What is Rikki-tikki-tavi's nickname in Rudyard Kipling's short story "Rikki-Tikki-Tavi"?

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Tamara K. H. | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator Emeritus

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In his children's story "Rikki-Tikki-Tavi," author Rudyard Kipling gives two nicknames to his title character. He is usually called Rikki-tikki for short but is once called just Rikki in a narration describing his mother.

Early in the story Rikki-tikki is found nearly drowned by an English family and brought home. After he has eaten and dried himself, he spends all day exploring the house and learning about what people do. He decides he likes it so very much that he'll stay. He even goes to bed with the boy Teddy but stays awake all night watching over him. The first time he has breakfast with the family, he devotedly spends time on each family member's lap to make friends and to make them want to welcome him into their home, for, as the narrator explains, "Every well-brought-up mongoose always hopes to be a house-mongoose some day and have rooms to run about in." The narrator further explains that Rikki-tikki's mother, who was house-mongoose to a general, "carefully told Rikki what to do if ever he came across white men." Based on this narration we can tell that not only was he brought up to care for people, a very critical element in the story, but he was also called Rikki by his mother.

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