Rikki-tikki-tavi's in the middle of a discussion with Darzee the bird when, all of a sudden, the fearsome king cobras Nag and Nagaina slither out of the thick grass behind him. Darzee has been telling Rikki how one of his and his wife's babies fell out of the nest, whereupon it was quickly gobbled up by Nag. Rikki's naturally curious to know who this wicked creature is that's made Darzee and his wife so utterly miserable.
Just at that moment, Nag announces his arrival. He proudly tells the young mongoose how the god Brahm put his mark upon his people when the first cobra spread his hood to protect the god from the sun. He then orders him to look at him and be afraid. And Rikki is indeed afraid as the deadly cobra spreads out his large hood.
But not for long. Soon Rikki regains his composure and starts challenging Nag over eating Darzee's baby. Now it's Nag's turn to be scared of the mongoose, though he's trying not show his fear. In the meantime, Nagaina creeps behind Rikki's back and attacks him. But she misses, and Rikki bites back before a torn and angry Nagaina slithers off into the undergrowth with her husband.
Rikki's very pleased with himself at his first encounter with the cobras. Not only did he stand firm, he also managed to avoid a nasty bite from behind by Nagaina, and this has given him greater confidence in himself, which he'll need to have in buckets if he's ever going to meet these highly dangerous creatures again.