About the story

Rikki-Tikki-Tavi is an all time popular short story in The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling about the adventures of a brave young mongoose which kills a snake to save a little boy. Rikki-Tikki-Tavi is a favourite of Kipling fans. The frightening and serious tone of the story is notable. There are some epic features in this story such as heightened prosaic style, songs to the hero. It has often been anthologized and has also been published for a number of times as a short book in its own right.RIKKI TIKKI TAVI

Plot summary:
An English family has just moved to a bungalow in the British Sugauli (former British spelling Segowlee) cantonment in Bihar. They discover a young half-dead mongoose and decide to keep it as a pet. The young mongoose, called Rikki-Tikki, is very friendly with the little son of the English couple. He decides to protect the family when he finds himself confronted by two dangerous, murderous cobras, (Nag) and his wicked wife Nagaina, who had the run of the garden while the house was unoccupied. Rikki first learns of the vicious Nag and Nagina from Darzee the tailor bird who tells them that their little baby was eaten when it fell out of the nest. Rikki feels very sad for Darzee and his wife and decides to protect them. Rikki has had an encounter with the cobras. But his first true battle is with Karait, a small venomous dust brown snake ling which threatens Teddy (the little boy of the family). Rikki is inexperienced. Karait, with its deadly venom and small size, is more dangerous rival than a cobra. But Rikki-Tikki defeats Karait. Nag, at Nagaina's urging, plans to kill the family to get the house unoccupied to have free run of its garden. Nagaina also reminds Nag that their eggs would hatch soon and that their children will need room and calm. In order to kill the "big man" Nag goes to the bathroom where Rikki grabs him by the head above the hood. He (Nag) thrashes about furiously. The man wakes up with the sound and fires both barrels of a shotgun into Nag, blowing him in two pieces and almost hitting Rikki. Nag was thrown on a heap of garbage where Nagaina mourns for him and vows to take revenge. Rikki is aware of the threat. So he enlists a tailor bird Darzee to divert Nagaina while he searches for her eggs. Rikki finds and destroys most of the brood. Nagaina finds the family at the dinner table on the garden verandah "they sat stone-still, and their faces were white" and threatens to kill Teddy, the family's son, with her poisonous bite. Darzee's wife alerted Rikki and he races to the verandah with the last egg which Nagaina snatches and flees to her hole. Rikki pursues her inside. The underground fight is not described. After an unbearably long time, Rikki comes out of the hole in


In the garden Rikki meets Darzee and his wife and comes to know of their tragedy brought about by the vicious Nag and Nagina.triumph. The big man's name is not mentioned. He has killed Nagaina. in which courage and skill defeat the forces of evil. The story beautifully creates the world of the Indian bungalow and the garden.which means tailor in Hindi. Nagina and their entire family. he is described in simple adjectives that serve to clearly attribute an evil nature to him: This story is an epic. They are not given any individual identity. So The Tailor Bird is called Darzee . Rikki Tikki Tavi is a rare short story in which the animal character is the main protagonist and the hero of the story. Rikki Tikki is so named by Teddy and his family because of the Tik Tik sound he makes. The Characters in Rikki Tikki Tavi the Characters we meet in Rikki Tikki Tavi are: The Big Man The Big Man's wife Teddy Rikki Darzee and his Wife Nag Nagina All characters other than Teddy are given generic names. Rikki decides to teach Nag and Nagina a lesson. and Nag and Nagina are also Hindi words for male and female snake. Rikki-Tikki-Tavi. It is one of the finest stories of Rudyard Kipling. Having come by accident into the family of Teddy. Rikki Tikki Tavi .' There is 2 ." Rudyard Kipling's famous children's story about the battle between a mongoose and two cobras. as he is seen from the point of view of the animals who do not know his name. Rikki immediately becomes friendly with the people and his extremely curious nature causes him to explore every nook and corner of the big house and its garden. The sinister Nag and his wife Nagaina render the Kipling aphorism: 'the female of the species is more deadly than the male. He thus also frees the garden of all dangers and all the inhabitants of the garden breathe a sigh of relief. He is indeed the hero of this short story.A Brave Mongoose The story Rikki Tikki Tavi center’s around the character and antics of the tame yet brave little mongoose Rikki Tikki Tavi. All the cobras are dead now. Rikki spends the rest of his days protecting the family garden where no snake would have the courage to enter. From here on Rikki becomes a hero as he saves the lives of Teddy and his family by killing Nag. seems to be a straightforward tale in which the hero and villains are clearly defined and good triumphs over evil When Nag is first introduced.

He and his family take Rikki-tikki-tavi into their home and thereby earn his loyalty and protection. which are used to highlight Rikki's heroic aspects Darzee's Wife Darzee's wife plays a pivotal role in assisting Rikki against the snakes — and is therefore called "sensible" — by serving as a decoy to distract Nagaina and allow Rikki time to destroy the cobras' unhatched egg Karait Karait. Darzee.humor in Darzee. Darzee A tailor-bird who. into the Indian bungalow where the main action of the story takes place. Chuchundra's cowardliness serves as a foil to Rikki-tikki-tavi's courage. together with his wife. Nagaina wrongfully blames him for the death. The big man owns a "bang-stick" — a shotgun — and when he shoots Nag into two pieces during Rikki's battle with him in the bathroom. and Nagaina even more savage but more sympathetic. announces Rikki's triumph and the demise of Nag and Nagaina to the denizens of the garden. poisonous snake who lives in the dust. keeps a nest in the bungalow's garden. His lack of foresight serves as a foil to Rikki's own impetus for action. The balance of sympathies is well held. is severely lacking in foresight. As an Englishman in India during the late nineteenth century. trying to save her children. a small. Darzee is described as "a feather-brained fellow" because he fails on more than one occasion to competently assist Rikki-tikki-tavi against their common enemies. Karait is the first snake that Rikki kills. Chuchundra A muskrat that lives in the bungalow. He composes songs about Rikki-tikki-tavi's showdowns against Nag and Nagaina. with his son Teddy and wife Alice. the evil Nag. He tips Rikki off to Nag and Nagaina's planned attack on the big man and his family. for which Rikki scolds him. quick. the Coppersmith. the realism of his wife. Darzee also plays the role of a bard. unlike Rikki. The Coppersmith When Rikki-tikki-tavi successfully kills Nagaina and emerges from her lair unhurt. the timidity of Chuchundra versus the bravery of Rikki. is confronted by Rikki-tikki-tavi when he threatens to fatally bite Teddy. a bird who serves as the garden crier. the fallacies of Darzee. The Big Man The big man is an Englishman who has just moved. Chuchundra is portrayed as a cowardly creature that weeps and whines when he speaks. He begins to sing a song of triumph after the death of Nag but before Nagaina and her eggs are destroyed. The big man and his family's gratitude to Rikki for saving their lives earn him a lasting place in their home. Nag and Nagaina. And his wife. and his success gives Rikki the confidence to battle against the more dangerous cobras. the big man represents imperial England's presence in India and thus gives a historical and cultural context to the story. 3 .

Teddy Teddy is the little boy who lives in the bungalow with his parents. As a mongoose. one of the characteristics exhibited by the hero. Nagaina Like her husband Nag. Rikki is emblematic of the archetypal hero: he exhibits the qualities of courage. strength. His innocence and vulnerability as a small child make him an easy target for the poisonous snakes of the garden and the most in need of Rikki-tikki-tavi's protection. Nag's name is derived from the Hindi word for snake. He. Nag and his wife are depicted as evil. to which she flees to protect the last of her eggs. the big man. therefore. Nag. is designed both to entertain and to disseminate the values of virtuous behavior. at the beginning of the story. worthy opponent for Rikki. is a young mongoose who. Rikki-tikki-tavi. and his ultimate triumph over the cobras not only protects the lives of the birds and the humans he befriends. Alice. the hero of the story. who become Rikki's archenemies. Nagaina is characterized as evil. but it also serves as his coming of age. has become a mongoose of legendary strength and fighting ability. It is she who formulates the plan — which Rikki thwarts — to kill the human family in order to rid the bungalow of the mongoose. While Nag is foreboding in his size and strength. is fearful of the cobra's size and strength. Nagaina is said to be intelligent. Nag is killed by Rikki-tikki-tavi inside the bungalow when he. His enormous size — "five feet long from tongue to tail" — and strength make him a formidable and. Rikki is the natural enemy of snakes. knowing that he has to kill Nag in order to protect the human family. and loyalty. has little experience but. He is 4 ." as a children's story. and he succeeds in killing the snake. along with his wife Nagaina. at Nagaina's bidding. but Rikki later earns her trust and affection by protecting her and her family from the cobras THEMES Courage "Rikki-Tikki-Tavi. Prior to arriving in the garden. Rikki had never fought a snake. lives in the bungalow with her son and her husband. and his presence in the garden threatens the resident king cobra couple.Nag One of two king cobras who reside in the garden of the bungalow. but his fear is trumped by his own courage. She initially has misgivings about keeping a wild animal as a pet. are Rikki-tikki-tavi's archenemies. Courage. He is rescued by a human family and taken into their home after he is swept away from his parents' nest during a flood. Rikki. Rikki-Tikki-Tavi Rikki-tikki-tavi. by the end. Teddy's Mother Teddy's mother. is one such virtue. Nag and Nagaina. and he uses his virtues to fight evil. whose name is derived from his characteristic chattering noise. of all the human characters. enters it to kill the human family. Prior to Rikki's arrival in the garden. Nag and Nagaina held free rein over the garden. is most fond of Rikki-tikki-tavi. who is her natural enemy. She is killed by Rikki in her lair.

Frank Baum. Barrie. leaving Darzee to "continue his song." Rikki is loyal to the human family that takes him in. Loyalty and Duty Kipling was deeply influenced by the codes of honor and duty. L." Darzee further impedes Rikki-tikki-tavi's progress against the snakes by not helping him distract Nagaina from her eggs. Beatrix Potter. elicits disdain from Rikki and the other garden creatures. and it seems to be the only law that governs the fantasy world of the garden: the act of killing." He is portrayed as foolish in his preference for sitting in the nest and singing rather than accomplishing hard work." The use of snakes as a symbol of evil is common in Western civilization Style Setting: the Fantasy World "Rikki-Tikki-Tavi" illustrates a trend in children's literature especially characteristic of late nineteenth century and early twentieth century: like the works of Lewis Carroll. the fearful muskrat who "never had spirit enough to run out into the middle of the room" is unable to overcome his fear and. Darzee's wife flies off to help Rikki-tikki against Nagaina. he made sure he would be banged to death. Loyalty especially figures as a theme in "Rikki-Tikki-Tavi. for example. therefore. "Rikki-Tikki-Tavi" is set in a fantasy world: a garden populated by animals who can talk and who have distinctive personalities. 5 . and his loyalty drives him to protect them from the cobras. Setting stories in imaginary places was seen as especially appealing to and appropriate for the active imagination of children. When Darzee. Progress and Work Kipling emphasizes the virtue of hard work by contrasting Rikki-tikki-tavi's heroic behavior with the "unsensible" behavior of Darzee. for the honour of his family. M. and J. even to the point of risking death.rewarded for his courage by being deemed a hero and given a permanent place in the home of the humans. therefore. Rikki-tikki-tavi grows angry with him because he knows that Nagaina is still alive and. he preferred to be found with his teeth locked. Kenneth Grahame. Rikki also risks death out of a sense of duty regarding his heritage as a mongoose: when he attacks Nag he "was battered to and fro. is not against the laws of the garden but is consistently portrayed as a means towards the more important goal of survival for both the heroic and villainous characters." Survival Survival is the motivating factor behind the actions of all of the characters. and. Chuchundra. the "feather-brained" tailor-bird begins to sing a song of triumph after the death of Nag. his work is only half done: "Oh you stupid tuft of feathers! Is this the time to sing?" "You don't know when to do the right thing at the right time. The characters of Nag and Nagaina are portrayed as villains in "Rikki-Tikki-Tavi.. The virtue of courage is further emphasized by the story's portrayal of shameful cowardliness. This preoccupation with survival reflects the Darwin’t theory of evolution.

What did Rikki-tikki ask Nagaina to do? 6 . but Rikki-tikki came and told her how he had smashed all her eggs but one." In direct imitation. is reproduced at the end of the story." In Homer's epics epithets are used to label the heroes. The use of this hymn device draws parallels between Rikki and Christ and between Nag and Satan. Nagaina realized that she had lost her chance of killing the boy. focusing on a specific characteristic: for example. How had Rikki-tikki killed Nag? Rikki-tikki held Nag by his head in his firm jaw." the song of praise Darzee sings to celebrate Nag's death. 2. Rikki-tikki-tavi is called "Red-Eye. He was dead even before the big Englishman blew him in two with shots from his rifle. 3. The song. and objects." Kipling uses this classical device in order to heighten the act of Rikkitikki-tavi's story and make clear his status as a legendary hero Imitation of the Christian Hymn "Darzee's Chant. What was Nagaina up to? Why did she fail in her mission? Nagaina wanted to avenge herself by killing the boy Teddy. Epithet An epithet is an adjectival phrase attributed as a title to a character. by dying and then rising from the dead. who represents Death for the garden. 1. Question 1 He threw me to and fro ………………………………………. Anthropomorphism is the key characteristic of fables. plants. Breaker of Horses. She had taken a very advantageous position to strike the boy. is reminiscent of Christian hymns of praise to Christ: in Christian belief. Like hot coal. he conquered death and opened heaven to humanity. simple moral tales. which use animals that can talk to teach lessons about human behavior and morality. Christ is the savior of humanity because. She asked Rikki-tikki to give her last egg and she would go away. in Greek mythology the goddess Athena is often referred to as "Grey-Eyed Athena. The animal characters in "Rikki-Tikki-Tavi" all are characterized by distinct." and Darzee also refers to him as "Killer of the terrible Nag" and "Rikki-tikki with the white teeth. like Aesop's fables. for example "Nestor. so the song praises Rikki for saving the garden from Nag. Nag shook him off violently to escape from his grip. Just as Christ is praised in Christian hymns for saving humanity from death. which praises Rikki-tikki-tavi for ridding the garden of Nag. human-like personalities. such as animals. but he could not succeed.Anthropomorphism Anthropomorphism is the attribution of human characteristics to non-humans. Anthropomorphism is commonly found in children's literature and serves to create a fantasy world that is compatible with the active imaginations of children.

What did the Englishman ask his wife and son not to do? 3. ‘Don’t be frightened. 2. 4. How was Rikki-tikki tackling Nagaina? Rikki-tikki knew that he must save himself from the big stroke of violent Nagaina. and she would be a widow no longer. Question 2 So they wrapped him …………………………………. Was Rikki-tikki able to harm Nagaina? Why couldn’t he kill her with a deep bite? 7 . warning by Darzee) 2. What tells you that Rikki-tikki was greedy? How was he a curious creature? 6. Rikki-tikki was a young mongoose. Teddy’ said his father. What are the two distinctive character traits of a mongoose? Fearlessness and curiosity. 4. How did Rikki-tikki try to be friendly with Teddy? Who was Teddy? Did Teddy become friendly with the mongoose? Question 3 Rikki-tikki knew better than to waste time ………………………… Nagaina torn and angry. 1. What had happened earlier in the context? (Meeting with Nag. 5. They wrapped him in cotton wool to give his body warmth. Who was it that alerted Rikki-tikki of the impending danger? What was the danger? 4. Nag trying to hold the attention of Rikki-tikki while Nagaina was coming behind him. He was carried into a ditch by the flood water. He was saved by an English family. 1. He was totally wet and had lost his senses. Why did Rikki-tikki decide to jump high in the air? To avoid being bitten by Nagaina 3. How did Rikki-tikki behave? 5. Was Rikki-tikki able to kill Nagaina? Where did he kill her? Rikki-tikki was able to kill Nagaina. He asked her to fight. He chased her and bit her hard on her tail and killed her.Rikki-tikki refused to give Nagaina her last egg. He bounded all round her with his furious eyes burning like hot coals. He was sure he would kill her soon. Who was Nagaina? What was her plan? (Write with respect to the extract) 5. Why did they wrap Rikki-tikki in cotton wool? Who was Rikki-tikki? Rikki was swept out of his burro in a summer flood.

How did Teddy’s parents react when they saw Nag dead? Were they grateful to Rikki-tikki? 4. He looked at the thickness …………………………… and around in great circles. It would take a long time before the big man came into the bathroom. How did Nag react when Rikki-tikki held on to his head? Question 4 But the head did not move …………. how Nagaina grabbed the egg and how Rikki-tikki chased her) 2. What did Darzee say? What was his fear? 4. Where did Rikki-tikki take rest? How did he feel? What were the thoughts that preoccupied him? 5.no knowing when the eggs she spoke of will hatch. how Rikki-tikki distracted her. What did Rikki-tikki realize? What could he not do? 3. 1. Where was nag coiling? What was his plan? Why did he go to sleep? He went to sleep for it was night and the bathroom was cool. How did he make the most of his opportunity? Supported his back against the bulge of the red earthenware and held down the head of Nag and had a firm grip on it. 2. It was not as thick as the neck below the hood and it would also prevent Nag from attacking Rikki-tikki. 5. Who had killed Nag? How? 2. 1. How did Rikki-tikki continue his fight? How was it dangerous for him in the dark? 3. How did Rikki-tikki come out of the hole in which Nagaina had entered? 8 . licking his whiskers. 4.Question 3. …………………. What bothered Rikki-tikki now? What did he plan to do? Question 5. 1. What had the Englishman done to kill Nag? 3. What did he decide to do? Why? He decided to attack the head above the hood.. It was dark in the hole. What happened earlier in the context? (Describe the scene in Teddy’s house with Rikki-tikki holding the egg and Nagaina aiming at Teddy.

4. comes naturally to him. or self-disciplined. his eyes would get red from time to time. has a pink nose and eyes. he wouldn’t get another chance and it would be death for the birds and the frogs in the garden and also for the members the Big man’s family. 1. What did Nagaina do with the egg? Why did she run fast? 3. and he would go off into his long war cry of "Rick-tikk-tikki-tikki-tchk!" What conclusions can you draw about Rikki-Tikki-Tavi from his words and actions? Rikki-Tikki-Tavi enjoys the attention from Teddy's family. "Actions speak louder than words. Whose egg was it? What was its significance? The last of the brood of Nagaina’s eggs. Find sentences in the story that show that Rikki-Tikki-Tavi stays with the family because they treat him well and that killing snakes. and to sit on Teddy's shoulder." An author usually does not tell the reader that a character is wise. …………………………. hunts snakes. and though it was very pleasant to be patted and petted by Teddy's mother. or brave. content. • Rikki-Tikki-Tavi (mongoose) Lives in India. he instinctively kills snakes. Why was Darzee singing a song to triumph? Why was it a foolish act? Why does Rikki-Tikki-Tavi help Teddy's family? How do you know? Explain which sentences in the story led you to draw your conclusion. 2. [Rikki-Tikki] might have stuffed himself with nice things. Rikki-Tikki-Tavi helps Teddy and his family both because the family is kind to him and because. walking to and fro among the glasses on the table. lives in a burrow. And flapped her wings about Nagaina’s head. Rikki-Tikki-Tavi is determined. Was he successful in killing Nagaina? How did he feel after accomplishing the feat? Question 6 He had forgotten the egg. Why did Rikki-tikki have to chase Nagaina? If he didn’t kill her then. for which the family is so grateful. makes a ticking sound when aggressive 9 . the author has the character's words and actions show the character's qualities The following paragraph from "Rikki-TikkiTavi": That night at dinner. as a mongoose. has a fluffy tail. Instead.5. But he remembered Nag and Nagaina. he does not lose sight of his goal. eats meat. responsible. has a rocking gait when about to attack. Where did Nagaina head towards? How was she delayed in reaching her destination? (Darzee’s wife flapping her wings about Nagaina’s head distracting her) 5.

Do the facts make the story more believable or less believable? Why? The facts make the story more believable. Rikki Tikki Tavi is portrayed as a fighter almost from the moment he is introduced.explain what you know was "made up. "and he is crawling into the bath-room sluice. are poisonous. you've chosen a bad place to be lame in. What is remarkable about this story is the stark and often abrupt mortality that is woven through the narrative. • "That's Nag or Nagaina. but it would not seek to kill the bird for revenge. Find one or more other passages in which animal talks like a human being • Nagaina lifted up her head and hissed." And she moved toward Darzee's wife. known for singing loudly Kipling includes many facts about the animals' appearances and behavior. You're right. lay eggs. Because Kipling frequently correctly describes the animals' appearances and behavior. 10 ." Animals do not have conversations like human beings do. Animals do not try to have their revenge on other animals. slipping along over the dust." Describe the fictional elements in the story . A snake would hunt a bird for food. Chuchundra. A mongoose could not have a conversation with a muskrat. their actions. lay eggs Darzee and His Wife (tailor-birds) Live in India. seem "real" or "true. will bite humans. vengeance is a human invention. though fictional. Find one or more other passages in which an animal thinks or acts like a human being." Explain why the passage is an example of fiction. have a hood with a unique mark. Indeed and truly. I should have talked to Chua.. "You warned Rikki-tikki when I would have killed him. build nests in shrubs. build a nest by sewing leaves together with plant stalks or spider webs." [Rikki-Tikki-Tavi] said to himself. can "freeze" prey with their gaze.• • Nag and Nagaina (cobras) Live in India. hunt birds.