Akela is the stoic leader of the wolf pack. He is also called The Lone Wolf. At Council Rock, Akela shows no change in emotion as the families present their cubs to the pack. Even when Mother Wolf pushes Mowgli into the moonlight, Akela proclaims, “Look Well, O Wolves!” Akela proves himself a fair leader even when his pack wishes to banish Mowgli. He stands by the man-cub as part of the pack because Mowgli has proven himself. Akela has great respect for the Law of the Jungle and rules his wolves with integrity and justice. Mowgli, recognizing Akela’s good and faithful nature, saves Akela from certain death at their final meeting at Council Rock.
Bagheera, a cunning, terrifying black panther, is known both as a smooth talker and a wild, reckless assailant of the jungle. At the first Council Rock, as the pack circles hoping to kill Mowgli, Bagheera offers a recently killed bull to the pack in exchange for the child’s life. This, coupled with Baloo’s offer to teach the boy the Law of the Jungle, saves Mowgli’s life. Bagheera plays an important role in Mowgli’s development. Bagheera lived among men as a young panther and, thus, knows the character of man, and he recognizes them in Mowgli. Most pervasive and devastating to Mowgli’s future in the pack is his ability to stare down any animal in the jungle, even the fierce Bagheera. Bagheera’s explanation of Mowgli’s place among men and his power over the animals helps guide Mowgli in his final appearance at Council Rock. Bagheera is Mowgli’s mentor, his most trusted guide as Mowgli makes his final maneuvers before leaving the jungle.
Baloo, a quiet, brown bear, is responsible for teaching wolf cubs the Law of the Jungle. Although a famous character from other stories, Baloo is only briefly mentioned in “Mowgli’s Brothers.” At the first meeting at Council Rock, Baloo speaks for the man-cub and promises to teach him the ways of the pack. Baloo and Bagheera the panther are responsible for saving Mowgli from the wolves at this first meeting at Council Rock.
Father Wolf is Mowgli’s surrogate father in “Mowgli’s Brothers.” Father Wolf nearly kills Mowgli as he rustles out of the bushes, fleeing from a tiger. Father Wolf checks his lunge, just as the boy ambles out. Mother Wolf and Father Wolf decide to raise the boy alongside their cubs and, when the time is right, bring Mowgli before the pack at Council Rock.
Mother Wolf is Mowgli’s surrogate mother in “Mowgli’s Brothers.” She is also called Raksha, The Demon, because of her prowess as a hunter and devoted mother. Mother Wolf is responsible for naming Mowgli and convincing Father Wolf to raise him with their other cubs. At Council Rock when it appears the pack may not accept Mowgli, Mother Wolf shows devotion to her man-cub as she prepares to fight to the death to protect him from Shere Kahn and the naysaying members of the pack. She is deeply devoted to and proud of Mowgli and incredibly saddened by his decision to leave the jungle.
Mowgli, the main character of “Mowgli’s Brothers,” is first named by Mother Wolf as Mowgli the Frog when he wanders into their den after a narrow escape from the tiger, Shere Kahn. Although a human, Mowgli, with the help of Baloo the Bear and Bagheera the Panther, is accepted at Council Rock by the pack as one of their own. Because of his innate human traits, Mowgli is able to stare down and intimidate the animals of the jungle. Mowgli does not recognize this as an enviable skill; he simply finds it amusing that the animals will lower their eyes when he stares at them. Unfortunately, this creates a division among the animals—those who are friendly with Mowgli and those who are envious of Mowgli. Eventually, Mowgli recognizes that his inclusion in the pack is disrupting the Laws of the Jungle and that many wish to banish him from the jungle. Yet before his departure, Mowgli takes it upon himself to right several wrongs, punishing Shere Kahn and the wolves that turned against him and saving Akela from an unjust death. His self-realization as a man and the division among the pack members lead Mowgli to his voluntary exile from the jungle and his return to the world of man.
Shere Kahn is the tiger responsible for scaring a human family who, in their retreat from the tiger, abandon their young son. The young child, Mowgli, wanders into a wolves’ den. Shere Kahn looks eagerly for the easy meal, but it is to no avail because Mother and Father Wolf refuse to give the boy up. Shere Kahn, also referred to as The Big One, Lungri, and The Lame One (due to his lame paw), is most noted for disrupting the Laws of the Jungle. Because of his lame paw, Shere Kahn preys too frequently upon man and domestic cattle. Shere Kahn’s choices disturb regular movements of game and have even brought men into the jungle, bearing torches and guns. Later, when Mowgli is brought to Council Rock, the pack’s decision to accept the man-cub angers Shere Kahn who vows to avenge his lost meal and someday eat him. However, his plans are foiled because Mowgli grows up with great prowess, and his skill becomes the envy of the jungle. Eventually, Mowgli is the avenger, burning Shere Kahn’s brow and sending him howling into the jungle.
Tabaqui is a mangy, untrustworthy jackal referred to as The Dish Licker. He is Shere Kahn’s sidekick. Tabaqui directs Shere Kahn to Mother and Father Wolf’s den as the tiger searches for his lost meal, the child later named Mowgli. In the den, Tabaqui comments about the Wolf’s cubs, making them both very uncomfortable. Eventually, because of Tabaqui’s deviousness and Shere Kahn’s tyrannical requests, Mother and Father Wolf scorn them both, driving them from their den.
Ira Mark Milne – Short Stories for Students – Presenting Analysis, Context & Criticism on Commonly Studied Short Stories, vol. 22, Rudyard Kipling, Published by Gale Group, 2010