How does Rikki-tikki-tavi burn his nose?

Rikki-tikki-tavi burns his nose on the end of Teddy's father's cigar. Rikki-tikki is very curious and always wants to explore. On this particular occasion, he hurts himself after crawling on the man's lap in order to see how writing was done.

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

They say that curiosity kills the cat. In "Rikki-Tikki-Tavi," it almost kills a mongoose. Our eponymous hero finds the house of his adoptive family an endless source of fascination. Just about everything he sees is new, exciting, and completely absorbing.

Unfortunately, as he roams around the house, he gets into the odd spot of bother. For one thing, he nearly drowns himself in the bathtub. On the next stage of his adventure, he sticks his nose into the ink on a writing table and, for good measure, burns it on the end of Teddy's father's cigar.

The poor little creature was just being his normal curious self; he'd climbed up onto the man's lap to see how writing was done. Unfortunately for him, he's ended up with a lot more than he'd bargained for. But then again, Rikki-tikki's a mongoose, a wild animal, so it's not surprising that he's like a fish out of water in this domesticated environment.

Even so, Rikki-tikki remains undeterred and continues his detailed exploration of Teddy's family's house. When night falls, he runs into Teddy's nursery to see how kerosene lamps are lighted. Thankfully on this occasion, the little mongoose doesn't hurt himself or run the risk of being killed.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team