...a special edition
Author Rudyard Kipling was born in India to British parents in 1865 and lived in Bombay -- now called Mumbai -- until the age of six. As a child, he was fascinated by tales of the Indian jungle and its animals, and learned Indian myths and legends in the local language. After 10 years back in England for formal education, Kipling returned to India and worked as a writer and newspaper editor under the British Raj.
Kipling later said that he conceived the seeds of the "Jungle Book" stories during this period. The author suffered from insomnia and would often take long walks at night through the city and out to the edge of the wilds. Kipling eventually wrote the stories as a series of fables, designed to impart moral lessons to children through anthropomorphic animal characters.
Interestingly, the Englishman Kipling wrote his Indian fables while living abroad in Brattleboro, Vermont.
Most of the stories that comprise "The Jungle Book" were first published in magazines in 1893-1894. Kipling was already a popular author by this time, and his tales of exotic jungle adventures and talking animals appealed to both children and adults. For many readers, Kipling's stories were their first introduction to the culture and history of India.
Kipling's stories were initially compiled into the first edition of "The Jungle Book," published in 1894. Stories in this first volume include "Mowgli's Brothers," which introduces most of the major characters, and "Rikki-Tikki-Tavi," chronicling the adventures of literature's most famous mongoose. A sequel volume, "The Second Jungle Book,"was published in 1895 and featured five more stories about Mowgli, plus three additional tales.
With the publication of the series known as "The Jungle Books," Kipling became one of the richest and most popular writers in the world. His stories influenced an entire generation of authors, including Edgar Rice Burroughs, whose famous character Tarzan was inspired by Mowgli the wolf child. Kipling was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1907.
Mowgli, the boy raised by wolves is the central human character in many (but not all) of Kipling's "Jungle Book" stories. However, when Kipling first introduced Mowgli to his readers, it wasn't in a children's story -- and in fact Mowgli wasn't a child at all.
In the short story "Into the Rukh," from the 1893 collection "Many Inventions," Mowgli is a young man recruited into the ranks of British forest officers, who are astounded at his extraordinary knowledge of jungle creatures. Mowgli winds up settling down, getting married and essentially joining the civil service. It was only after the publication of this short story that Kipling sat down to write the stories of Mowgli's upbringing and adventures in the jungle.
In the "Jungle Book" stories, Mowgli is told by his wolf family that his name means "frog" -- because he's hairless and won't sit still. But actually Kipling made up the name from scratch and said it had no meaning in any language he was aware of. Also, Kipling intended for that first syllable to rhyme with "cow."