"The Spring
Running"

Notes on the text

These notes, by Alan Underwood, are partly new, and partly based on the ORG. The page and line numbers below refer to the Macmillan (London) Standard Edition of The Second Jungle Book, as published and frequently reprinted between 1899 and 1950.



[May 11 2012]

[Page 263, heading] Two four-line verses beginning: 'Man goes to Man! ...', untitled. Collected as a chapter heading in Songs from Books.

Philip Holberton notes: Mowgli’s animal friends wish him a sorrowful farewell as he goes to live among Men.

[Page 263, line 4] who shall turn him? No-one can stop him going, because, as Akela prophesied, “Mowgli will drive Mowgli." (“Red Dog”, The Second Jungle Book p. 257 line 14.)

[Page 264, line 4] big blue wild boars the wild boar of India (Sus Cristatus) stands 30-40 inches (75-100cm) high at the shoulder. [ORG]

[Page 265, line 15] Eye-of-the-Spring unidentified.

[Page 265, line 20] tree-cat presumably the Jungle Cat (Felix chaus) [ORG].

[Page 266, line 23] Ferao See Kipling's own list of names.

[Page 268, line 4] Master-word For Hathi's see "Letting in the Jungle", page 90, lines 6 & 11.

[Page 268, line 19] char 'char', as a noun, means a charred substance (Oxford English Dictionary); he is referring to ash from fires.

[Page 268, line 23] raffle here means a jumble or tangle.

[Page 271, line 12] baffed A baff is a blow with something flat or soft (Oxford English Dictionary). The two birds, in their Spring mating, brush against each other, dropping a 'pinch of downy white feathers'.

[Page 271, line 25] Oo the Turtle The only mention of this character.

[Page 272, line 5] little spotted tree cat Also presumably the Jungle Cat (at page 265 line 20) (Felix chaus) [ORG].

[Page 274, line 20] white night A bright moonlit night. See the note on the verse heading to "Red Dog". The jungle people tended to be out and about in the night hours.

[Page 276, line 4] scribing Scribing is scoring a surface of wood or metal with a sharp-pointed instrument, as the boar is doing here to the bark of the tree.

[Page 278, line 24] Mysa the wild buffalo Mysa figures in "How Fear Came" (page 20 line 18.) as the leader of the buffaloes. See Kipling's list of names.

[Page 282, line 8] Messua See the note on "Tiger! Tiger!" (page 90 line 4). "Letting in the Jungle" earlier in this collection describes how Mowgli rescues her and her husband from the angry villagers, and sets them safely on the road to Khaniwara before he calls in the jungle people to destroy the village.

[Page 282, line 8] Nathoo This was the name Messua called Mowgli by, thinking of him as the lost child that had been taken by the tiger years ago. See "Tiger! Tiger!" (The Jungle Book) page 91.

[Page 283, lines 28-29] village of those evil people ... found See "Letting in the Jungle" page 103, lines 12-16.

[Page 286, line 24] tamarinds tropical trees with fruit used to make cooling drinks.

[Page 289, line 16] 'Did I not follow thee...' See "Tiger! Tiger!" (The Jungle Book page 92, line 12).

[Page 289, line 24] The Black One Bagheera, the black panther.

[Page 289, line 28] Raksha Mowgli's Mother Wolf, see "Mowgli's Brothers", (The Jungle Book page 29, line 23.)

[Page 289, line 28] Akela ... Red Dog Akela was the old leader of the wolf pack, and always loyal to Mowglim who was always loyal to him. See "Red Dog" (The Second Jungle Book page 256-7).

[Page 292, line 21] Kaa The great python and friend of Mowgli.

[Page 295, line 4] And this is the last of the Mowgli stories It is certainly the last Mowgli story that Kipling wrote, though not the last in the time sequence of Mowgli's life, since "In the Rukh" (Many Inventions) published in 1893, was the first that Kipling wrote and the last in sequence, as Kipling indicated in the final passage of "Tiger! Tiger!" in The Jungle Book (page 121, line 15):

But he was not always alone, because years afterwards he became a man and married.
But that is a story for grown-ups.
"In the Rukh" is certainly written from a different standpoint. In the Jungle Books we are inside Kipling's created world of the Jungle people. In "In the Rukh" we see the jungle, the 'Rukh', through the eyes of Gisborne, the British Forest Officer, from the outside. Not surprisingly, therefore, Kipling seems to have been undecided about adding it to the Mowgli canon. He did include it in the (American) Outward Bound Edition of The Jungle Book (1897) which contained all the Mowgli stories, with the others placed in The Second Jungle Book of that edition. It was included in a number of other Jungle Book editions, including All the Mowgli Stories (Macmillan, 1933). But in the Sussex Edition, which can be seen as reflecting Kipling's final judgement on the ordering of his works, it is included in Many Inventions.


The Outsong

the poem

Below the title it is explained that this is the song Mowgli heard behind him as he left the Jungle. There are three verses of ten couplets attributed to Baloo, Kaa, and Bagheera, and five tripled lines to "The Three".

The poem is collected as "Outsong in the Jungle" in Songs from Books (1912). The penultimate line of the last verse: 'Wisdom, Strength and Courtesy; was not included in the First English Edition.


Notes on the Text


[Verse 1, line 17] spathe a large leaf or leaves around a flower cluster. Baloo, who mainly feeds on roots and fruit, is the botanist of the three, and had taught Mowgli which plants were good to eat.

[Verse 1, line 18] scathe harm or injury.



[F. A. U.]

©F A Underwood 2008 All rights reserved