This poem, which is listed in ORG as No 615, was first published with the story "Mowgli's Brothers" in the St. Nicholas Magazine on January 1st 1894.
The Jungle Book (1894)
Inclusive Verse (1919)
Definitive Verse (1940)
The Sussex Edition vols xii and xxxiv (1940)
The Burwash Edition vols xi and xxvii (1941)
Cambridge Edition (2013) Ed. Thomas Pinney, p. 851.
The wolf pack have sent out scouts to find game. They see does drinking at the pond, and fleeing away. Then they find their true quarry, a big sambhur, and steal back to put the pack on its trail. Giving tongue like hounds, they are after it.
In the Mowgli stories, the wolf pack is a disciplined body, following a leader, hunting and fighting like soldiers, keeping agreed rules for survival. (See "The Law of the Jungle"). Like a military force they send out silent scouts ahead of the main body, to make sure they are hunting a worthy quarry. When they do, they give chase as one.
Notes on the text
sambhur (Rusa unicolor) a large deer native to India and South-East Asia.
belled Roared. Stags utter deep resonant roaring sounds in the mating season to scare off rivals.
doe the female deer
sup to take food or drink in small quantities but here meaning just to eat and drink.
scouting sending small parties ahead of the main body of soldiers to find and report the movements of the enemy, here a single wolf on the lookout for food alerts the rest of the pack when he has found.
stole in this context moved very quietly.
give tongue a phrase from the hunting-field, the hounds make a characteristic sound when they are on the scent of their prey.
ŠJohn McGivering and John Radcliffe 2018 All rights reserved