The Jungle Book | Study Guide

Rudyard Kipling

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The Jungle Book | Chapter 10 : Darzee's Chant | Summary



This song is Darzee the Tailorbird's homage to Rikki-tikki-tavi, who has saved Darzee's fledglings from Nag and Nagaina, the cobras. Darzee praises Rikki-tikki-tavi, calling the mongoose valiant and describing his sharp teeth, flaming eyes, and bottlebrush tail to convey how fierce he is when he battles the cobras. The song is only partially recorded, though, according to the narrator, because Rikki-tikki interrupts Darzee's singing, and no one knows the rest of the song.


Darzee's song shows how beneficial Rikki-tikki-tavi is to him and to his family, and how much this intervention is appreciated. However, the highlight of the song, apart from the description of Rikki-tikki in battle, is the interruption at the end. The entire song serves to complete the picture of Rikki-tikki's humble character. After all, Rikki-tikki-tavi loves to hunt snakes and be with humans. To him, everything he does is instinctual, and because it is instinctual, it is pleasurable to him and nothing to fuss over. Unlike other songs in The Jungle Book, the poem is not meant to teach a lesson; it is meant to entertain the reader and provide humor. After all of the killing and fighting and difficulties in the other chapters, this song gives the reader a refreshing change in tone.

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