At first Nag introduces himself to Rikki-Tikki in a way designed to strike fear into the mongoose's heart and to make Rikki feel like a young thing. But Rikki's mongoose nature won't allow him to remain frightened for long, and Nag knows what Rikki knows: that mongooses in the garden mean death for snakes. But in this scene, Nag knows something that Rikki does not at first, and that is that Nagaina, Nag's wife, is slithering up in the grass behind Rikki. Therefore Nag tries to get Rikki into a philosophical discussion about whether it's right for Rikki to eat eggs if it's wrong for Nag to eat birds. He is hoping to distract Rikki long enough to allow Nagaina to strike him from behind. But Darzee sings out with a warning, and Rikki jumps high in the air as Nagaina's strike misses. The next time Nag and Rikki meet, there is no discussion. It's a fight to the death--Nag's death.