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Shere Khan

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Shere Khan - is a bengal tiger and main antagonist of Rudyard Kipling's Jungle Book.

Background

Shere Khan was depicted by Kipling as being born with a crippled leg and derisively nicknamed Lungri (The Lame One) by his mother. Despite this setback, the Shere Khan character is arrogant and regards himself as the rightful lord of the jungle. The only creature who looks up to him is Tabaqui, the cowardly, despised golden jackal.

In "Mowgli's Brothers", Shere Khan's failed attempt to hunt humans causes a human "cub" to stray from his parents. When Shere Khan discovers the infant, it has been adopted by Indian wolves, Raksha and Father Wolf, who have named the child Mowgli. Mowgli is accepted into Akela's wolf pack and protected by Bagheera and Baloo. Furious at losing his kill, the tiger swears that the boy will be his some day. While Mowgli is growing up, Shere Khan infiltrates the wolf pack by promising the younger wolves rich rewards once Akela is deposed. When the young wolves maneuver Akela into missing his kill, the pack council meets to expel him. Shere Khan threatens to take over their hunting territory if the wolves do not give him Mowgli. Having been warned by Bagheera, Mowgli attacks Shere Khan and his allies with a burning branch and drives them away. Akela leaves the pack to become a lone hunter. Mowgli goes to the human village, but swears that he will return one day with Shere Khan's skin.

In "Tiger! Tiger!", Mowgli is adopted by Messua and her husband and learns human ways. In this short story, Mowgli learns the villagers have heard of the lame tiger, which has a price on its head, but believe it is lame because it is the reincarnation of a money-lender who was injured in a riot. When Mowgli scoffs at these fanciful tales, the villagers decide to put him to work herding buffalo. He then meets his wolf friend Grey Brother, who tells him that Shere Khan is still planning to kill him. Grey Brother forces Tabaqui to tell him where and when Shere Khan is planning to strike; he then kills the jackal. With the help of Akela, Grey Brother and Mowgli trap Shere Khan in a narrow canyon and incite the buffalo to stampede him to death. Mowgli then sets out to fulfil his promise by skinning Shere Khan, but he is interrupted by the village's elderly chief hunter Buldeo, who wants the tiger's hide for the reward. Mowgli calls Akela, who pins Buldeo down while Mowgli finishes removing the hide.

See Also