnen Mowgli ). In terms of content, it moves between the original stories and the Disney film adaptation. Based on the series, UFA produced in 1993 in cooperation with Nippon Animation Co. Ltd. a film that shows the plot shortened to 90 minutes.

From 2010 the Indian-British 3D animation series The Jungle Book was created .

Radio plays

Audio books

Artistic reception

Screenwriter and playwright Christoph Busche wrote a theatrical version of the jungle book with new songs, which was premiered on November 6, 2011 at the Salzburg State Theater.


The book has been published in different versions by various publishers:


  • Wilfried Dittmar; in: Kindler's new literary dictionary. Volume 9: Ka - La. Kindler, Munich 1988.

Web links

Commons : The Jungle Book  - collection of pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. While other names in the Jungle Book are derived from Asian languages, Kipling writes in his own notes on the name Mowgli: "Made up. Doesn't mean" frog "in any language I know. Pronounced Mów-gli "(" Thought out. Does not mean "frog" in any language I know. To be pronounced: Mów-gli "); Rudyard Kipling The Jungle Books, Oxford University Press (1998), p. 354.
  2. Moviepilot
  3. The Jungle Book | 11/06/2011 7:00 p.m. Retrieved June 5, 2018 .