How does rikki tikki tavi come to live with his family in "Rikki-tikki-tavi"?

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Rikki-tikki gets washed away from his mongoose family in a flood and that is how he ends up with the people.

This story takes place in British-colonized India, in a house on the edge of a “half cultivated” garden.  This basically means that part of it is maintained by the family but part of it is left in its wild state.  Into this garden, Rikki-tikki-washes one day.

One day, a high summer flood washed him out of the burrow where he lived with his father and mother, and carried him, kicking and clucking, down a roadside ditch. He found a little wisp of grass floating there, and clung to it till he lost his senses.

The little boy whose family lives in this half-cultivated garden bungalow finds Rikki in the middle of the garden path and thinks he is dead.  The mother knows he is not dead, and they pick him up and dry him off. A mongoose is very useful to have around, because a half-cultivated garden means snakes, and mongooses kill snakes.  All mongooses want to be “house mongoose” someday, meaning that they will live with people.

The garden is inhabited by two cobras, Nag and Nagaina, and other snakes like Karait, the little dusty brown one.  They are a threat to small creatures, like the birds, and also to the people.  Therefore the people find having a mongoose for a pet convenient.  When Teddy’s mother is concerned with Rikki sleeping with her son, his father explains that the mongoose is quite safe.

``I don't like that,'' said Teddy's mother; ``he may bite the child.'' ``He'll do no such thing,'' said the father. ``Teddy's safer with that little beast than if he had a bloodhound to watch him. If a snake came into the nursery now --- ''

This is foreshadowing of the trouble that the family will have with snakes, which ironically is partially caused by their fear of the threat from Rikki.  The cobras, Nag and Nagaina, know that Rikki will try to kill them sooner or later.  They target the family in retribution.  Eventually Rikki kills Nag, and then Nagaina tries to kill him. Rikki tricks her by killing her eggs.  All are examples of Rikki’s dedication to his family and his use of his instincts.

The story is largely allegorical, describing the effects of colonization on the natives and the colonizers.  Even when the colonizers and the original inhabitants try to live peacefully together, conflict is inevitable.  The British colonizing India is the backdrop, represented by the conflict between the people and the snakes.  Rikki, washed into their lives, gave them a fighting chance, but his very presence there was a threat to the cobras and caused them to initiate hostilities against the people. 

Although it is natural for the reader to feel sympathy for the cute mongoose and the people, we have to remember that the snakes were there first, and the question that Nag asks Rikki is a valid one.  The snakes...

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are not acting against their nature by eating the baby bird.  They did not target the people before Rikki arrived.  In these situations, the two sides cannot live peacefully side by side.  They are each acting as they do, according to their natures.

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How did Rikki-Tikki-Tavi respond to his new family in "Rikki-Tikki-Tavi?"

Rikki-Tikki-Tavi is protective of his new family and curious about them.

Rikki-Tikki is happy to find a family because “every well-brought-up mongoose always hopes to be a house-mongoose some day.”  When he washes up into the family’s garden, they take him in, and he immediately makes himself at home.  He makes a good house mongoose because, like all mongooses, he is very curious.

It is the hardest thing in the world to frighten a mongoose, because he is eaten up from nose to tail with curiosity. The motto of all the mongoose family is "Run and find out''; and Rikki-tikki was a true mongoose. 

He enjoys exploring the family home, including figuring out what can be eaten (banana and boiled egg) and what can’t (cotton-wool).  He does not sit still easily, and has some close calls with a cigar and a bathtub, but mostly does all right.  The family enjoys his company as soon as the father assures the mother that he won’t hurt the little boy, Teddy.

The family lives in a bungalow in India, and Rikki-tikki discovers right away that the garden is only partially maintained.

It was a large garden, only half cultivated, with bushes as big as summer-houses of Marshal Niel roses, lime and orange trees, clumps of bamboos, and thickets of high grass. Rikki-tikki licked his lips. "This is a splendid hunting-ground,'' he said …

The garden contains animals other than Rikki-tikki, including a pair of birds and a muskrat.  Rikki-tikki befriends Darzee, one of the birds, and his wife.  He is warned about the cobras.  Because of this, we get the story’s main conflict—the battle between Rikki-tikki-tavi and the cobras.

Rikki-tikki takes his responsibility seriously, and begins protecting the family from snakes as soon as he finds out that there is a family of cobras living in the garden.

Rikki-tikki was just going to eat him up from the tail, after the custom of his family at dinner, when he remembered that a full meal makes a slow mongoose, and if wanted all his strength and quickness ready, he must keep himself thin.

This shows that Rikki-tikki is responsible and mature, for such a young mongoose, and definitely taking his duty to the family (and himself) seriously.  He knows he needs to be on his toes around these snakes.  He is able to kill a small snake, Karait, and then the male cobra, Nag.

After killing Nag, Rikki-tikki ensures that Nagaina does not get the better of him.  He distracts her from biting Teddy and kills all of her baby cobras in their eggs.  He even follows her into her hole, which is extremely dangerous, to fight her. 

Once Rikki-tikki kills Nagaina, there are no more snakes in the garden.  All of the animals are thrilled, and Darzee sings a song to celebrate Rikki-tikki, praising him as “the ivory-fanged, the hunger with eye-balls of flame.”

Kipling tells us a story of conflict on the basest level, but also of bravery.  Rikki-tikki protects his family because that is what he was born to do.  He never doubts himself, because he is following his instincts.  If you believe in yourself, and have something to fight for, there are no limits to what you can do.

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How does Rikki-Tikki come to live in the bungalow?

At the beginning of the story, Rikki-Tikki-Tavi is described, and the narrator mentions that during a high summer flood, Rikki-Tikki is washed out of his burrow. Rikki-Tikki is carried away from his family during the flood and ends up by a roadside ditch. Fortunately, Rikki-Tikki is able to grab onto some wisps of grass before losing consciousness.

When Rikki-Tikki awakes in the middle of a garden path, he hears a little boy telling his mother that they should hold a funeral for the dead mongoose. The mother then notices that Rikki-Tikki is not dead and her husband carries Rikki into their bungalow. The family then feeds Rikki a small piece of meat, and he runs in and out of the bungalow curiously searching every crevice of the compound. Rikki-Tikki becomes a valuable member of his new human family and ends up saving their lives by killing the two wicked cobras that inhabit their compound. 

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How does Rikki-Tikki come to live in the bungalow?

The reason that Rikki-Tikki-Tavi is living with humans in a bungalow instead of with the rest of his mongoose family is narrated in paragraph three of Kipling's enjoyable story.  A summer monsoon and following flood washed Rikki out of his burrow and carried him away.  He was soaking wet and rather dead looking when the young boy in the story found him.  

One day, a high summer flood washed him out of the burrow where he lived with his father and mother, and carried him, kicking and clucking, down a roadside ditch. He found a little wisp of grass floating there, and clung to it till he lost his senses.

The mother of the family decided to dry him off and nurse him back to health.  

They took him into the house, and a big man picked him up between his finger and thumb and said he was not dead but half choked. So they wrapped him in cotton wool, and warmed him over a little fire, and he opened his eyes and sneezed.

The narrator of the story then proceeds to tell the reader that a mongoose is a naturally super curious animal.  With that in mind, alongside the natural kindness that the family has already shown Rikki, he decides to stay at the bungalow for awhile.  It's a funny bit of narration to think that a mongoose chooses to stay somewhere, because he thinks it is "cool."  

"There are more things to find out about in this house," he said to himself, "than all my family could find out in all their lives. I shall certainly stay and find out."

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