| Quote #1
One day, a high summer flood washed him out of the burrow where he lived with his father and mother, and carried him, kicking and clucking, down a roadside ditch. (3)
The hero can't have his parents fighting his future battles for him now. And notice how he's "kicking" and "clucking" as he's swept away—it sounds like this is one mongoose who might not quite be ready to give up.
| Quote #2
It is the hardest thing in the world to frighten a mongoose, because he is eaten up from nose to tail with curiosity. (7)
Curiosity killed the mongoose … or something. Rikki-tikki's youthful curiosity gets him into all sorts of trouble and shenanigans, like any young protagonist should. Naturally he'll learn to hone this curiosity as the story continues, but now we're getting ahead of ourselves.
| Quote #3
He came down almost across her back, and if he had been an old mongoose he would have known that then was the time to break her back with one bite; but he was afraid of the terrible lashing return-stroke of the cobra. (30)
You know how your parents tell you to learn from your mistakes? Every coming-of-age story ever written agrees with them. (See? You have to make them.)