Despite its page length, "Rikki-Tikki-Tavi" is an epic at heart, and most epics are named after the hero they feature. Beowulf is about Beowulf. TheOdyssey means "the story of Odysseus," and Virgil titled his epic, the Aeneid, after its hero as a shout-out to the Odyssey.
And "Rikki-Tikki-Tavi" is about a mongoose named Rikki-tikki-tavi. Just like any epic hero, Rikki-tikki must face a of series challenges and triumph over a villain. By doing so, he learns new skills, grows in strength, and comes of age during the quest. That little mongoose deserves top billing in the title just like any other epic hero. And get top billing he does.
Click on over to our "Epigraph" section for more of Kipling's borrowings from the epic tradition.