Outsong in the Jungle

(notes by John Radcliffe and Alan Underwood)


In The Second Jungle Book (1895), linked to the last story “The Spring Running”.   It is thus the final text in The Jungle Books.

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]  BALOO: is the Brown Bear, who has taught Mowgli the Law of the Jungle.

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 2]  KAA: is the wise ancient rock-python, who saves Mowgli from the Banda-log in “Kaa’s Hunting“,  and tells him how to defeat the dhole in “Red Dog.“.

[Verse 3]  BAGHEERA: is the ferocious Black Panther, Mowgli’s hunting companion in “The King’s Ankus” and “Letting in the Jungle,“. wise in the ways of Men, who kills a bull for the Seeonee wolf pack as the price of Mowgli’s acceptance.

[Verse 4] THE THREE:  These are Mowgli’s surrogate parents, who teach, protect, and bond with him, from when he is a tiny ‘cub’ until he becomes the  Master of the Jungle.


[J.R./F. A. U./J.R.]

©Alan Underwood and John Radcliffe 2020 All rights reserved