The Coppersmith is a bird who makes a noise exactly like the beating of a little hammer on a copper pot; and the reason he is always making it is because he is the town-crier to every Indian garden, and tells all the news to everybody who cares to listen. As Rikki-tikki went up the path, he heard his ‘attention’ notes like a tiny dinner-gong; and then the steady ’Ding-dong-lock! Nag is dead—dong! Nagaina is dead! Ding-dong-tock!’ That set all the birds in the garden singing, and the frogs croaking; for Nag and Nagaina used to eat frogs as well as little birds.
When Rikki got to the house, Teddy and Teddy’s mother (she looked very white still, for she had been fainting) and Teddy’s father came out and almost cried over him; and that night he ate all that was given him till he could I 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,’ she said to her husband. ‘Just think, he saved all our lives.’
Rikki-tikki woke up with a jump, for all the mongooses are light sleepers.
‘Oh, it’s you,’ said he. ’What are you bothering for? All the cobras are dead; and if they weren’t, I’m here.’
Rikki-tikki had a right to be proud of himself; but he did not grow too proud, and he kept that garden as a mongoose should keep it, with tooth and jump and spring and bite, till never a cobra dared show its head inside the walls.
(SUNG IN HONOUR OF RIKKI-TIKKI-TAVI.)
and tailor am I—
Doubled the joys that I know—
Proud of my lilt through the sky,
Proud of the house that I sew—
Over and under, so weave I my music—so weave I the house that I sew.
to your fledglings again,
Mother, oh lift up your head!
Evil that plagued us is slain,
Death in the garden lies dead.
Terror that hid in the roses is impotent—flung on the dung-hill
hath delivered us, who?
Tell me his nest and his name.
Rikki, the valiant, the true,
Tikki, with eyeballs of flame,
Rik-tikki-tikki, the ivory-fanged, the hunter with eyeballs of flame.
him the Thanks of the Birds,
Bowing with tail-feathers spread!
Praise him with nightingale words—
Nay, I will praise him instead.
Hear! I will sing you the praise of the bottle-tailed Rikki, with
eyeballs of red!
(Here Rikki-tikki interrupted, and the rest of the song is lost.)
I have done one braver thing
Than all the worthies did;
And yet a braver thence doth spring,
Which is to keep that hid.