Rikki-Tikki-Tavi

by

Rudyard Kipling

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Darzee and his wife are a pair of tailorbirds who live in the garden. Like many of the animal occupants, they are terrified of the snakes and lack the ability to stop their depredations. Their lost baby, and the grief it causes them, are the most direct sign of the evil the cobras perpetrate in the garden, as well as how helpless most of the other animals are to prevent it. Crying and singing are about all Darzee can do, and the story portrays him as being very foolish—most notably when he sings triumphantly at Nag’s death, even though Nagaina is still on the loose. Darzee’s flightiness and silliness stand in opposition to Rikki-tikki’s practicality, further helping to separate the mongoose from the cobras’ potential victims in the garden. Darzee also does not want to distract Nagaina at the end of the story to help Rikki-tikki attack her nest, believing it’s not fair to kill eggs. His wife, however, takes up in his stead.

Darzee Quotes in Rikki-Tikki-Tavi

The Rikki-Tikki-Tavi quotes below are all either spoken by Darzee or refer to Darzee . For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Man and the Natural World Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Puffin edition of Rikki-Tikki-Tavi published in 1984.
Rikki-Tikki-Tavi Quotes

But his wife was a sensible bird, and she knew that cobra’s eggs meant young cobras later on. So she flew off from the nest, and left Darzee to keep the babies warm, and continue his song about the death of Nag. Darzee was very like a man in some ways.

Explanation and Analysis:
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Darzee Character Timeline in Rikki-Tikki-Tavi

The timeline below shows where the character Darzee appears in Rikki-Tikki-Tavi. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Rikki-Tikki-Tavi
Man and the Natural World Theme Icon
Colonialism as a Benevolent Force Theme Icon
The Importance of Family Theme Icon
Courage and Cowardice Theme Icon
While in the garden Rikki-tikki encounters Darzee the tailorbird and his wife, who are mourning the loss of one of their babies.... (full context)
Man and the Natural World Theme Icon
Colonialism as a Benevolent Force Theme Icon
The Importance of Family Theme Icon
...As he does so, his wife Nagaina positions herself to strike the mongoose from behind. Darzee gives a cry of warning and Rikki-tikki jumps his into the air just as the... (full context)
Man and the Natural World Theme Icon
Colonialism as a Benevolent Force Theme Icon
Courage and Cowardice Theme Icon
...her. He lets go too early, “leaving Nagaina torn and angry.” Nag threatens revenge against Darzee for warning the mongoose, and the two cobras slink back into the grass to plot... (full context)
The Importance of Family Theme Icon
Courage and Cowardice Theme Icon
...He’s still concerned about Nagaina and the cobras’ babies, however, and he resolves to see Darzee in the garden and investigate further. (full context)
Colonialism as a Benevolent Force Theme Icon
The Importance of Family Theme Icon
Rikki-tikki finds Darzee singing a song of triumph at Nag’s death. The mongoose is supremely irritated at the... (full context)
Man and the Natural World Theme Icon
The Importance of Family Theme Icon
Courage and Cowardice Theme Icon
Darzee’s wife, however, understands that Rikki-tikki is acting for the good of the whole garden—because cobra... (full context)
Man and the Natural World Theme Icon
The Importance of Family Theme Icon
...smashing the unborn cobras within. He’s down to three eggs when he is interrupted by Darzee’s wife, shrieking that Nagaina has gone into the house and “means killing.” (full context)
Man and the Natural World Theme Icon
Courage and Cowardice Theme Icon
Darzee begins to sing a mourning song of Rikki-tikki’s demise. As he does so, however, Rikki-tikki... (full context)
Man and the Natural World Theme Icon
Colonialism as a Benevolent Force Theme Icon
The Importance of Family Theme Icon
Courage and Cowardice Theme Icon
Rikki-tikki falls asleep on the spot, and when he awakens, he tells Darzee to inform the coppersmith that the snakes are dead. All the little animals in the... (full context)