Rikki-tikki-tavi Rudyard Kipling Objectives: R7.B.1.1.1 – Students will interpret relationships among characters, setting, plot, and theme in fiction R7.A.1.5.1 – Students will summarize the key details and events of a fictional text.
Background In this story, a brave mongoose takes on a family of snakes known as Indian cobras. Cobras feed on small animals. The mongoose is a brown, furry animal about fifteen inches long – the perfect size for a cobra’s meal. However, the fast, fierce mongoose usually wins a battle with a cobra.
Mongooses Around the World Mongooses, which live in Africa, Asia, and southern Europe, come in more than forty varieties. They can be small (a little over one foot long) or large (as long as four feet). Mongooses usually feed on insects, lizards, frogs, eggs, and fruit. As the title character in “Rikki-tikki-tavi” illustrates, mongooses are known for their ability to fight snakes. They kill the snakes by breaking the snake’s spine at the back of its neck with their teeth. They move very quickly, and they have a high tolerance for snake venom.
Rudyard Kipling Rudyard Kipling was born in Bombay, India, to English parents. Although he moved to England when he was five, Kipling remained strongly attached to the land of his birth. In 1882, he returned there as a journalist and began writing the stories that would make him famous. He wrote several books of stories including The Jungle Book.
About the selection… Teddy and his family, living in India, adopt a young mongoose. The mongoose, Rikki-tikki-Tavi, is the natural enemy of snakes. With the help of Teddy’s father and the other animals, Rikki-tikkikills Nag and Nagaina, two dangerous cobras, and destroys their eggs. Through his triumph, Rikki-tikki earns respect.
Vocabulary • Revived – came back to consciousness • Immensely – a great deal; very much • Consolation – something that comforts a disappointed person.