Page 26

The Jungle book

Akela's offer

"And you don't care about your promises?" said Bagheera, and he showed his white teeth. "You really are the Free People!"

"No man can live with the people of the jungle," said Shere Khan. "Give him to me!"

"He is not a wolf, but in every other way he is our brother," Akela said, "and you want to kill him here! I have lived too long. Some of you kill cows. I have heard that Shere khan has taught some wolves to go and steal children from outside their houses when the night is dark. Because of this I know you are cowards, and I am speaking to cowards. I know that I must die, and my life is worth nothing. If my life was worth something, I would let you kill me instead of Mowgli. But you are going to do something very bad because you do not have a leader. So let the man-cub go. If you let him go, I promise that when you come to kill me I will not fight you. And you know that I can kill three of you, maybe more. That is all I can do to stop you from killing a brother. Mowgli has done nothing wrong - he is your brother who was bought into the Pack by the Law of the Jungle."

"He is a man - a man - a man!" shouted the Pack. And most of the wolves went to Shere Khan, whose tail was beginning to move like a cat's tail moves when it sees a hurt bird.

"Now you must do what you can," said Bagheera to Mowgli. "We can't do any more. Now we have to fight."

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