This story depicts a young boy named Mowgli the Frog, who is raised by a pack of wolves after wandering into the den of a wolf family. He learns the ways of the jungle from two mentors - a bear named Baloo and a black panther named Bagheera - until he is eventually expelled from the pack in a power struggle between Akela and Shere Khan at the Council Rock. The Jungle Book characters introduced in this first chapter, or story, will resurface later in subsequent stories.
Father Wolf - This is who first encounters the man cub (later called Mowgli) in the jungle. Father Wolf brings the baby into the den, so that Mother Wolf can take a closer look.
Mother Wolf - Also referred to as "Raksha" and "The Demon," she immediately bonds with the man cub (Mowgli) and becomes his protector.
Tabaqui - The jackal. Also referred to as the "Dish-licker." The narrator explains that they are despised in India because they run around telling tales and acting mischievously but that they are also feared because the jackal has a tendency toward "dewanee" - or madness.
Shere Khan - This is the tiger who is hunting the man cub. He has other names in the story, as well: The Big One and Lungri, which means "the Lame One." He is called the Lame One because he was born with one lame foot. Shere Kahn threatens to one day kill Mowgli.
Mowgli - Named Mowgli the Frog, this human boy is the main character of the story. He is raised by Mother Wolf, Father Wolf and their wolf pack.
Akela - The great gray Lone Wolf is the leader of the Seeone Wolf Pack. Once strong and cunning, Akela has grown older and is therefore deemed weaker. While he initially agreed to include Mowgli in the pack, his authority is eventually challenged.
Baloo - The narrator mentions that Baloo is the only animal besides the wolves who is allowed to take part in the pack meetings. This is because this gentle brown bear is responsible for teaching the young wolf cubs the laws and ways of the jungle.
Bagheera - This black panther convinces the skeptical wolf pack to accept the man cub into its tribe for the price of a bull. The reader later learns that Bagheera was not born in the wild. Instead, he was born captive, and remained so until one day he realized that he belonged in the jungle, with his animal brothers. The panther explains that this is the reason he paid the price for Mowgli to join the wolf pack instead of being turned over to Shere Kahn - so that Mowgli may once again join the men who are his brothers. Bagheera continues to take a special interest in Mowgli as he grows from a baby to a young boy.