First four verses by Rudyard Kipling
Additional verses by Thorin N. Tatge
Singer and tailor am I--
Doubled the joys that I know--
Proud of my lilt to 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.
Sing to your fledglings again,
Mother, O 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 dunghill and dead!
Who has delivered us, who?
Tell us his nest and his name.
Rikki, the valiant, the true,
Tikki with eyeballs of flame.
Rikk-tikki-tikki, the ivory fanged, the hunter with eyeballs of flame!
Give him the thanks of the birds,
Bowing with tail feathers spread!
Praise him with nightingale words--
Nay I will praise him instead!
Here--I will sing you the praise of the bottle-tailed Rikki with eyeballs of red!
Fiber the walls of your nest,
Watch all your children with care.
Be not unvigilant lest
They take too soon to the air.
Ten feet of snake-flesh is waiting to claim them if they take too soon to the air.
Flood washes into the yard--
Look at what lies in the drink!
Let’s let this whelp be our guard
See if his eyes remain pink.
Let him defend us according to nature and see if his eyes remain pink.
Nag cries his challenge aloud,
Hiding his wife in the grass!
Rikki is quick but not proud:
Leaping, he lets her stroke pass.
Jumps in the air and bites down on her backbone with teeth even sharper than glass!
Into the dwelling of man
Goes Rikki-tikki the brave!
There, he encounters the clan
He will be called on to save.
King of the garden and ward of the household that he will be called on to save.
Next comes the devil Karait
Whisp'ring of death soon to come.
He hasn't moments to wait:
Crack! and his portent is done.
Brash in the tangle and rough in the tussle, our hero the mongoose has won!
Tell us, our champion, how?
Tell us the absolute truth!
Why do your enemies cow
In spite of your fuzz and your youth?
How do you meet them and how do you beat them in spite of your fuzz and your youth?
Grasp by the small of the neck
Shake like a bushel of leaves
Keep all contortions in check
Triumph--and nobody grieves.
Grasp, shake, and keep 'em immobile and harmless--the ones for whom nobody grieves.
Hush, fellow weaverfolk, hush!
Now comes the dying of day.
Gone is the sky's final blush;
Rife are assassins at play!
Hide in your dwellings and stop all your singing, for there are assassins at play.
Pitch up your ears at alert,
Make not a scratch with your paws.
Somebody, sly and covert
Waits in the house with his jaws.
Follow him carefully, great snake destroyer, and don't let him open his jaws!
"Nag," said Nagaina without,
"Kill all the people within."
So, through the bathwater spout,
Nag slipped his slithery skin.
Eyes both aglitter, he sneaked in the bath-room and coiled his slithery skin.
Moving as swift as he could
Brush-tail struck like a bomb!
Teeth planted into the hood
Burnt with the sigil of Brahm!
Swiftly and suddenly struck with his weapons, as tight as the eye-hook of Brahm!
Draw all the strength of your will,
Cling to the thunderous snake.
He who would shake for the kill
Suffers a terrible shake!
Clang! goes the dipper and Whack! goes the soap-dish and Smash! goes the head of the snake.
Then came a tree-shaking boom!
Body and spirit were rent!
Evil was sent to its doom
Cursing the air as it went.
Pierced through the skull and outlasted in battle, Nag made one last din as he went!
Sing for his tyranny's end!
Sing for the reason you may!
Honor our guardian friend
He has delivered the day!
Cobra defeated and mongoose victorious, sing for the dawning of day!
Yes, Nag lies
defeated by Rikki-tikki-tavi, so sing on this glorious day!