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This passage is about a pack of wolves, one pair of whom have raised a little boy, named Mowgli. 


The Law of the Jungle lays down very clearly that any wolf may, when he marries, withdraw from the Pack he belongs to. But as soon as his cubs are old enough to stand on their feet he must bring them to the Pack Council, which is generally held once a month at full moon, in order that the other wolves may identify them. After that inspection the cubs are free to run where they please, and until they have killed their first buck no excuse is accepted if a grown wolf of the Pack kills one of them. The punishment is death where the murderer can be found, and if you think for a minute, you will see that this must be so. 

Father Wolf waited till his cubs could run a little, and then on the night of the Pack Meeting took them and Mowgli and Mother Wolf to the Council Rock – a hilltop covered with stones and boulders where a hundred wolves could hide. Akela, the great grey Lone Wolf, who led all the Pack by strength and cunning, lay out at full length on his rock, and below him sat forty or more wolves of every size and colour, from badger-coloured veterans who could handle a buck alone to young black three-year-olds who thought they could. The Lone Wolf had led them for a year now. He had fallen twice into a wolf trap in his youth, and once he 

had been beaten and left for dead, so he knew the manners and customs of men. There was very little talking at the Rock. The cubs tumbled over each other in the centre of the circle where their mothers and fathers sat, and now and again a senior wolf would go quietly up to a cub, look at him carefully, and return to his place on noiseless feet. Sometimes a 

mother would push her cub far out into the moonlight to be sure that he had not been overlooked. Akela from his rock would cry: “Ye know the Law – ye know the Law. Look well, O Wolves!” And the anxious mothers would take up the call: “Look – look well, O Wolves!” 

At last – and Mother Wolf’s neck bristles lifted as the time came – Father Wolf pushed ‘Mowgli the Frog,’ as they called him, into the centre, where he sat laughing and playing with some pebbles that glistened in the moonlight. 

Akela never raised his head from his paws, but went on with the monotonous cry: “Look well!” A muffled roar came up from behind the rocks – the voice of Shere Khan the tiger crying: “The cub is mine. Give him to me. What have the wolves to do with a man’s cub?” Akela never even twitched his ears. All he said was: “Look well, O Wolves! What have the wolves to do with the orders of any save the wolves? Look well!” 


Text adapted from The Jungle Book, by Rudyard Kipling, which is in the public domain. 


When are the only times a wolf may not be part of the Pack?