What is the story "Rikki-Tikki-Tavi" talking about?

Expert Answers
rmhope eNotes educator| Certified Educator

"Rikki-Tikki-Tavi," a children's story published by Rudyard Kipling in his second volume of The Jungle Book, is a fantasy story that features talking animals. It takes place in a garden and bungalow in India. The human characters are British people living in India, as was Kipling. In the story, the little boy, Teddy, finds a mongoose, which is an animal that is somewhat like a cat and somewhat like a weasel. The mongoose is young and has been washed away from him home in a heavy rain. Thinking it is dead, Teddy plans to bury the animal, but the mother dries it off and revives it. The rest of the story relates the antics of the mongoose as he follows his instincts, first of curiosity, and second of killing snakes. The mongoose is called "Rikki-Tikki-Tavi" because that is similar to the sound a mongoose makes. As the story progresses, Rikki learns of the threat the two cobras pose to the family and the animals. He kills a smaller snake, and then he teams up with the man to kill Nag, the male cobra. Next he destroys the eggs of the cobras that are about to hatch, and then he has a final battle with Nagaina, the female cobra. The animals and the humans praise Rikki for his valor, but for the mongoose, it is all in a day's work.