Like all great heroes, Rikki is celebrated by the society he saves. How does Darzee’s chant make Rikki into a super-hero in "Rikki-tikki-tavi?"

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litteacher8 | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Darzee sings a song that celebrates Rikki’s accomplishments.

Rikki-tikki realizes that as a mongoose, it is his job to take care of the snakes in the garden.  The other animals are depending on him to do what they can’t.  They also help him in whatever ways they can.  Darzee the tailorbird is very helpful to him because he has a higher viewpoint and can see what is going on.

Darzee makes Rikki’s acquaintance early on, warning Rikki about the cobras.  He is useful in pretending, for example, to have an injured wing.  He worries about Rikki, and at one point is convinced that Rikki is dead, when he follows Nagaina into her hole.

So he sang a very mournful song that he made up on the spur of the minute, and just as he got to the most touching part the grass quivered again, and Rikki-tikki, covered with dirt, dragged himself out of the hole leg by leg, licking his whiskers.

Rikki-tikki emerges victorious though.  It is Darzee’s job to tell the garden that Rikki is victorious, and is their hero.  He sings a song letting everyone know how brave Rikki-tikki is and how he has saved them.  In the song, he elaborates on Rikki’s physical attributes while describing the situation.

Who hath delivered us, who?

Tell me his nest and his name.

Rikki, the valiant, the true,

Tikki, with eyeballs of flame,

Rik-tikki-tikki, the ivory-fanged, the hunger with eyeballs

of flame. 

In this way, everyone will know what happened, and Rikki-tikki will become a hero to all of the animals in the garden.  In the song, Rikki-tikki is larger than life and his physical characteristics are emphasized in order to demonstrate his bravery.  With Rikki there, the song makes them feel like they will never be in danger again.

After Rikki-tikki kills the snakes, there are no more snakes in the garden.  He keeps his garden as a mongoose should.  Rikki takes his responsibility very seriously, and does not let the praise go to his head.  Fame is not what matters to him.  He kills snakes because it's his job.

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