RIKKI-TIKKI-TAVI (PART 3)

"Stop it!" said Rikki-tikki. "You don't know when to do the right thing at the right time. You're safe in your nest there, but it's war for me! Stop singing a minute, Darzee."

"Oh, great, the beautiful Rikki-tikki, I will stop," said Darzee. "What is it, Killer of the terrible Nag?"

"Where is Nagaina, for the second time?"

"On the rubbish heap, near the dead body of Nag. Great is Rikki-tikki with the white teeth!"

"Have you ever heard where she keeps her eggs?"

"In the melon bed, near the wall, where the sun shines all day long. She hid them there weeks ago."

"Darzee, can you fly to Nagaina and pretend that your wing is broken? Let Nagaina follow you to this bush, so I'll have time to get to her eggs. If I went there now she'd see me."

"Rikki-tikki, you are not going to eat her eggs, are you?"

Darzee knew that Nagaina's children were born in eggs like his own, and he didn't think at first that it was fair to kill them. But his wife was a sensible bird, and she knew that cobra's eggs meant young cobras later on.

So she flew to Nagaina and cried out:

"Oh, my wing is broken! The boy in the house broke it!"

Nagaina looked at the bird and hissed: "You warned Rikki-tikki when I wanted to kill him. You have found a wrong place to come!" And she moved closer to the bird.

"The boy broke it with a stone!" cried the bird.

"Well, I am going to tell you something you will like. Before night comes, the boy in the house will be as dead as my husband. Listen to me! What is the use of running away? I am sure to catch you. Little fool, look at me!"

But Darzee's wife moved away from the wall in little jumps and the cobra followed her. Rikki-tikki ran to the melon bed near the wall and there, in the warm ground, he found twenty-five snake's eggs covered with white skin.

"I am not late!" he said. He could see the baby cobras inside the eggs, and he knew that the minute they got out they could each kill a man or a mongoose. He broke the eggs as fast as he could and killed the little cobras. At last there was only one egg left, when Rikki-tikki heard Darzee's wife screaming: "Rikki-tikki, Nagaina is in the house, and oh, come quickly she is going to kill the people!"

Rikki-tikki took the last egg into his mouth and ran to the house. Teddy and his mother and father were at the table on the veranda, but Rikki-tikki saw that they were not eating anything. They sat stone-still, and their faces were white. Nagaina was near Teddy's chair singing a song of triumph.

"Son of the big man that killed Nag," she said, "I am not ready yet. Wait a little. Keep very quiet, all you three. If you move I attack, and if you do not move I attack. Oh, foolish people, who killed my Nag!"

Teddy was looking at his father, and all his father could do was to whisper: "Teddy, you mustn't move. Teddy, don't move."

Then Rikki-tikki came up and cried: "Turn round, Nagaina; turn and fight!"

"You are not late, are you?" said she, without moving her eyes. "Look at your friends, Rikki-tikki. They are quiet and white; they are afraid. If you come nearer I'll attack."

"Look at your eggs," said Rikki-tikki, "in the melon bed. Go and look, Nagaina!"

The big snake turned and she saw the egg on the floor in front of Rikki-tikki. "Ah-h! Give it to me," she said.

Rikki-tikki's eyes grew red. "What price for the last egg? For a young king cobra? The ants are eating all the others down by the melon bed."

Nagaina turned round forgetting everything for the sake of the egg, and at the same moment Teddy's father caught Teddy by the shoulder. In a second they were in the house.

"Tricked! Tricked! The boy is safe, and it was I I I that caught Nag last night in the bathroom." Then he began to jump up and down, all four feet together, his head close to the floor. "He threw me up and down, but he could not get me off. He was dead before the big man fired his gun. I did it. Rikki-tikki-tck-tck! Come then, Nagaina. Come and fight with me."

"Give me the egg, Rikki-tikki. Give me the last of my eggs, and I will go away and never come back," she asked.

"Yes, you will go away, and you will never come back; because you will be dead in a minute! Fight, Nagaina! The big man has gone for his gun! Fight!"

Rikki-tikki was running all round Nagaina. Nagaina tried to get him again and again. Rikki-tikki jumped up and backward. Again and again and again she tried. Then Rikki-tikki danced in a circle to get behind her and he forgot about the egg. It still lay on the veranda, and Nagaina came nearer and nearer to it, till at last she caught it in her mouth, turned to the veranda steps, and flew like an arrow down the path.

Rikki-tikki knew that he must catch her, or all the trouble would begin again. In a moment Nagaina was near the rat-hole. Rikki-tikki caught the end of her tail and down he went after her. It was dark in the hole and Rikki-tikki saw nothing inside. He just held on the end of her tail.

When he disappeared after the cobra, Darzee said: "Oh, we must sing his death-song! Brave Rikki-tikki is dead! Nagaina will kill him underground."

So he sang a very sad song and when he came to its end, Rikki-tikki came out of the hole. Darzee stopped with a little shout.

"It is all over," Rikki-tikki. "Nagaina will never come out again."

Rikki-tikki felt very tired and fell asleep where he was he slept and slept till it was late in the afternoon.

"Now," he said when he woke up, "I will go back to the house. Tell the garden that Nagaina is dead!"

Every bird was happy with the news, and even the frogs started their happy songs, because Nag and Nagaina often ate frogs as well as little birds.

When Rikki got to the house, Teddy and Teddy's mother (she still looked very white) and Teddy's father came out and thanked him. That night he ate all that they gave to him till he could eat no more, and went to bed on Teddy's shoulder, where Teddy's mother saw him when she came to look late at night.

"He saved our lives and Teddy's life," Teddy's mother said to her husband. "Just think, he saved all our lives!"

Rikki-tikki woke up with a jump, because all the mongooses are light sleepers.

"Oh, it's you," said he. "What are you talking about? You are safe now."

Rikki-tikki had a right to be proud of himself; but he did not grow too proud, and he kept that garden with tooth and jump and bite, till never a cobra could show its head inside the walls.


A. Answer the questions.

  1. Where was Nagaina?
  2. Where did Nagaina keep her eggs?
  3. What did Rikki-tikki-tavi ask Darzee to do?
  4. Who helped Rikki-tikki-tavi?
  5. What did Rikki-tikki-tavi do when he came to the melon bed?
  6. Why did Nagaina get into the house?
  7. What did the people look like?
  8. What did Rikki-tikki-tavi bring to the veranda?
  9. What did Rikki-tikki-tavi want Nagaina to do?
  10. What did Nagaina do when she took the egg?
  11. What did Rikki-tikki-tavi do?
  12. What happened with Nagaina?
  13. What did the people do when Rikki came back to the house?
  14. How did the story end?

B. Explain why:

  1. Rikki-tikki-tavi wanted to get to Nagaina's eggs as soon as possible.
  2. Darzee didn't want to help Rikki-tikki-tavi.
  3. Darzee's wife pretended that her wing was broken.
  4. Nagaina followed Darzee's wife.
  5. The people looked pale and did not move.
  6. Nagaina turned away from the people.
  7. Rikki-tikki-tavi followed the cobra down the rat hole.
  8. Darzee sang a very sad song.
  9. The birds and the frogs in the garden were happy.

C. Read a) how the people sat at the table; b) how Nagaina moved down the path; and find two comparisons.

D. Fill in the words:

ground, triumph, circle, melon bed, death, rubbish heap, sake, proud, sensible, fight, attack, pretended, saved, disappeared, meant, covered

  1. The dead body of Nag was on the .
  2. Rikki-tikki-tavi wanted to get to the , where Nagaina had left her eggs.
  3. Darzee's wife was a bird who knew that cobra's eggs young cobras later on.
  4. She flew to Nagaina and that her wing was broken.
  5. Rikki-tikki found twenty-five snake's eggs with white skin in the warm .
  6. Nagaina, who was going to the people, was singing a song of .
  7. Nagaina turned round forgetting everything for the of the egg.
  8. Rikki-tikki wanted to with Nagaina.
  9. He danced in a to get behind her and he forgot about the egg.
  10. When Rikki-tikki-tavi after the cobra in the rat-hole, Darzee began to sing his -song.
  11. Rikki-tikki killed Nagaina, but he did not grow too of himself.
  12. The people thanked Rikki-tikki-tavi because he had their lives.

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

F. Retell the third part of the story.

G. Learn Nagaina's and Rikki-tikki-tavi's words and role-play the dialogue.

H. Retell the third part of the story from the point of view of:

a) Rikki-tikki-tavi; b) Nagaina; c) the man; d) Darzee's wife.


I. Answer the questions.

  1. What is the setting of the story?
  2. Who is the protagonist in the story?
  3. Which characters are his antagonists?
  4. What is the first problem of the main character?
  5. How is the problem solved?
  6. How does he meet his antagonists?
  7. What problem does the mongoose create for his antagonists?
  8. Why do they want to kill the people?
  9. What are the most dramatic moments in the story?
  10. How is the conflict resolved?

J. Write down adjectives to characterize:

Rikki-tikki-tavi, Nag, Nagaina, Darzee, Darzee's wife, Chuchundra, the man, the woman and the boy.