RIKKI-TIKKI-TAVI (PART 2)

Teddy came running down the path and Rikki-tikki was glad to see him. But when Teddy was going to take Rikki-tikki up, something wriggled in the dust and a thin voice said: "Be careful. I am death!" It was Karait, the grey-brown snake that usually hides in the dusty earth; and he is as dangerous as the cobra. But he is so small that nobody thinks of him and so he does more harm to people.

Rikki-tikki's eyes grew red again, and he moved to Karait the way his mother had taught him. Rikki-tikki was too young and didn't know that it was going to be a more dangerous fighting. Karait was so small, that it could turn and attack very quickly. But Rikki's eyes were all red, and he was looking for a good place to bite the snake. Karait attacked but Rikki was quick to jump off.

Teddy cried: "Oh, look here! Our mongoose is killing a snake!" Teddy's mother and his father ran out the house. The big man had a stick, but when he came up, Rikki-tikki jumped on the snake's back and bit him. That bite paralyzed Karait, and Rikki-tikki was just going to eat him up from the tail, after the tradition of his family, when he remembered that a full meal makes a slow mongoose. He wanted to stay strong and ready for a fight, so he had to keep himself thin.

Teddy's mother came up to him: "Thank you, little wild creature. You have saved Teddy from death."

That night, at dinner, Rikki-tikki was walking among the wine-glasses on the table, but he didn't eat anything, because he remembered Nag and Nagaina. From time to time his eyes got red again and his long war-cry of "Rikk-tikk-tikki-tikki-tchkkr!" sounded inside him.

Teddy took him to his bedroom, and put Rikki-tikki into his bed. Rikki-tikki was too polite to say "no" to the little boy, but as soon as Teddy fell asleep he went off for his night walk round the house, and in the dark he met Chuchundra, the Musk-rat, who wasn't a brave animal at all.

"Don't kill me," said Chuchundra, almost crying. "Rikki-tikki, don't kill me."

"Do you think a snake-killer kills musk-rats?" said Rikki-tikki, surprised.

"Those who kill snakes get killed by snakes," said Chuchundra. "And how can I be sure that Nag won't mistake me for you some dark night?"

"There's not the least danger," said Rikki-tikki; "because Nag is in the garden, and I know you don't go there."

"My cousin Chua, the Rat, told me " said Chuchundra, and then he stopped.

"Told you what?"

"Hush! Nag is everywhere, Rikki-tikki. Why didn't you talk to Chua in the garden?"

"I didn't so you must tell me. Quick, Chuchundra, or I'll bite you!"

Chuchundra sat down and started crying. "I am a very poor man. I was never too brave to run out into the middle of the room. Hush! I mustn't tell you anything. Can't you hear, Rikki-tikki?"

Rikki-tikki listened. The house was very quiet, but he was sure he heard a very low noise scratch-scratch of a snake's scales on the floor.

"That's Nag or Nagaina," he said to himself; "and he is getting into the bathroom."

He ran into the bathroom. Near the wall there was a small hole and through it Rikki-tikki saw Nag and Nagaina. They were talking outside in the moonlight.

"When there are no people in the house," said Nagaina to her husband, "he will go away, and then the garden will be our own again. Go in quietly, and remember that you must bite the big man first. Then come out and tell me, and we will hunt for Rikki-tikki together."

"But must we kill all the people?" said Nag.

"Can you remember the time when there were no people in the house? Did we have any mongoose in the garden? Without people we will be king and queen of the garden; and remember, soon our babies will need place to live and grow."

"I haven't thought of that," said Nag.

Then Nag's head came through the hole, and his cold body followed it. "Well," said the snake when he got inside the bathroom. "When the big man comes into the bathroom in the morning, he will not have a stick. So I shall wait here. Nagaina, do you hear me?" There was no answer from outside, so Rikki-tikki knew Nagaina had gone away.

Rikki-tikki stayed in the bathroom as quiet as he could. When Nag fell asleep, Rikki-tikki looked at his big back and thought:

"If I don't break his back at the first jump, he can fight; and if he fights oh, Rikki! Well, the snake's neck is too thick for me; and a bite near the tail will only make Nag angry. So, it must be the head," he said at last; "when I am there, I must not let go."

Then he jumped. Up and down, in great circles went Nag trying to get the mongoose off. But Rikki-tikki held on. They were making a great noise in the bathroom and Rikki was closing his teeth tighter and tighter. He was sure the death was near him. Suddenly there was a bang and red fire was the last thing he saw.

The noise in the bathroom woke the big man. He ran into the bathroom and fired his gun. Nag was dead but Rikki-tikki still held on. His eyes were closed. He thought that he was dead. Then he heard:

"It's the mongoose again. The little creature has saved our lives now."

When morning came Rikki was still very weak and tired, but felt pleased:

"Now I must kill Nagaina, and I don't know anything about her babies. Oh dear! I must go and see Darzee!"

Rikki-tikki ran to the bush where Darzee was singing a song of triumph at the top of his voice. The news of Nag's death was all over the garden.

"Oh, you stupid bird!" said Rikki-tikki angrily. "Is this the time to sing?"

"Nag is dead is dead is dead!" sang Darzee. "The brave Rikki-tikki caught him by the head. Nag is dead! He will never eat my babies again."

"All that's true; but where's Nagaina?" said Rikki-tikki, looking carefully round him.

"Nag is dead!" Darzee sang. "Let us sing about the great, the red-eyed Rikki-tikki!"


A. Decide if the sentences are true or false. Correct the false sentences.

  1. Teddy was in danger because Karait could bite him.
  2. Karait was less dangerous than the cobra.
  3. Karait moved more quickly than the cobra.
  4. The man hit Karait with his stick.
  5. Rikki-tikki-tavi ate Karait up from the tail, after the tradition of his family.
  6. Rikki-tikki-tavi spent the night in Teddy's room.
  7. Chuchundra was afraid of Nag.
  8. Nag got into the house to fight with Rikki-tikki-tavi.
  9. Rikki-tikki-tavi attacked Nag as soon as he got into the bathroom.
  10. Rikki-tikki-tavi bit Nag's neck.
  11. The man killed Nag with his stick.
  12. In the morning Rikki-tikki-tavi went to talk with Darzee.
  13. Darzee was singing a song about Rikki-tikki-tavi.
  14. Rikki-tikki-tavi was pleased when he heard the song.

B. Explain why:

  1. Karait did more harm to people than the cobra.
  2. It was more dangerous for the mongoose to fight Karait than the cobra.
  3. Rikki-tikki-tavi did not eat anything that evening.
  4. Rikki-tikki-tavi waited in the bedroom till Teddy fell asleep.
  5. Rikki-tikki-tavi thought Nag wouldn't kill Chuchundra.
  6. Nag and Nagaina decided to kill the people.
  7. Nag waited for the man in the bathroom.
  8. Rikki-tikki-tavi stayed in the bathroom as quiet as he could.
  9. Rikki-tikki-tavi bit Nag by the head.
  10. Nag went up and down in great circles.
  11. The man ran into the bathroom.
  12. Rikki-tikki-tavi wanted to talk with Darzee.

C. Fill in the words:

moonlight, meal, triumph, top, noise, scales, tighter, together, attack, bite, mistake, wriggled, followed, paralyzed.

  1. The small grey-brown snake in the dust.
  2. Karait was so small, that it could turn and very quickly.
  3. The bite Karait, and Rikki-tikki-tavi was going to eat him up when he remembered that a full makes a slow mongoose.
  4. Chuchundra worried that some dark night Nag could him for Rikki-tikki-tavi.
  5. Rikki-tikki-tavi heard the noise of a snake's on the floor.
  6. Nag and Nagaina were talking outside in the .
  7. Nagaina told Nag to the big man first, and then they would hunt for Rikki-tikki-tavi .
  8. Nag's head came through the hole, and his cold body it.
  9. Rikki-tikki and Nag were making a great in the bathroom and Rikki was closing his teeth and .
  10. Darzee was singing a song of at the of his voice.

D. Learn the words of exercise C for the dictation.

E. Retell the second part of the story.

F. Learn the dialogues between Rikki-tikki-tavi and Chuchundra, Nag and Nagaina, and role-play the second part of the story.

G. Tell the second part of the story from the point of view of:

a) Rikki-tikki-tavi; b) the man; c) Teddy.