Study Guide

The Jungle Book Chapter 3

By Rudyard Kipling

Chapter 3

Kaa's Hunting

  • Remember back in Chapter 1 when we were told the story was going to skip ten or eleven years? Lies. This chapter takes place somewhere in the middle of that period.
  • Baloo is teaching Mowgli the Laws of the Jungle, which include the Master-Words of all the different animals.
  • Mowgli can chirp like a bird, and speak parseltongue to snakes. Chirp tweet hiss—that's bird/snake for "This will come in handy later."
  • In his own language, Mowgli starts talking about how he'll have a tribe of his own one day, and swing from the branches all day.
  • Baloo is angry, because this new fantasy means that Mowgli has been hanging out with the Monkey-People.
  • Mowgli confesses that the monkeys once carried him up into the trees and gave him nice things to eat.
  • Baloo tells Mowgli that yes, it must be nice that they play all day, but the Monkey-People have no Law. They're lawless. Like Lucy.
  • He tells Mowgli to never associate with them again, and Bagheera is miffed at Baloo for monkeying around and not warning Mowgli of the monkeys sooner.
  • The three of them lie down for a midday nap, and while Mowgli is sleeping, little monkey arms come down from the trees and carry him away.
  • As Mowgli is carried away by the monkeys, he spots Chil the Kite (this not this) and tells him in bird-talk to tell Baloo and Bagheera where the monkeys are taking him.
  • Back where Mowgli was snatched, Baloo and Bagheera are arguing. Okay, it's not much of an argument: Bagheera is blaming Baloo for everything, and Baloo is blaming himself.
  • They decide they have to fetch Kaa the Rock Python to help them against the Bandar-log, a.k.a.the Monkey-People.
  • When they reach the big snake, Bagheera starts telling him about all the nasty rumors the Bandar-log have been spreading about him.
  • Kaa agrees to help them recover Mowgli, but they have no idea where the monkeys took him.
  • Just in time, Chil the Kite swoops down to say that Mowgli was taken to the Cold Lairs, an old deserted city deep in the jungle.
  • Over in the ruins, Mowgli has decided he doesn't really like this whole carefree kind of life (think: Martha Stewart trying to live like Lindsay Lohan).
  • Also, they're not feeding him, so he's grumpy.
  • Mowgli wonders whether he can escape, while Baloo, Bagheera, and Kaa split up to surround them.
  • When Bagheera comes sliding into a cluster of monkeys, other monkeys grab Mowgli and hide him inside a giant dome.
  • Bagheera gets swarmed by monkeys and has to hide in a water tank.
  • Baloo stars punching monkeys left and right, then Kaa shows up and scares all the monkeys away.
  • Kaa breaks open the dome where Mowgli is trapped and frees him.
  • Mowgli looks so yummy, Kaa suggests that he might eat him someday, but Mowgli agrees to repay Kaa someday by driving goats toward him.
  • Being hungry now, Kaa begins "The Dance of the Hunger of Kaa" (3.145), a dance which hypnotizes all the monkeys in the area, and Kaa leads them away like he's the Pied Piper.
  • Baloo and Bagheera are relieved to have Mowgli back, but Bagheera still has to punish him by giving him "half a dozen love-taps" (3.168). Um… thanks?
  • Now that he's punished, everyone can move on with their lives. Mowgli falls asleep on Bagheera's back, and the Panther carries Mowgli to Mother Wolf's cave.