Rikki Tikki Tavi

The classic story of Rikki Tikki Tavi has been underrated and overlooked for many years. Not many know this short story from The Jungle Book mainly because the Disney version never mentioned it. They were too busy composing songs for Baloo. Luckily, television bigwigs in the 70’s decided to make a TV special of the enchanting story.

Rikki is a mongoose that was found almost dead by a wealthy family in India. They seemed to know a lot about mongooses (or mongeese?) right off the bat which is pretty weird. They would say things like, “Oh he trusts us” or “He’ll run in and out of the house as he pleases” and “If we feed him, he’ll stay.” Why are they so sure of Rikki’s behavior? Is the dad a mongoose specialist?

The family was happy to have Rikki around to protect them from snakes which seems to be the only use for mongooses. They let him run all over their bodies not even considering that they might get rabies.

The mother of the house snuggling Rikki.

The mother of the house snuggling Rikki.

The mother and father of the household showed some concern when they saw Rikki sleeping on top of their son’s head, but then pretty much ignored the fact that their son was sleeping with a rodent for the rest of the show.

The next day Rikki went out into the garden and met some birds. They told them about how one of their babies fell out of the nest and was eaten by the king cobra, Nag. Rikki’s response, “Hmm that is sad.” I think I learned how to comfort people from Rikki Tikki Tavi.

Orson Welles was the narrator as well as the voice of Nag. It’s hard to trust a narrator who is also a villain. Nag had a wife, Nagaina who caused just as much trouble as Nag. Nagaina is pronounced Naga-eena but for some reason when I see that name spelled out, all I see is vagina.

Mongoose on snake action.

Mongoose on snake action.

Like a true hero, Rikki kills Nag because of Nag’s plans to kill the family so he can have the house all to himself. Why a snake needs a house, I will never understand. Like the smart mongoose that he is, Rikki makes one of his bird friends pretend that her wing is broken in order to distract Nagaina while he breaks all of her eggs. So not only is Rikki a snake killer, he’s also a baby snake murderer.

Eventually Rikki kills Nagaina as well and everything is fine and dandy because apparently there are only two cobras in all of India.


8 thoughts on “Rikki Tikki Tavi

    • Ahhh don’t you love that feeling!? It’s on youtube and it’s only about 20 minutes! Worth a watch to relive a childhood memory methinks.
      I think I’m going to start saying Nagaina instead of vagina.

  1. I think I’ve heard of this but for some reason in my head all I hear is “Rikki Tikki Tavi!” chanted over and over again. Is that from another kid’s show or movie? I swear I thought it was Wild Thornberry’s thing, a show I never really watched.

    Anything Orson Welles does is dark. Things actually sounds like it might be good. I’m not sure. I like even though it took place in India they had to be a white family.

    My sister and I used to shout “Va—” then whisper “gina” in our neighbor’s swimming pool whenever we’d use it at night and they were out of town (they knew we were using it, sometimes). Then once we whispered “Va” and shouted the “gina” part and I was worried because I couldn’t think of another word ending with a hard “gina” sound. Now I got one.

    • That sounds like something that would be on The Wild Thornberry’s but I don’t remember it. It’s actually a pretty good toon. I guess it’s a “special” really since it’s only one episode. It’s on youtube though.

      Hah that’s awesome about your sister and you. Sounds like something my brother and I would do. Swimming always brings out the weirdest games.


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