Night Song in the Jungle

(notes by Philip Holberton)


This eight-line is the heading to “Mowgli’s Brothers” in The Jungle Book (1894). It is ‘Rann the Kite’ in the First American Edition and some early Macmillan Standard editions. Cheel is given as the native name for the common kite in R A Sterndale (p. 423). For Chil and other names see Kipling’s own list of names. The black kite (Milvus migrans) belongs to the family Accipitridae..See also “Chil’s Song”.

Lockwood Kipling writes in Beast and Man in India: (p. 24):

This beautiful creature is almost as common as the crow, and its shrill thin scream, from which the name chil seems to be derived, is, like the crow’s note, a constant and characteristic Indian sound … Those who delight in the flight of birds … may find less interesting diversions than throwing fragments of food from a high roof when a fleet of swift pirates soon assembles … no morsel is ever allowed to reach the ground. The fierce sweeps and curves are splendid in grace, strength, and skill.

Notes on the Text

[Page 3, line 2] Mang the Bat ‘a made-up name’ (RK).

[Page 3, line 3] byre cattle-shed.

[Page 3, line 6] tush canine tooth,


©Philip Holberton 2020 All rights reserved