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Jungle

Last Council, The


Mowgli recovered the tiger skin and he and the two wolves left the village. The moon rose over the plain and made it all milky, and the horrified villagers saw Mowgli, with a bundle on his head and two wolves at his heels trotting across at a steady wolf's trot that eats up the long miles like fire. Then the villagers banged the bells and blew the conches louder than ever and Buldeo exaggerated the story of his adventure in the jungle further until he ended up by saying that he saw Akela stand up on his hind legs and talk like a man.

The moon was just going down when they came to the hill of the Council Rock and they stopped at Mother Wolf's cave. Mowgli informed his family that the men had cast him out, but that he had come back with the hide of Shere Khan, just as he had promised to do. Mother Wolf told Mowgli that he had done a good job.

Behind him from the jungle, came a deep voice that said "Little Brother, it is well done. We were lonely in the jungle without you." and Bagheera came running out of the thicket to Mowgli's bare feet. They clambered up to the Council Rock together to the rock where Akela used to sit and pegged the great skin down with slivers of Bamboo, and Akela lay down on it and called the old call to the wolves - 'Look - look well, O Wolves".

Ever since Akela had stopped being leader, the pack had gone without a leader, hunting and fighting as they pleased. But they answered the call from old habit. Some of them were lame from traps that they had fallen into, and some limped from shot-wounds, and some were mangy from eating bad food, and many were missing. All the wolves that were left came to the Council Rock and saw Shere Khan's hide stretched on the rock, and the huge claws dangling at the ends of the empty dangling feet.

Mowgli called to the wolves "Look well, O Wolves. Have I kept my word?". and the wolves replied "Yes!", and one tattered wolf howled "Lead us again, Akela. Lead us again Man-cub, because we are sick of this lawlessness and we want to be the Free People again.

Bagheera purred "No! When you are well fed again then you might commit this foolishness again. You are the Free People - you fought for it, and it is yours. Eat it, Wolves."

Mowgli called that the Wolves had cast him out and men had cast him out, so he was going to hunt alone in the jungle. The four cubs of his family said they would hunt with him.

And so, Mowgli and the four cubs hunted together in the jungle from that day on. But he was not always alone, because years later he became a man and married. But that is a story for grown-ups.

The Seeonee Wolf Pack gave in to personal greed and stopped looking after the good of the pack. They found it easier to break the Law of the Jungle that had looked after them so well for all those years and live lives as lawless as the Bandar Log, and in the process they lost their self-respect, and their greed made them weaker. While they lived and hunted under the Law, they had good food and they stayed away from men and traps. These were all things that the wolves lost forever because of their deceit in breaking the Law and not being loyal to their leader, Akela.