How does Rikki trick Nag in Rudyard Kipling's "Rikki-Tikki-Tavi"?

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bullgatortail | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

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With Nagaina's new nest of eggs nearly ready to hatch, the two cobras knew that the bungalow must be cleared of humans in order for their own babies to survive. Nag decided to wait in the bathroom for the man to appear the next morning, curling himself up in the water jar that he knew would be used once the man had awakened. But Rikki was watching, and he decided to attack Nag in the large jar while the snake was still asleep: It would be his best chance to kill the large cobra without being killed himself.

"If I don't break his back at the first jump," said Rikki, "he can still fight; and if he fights -- O Rikki!
     "It must be the head," he said at last; "the head above the hood; and when I am once there, I must not let go."

Rikki attacked, and he did not let go. He locked his jaws, knowing he would be battered to death by Nag's relentless whipping, but he was willing to die "for the honour of his family." But the man had awakened, and he put an end to Nag with a blast from his shotgun. The man saw that Rikki was a hero yet again:

"It's the mongoose again, Alice; the little chap has saved our lives now."

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