The story of “The Jungle Book” concerns a young man-cub named Mowgli. A panther named Bagheera one day comes across an abandoned boat, in which a small baby is seen. Taking pity on the baby, Bagheera takes it to a small family of wolves, who adopt the boy.10 years pass, and Mowgli has grown into a wiry young boy, who has long since been adopted into his wolf pack, despite his differences. However, word has reached the pack that the tiger Shere Khan has been spotted in the jungle. The pack knows of Khan’s hatred of ‘man,’ and wish to send Mowgli away for protection. Bagheera volunteers to take Mowgli to a man-village some distance away.
Mowgli and Bagheera set out sometime after dark. They stay in a tree for the night, but are disturbed by Kaa, a python with a hypnotic gaze, who tries to hypnotize both of them, before being pushed out of the tree by Mowgli.
The next day, they are awakened by ‘The Dawn Patrol,’ a pack of elephants led by Colonel Hathi. Mowgli spends a few moments with their son, who one day dreams of following in his Father’s footsteps. Bagheera orders Mowgli to continue on their way to the man-village, but Mowgli refuses. After some struggles, Bagheera and Mowgli separat, fed up with the other’s company.
As Mowgli sulks by a rock, he is suddenly discovered by Baloo, a large bear with a care-free attitude. Bagheera hears the commotion caused by the two of them, and returns, dismayed that Mowgli has encountered the ‘jungle bum.’ Baloo’s ‘philosophy’ of living care-free in the jungle easily takes hold of the young man-cub, and Mowgli now wishes to stay with Baloo. However, a group of monkeys suddenly appear, and take Mowgli away.
Mowgli is taken to some ancient ruins, lorded over by an orangutan named King Louie, who figures since Mowgli is a man-cub, he can help him learn how to make fire. Bagheera and Baloo show up shortly, and after a fierce chase, get Mowgli away from King Louie.
As Mowgli rests from the ordeal, Bagheera explains to Baloo why Mowgli must leave the jungle, and after telling Baloo of the danger that Shere Khan poses to him, Baloo reluctantly agrees to take Mowgli back, even though he had promised Mowgli he could stay in the jungle with him. When Mowgli finds out about this, he runs off again.
After some time going through the jungle, Mowgli encounters Kaa, who hypnotizes the boy. Kaa is just about to eat Mowgli, when he is alerted to Shere Khan. Kaa manages to carry on a conversation with the tiger, and just barely hides the fact that the man-cub is nearby. Once Shere Khan leaves, Kaa’s plans to eat Mowgli are foiled when Mowgli comes out of his trance, and is able to escape.
Sometime afterward, Mowgli chances upon a group of vultures, who are willing to take him in as one of their own. However, before they can do so, Shere Khan appears. Even though he is feared by the vultures, Mowgli refuses to run. Just as it seems that Shere Khan may devour Mowgli, Baloo appears, and wrestles with the tiger, who ends up clawing at the large bear. In the ensuing chaos, Mowgli ties a flaming branch to Shere Khan’s tail, and the fire spooks the tiger, sending him running away.
Just when it appears that Baloo has died, he recovers from the ordeal. Bagheera soon joins the group, and the three of them set off back through the jungle.
It seems that Bagheera’s plan to get Mowgli to the man-village have failed, when a beautiful song wafts through their ears. As the three of them look through some bushes, they see the man-village, and by a small stream, a little girl appears, gathering water. This intrigues Mowgli, who tries to go for a closer look. Seeing the boy, the girl pretends to spill her water jug. Mowgli retrieves it, refills it, but instead of taking it, the girl leads him back to the man-village, humming her ‘siren song.’ Baloo whispers for Mowgli to come back, but the boy follows the girl into the village.
Bagheera happily explains that Mowgli is now where he belongs, and Baloo accepts this fact, before wrapping an arm around the panther, and the two of them return to the jungle.