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Jungle

Bandar-Log, The


Mowgli had been secretly talking to the Bandar-log - the monkey people. Baloo had been so busy teaching him the Law of the Jungle that he had neglected to warn him about the Bandar-log and why they were so despised. When Baloo and Bagheera found out that Mowgli had been talking to the Bandar-log, they were both furious that he had talked to the people without a Law.

Mowgli explained that when Baloo had hit him, the Bandar-log had had pity on him and had promised him that he would be their leader one day. Baloo explained to Mowgli that the Bandar-log, since they have no Law, also have no leader. The Bandar-log are forever giving in to themselves - they intend to do something, but their minds are quickly distracted and they go off forgetting what it was that they were going to do. Baloo explained that the Jungle-People have nothing to do with the Bandar-log and avoid them, whenever possible. They do not hunt where the Bandar-log hunt, they do not go where the Bandar-log go, they do not drink where the Bandar log drink and they do not die where the Bandar-log die. Baloo banned Mowgli from ever having anything to do with the Bandar-log again.

The Bandar-log were, indeed, everything that Baloo said they were. They were always going to have a leader some day but never got around to it, and they were always going to have Laws someday, but also never got around to it. They belonged to the tree-tops and, since the beasts of the jungle never look up there was no reason for the Monkeys and the other animals to cross each others' path. But if they found a sick wolf or a wounded tiger or bear they would throw sticks and stones at him and tease and torment him because that was the only way that they would be noticed. They would shriek and howl and sing senseless songs inviting the Jungle-people to come and fight them, which they couldn't because the monkeys were in the trees. At other times they would start senseless fights amongst themselves, leaving dead monkeys to fall on the ground where they left them and swung away to some new mischief somewhere else.

They were happy that they had made Baloo angry and meant to do nothing else. One of them, however invented what seemed to him to be a brilliant idea, and told the others that Mowgli would be a useful person to have in their tribe because he could weave sticks together to form screens to protect them from the wind. They planned to kidnap Mowgli and to take him to their secret place as a prisoner. They followed Mowgli, Baloo and Bagheera through the forest until the three lay down to have their midday nap.

Mowgli was, by this time, very ashamed of himself for his bad behaviour and slept between Baloo and Bagheera and resolved to have no more to do with the monkey people. The Bandar-log snatched him from his sleep and bounded up the tree very quickly. Baloo roared with rage and Bagheera raced up the tree with fangs bared. The Bandar-log, however, managed to reach the upper branches of the trees where Bagheera dared not go for fear of the branches snapping under his weight. The Bandar-log cheered at the success of their daring raid and at the fact that Bagheera was taking notice of them. They considered themselves to be pretty clever as two of the strongest monkeys grabbed Mowgli under the arms and swung through the trees at a breakneck pace, leaving Bagheera and the slow Baloo far behind. Monkeys have regular roads through the branches at 50 to 70 feet and even 100 feet above the ground. Over these they can leap 20 feet at a time Mowgli was quite exhilarated at the speed and the height.

For a while he was afraid of being dropped, but then he became angry. He knew better than to struggle, since this would certainly mean a long fall and death. Then he began to think. He had to find a way to get word back to Baloo and Bagheera, so they could rescue him. He knew that his friends would not be able to follow the monkeys at the pace that they were going. On the ground he could see nothing, but in the sky he saw Rann the Kite balancing and wheeling in the air. Rann saw that the monkeys were carrying something and flew over to see if their load was good to eat. He was surprised to see Mowgli and was even more surprised to hear Mowgli give the bird call for "We are of one blood, you and I". Mowgli managed to pass on the message "Mark my trail. Tell Baloo of the Seeonee Pack and Bagheera of the Council Rock."

Rann figured that the monkeys would not go far with Mowgli, since they never finish what they set out to do.

Meanwhile Baloo and Bagheera were furious with grief and rage. Bagheera tried to climb as high as he could up the trees, but the branches were too weak and he slipped down again.