Rudyard Kipling: plagiarist?(Read article summary)
Rudyard Kipling wrote in a letter now up for sale that 'it is extremely possible that I have helped myself promiscuously but at present cannot remember from whose stories I have stolen.' Kipling is most famous for his 1894 work 'The Jungle Book.'
There's no hint that the author was particularly embarrassed or ashamed. In a letter to an unknown correspondent – a letter that is now available for purchase – Rudyard Kipling admits quite freely that he may have borrowed parts of his work “The Jungle Book” from another source.
Kipling writes that "the law of the jungle," famously shared by Baloo the bear with "Jungle Book" protagonist Mowgli, was partly taken from “(Southern) Esquimaux [Eskimo] rules for the division of spoils." And parts may be from other sources, as well, he adds.
“I am afraid that all that code in its outlines has been manufactured to meet 'the necessities of the case': though a little of it is bodily taken from (Southern) Esquimaux rules for the division of spoils," Kipling wrote. "In fact, it is extremely possible that I have helped myself promiscuously but at present cannot remember from whose stories I have stolen.”
Kipling turns the laws of the jungle into a poem for his book “The Second Jungle Book,” writing, “Now this is the Law of the Jungle – as old and as true as the sky; / And the Wolf that shall keep it may prosper, but the Wolf that shall break it must die. The Kill of the Pack is the meat of the Pack. Ye must eat where it lies; / And no one may carry away of that meat to his lair, or he dies."