Bagheera followed the trail of the buffalo, keeping to Mowgli’s scent. Eventually, the scent stopped, Bagheera saying “no. How can this be?“, before turning to see the river, and saying “oh, I hope you’re alright, Mowgli.”
Meanwhile, Mowgli woke up. He was in another strange place. Though, this place seemed to be a cave of sorts, and was much brighter and warmer than Kaa’s tree.
Where am I, he thought to himself as he stood up. He looked around the cave, suddenly seeing large claw marks on the rock behind him, before looking down to see claw marks everywhere on the ground.
Oh no. This must be Shere Khan’s cave, Mowgli thought. Suddenly, thundering footsteps came from outside the cave, as Mowgli looked at the shadow cast on a nearby rock. The figure looked large and intimidating, as Mowgli landed on the floor, before closing his eyes and dropping on the ground, holding his breath to appear dead.
He heard the footprints as the creature stood outside the cave, as the growling became closer and closer. Though Mowgli kept his eyes closed, he heard the creature come in, though his voice didn’t sound like Shere Khan’s voice. This voice was calm, and laid-back, as it sang “well, it’s a doo-ba-dee-doo. Yes, it’s a doo-ba-dee-doo. I mean a doo-bee, doo-bee, doo-bee, doo-bee, doo-ba-dee-doo.”
Mowgli opened his eyes slightly, trying to get a glimpse of the creature. He saw large brown fur facing away from him, as the creature hummed to itself. Mowgli moved his hand slightly, accidentally knocking a pebble.
The creature’s ears pricked up, and Mowgli quickly closed his eyes again. When he opened them a second time, he saw a large, black nose in his face, sniffing his hair loudly.
“AAAGGHH! GET BACK! HELP!” Mowgli screamed as he clambered to his feet. Mowgli turned and went to escape, only to run straight into the wall. Feeling cornered, he grabbed a stick and prepared to defend himself.
“Get back! I mean it!” Mowgli said as he shut his eyes tight and pointed the stick, only for the voice to say “whoa. Calm down, little britches. No need to get worked up, okay kid?”
Mowgli opened his eyes to see the large, sleepy brown bear who wiped his mouth and sat on his bottom. The bear said “sorry for scaring ya, but I just wanted to make sure you were still kicking, know what I mean? And by the way, I’m feeling really threatened by that tiny stick you’re holding right now.”
“Okay. Thank you.” Mowgli said as he sat on the ground. The bear said “so, what do they call you kid?”
“Mowgli, huh? Where are you going to, then?
“I’m going to a man-village.”
“The man-village? No, you can’t go there. It’s not worth it. Real boring place, believe me. Everybody works, and nobody plays.”
“Well, I have to go. Bagheera said I’m not safe in the jungle.”
“Ha ha, not safe. Well, you just stick with old Baloo. You’ll be fine here.”
“Sure. And besides, you can’t leave yet.”
“Cause you’ve got to help me.”
“I’m getting ready for uh... hibernation.” Baloo said as he yawned loudly. “I need to get my food ready. And you still owe me one after I snatched ya from the jaws of... well actually, the coils of death back there.”
“Okay, I’ll help you, Baloo. Where is your food?”
“That’s what you’re helping me with, isn’t it?”
Baloo lead Mowgli into the jungle as they went to get food. Mowgli said “I’ve never met a bear before. What do you eat for hibernation?”
“Well, I’m not looking for the finest meals. All I need is the basics. We bears have very simple needs. I even have a little tune that helps me to remember that.”
As they walked on, Baloo began humming to himself. “Hm-hm-hmm... dum-de-dum-de-dum. Bum-bum-bum dum-de-dum-de-dum... forget about your worries and your strife.”
“What’s that?” Mowgli asked, Baloo answering “that’s a song about the good life, little britches.”
“What’s a song?”
“What’s a song? You’ve never heard a song before. It’s a rhyme that you sing with a rhythm, if you know what I mean.”
“Oh yeah. My wolf family has one of those. It goes like this: this is the Law of the Jungle, as old and as true as the sky. The Wolf that keeps it may prosper, but the Wolf that breaks it will die."
“That ain’t a song kid. That’s just boring old rules that those night-howlers say to themselves. Now, let’s go get me some hibernation food.”
“So, how do you find your simple needs?”
“Well, it’s like this, little britches. All you gotta do is...” Baloo said as he clapped his paws. “Look for the... bare necessities. The simple bare necessities. Forget about your worries and your strife. I mean the bare necessities. Old Mother Nature’s recipes, that bring the bare necessities of life!”
Eventually, they came to a tree, where a hive of bees stood on a branch. Baloo sang “wherever I wander... wherever I roam... I couldn’t be fonder of my big home...”
“What about there?” Mowgli said as he pointed to the hive. Baloo said “sounds like the bees are buzzin’ in the tree to make some honey just for me. Can you climb that?”
“Sure.” Mowgli said as he climbed up the tree. Baloo said “watch out for the stinging bits. They really don’t feel good.”
“Ow!” Mowgli said as he was stung, before kicking the hive and causing some honey to fall from the tree and into a small rock-plate.
Mowgli then had an idea, as he went down to get a long, ridged leave, which he then sharpened into a machete. He then made a basket with some leaves and used a vine to move it under the hive. He then used the leaf to reach over to the hive and cut down some honey sap in the basket. When he brought it back down, Baloo picked up the basket and said “now that’s how you get honey! Ha ha... well now, what have we here?” as he saw a rock on the ground.
He lifted the rock up, revealing thousands of ants crawling about. Baloo sang to himself “when you look under the rocks and plants and take a glance at the fancy ants.” before licking up a handful of the ants and saying “then maybe try a few...”
“You eat ants too?” Mowgli said, as Baloo licked his lips and said “you’d better believe it. And you’d love the way they tickle y’inside.”
Baloo led Mowgli onward, singing “the bare necessities of life will come to you.”
“They’ll come to you!”
Eventually, they came to a field filled with plants and fruits. Baloo picked fruits for Mowgli to place in the plate as he sang “look for the bare necessities, the simple bare necessities. Forget about your worries and your strife. I mean the bare necessities. That’s why a bear can rest at ease with just the bare necessities of life!”
Mowgli tried to pick one of the prickly fruits, hurting his hand as he said “ouch!”
“Now when you pick a pawpaw, or a prickly pear. And you prick a raw paw, well next time beware!” Baloo sang as he picked several fruits on his claws and Mowgli used a stick to pick the fruits. Baloo sang “don’t pick the prickly pear by the paw. When you pick a pear try to use the claw.”
Mowgli climbed a nearby tree to get some large soft fruits, as Baloo said “ah, but you don’t need to use the claw when you pick a pair of the big pawpaw. Have I given you a clue?”
“Yeah. Thanks Baloo!”
Baloo walked onwards, as Mowgli climbed onto the bear’s back and held the plate filled with honey and fruits. Baloo said “the bare necessities of life will come to you!”
“They’ll come to me!”
“They’ll come to you!”
When they came to a river, Mowgli swam in the river to catch fish. He said “how many fish do you want?”
“Enough to fill up the plate!” Baloo answered as he tried to scratch an itch on his back. “Ah, come on now! Ugh, no use.” Baloo said, before he saw a tree and scratched his back against it. He said “oh yeah. That’s the spot. Ha ha... beautiful. Little to the left, oh that’s it!”
Mowgli struggled to catch the fish, which slipped from his hands and back into the river. The mancub then had another idea, as he fashioned a grappling hook and a net made of vines. He tossed the hook across the river, using the raised net to trap the fish inside of it.
Mowgli eventually held several dozen fish in the net as he rested on a rock. Finally, Baloo finished scratching, and said “oh man, this is really living.”
Baloo fell into the river, floating on his back down the current. As he passed Mowgli,the mancub climbed onto his belly, using Baloo as a float. As they both laughed, Baloo said “hey Mowgli.”
“Do you... like it here?”
“I sure do.”
“Then, how about you don’t go to the man-village.”
“But Bagheera said that I-”
“Don’t worry about Baggy. I know that guy, you don’t need to listen.”
“Well, I don’t know. But they all seem really worried about me staying. And besides, I can’t do my tricks in the jungle.”
“Tricks? You mean your inventions? But they’re great.”
“It’s not the wolf way.”
“Of course it’s not. It’s the Mowgli way.” Baloo thought for a moment, before sighing and saying “alright, little britches. How about this? Once we drop all this off at my cave, you can make your mind up. And if you got your heart set on it, I’ll take you there myself.”
“Okay Baloo.” Mowgli said. Baloo smiled as he saw a bee buzzing by, and sang “So just try and relax, yeah. Cool it... just fall apart in my backyard. Because let me tell you something, little britches... If you act like that bee acts, uh uh, then you’re working too hard. And don’t spend your time lookin’ around... for something you want that... can’t be found.”
When they floated over a small waterfall, Baloo laughed and sang “cause when you find out you can live without it and go along not thinkin’ about it, I’ll tell you something true.”
“The bare necessities of life will come to you! Ha ha! Hey kid, why don’t you give it a go?”
As they floated down the stream, they both sang “look for the bare necessities, the simple bare necessities. Forget about your worries and your strife. I mean the bare necessities. That’s why a bear can rest at ease with just the bare necessities of life!”
Baloo said “with just the bare necessities of life!” as Mowgli said “yeah man!”