1: A letter to God

Notes

1: A letter to God

Notes

1: A letter to God

Notes

1: A letter to God

Notes

1: A letter to God

Notes

1: A letter to God

Notes

1: A letter to God

A Letter to God

By G.L. Fuentes

About the Author

The author of the story,” A Letter to God” is Gregorio Lopez Fuentes (1897- 2002).  He was the prominent Mexican writer, novelist , poet  and journalist of that era.

Character sketch of the main characters in the story

Lencho – Lencho is a poor, hardworking farmer with an unwavering and innocent faith in God as he writes a letter to God seeking help when his crop gets destroyed by the hailstorm. However, the story depicts his blind faith when suspects the post office employees who actually helped him with money without trying to get to know that who actually send him money.

Post master

The post master is a compassionate generous and amiable person.  When the letter addressed to God directly, he got amused but at the same time gets moved by the strong belief of the poor farmer and decides to help him.

A Letter to God Introduction

The story, “A Letter to God” by G.L Fuentes depicts   the idea that how an unwavering and innocent belief makes impossible things possible.

The story sets Latin American country. The protagonist of the story Lencho, the farmer, writes a letter to God seeking help to overcome the problem of great loss   of his entire crop caused   by a devastating hailstorm.

His wish gets fulfilled by the post office employees who being got moved by his innocent belief in God, could help him partially due to lack of money.

However, instead of being grateful at the end, Lencho gets very angry at the post office employees thinking that his rest of the amount must have been taken by them because God could not send him less money.

A Letter to God Summary

 The story, “A Letter to God” by G.L. Fuentes depicts the strong and innocent faith of a farmer in God.

In the story, a farmer, named Lencho is looking forward for a good amount of rain shower for his corn fields. He is hopeful that his harvest will yield him sound revenues.

However, as soon as the rainfall began

, it turned into a hailstorm destroying his entire crop field. That great damage was a threat to the family’s survival as their entire livelihood was dependent on the year’s produce. Although desperate due to this inconsolable loss, the family has had a firm belief in God’s mercy. Thus, Lencho, resolves to write a letter to God to seek his help in terms of money. He posts his letter with address “To God” demanding hundred pesos. The postmaster who is a kind-hearted person gets amused by noticing the letter, but after reading it, he gets inspired by the strong belief of the writer Lencho in   God.

 To keep his belief unimpaired, he decided to help the poor farmer, Lencho. He contributes from his salary and collects money from his colleagues and friends who willingly contributes for an act of charity.

To his disappointment, he could only collect 70 pesos

 He put it in the envelope in the name of God. On receiving the letter, Lencho gets very angry when he finds that the amount is less than what he had been expecting. He suspects that the post office employees must have stolen his money.

He again writes a letter to God asking to send rest of the amount by another means as the post office employees are a bunch of crooks.

Theme

Strength of faith

The story expresses that how a  strong belief in God or something by a man makes impossible things possible and accomplish his desire through it.

Distrust in fellow mankind.

The story also depicts how humans can easily suspect the honesty of others people as Lencho having blind faith in God blames the post office employees for the less amount of money than that of he demanded, without making any attempts to get to know who send him money actually.

 The story ends with an irony.

Explanation

The house – the only one in the entire valley – sat on the crest of a low hill. From this height, one could see the river and the field of ripe corn dotted with the flowers that always promised a good harvest. The only thing the earth needed was a downpour or at least a shower. Throughout the morning Lencho – who knew his fields intimately – had done nothing else but see the sky towards the northeast.

Word meanings

Crest: Top of a hill crest

Dotted: Full Of
Downpour: Heavy Rain
Intimately: Closely

 Lencho, the farmer, the only dweller of entire valley lived on the top of a low heighted hill. From there, he could see a river and his ready-to-harvest field full of ripe corns

. Lencho was sure    that the harvest would reap great profits if the crop received a good rainfall. So, he was hopefully waiting for rainfall and spent the entire morning by gazing at the sky in the north-east direction from where a drizzle was expected to shower on his field.

“Now we’re really going to get some water, woman. The woman who was preparing supper, replied, “Yes, God willing”. The older boys were working in the field, while the smaller ones were playing near the house until the woman called to them all, “Come for dinner. It was during the meal that, just as Lencho had predicted, big drops of rain began to fall. In the north-east huge mountains of clouds could be seen approaching. The air was fresh and sweet. The man went out for no other reason than to have the pleasure of feeling the rain on his body, and when he returned, he exclaimed, “These aren’t raindrops falling from the sky, they are new coins. The big drops are ten cent pieces and the little ones are fives.”

Word meanings


Exclaimed- cry out suddenly in surprise, strong emotion, or pain.

Lencho, confidently tells his wife that they are going to have a sound rain-shower to which the lady replies  that that depends upon the will of God. Their elder children were working at the field and the younger ones were playing near the house when Lencho’s wife calls everyone for dinner. In the mean time,  a downpour started as the farmer predicted.   The breeze was pleasant and clouds could be seen approaching from the north-east sky.

To get the pleasure by feeling droplets on his body, Lencho goes out of the house.

He attributes the droplets as new coins, large droplets being equivalent to ten cents and the smaller ones, five cents, since they would get good crop and eventually a good revenue by this sound shower.

With a satisfied expression he regarded the field of ripe corn with its flowers, draped in a curtain of rain. But suddenly a strong wind began to blow and along with the rain very large hailstones began to fall. These truly did resemble new silver coins. The boys, exposing themselves to the rain, ran out to collect the frozen pearls.

Word meanings

Regarded- Consider Or Think Of In A Specified Way
Draped- Adorn, Cover, Or Wrap (Someone Or Something)
Hailstones- A Pellet Of Hail
Resemble- Have A Similar Appearance To Or Qualities In Common With (Someone Or Something); Look Or Seem Like.
Exposing- make (something) visible by uncovering it.; reveal

Being satisfied, Lencho regarded  the field with its   flowers under the shower were looking as  if they were wrapped in a curtain of rain. However,  all of a sudden a strong wind started blowing, converting the rainfall into hailstorm.  Here, the author gives a satirical remark, saying that  these pellets of frozen rain are actually looking like “new silver coins. The  boys  went out in the rain to play and collect these hailstones which looked like “frozen pearls”.

“It’s really getting bad now,” exclaimed the man. “I hope it passes quickly. It did not pass quickly. For an hour the hail rained on the house, the garden, the hillside, the cornfield, on the whole valley. The field was white as if covered with salt.

The farmer  gets distressed  with a  wish that the storm gets over quickly, which, actually didn’t fulfil. The entire valley including the cornfield got covered with the hailstones soon.

It seemed that everything was covered in salt due to white hailstones.

Not a leaf remained on the trees. The corn was totally destroyed. The flowers were gone from the plants. Lencho’s soul was filled with sadness. When the storm had passed, he stood in the middle of the field and said to his sons, “A plague of locusts would have left more than this. The hail has left nothing. This year we will have no corn.” That night was a sorrowful one. “All our work, for nothing. There’s no one who can help us”.”We’ll all go hungry this year.”

Word meanings

plague- a destructively numerous inflow or multiplication of a harmful animal, infestation
locusts- Insects which fly in big groups and destroy crops

Lencho's soul was filled with grief as everything was destroyed. Nothing was left. The trees and plants left without leaves and flowers , corns were completely damaged. While standing in the withered fields, he expressed his sorrow and dismay, saying that the hailstorm had even worse affect than that of the plague of locusts would have caused . All their hard work had wasted.  He felt helpless and worried that they might have to starve for the whole year.

But in the hearts of all who lived in that solitary house in the middle of the valley, there was a single hope: help from God. “Don’t be so upset, even though this seems like a total loss. Remember, no one dies of hunger. ”That’s what they say: no one dies of hunger. “

Word meanings

solitary:  Existing alone; lonely.

 Even though, they had lost everything, the family still had hope in their hearts. They had a firm belief in the almighty. They assured each other that they would not die saying ,  no one ever dies of starvation.

All through the night, Lencho thought only of his one hope: the help of God, whose eyes, as he had been instructed, see everything, even what is deep in one’s conscience. Lencho was an ox of a man, working like an animal in the fields, but still he knew how to write. The following Sunday, at daybreak, he began to write a letter which he himself would carry to town and place in the mail. It was nothing less than a letter to God.

Word meanings

conscience- an inner sense of right and wrong.
ox of a man- hardworking
daybreak- The time in the morning when daylight first appears

 Lencho, throughout the night kept thinking of his only hope, a help of God, who is omnipresent and remains conscious about everything, even what is deep inside the conscience of human beings. Besides being a hardworking farmer for last many years, Lencho knew how to write. So, he resolved to write a letter to God conveying his pitiful condition and seeking his help.

He started writing on the Sunday morning and thought of mailing it himself by going to the town.

 “God, he wrote, “if you don’t help me, my family and I will go hungry this year. I need a hundred pesos in order to sow my field again and to live until the crop comes, because the hailstorm….” He wrote ‘To God’ on the envelope, put the letter inside and, still troubled, went to town. At the post office, he placed a stamp on the letter and dropped it into the mailbox.

Word meanings

Pesos- the basic monetary unit of Mexico, several other Latin American countries, and the Philippines

In his letter, addressed to God, Lencho expresses his miserable condition with no hope except help from almighty and asked for 100 pesos to survive until the next harvest along with cost involved in cultivating the crops again. On the envelope, He writes, “To God, as an address. Then, at the post office, places stamp on the letter and drops it in the mailbox.

The postmaster – a fat, amiable fellow – also broke out laughing, but almost immediately he turned serious and, tapping the letter on his desk, commented, “What faith! I wish I had the faith of the man who wrote this letter. Starting up a correspondence with God!”

Word meanings

Amiable- Friendly And Pleasant
Correspondence- Communication by exchanging letters with someone.

A postman, who was also an employee of the post office, notices Lencho’s letter and shows it to the postmaster. They both felt amused, but the postmaster, fat ,  friendly and  kind-hearted becomes serious immediately  . He was surprised at the   faith of  Lencho has had  in God and wishes he would have such a faith.

So, in order not to shake the writer’s faith in God, the postmaster came up with an idea: answer the letter. But when he opened it, it was evident that to answer it he needed something more than goodwill, ink and paper. But he stuck to his resolution: he asked for money from his employees, he himself gave part of his salary, and several friends of his were obliged to give something ‘for an act of charity’.

goodwill- friendly, helpful, or cooperative feelings or attitude
resolution- a firm decision to do or not to do something.
obliged- grateful

To keep the writer’s faith intact,  the postmaster read the letter and decided  to reply  it . But the writer expectations could not be fulfilled with pen, paper and morals , as he had demanded for 100 pesos. The postmaster gave a part of his salary along with his colleagues and a few friends, who  donated for this act of noble cause of charity. Together they collect a pool of money to help Lencho.

It was impossible for him to gather together the hundred pesos, so he was able to send the farmer only a little more than half. He put the money in an envelope addressed to Lencho and with it a letter containing only a single word as a signature: God

Although they put all their  efforts, he could  not  collect an amount of 100 pesos  required. Postmaster, then addressed it to Lencho along with a letter which was undersigned by God.

The following Sunday Lencho came a bit earlier than usual to ask if there was a letter for him. It was the postman himself who handed the letter to him while the postmaster, experiencing the contentment of a man who has performed a good deed, looked on from his office. Lencho showed not the slightest surprise on seeing the money; such was his confidence but he became angry when he counted the money. God could not have made a mistake, nor could he have denied Lencho what he had requested.

Word meanings

contentment- Satisfaction

Next Sunday, Lencho comes earlier than expected looking for the reply . The postman himself handed him the letter At the same time postmaster was  feeling satisfied, looking on   from his office. However, to his astonishment, the farmer having great confidence in almighty, doesn’t show a bit of surprise and even gets angry  on seeing that the money was less than whatever he asked for. His faith is still unshaken  as he thought that God couldn’t deny him for what he requested.

Immediately, Lencho went up to the window to ask for paper and ink. On the public writing table, he started writing, with much wrinkling of his brow, caused by the effort he had to make to express his ideas. When he finished, he went to the window to buy a stamp which he licked and then affixed to the envelope with a blow of his fist. The moment the letter fell into the mailbox the postmaster went to open it. It said: “God: Of the money that I asked for, only seventy pesos reached me. Send me the rest, since I need it very much. But don’t send it to me through the mail because the post office employees are a bunch of crooks. Lencho.”

 Being disappointed for less amount of money, Lencho asked for ink and paper to write to God again. While writing, his eyebrows got frowned out of the irritation and anger with which he was drafting a new request. On completing, he affixed it with a stamp. As soon as he dropped it into the mailbox, the postmaster took it out to read it.  In the letter, Lencho has  demanded for remaining amount and showed his distrust on the post office employees, saying  that the money should not be sent via post as  the staff at the post office are a bunch of crooks and must have stolen the missing amount.

Text book  Question Answers

Q1. What did Lencho hope for?

A. Lencho hoped for a rain shower for his crop field.

Q2.  Why did Lencho say the raindrops were like ‘new coins’?

Ans.  Since the awaited downpour took place, everything was going on according to Lencho’s aspirations and planning. He had a complete assurance that his harvest would yield considerable revenues. Thus, he referred to the droplets as “new coins, the larger ones being equivalent to ten pesos and smaller ones, five pesos.

Q3. How did the rain change? What happened to Lencho’s fields?

A. Soon after the rainfall had begun, the wind became strong leading to a hailstorm. As a result , Lencho’s crop fields got withered, the trees had shed their leaves and the flowers had fallen.

Q4. What were Lencho’s feelings when the hail stopped?

A. Lencho was extremely sad and disappointed with his soul in immense grief.

Q5. Who or what did Lencho have faith in? What did he do?

A. Lencho had unshakeable faith in God. Thus, he resolved to write a letter to God conveying his miserable condition and asking for 100 pesos for survival and to recover his loss by regeneration of crops.

Q6. Who reads the letter?

A. A postman who was also an employee of the post office read the letter.

Q7. What did the postmaster do then?

A. The postmaster was astounded at Lencho’s firm faith in the God and thus, to  keep it unshaken, he decided to contribute a part from his income   and collect money   from his friends and colleagues.

Q8. Was Lencho surprised to find a letter for him with money in it?

A. Lencho was not at a bit surprised on seeing the letter because he was fully confident that God would help him. Instead, he was angry when he found that the amount was less than what he had asked for.

Q9What made him angry?

Ans.  Lencho was displeased when he found that the money was less than what he had asked for.

Q10. Who does Lencho have complete faith in? Which sentences in the story tell you this?

A. Lencho has extreme faith in God. These lines are evident to this fact: “Lencho showed not the slightest surprise on seeing the money; such was his confidence – but he became angry when he counted the money. God could not have made a mistake, nor could he have denied Lencho what he had requested.

Q11. Why does the postmaster send money to Lencho? Why does he sign the letter ‘God’?

A. The postmaster did not want to shake the writer’s faith in the Almighty. Thus, He decided to collect money for “an act of charity” and even signed the letter in the name of God so that Lencho would think that he has been helped by God.

Q12. Did Lencho try to find out who had sent the money to him? Why/Why not?

A. No, Lencho did not try to find out who has sent the money because he was completely confident that, his letter has been actually replied by God. It was his unshakeable faith that made him remain unquestionable about the identity of the sender.

Q13. Who does Lencho think has taken the rest of the money? What is the irony in the situation? (Remember that the irony of a situation is an unexpected aspect of it. An ironic situation is strange or amusing because it is the opposite of what is expected.)

A. Lencho thought that the postmaster or the employees of the post-office  must have  stolen his remaining amount, and in  his second letter to God where he requested   not to send money by mail next time. It is quite ironic that the postmaster and the employees who had  actually collected the money  to keep Lencho’s faith intact, got blamed  at the end for stealing the missing amount.

Q 14. Are there people like Lencho in the real world? What kind of a person would you say he is? You may select appropriate words from the box to answer the question.

A. No, it is hard to believe that people like Lencho exist in reality. He is innocent because of his lack of wisdom and blind faith about the actual physical existence of God.

He remained unquestionable on receiving an actual reply from the almighty and instead of being grateful

 on receiving 70 pesos, he got angry and demanded the rest of the amount.

Q15. There are two kinds of conflict in the story: between humans and nature, and between humans themselves. How are these conflicts illustrated?

A. The story “A Letter to God” depicts two types of conflicts;

one between man and nature and the other among men themselves.

In the beginning of the story, the farmer wishes for a sound downpour to get good harvest  from his corn field. Initially becomes happy on receiving the rainfall and dreams of the profit that he would get. But soon, his joy gets converted  into sorrow hail stones started falling with strong wind . This represents the conflicts between man and nature where humans doesn’t receive whatever he aspect from the nature.

The second conflict arises when Lencho suspected the honesty of the post-office employees who actually helped him with the money just to keep his faith intact. This is the conflict among humans themselves, wherein, we become doubtful upon our fellow humans easily rather trusting them.

 

Join the sentences given below using who, whom, whose, which, as suggested.

1. I often go to Mumbai. Mumbai is the commercial capital of India. (which)

I often go to Mumbai, which is the capital city of India.

2. My mother is going to host a TV show on cooking. She cooks very well. (who)

My mother, who cooks very well, is going to host a TV show on cooking.

3. These sports persons are going to meet the President. Their performance has been excellent. (whose)

These sportspersons, whose performance has been excellent, are going to meet the
President.

 4. Lencho prayed to God. His eyes see into our minds. (whose)

Lencho prayed to God, whose eyes see into our minds.

 5. This man cheated me. I trusted him. (whom)

This man, whom I trusted, cheated me.

 Find sentences in the story with negative words, which express the following ideas emphatically.

1. The trees lost all their leaves.

“Not a leaf remained on the trees.”

 2. The letter was addressed to God himself.

“It was nothing less than a letter to God.

 3. The postman saw this address for the first time in his career.

“Never in his career as a postman had he known that address.”

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1: A letter to God

Lesson-1

A Letter to God

By G.L. Fuentes

“Faith Is Like Wifi, It Is Invisible But It Has The Power To Connect You To What You Need.

A Letter to God Introduction

The storey "A Letter to God" by G.L Fuentes is about having unquestionable faith in something. The plot takes place in a Latin American country. After discovering his entire crop yield destroyed by a devastating hailstorm, the story's protagonist, Lencho, writes a letter to God asking for help from the almighty. Despite the fact that his wishes are partially, if not completely, granted, he is ungrateful in the end and questions the honesty and modesty of the postmasters who helped him with money (anonymously) in the name of God.

A Letter to God Summary

G.L. Fuentes' storey "A Letter to God" depicts a farmer's unwavering faith in God. It all starts with a farmer named Lencho hoping for a rainstorm to irrigate his cornfield. He is confident that his harvest will bring him huge profits, as it does every year. Rainfall did fall, much to his delight, but it quickly turned into a hailstorm, destroying his entire crop field. The damage threatened the family's survival because their entire livelihood was dependent on the year's harvest. Despite their disappointment, the family maintained a firm faith in the Almighty. Despite working day and night in the field, Lencho knew how to write and decided to write a letter to God explaining his situation and asking for help. He went to town to post his letter to "God." When the postmaster noticed the letter, it initially amused him, but it then motivated him to do something for the farmer in order to maintain his enormous faith. He contributes from his salary and collects funds from coworkers and friends who have generously contributed to a charitable cause. To his dismay, he was only able to collect 70 pesos, which he wrapped in an envelope to appear as a response from the deity. When he discovers the letter, the writer (Lencho) is not surprised, but rather irritated because the amount is less than what he expected. He writes another letter to God, this time expressing his disappointment and distrust in the post office employees who he believes have stolen the remaining funds.

A Letter to God Lesson Explanation

The house – the only one in the entire valley – sat on the crest of a low hill. From this height, one could see the river and the field of ripe corn dotted with the flowers that always promised a good harvest. The only thing the earth needed was a downpour or at least a shower. Throughout the morning Lencho – who knew his fields intimately – had done nothing else but see the sky towards the northeast.

  • Crest: Top of a hill
  • Dotted: Full Of
  • Downpour: Heavy Rain
  • Intimately: Closely

Lencho, the farmer, lived on the only house that was there on the top of a hill. The hill was low-heighted. From there, a river and a ready-to-harvest corn field were visible. The field belonged to Lencho and he had the utmost confidence that the harvest would reap great profits. The only thing that he awaited was rainfall. In this hope, he spent an entire morning gazing at the sky in the north-east direction from where a drizzle was expected to shower on his field.

“Now we’re really going to get some water, woman. The woman who was preparing supper, replied, “Yes, God willing”. The older boys were working in the field, while the smaller ones were playing near the house until the woman called to them all, “Come for dinner. It was during the meal that, just as Lencho had predicted, big drops of rain began to fall. In the north-east huge mountains of clouds could be seen approaching. The air was fresh and sweet. The man went out for no other reason than to have the pleasure of feeling the rain on his body, and when he returned he exclaimed, “These aren’t raindrops falling from the sky, they are new coins. The big drops are ten cent pieces and the little ones are fives.”

  • Exclaimed- cry out suddenly in surprise, strong emotion, or pain.

While looking at the sky, the man confidently tells his wife that they will have a rain shower, to which the lady responds, "only if everything goes as they hope and expect." When Lencho's wife summons everyone for dinner, their older children were working in the field and their younger children were playing near the house. Drops of rain begin to fall during this time, proving the farmer's prediction correct. The wind was pleasant, and clouds could be seen moving in from the north-east. Lencho goes outside to enjoy the sensation of the droplets on his skin. He compares the drizzle to coins, with larger droplets worth ten cents and smaller ones worth five cents. He says this because the raindrops will ensure a good crop, which will earn them a lot of money.

With a satisfied expression he regarded the field of ripe corn with its flowers, draped in a curtain of rain. But suddenly a strong wind began to blow and along with the rain very large hailstones began to fall. These truly did resemble new silver coins. The boys, exposing themselves to the rain, ran out to collect the frozen pearls.

  • Regarded- Consider Or Think Of In A Specified Way
  • Draped- Adorn, Cover, Or Wrap (Someone Or Something)
  • Hailstones- A Pellet Of Hail
  • Resemble- Have A Similar Appearance To Or Qualities In Common With (Someone Or Something); Look Or Seem Like.
  • Exposing- make (something) visible by uncovering it.; reveal

Lencho reflected on the field and the flowers covered in droplets that appeared to be wrapped in a curtain as everything went as planned. Unexpectedly, strong winds began to blow, resulting in a hailstorm. Satirically, the writer refers to these frozen rain pellets as "new silver coins." The innocent boys became playful and went out in the rain to play and collect these "frozen pearls" hailstones.

“It’s really getting bad now,” exclaimed the man. “I hope it passes quickly. It did not pass quickly. For an hour the hail rained on the house, the garden, the hillside, the cornfield, on the whole valley. The field was white as if covered with salt.

The farmer now starts worrying and hopes that the storm gets over quickly, which, to his utmost disappointment, didn’t. The hailstones covered the entire valley including the house, garden, hillside, and cornfield. It made everything look so white that it seemed as if it was covered in salt.

Not a leaf remained on the trees. The corn was totally destroyed. The flowers were gone from the plants. Lencho’s soul was filled with sadness. When the storm had passed, he stood in the middle of the field and said to his sons, “A plague of locusts would have left more than this. The hail has left nothing. This year we will have no corn.” That night was a sorrowful one. “All our work, for nothing. There’s no one who can help us”.”We’ll all go hungry this year.”

  • plague- a destructively numerous inflow or multiplication of a harmful animal, infestation
  • locusts- Insects which fly in big groups and destroy crops

As everything went against the plan, Lencho became stressed and disappointed. The trees' leaves had fallen, the corns had been smashed, and the flowers had also fallen from their plants. While standing in the withered fields, he expressed his dismay and sorrow to his sons by remarking that the storm's impact was worse than that of crop-destroying insects. All of their efforts had been in vain. He felt helpless because there was no corn left and feared that they would have to starve this time.

But in the hearts of all who lived in that solitary house in the middle of the valley, there was a single hope: help from God. “Don’t be so upset, even though this seems like a total loss. Remember, no one dies of hunger.””That’s what they say: no one dies of hunger. “

  • solitary:  Existing alone; lonely.

Even after everything had gone wrong, the family maintained hope in their hearts of hearts. Even when there was nothing left, they had faith in the Almighty. They encouraged one another and recalled a proverb that states that no one ever dies of starvation.

All through the night, Lencho thought only of his one hope: the help of God, whose eyes, as he had been instructed, see everything, even what is deep in one’s conscience. Lencho was an ox of a man, working like an animal in the fields, but still he knew how to write. The following Sunday, at daybreak, he began to write a letter which he himself would carry to town and place in the mail. It was nothing less than a letter to God.

  • conscience- an inner sense of right and wrong.
  • ox of a man- hardworking
  • daybreak- The time in the morning when daylight first appears

Lencho spent the entire night contemplating the only option left to him, which was to seek the assistance of God, who, he had been told, has eyes and ears everywhere. He considered writing a letter to God in which he expressed his grievances. Despite having spent so many years working on the farm, he still knew how to write. He began writing on Sunday morning and planned to mail it himself by going to town.

“God, he wrote, “if you don’t help me, my family and I will go hungry this year. I need a hundred pesos in order to sow my field again and to live until the crop comes, because the hailstorm….” He wrote ‘To God’ on the envelope, put the letter inside and, still troubled, went to town. At the post office, he placed a stamp on the letter and dropped it into the mailbox.

  • Pesos- the basic monetary unit of Mexico, several other Latin American countries, and the Philippines

In his letter to God, he expressed his poverty and stated that he needed 100 pesos to regenerate the crops while also surviving until they were ready to harvest. He wrote on the envelope, "To God, The letter was then stamped at the post office and dropped in the mailbox.

One of the employees, who was a postman and also helped at the post office, went to his boss laughing heartily and showed him the letter to God. Never in his career as a postman had he known that address. The postmaster – a fat, amiable fellow – also broke out laughing, but almost immediately he turned serious and, tapping the letter on his desk, commented, “What faith! I wish I had the faith of the man who wrote this letter. Starting up a correspondence with God!”

  • Amiable- Friendly And Pleasant
  • Correspondence- Communication by exchanging letters with someone.

Lencho's letter was discovered by a postman, who was also an employee of the post office, and was shown to the postmaster. They were both amused, but the postmaster, who was fat and friendly, took a serious tone right away. He was astounded by Lencho's faith in God and wished he had the same.

So, in order not to shake the writer’s faith in God, the postmaster came up with an idea: answer the letter. But when he opened it, it was evident that to answer it he needed something more than goodwill, ink and paper. But he stuck to his resolution: he asked for money from his employees, he himself gave part of his salary, and several friends of his were obliged to give something’for an act of charity’.

  • goodwill- friendly, helpful, or cooperative feelings or attitude
  • resolution- a firm decision to do or not to do something.
  • obliged- grateful

With good intentions, the postmaster read the letter and considered responding in order to maintain the writer's faith. However, the writer anticipated a different response that could not be met with pen, paper, and morals. The farmer had requested 100 pesos. The postmaster, along with his colleagues and a few friends who were eager to contribute to a good cause, gathered a sum of money to assist Lencho.

It was impossible for him to gather together the hundred pesos, so he was able to send the farmer only a little more than half. He put the money in an envelope addressed to Lencho and with it a letter containing only a single word as a signature: God

Despite his best efforts, he was only able to collect less than half of the required amount. He then addressed it to Lencho, accompanied by a letter signed by God.

The following Sunday Lencho came a bit earlier than usual to ask if there was a letter for him. It was the postman himself who handed the letter to him while the postmaster, experiencing the contentment of a man who has performed a good deed, looked on from his office. Lencho showed not the slightest surprise on seeing the money; such was his confidence but he became angry when he counted the money. God could not have made a mistake, nor could he have denied Lencho what he had requested.

  • contentment- Satisfaction

The following Sunday, Lencho arrived a little earlier than expected in search of a response. The postman joyfully and surprised handed him the letter that had been waiting for him, while the postmaster, satisfied, oversaw it from his office. On the contrary, the farmer became disheartened when he saw that the money was less than what he had requested. His faith was unshaken, and he believed that God could not make such a mistake.

Immediately, Lencho went up to the window to ask for paper and ink. On the public writing table, he started to write, with much wrinkling of his brow, caused by the effort he had to make to express his ideas. When he finished, he went to the window to buy a stamp which he licked and then affixed to the envelope with a blow of his fist. The moment the letter fell into the mailbox the postmaster went to open it. It said: “God: Of the money that I asked for, only seventy pesos reached me. Send me the rest, since I need it very much. But don’t send it to me through the mail because the post office employees are a bunch of crooks. Lencho.”

After being disappointed, he went in search of ink and paper to write to God again. His brows curled as a result of the concentration with which he was drafting a new request. When he was finished, he affixed it with a stamp. The postmaster took it out of the mailbox as soon as he dropped it in. Lencho complained that he had only received 70 pesos and that the remaining amount was desperately needed. He questioned the integrity and honesty of post office employees and suggested that the money not be sent via postal service because he suspected that the post office staff had stolen the missing amount.

About the Author

On July 11, 1897, Gregorio Lopez Y Fuentes was born in Lanzarote, Canary Islands. At the age of ten, he went to sea for the first time with his father as a deck boy. Fuentes worked on cargo ships sailing from the Canary Islands to Trinidad and Puerto Rico as a teenager. He also sailed to South America from the Spanish cities of Valencia and Sevilla. At the age of twenty-two, he moved permanently to Cuba. Fuentes, a lifelong cigar smoker, died in 2002 at the age of 105 from cancer.

2.Nelson Mandela

 Nelson Mandela Long Walk to Freedom

By Nelson Mandela

About the Author

Nelson Mandela was a great freedom fighter, leader and a former president of South Africa, born on July 1918. He fought against apartheid regime of South Africa. It was an inhumane and brutal practice against the black people of South Africa by British rulers.

During his movement against the British power, he had to be imprisoned for more than thirty years. Later on, he became the first black president of South Africa. When his party won the democratic election in 1994.

This chapter is an extract from his autobiography titled ‘Long Walk to Freedom’.

  It depicts the great heroic struggle, courage, determination and torture faced by black people of South Africa to get freedom and a dignity full life in the society

Summary

This chapter is the extract from the autobiography of Nelson Mandela “Long Walk to Freedom” . It gives a detailed account of his journey about being a freedom fighter as an adult, along with other freedom fighters and other countless people facing a lot of torture, suppression and eventually achieving freedom by winning the democratic election.

Mandela in his long speech during inauguration ceremony describes about his journey , being a freedom fighter along with his companion and gives  them tribute for their immense courage and  struggle . 

 In South Africa, a brutal practice called “apartheid” was in practice during British power, in which the discrimination between people on the basis of their race and colour was done. Black natives of South Africa were deprived of their basic rights and even a dignity full life in the society.

This lesson gives us an overview of the struggles of Mandela with other freedom fighters  and how they accomplished their goal   for a society without discrimination on the basis of their colour, caste, race, age or gender.

Many dignitaries from different countries participated in this most significant day of inauguration ceremony of the first democratic party of South Africa.

In his speech, Mandela expressed his gratitude toward all those dignitaries. Mandela assured that his countrymen would never face  such a  suppression of one race by another as the Democracy had been established in South Africa. The people of South Africa sang two National Anthems as a symbol of that day.

 Mandela said that it is only due to   this type of suppression of people of South Africa and their extreme conditions which requires a great mental strength and human qualities to survive, many great personalities came into existence. He further added that if a person can learn hatred from the society, can also be taught how to love, as love is an inborn quality of human nature. He also says that a brave man is not one who does not feel afraid but one who conquers it.

In life, a man has two major obligations. First towards his family, to his parents, to his wife and his children and second obligation is towards his country, people and the community.  However, in a country like South Africa, it was very difficult to fulfil either of the two.

When Mandela became an adult he realized that he used to misinterpret freedom. It is not only to do everything according to will but to live a dignity full life along with the family and community people in a society and even in a country. He understood that their status in a society was not more than a slave on their own land and he finally determined to get freedom.

According to him, a person who suppresses others is also a slave of his hatred which is not a true nature of mankind. Not only suppressed but also a suppressor is a slave of his prejudice and hatred and thus, he also needs freedom.

Explanation

TENTH May dawned bright and clear. For the past few days I had been pleasantly besieged by dignitaries and world leaders who were coming to pay their respects before the inauguration. The inauguration would be the largest gathering ever of international leaders on South African soil. The ceremonies took place in the lovely sandstone amphitheater formed by the Union Buildings in Pretoria. For decades this had been the seat of white supremacy, and now it was the site of a rainbow gathering of different colors and nations for the installation of South Africa’s first democratic, non-racial government.

Word meanings

  • Dawned- (of a day) began
  • Pleasantly- giving a sense of satisfaction or enjoyment;
  • Besieged- being surrounded by
  • Dignitaries- important person of high rank
  • Amphitheatre- an open-air theatre

On 10th May, Nelson Mandela took an oath as the first black president South Africa.

Author refers this morning bright and clear as it was full of expectation for the bright future of South Africa. This day had finally come after many sacrifices and years of struggle when a democratic and anti-racist party of black president came into existence. Earlier, in South Africa this status   had always been reserved for white Presidents.

 Days before this auspicious date, many personalities of high political status from different countries started paying tribute to Mandela for his great success. For the first time in the history of South Africa, such a large number of international leaders were participating in this inauguration ceremony. The ceremony took place in an open circular building made of sandstone consisting of Union buildings in Pretoria city.

On that lovely autumn day I was accompanied by my daughter Zenani. On the podium, Mr de Klerk was first sworn in as second deputy president. Then Thabo Mbeki was sworn in as first deputy president. When it was my turn, I pledged to obey and uphold the Constitution and to devote myself to the wellbeing of the Republic and its people.

To the assembled guests and the watching world, I said: “Today, all of us do, by our presence here… confer glory and hope to newborn liberty. Out of the experience of an extraordinary human disaster that lasted too long, must be born a society of which all humanity will be proud. We, who were outlaws, not so long ago, have today been given the rare privilege to be host to the nations of the world on our own soil. We thank all of our distinguished international guests for having come to take possession with the people of our country of what is, after all, a common victory for justice, for peace, for human dignity.”

Word meanings

  • Sworn- take oath to be determined to stay in the role specified
  • Pledged- committed (a person or organization) by a solemn promise
  • Assembled- gather together in one place for a common purpose
  • Confer- grant
  • Glory- honour
  • Outlaws - excluded from the benefit or protection of the law
  • Dignity- the state or quality of being worthy of respect.

On this lovely autumn day, Mandela was accompanied by his daughter Zenani. After the pledge of Mr de Klerk  as second deputy president and  Thabo Mbeki  as first deputy president, finally Mandela pledge to remain dedicated for the welfare of his country people.

He said that all of them being a part of the inauguration ceremony are gathered to grant honour and hope to the newly born freedom in the form of non racist democratic government.  People of South Africa have experienced an extreme human disaster for  long ago but now they deserve a society which is fair in the term, upon which humanity could proud. Mandela said that it  is the very proud moment for all of them as  they, the natives of Africa who were outlaws for the whole world have now achieved the privilege or right to host their nation on their own soil. He expressed his gratitude toward all the international leaders and dignitaries for attending and being the part of inauguration ceremony and celebrating the victory which is the victory of not only South Africa but   of the whole humanity 

to have a dignity full life, justice and peace.

We have, at last, achieved our political emancipation. We pledge ourselves to liberate all our people from the continuing bondage of poverty, deprivation, suffering, gender and other discrimination. Never, never, and never again shall it be that this beautiful land will again experience the oppression of one by another. The sun shall never set on so glorious a human achievement. Let freedom reign. God bless Africa!”

Word meanings

  • Emancipation-the process of being set free from legal, social, or political restrictions
  • Liberate- free; release
  • Bondage- the state of being a slave
  • Discrimination- being treated differently or unfavorably
  • Deprivation- the damaging lack of material benefits considered to be basic necessities in a society
  • Oppression- prolonged cruel or unjust treatment or exercise of authority.
  • Glorious- having, worthy of, or bringing fame or admiration.
  • Reign- rule; govern

He mentions that after great struggle, they have achieved freedom all the social, legal and political restrictions. His government promised to free everyone of the still existing poverty, hardship and inequalities of all kind along with assuring everyone of a country where no community will be suppressing others . He then exclaims that humanity will prosper in South Africa forever,  may god shower his blessings on their land.

A few moments later we all lifted our eyes in awe as a spectacular array of South African jets, helicopters and troop carriers roared in perfect formation over the Union Buildings. It was not only a display of pinpoint precision and military force, but a demonstration of the military’s loyalty to democracy, to a new government that had been freely and fairly elected. Only moments before, the highest generals of the South African defence force and police, their chests bedecked with ribbons and medals from days gone by, saluted me and pledged their loyalty. I was not unmindful of the fact that not so many years before they would not have saluted but arrested me. Finally a chevron of Impala jets left a smoke trail of the black, red, green, blue and gold of the new South African flag.

Word meanings

  • Awe- amazed
  • Spectacular- beautiful in a dramatic and an eye-catching way
  • Array- an impressive display
  • Troop- soldiers or armed forces
  • Precision- accuracy
  • Bedecked- decorate
  • Unmindful- not conscious or aware
  • Chevron- a pattern in the shape of a V
  • Trail- series; chain

After the oath taking ceremony all the audience got amazed by an eye-catching and impressive display of the South African jets, helicopters and and armed forces.  It represented the respect and commitment of military towards the democratic government. The high general of military and police forces, who have received medals for their bravery some days before, also saluted and promised their loyalty. Mandela said that he was well aware of the fact that these commanders, who were then saluting him, would have arrested him, if it had been the rule of British power. At last, a V shaped group of Impala jets left a series of smoke in the colors of South African flag giving tribute to  the newly formed democratic government.

The day was symbolized for me by the playing of our two national anthems, and the vision of whites singing ‘Nkosi Sikelel –iAfrika’ and blacks singing ‘Die Stem’, the old anthem of the Republic. Although that day neither group knew the lyrics of the anthem they once despised, they would soon know the words by heart.

Word meanings

  • Symbolized- be a symbol of
  • Lyrics- the words of a song
  • Despised- hated, had a very low opinion of

The author says that for his whole this day has been marked as a symbol when his democratic government came into existence and as a non racist government two National Anthems were  sung in the honor of whole the country including both black and white communities. Although one community didn’t know the wordings of the anthem of another, they once  hated , they would soon be able to sing both National Anthems with correct wordings by their hearts.

On the day of the inauguration, I was overwhelmed with a sense of history. In the first decade of the twentieth century, a few years after the bitter Anglo-Boer war and before my own birth, the white-skinned peoples of South Africa patched up their differences and erected a system of racial domination against the dark-skinned peoples of their own land. The structure they created formed the basis of one of the harshest, most inhumane, societies the world has ever known. Now, in the last decade of the twentieth century, and my own eighth decade as a man, that system had been overturned forever and replaced by one that recognized the rights and freedoms of all peoples, regardless of the colour of their skin.

Word meanings

  • Overwhelmed- have a strong emotional effect
  • Erected- build; construct
  • Racial domination- when people of one race have power over another race
  • Inhumane-cruel, brutal
  • Overturned- reverse.

On the day of the inauguration ceremony, the author got emotional recalling the history of South Africa since 20th century, before his birth when the English race established the apartheid system and made the natives of South Africa deprived of their basic rights on their own land. As a result, one of most inhumane and brutal system came into existence in which one community faced extreme cruelty and injustice by the another.

Now, when he is at the eighth decade of his age that whole system has got completely vanished and turned into a new system that treats every human being equal irrespective of their colour, caste and creed.

That day had come about through the unimaginable sacrifices of thousands of my people, people whose suffering and courage can never be counted or repaid. I felt that day, as I have on so many other days, that I was simply the sum of all those African patriots who had gone before me. That long and noble line ended and now began again with me. I was pained that I was not able to thank them and that they were not able to see what their sacrifices had wrought.

  • Unimaginable- difficult or impossible to imagine
  • Patriots- a person who vigorously supports their country and is prepared to defend it against enemies

Mandela further says that this freedom and equally has become possible due to unimaginable sacrifices of countless people of South Africa who have fought against apartheid regime for their whole life. He says that it is quite painful for him that those who have offered their whole life for the sake of their country are not alive to see their achievements . Author says that it was all due the courage of these patriots, he gathered his inspiration and power for this proud moment to be accomplished.

The policy of apartheid created a deep and lasting wound in my country and my people. All of us will spend many years, if not generations, recovering from that profound hurt. But the decades of oppression and brutality had another, unintended, effect, and that was that it produced the Oliver Tambos, the Walter Sisulus, the Chief Luthulis, the Yusuf Dadoos, the Bram Fischers, the Robert Sobukwes of our time* — men of such extraordinary courage, wisdom and generosity that their like may never be known again. Perhaps it requires such depths of oppression to create such heights of character. My country is rich in the minerals and gems that lie beneath its soil, but I have always known that its greatest wealth is its people, finer and truer than the purest diamonds.

Word meanings

  • Profound- very great or intense
  • Unintended- not planned or meant

Author says that it would take long time for the natives to move on from the deep effect they had on their soul due to apartheid system. He says that besides all the negative impacts this extreme suppression had, it indeed became the reason of the emergence of strong and courageous great personalities. Thus, it required that level of unjust treatment to produce such great heroes. South Africa, he says, is rich in minerals and gems but its greatest strength lies in its people.

It is from these comrades in the struggle that I learned the meaning of courage. Time and again, I have seen men and women risk and give their lives for an idea. I have seen men stand up to attacks and torture without breaking, showing a strength and resilience that defies the imagination. I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.

Word meanings

  • Comrades- a colleague or a fellow member of an organization
  • Resilience- the ability to deal with any kind of hardship and recover from its effects
  • Defies- refuse to obey

Author says that he learned the true meaning of courage from these companion freedom fighters who showed a great courage and tolerance by standing against extreme torture for the sake of their country which is beyond imagination. Courage is not the absence of fear but a victory over it. A Courageous man is one who conquers his fear and come forward knowing the risk involved in the particular task.

No one is born hating another person because of the colour of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite. Even in the grimmest times in prison, when my comrades and I were pushed to our limits, I would see a glimmer of humanity in one of the guards, perhaps just for a second, but it was enough to reassure me and keep me going. Man’s goodness is a flame that can be hidden but never extinguished.

Word meanings

  • Grimmest- very serious or gloomy
  • Glimmer- shine faintly with a wavering light
  • Pushed to our limits- pushed to the last point in our ability to bear pain
  • Reassure- say or do something to remove the doubts

Hatred is not in the nature of mankind.

They learn it in the society. If person can be taught Hatred, he can be taught love and brotherhood. In the grimmest time during their imprisonment when they were about to give up, a little humanity and help from one of the guards was enough was enough to keep their spirit up for the sake of their country.

He believes that goodness in human beings can be suppressed but never eliminated.

In life, every man has twin obligations — obligations to his family, to his parents, to his wife and children; and he has an obligation to his people, his community, his country. In a civil and humane society, each man is able to fulfil those obligations according to his own inclinations and abilities. But in a country like South Africa, it was almost impossible for a man of my birth and colour to fulfil both of those obligations. In South Africa, a man of colour who attempted to live as a human being was punished and isolated. In South Africa, a man who tried to fulfil his duty to his people was inevitably ripped from his family and his home and was forced to live a life apart, a twilight existence of secrecy and rebellion. I did not in the beginning choose to place my people above my family, but in attempting to serve my people, I found that I was prevented from fulfilling my obligations as a son, a brother, a father and a husband

Word meanings

  • Obligations- a duty
  • Civil- courteous and polite
  • Inclination- natural tendencies of behaviour
  • Inevitably- unavoidably
  • Twilight- half-light, semi-darkness
  • Rebellion- process of resisting/ protesting authority, convention or control

Author says that in the life of every human there are two types of responsibilities to be fulfilled. First towards his family and second towards his society or community Generally In a civil society both can be fulfilled but in South Africa it was never ever possible as person who attempted to fulfil either of the two was punished and separated from his community and family to live an isolated life in exile. Mandela says that initially he was obliged toward the responsibilities of his family but later on when he attempted to fulfil his responsibility towards the community, he realized that he was compromising his duties towards his own family.

 was not born with a hunger to be free. I was born free — free in every way that I could know. Free to run in the fields near my mother’s hut, free to swim in the clear stream that ran through my village, free to roast mealies under the stars and ride the broad backs of slow-moving bulls. As long as I obeyed my father and abided by the customs of my tribe, I was not troubled by the laws of man or God. It was only when I began to learn that my boyhood freedom was an illusion, when I discovered as a young man that my freedom had already been taken from me, that I began to hunger for it. At first, as a student, I wanted freedom only for myself, the transitory freedoms of being able to stay out at night, read what I pleased and go where I chose. Later, as a young man in Johannesburg, I yearned for the basic and honorable freedoms of achieving my potential, of earning my keep, of marrying and having a family — the freedom not to be obstructed in a lawful life.

Word meanings

  • Mealies- a maize plant
  • Abided- obeyed
  • Illusion- a false idea or belief
  • Transitory- not permanent
  • Yearned-   longing for something

The author says that earlier he was

Not inclined towards the freedom of his country or stand against the apartheid regime. He used to follow the rules of his tribe and wander freely under the sun. Being adult, he realized that his boyhood freedom was an illusion. Freedom doesn’t mean going or doing according to will but to live a dignity full life in the society. He wanted a normal respectful life for himself. In Johannesburg, he longed for having a normal life, a peaceful marriage, family and basic amenities which everyone has access to where law and order exists.

But then I slowly saw that not only was I not free, but my brothers and sisters were not free. I saw that it was not just my freedom that was curtailed, but the freedom of everyone who looked like I did. That is when I joined the African National Congress, and that is when the hunger for my own freedom became the greater hunger for the freedom of my people. It was this desire for the freedom of my people to live their lives with dignity and self-respect that animated my life, that transformed a frightened young man into a bold one, that drove a law-abiding attorney to become a criminal, that turned a family-loving husband into a man without a home, that forced a life-loving man to live like a monk. I am no more virtuous or self-sacrificing than the next man, but I found that I could not even enjoy the poor and limited freedoms I was allowed when I knew my people were not free. Freedom is indivisible; the chains on anyone of my people were the chains on all of them, the chains on all of my people were the chains on me.

Word meanings

  • Curtailed- to impose a restriction upon someone or something
  •  Dignity- the state or quality of being worthy of honour or respect
  • Monk- a member of a religious community of men typically living under vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience
  • Virtuous- having or showing high moral standards

Author says that when he realized that his whole community including him were deprived of their basic amenities and rights of equality, he was then inclined for freedom from injustice for his community people and joined African National Congress (ANC). This   strong inclination changed him into bold man from the frightened young man, a person against law who sacrificed his normal life of a family- man and became a monk. He says that he could not even enjoy a limited freedom if his people were restricted from their basic rights as restriction on one means restriction on all the people and vice-versa.

I knew that the oppressor must be liberated just as surely as the oppressed. A man who takes away another man’s freedom is a prisoner of hatred; he is locked behind the bars of prejudice and narrow-mindedness. I am not truly free if I am taking away someone else’s freedom, just as surely as I am not free when my freedom is taken from me. The oppressed and the oppressor alike are robbed of their humanity.

Word meanings

  • Prejudice- a strong dislike without any good reason

He says that the oppressor also needed to be free as the oppressed because the oppressor is confined from being broad minded and is a victim of his narrow thinking and hatred. He himself is a prisoner of his prejudice. If an oppressor robs the human rights of oppressed, he himself is robbed of humanity or lack human feelings and traits.

Nelson Mandela Long Walk to Freedom Question Answers  

1. Where did the ceremonies take place? Can you name any public buildings in India that are made of sandstone?

A. The ceremonies took place in an amphitheatre, Union Buildings in Pretoria. In India, Rashtrapati  Bhavan, Red Fort and the Supreme Court  India etc. are some buildings made up of sandstone.

2. Can you say how 10 May is an ‘autumn day’ in South Africa?

A. As South Africa lies in the Southern Hemisphere, May falls in the autumn season. Thus, we can say that 10 may is an ‘autumn day.

 3. At the beginning of his speech, Mandela mentions “an extraordinary human disaster”. What does he mean by this? What is the “glorious … human achievement” he speaks of at the end?

Ans. “An extraordinary human disaster”, has been referred to the apartheid system, prevalent in South Africa during British power. In that system natives of South Africa were deprived of their basic human rights and amenities. They undergone such an extreme torture and exploitation that  was beyond imagination. Mandela along with his companion freedom fighters fought against this injustice and finally won as a head of non racist democratic party to become the first black President of South Africa. This victory over the apartheid system and formation of a society that was humane in every sense is called “glorious human achievement”.

4. What does Mandela thank the international leaders for?

A. He thanked the international leaders and dignitaries for participating in  the inauguration ceremony of South Africa as a democratic state with non racial government.

5. What ideals does he set out for the future of South Africa?

A. He set out goals to make his people free from all social barriers, discrimination, injustice and poverty that was still prevalent in his country even after freedom from apartheid system.

6. What do the military generals do? How has their attitude changed, and why?

Ans. During the British reign in South Africa, the military generals were unjust towards the black and used to treat them as criminals as per the white supremacy. But after the establishment of democratic government, their attitude got changed. The military generals pledged their loyalty towards the newly formed non-racial government.

7. Why were two national anthems sung?

A. The two national anthems sung in the honour of both Blacks and the Whites communities, as the assurance of equality and brotherhood among all the countrymen.

8. How does Mandela describe the systems of government in his country

(i) In the first decade, and
(ii) In the final decade, of the twentieth century?

Ans. (i) In the first decade of the twentieth century, a government of white prominence and domination ‘apartheid system ‘ was formed by British rulers that led to the formation of the most inhumane society for black people, where they had to face injustice and torture beyond imagination.

(ii) In the final decade of the twentieth century, the system of apartheid had been abolished and a democratic government established   that ensured   humans  equality  irrespective of their caste, colour and creed.

9. What does courage mean to Mandela?

A. According to Mandela  “courage” does not mean the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. A courageous person is the one conquers his fear and comes forward to bear risk.

10. Which does he think is natural, to love or to hate?

A. Mandela thinks that  love is   a  natural human trait  as compared to hate. A person learns hatred in society whereas love is inborn human quality that lies in the heart of every human forever.

11. What “twin obligations” does Mandela mention?

A. According to Mandela, every person has “twin obligations”, one towards his family and the other, towards his society.

12. What did being free mean to Mandela as a boy, and as a student? How does he contrast these “transitory freedoms” with “the basic and honourable freedoms”?

A. During boyhood and later as an adult Mandela used to believe that freedom was being able to stay out at night, read whatever he desired and go wherever he chose. However, as a grown-up man he realized that those were “transitory freedoms” . The basic and honorable freedoms is freedom in true sense as it allows a person to have a dignity full life with all the basic rights to fulfil their basic needs.

In the society under the apartheid system black people were even deprived of their basic rights to have a normal respectful life.

13. Does Mandela think the oppressor is free? Why/Why not?

A. According to Mandela, the oppressor is also a prisoner of his narrow thinking  and confined in the bars of his prejudice as he not able to have broad thinking and lack human feelings and traits.

14. Why did such a large number of international leaders attend the inauguration? What did it signify the triumph of?

A. A large number of international leaders attended the inauguration ceremony to support the Democracy and equality established in South Africa by the newly formed democratic government.

It signified the triumph of justice over prejudice, courage over fear and right over wrong.

15. What does Mandela mean when he says he is “simply the sum of all those African patriots” who had gone before him?

A. Mandela wanted to express the fact that his achievements owed to all those African patriots who had lost their lives for the sake of their country.

By saying that he was simply the sum of all those African patriots, he wanted to express his gratitude toward those  great heroes whose sacrifices inspired him to gather courage again apartheid and fight fearlessly against injustice

16. Would you agree that the “depths of oppression” create “heights of character”? How does Mandela illustrate this? Can you add your own examples to this argument?

A. Yes, it is the fact that “depths of oppression” create “heights of character” because challenges in the form of suppression or adverse conditions inclines the person to take steps against them and make him understand his true potential. Mandela illustrated this idea by the example of all those freedom fighters who had showed boldness beyond imagination and stood against oppression and brutality.

17. How did Mandela’s understanding of freedom change with age and experience?

A. As a boy or an adult he used to misinterpret freedom as it is just doing whatever according to will like staying out at night or go wherever  he chose.

Later on, being a grown-up man he realized that it was the transitory freedom as they are deprived of their fundamental rights and freedoms to be a respectful entity of the society. Thus, true freedom is that where a person has his fundamental rights to prosper in the society.

18. How did Mandela’s ‘hunger for freedom’ change his life?

A. Once Mandela realized his hunger for freedom, his life changed forever. It transformed him from a family-man to a man of his people and a frightened young man into a bold one. He built his entire life around fighting for the basic fundamental rights for his community.  He was more selfless and virtuous than ever.

 

Thinking about Language

I. There are nouns in the text (formation, government) which are formed from the corresponding verbs (form, govern) by suffixing − (at)ion or ment. There may be change in the spelling of some verb − noun pairs: such as rebel, rebellion; constitute, constitution.

1. Make a list of such pairs of nouns and verbs in the text.

Ans:

2. Read the paragraph below. Fill in the blanks with the noun forms of the verbs in brackets.

Ans: Martin Luther King’s contribution (contribute) to our history as an outstanding leader began when he came to the assistance (assist) of Rosa Parks, a seamstress who refused to give up her seat on a bus to a white passenger. In those days American Blacks were confined to positions of second-class citizenship by restrictive laws and customs. To break these laws would mean subjugation(subjugation) and humiliation(humiliation) by the police and the legal system. Beatings, imprisonment(imprison) and sometimes death awaited those who defied the System. Martin Luther King’s tactics of protest involved non-violent resistance (resist) to racial injustice.

III. Match the italicised phrases in Column A with the phrase nearest meaning in Column B. (Hint: First look for the sentence in the text in which the phrase in column A occurs.) 

Answer:-

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2.Nelson Mandela

Lesson-2

Nelson Mandela Long Walk to Freedom

By Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela

“It always seems impossible until it’s done.”

Nelson Mandela Long Walk to Freedom Introduction

This chapter is an excerpt from Nelson Mandela's autobiography (born July 18, 1918), South Africa's first black president. Excerpts from "Long Walk to Freedom" include a description of the inauguration ceremony, citations from his speech, his journey to becoming a freedom fighter, the struggle, and a tribute to other freedom fighters and countless others who fought for their freedom. In South Africa, a brutal practise known as "apartheid" was practised. Apartheid is the practise of discriminating against people based on their race. It was one of the most brutal societies, depriving dark-skinned people of their basic rights. This lesson provides an overview of how Nelson Mandela and others carved their way to a society in which there will be no discrimination based on their skin colour, caste, race, age, or gender.

Nelson Mandela Long Walk to Freedom Summary

This chapter is an excerpt from Nelson Mandela's autobiography (born July 18, 1918), South Africa's first black president. It begins with a description of their inaugural ceremony, which took place on May 10, 1994, at which the entire nation, as well as many international leaders, celebrated the victory of a newly and fairly elected government. The President and the two Deputy Presidents delivered speeches, which were followed by an impressive air show of fighter jets and helicopters. Long ago, in the first decade of the twentieth century, white supremacy instituted apartheid, making life a living hell for the dark-skinned population. It gave birth to one of the world's most inhumane societies. Many people have struggled and made sacrifices in the name of basic human rights. The author expressed his desire to express gratitude to all freedom fighters who did not live to see this autumn day. He referred to the citizens as the country's most valuable asset. It was from these people that he gained his courage. Mandela believes that a courageous person is one who has overcome fear rather than one who is fearless. He also mentioned the two responsibilities that every human being has and how, in order to fulfil his obligation to society, he neglected his obligation to his family. He became a people's man after realising that the concept of freedom was an illusion for him and others like him. He then joined the African National Congress and fought for his rights until he became the country's first black president. According to him, the oppressor is a prisoner just like the oppressed. When the former deprives the oppressed of their freedom, he deprives himself of humanity. As a result, the oppressor is also not free.

Nelson Mandela Long Walk to Freedom Lesson Explanation

TENTH May dawned bright and clear. For the past few days I had been pleasantly besieged by dignitaries and world leaders who were coming to pay their respects before the inauguration. The inauguration would be the largest gathering ever of international leaders on South African soil. The ceremonies took place in the lovely sandstone amphitheater formed by the Union Buildings in Pretoria. For decades this had been the seat of white supremacy, and now it was the site of a rainbow gathering of different colors and nations for the installation of South Africa’s first democratic, non-racial government.

  • Dawned- (of a day) began
  • Pleasantly- giving a sense of happy satisfaction or enjoyment; satisfying
  • Besieged- to be surrounded by
  • Dignitaries- a person considered to be important because of high rank or office.
  • Sandstone- a sedimentary rock consisting of sand or quartz grains cemented together, typically red, yellow, or brown in color.
  • Amphitheatre- an open-air theatre
  • Supremacy- the state or condition of being superior to all others in authority, power, or status

Nelson Mandela was sworn in as South Africa's first black Head of State on May 10th. His anti-racist party came to power after years of struggle. Until then, white Presidents had always held the position. As a result, the author described the day as "bright and clear." It was a hopeful morning. Many notable people began congratulating him on his victory days before this date. For the first time in the country's history, such a large number of international leaders gathered for their inauguration ceremony. The ceremony was held in an open circular sandstone building made up of Union buildings in Pretoria city.

On that lovely autumn day I was accompanied by my daughter Zenani. On the podium, Mr de Klerk was first sworn in as second deputy president. Then Thabo Mbeki was sworn in as first deputy president. When it was my turn, I pledged to obey and uphold the Constitution and to devote myself to the wellbeing of the Republic and its people.

  • Deputy- Second in command
  • Sworn- given under oath; determined to stay in the role specified
  • Pledged- committed (a person or organization) by a solemn promise.

On his special day, the author was accompanied by his daughter, Zenani. First, the two Vice Presidents took the oath of office. Then, when his turn came, he pledged to respect, defend, and uphold the Constitution, as well as to devote his entire life to the welfare of the country.

To the assembled guests and the watching world, I said: “Today, all of us do, by our presence here… confer glory and hope to newborn liberty. Out of the experience of an extraordinary human disaster that lasted too long, must be born a society of which all humanity will be proud. We, who were outlaws, not so long ago, have today been given the rare privilege to be host to the nations of the world on our own soil. We thank all of our distinguished international guests for having come to take possession with the people of our country of what is, after all, a common victory for justice, for peace, for human dignity.”

  • Assembled- (of people) gather together in one place for a common purpose
  • Confer- grant
  • Glory- honour
  • Outlaws- because of its policy of apartheid, many countries had earlier broken off diplomatic relations with South Africa
  • On our own soil- in our own country
  • Possession- ownership
  • Dignity- the state or quality of being worthy of respect.

The author also mentions parts of his speech in which he stated that his presence gave rise to hope for a new beginning. Previous rulers were discriminatory and lasted for a long time, but those given the opportunity to rule now (ANC) would oppose discrimination. He is delighted to host a ceremony attended by world leaders. It is an accomplishment in and of itself. There was a time when South Africa lost all of its international political relationships as a result of its practise of apartheid. Other nations are now content to have healthy democratic relationships when there is no segregation based on race or gender. Finally, they have gained power, and they have promised to make everyone proud. He thanked everyone, especially the international leaders, for joining them in celebrating their achievement, which he described as a step toward a more equal society in which every human being is treated fairly.

We have, at last, achieved our political emancipation. We pledge ourselves to liberate all our people from the continuing bondage of poverty, deprivation, suffering, gender and other discrimination. Never, never, and never again shall it be that this beautiful land will again experience the oppression of one by another. The sun shall never set on so glorious a human achievement. Let freedom reign. God bless Africa!”

  • Emancipation- the fact or process of being set free from legal, social, or political restrictions
  • Liberate- free; release
  • Bondage- the state of being a slave
  • Discrimination- being treated differently or unfavourably
  • Deprivation- the damaging lack of material benefits considered to be basic necessities in a society
  • Oppression- prolonged cruel or unjust treatment or exercise of authority.
  • Glorious- having, worthy of, or bringing fame or admiration.
    Reign- rule; govern

He mentions that they have finally achieved political freedom after much struggle. His government promised to free everyone from the still-existing poverty, hardship, and inequalities of all kinds, as well as to assure everyone of a country in which no community is considered inferior. He then declares that freedom should reign supreme, and that God should shower his blessings on their land.

A few moments later we all lifted our eyes in awe as a spectacular array of South African jets, helicopters and troop carriers roared in perfect formation over the Union Buildings. It was not only a display of pinpoint precision and military force, but a demonstration of the military’s loyalty to democracy, to a new government that had been freely and fairly elected. Only moments before, the highest generals of the South African defence force and police, their chests bedecked with ribbons and medals from days gone by, saluted me and pledged their loyalty. I was not unmindful of the fact that not so many years before they would not have saluted but arrested me. Finally a chevron of Impala jets left a smoke trail of the black, red, green, blue and gold of the new South African flag.

  • Awe- amazed
  • Spectacular- beautiful in a dramatic and an eye-catching way
  • Array- an impressive display
  • Troop- soldiers or armed forces
  • Precision- accuracy
  • Bedecked- decorate
  • Unmindful- not conscious or aware
  • Chevron- a pattern in the shape of a V
  • Trail- series; chain

Immediately following the newly elected President's address to the audience, an impressive display of fighter jets, helicopters, and soldier transporters lifted everyone's heads in the sky. It represented both perfection and the military's respect and obedience to the free country. The high commanders, who have received medals for their bravery, saluted and pledged their loyalty as well. Mandela mentions that he was well aware that the commanders who were now saluting him would have arrested him under the previous rule because he was considered a criminal during the oppressive white supremacy. Finally, the air show concluded with the formation of the South African flag in the sky from smoke beneath the jets.

The day was symbolized for me by the playing of our two national anthems, and the vision of whites singing ‘Nkosi Sikelel –iAfrika’ and blacks singing ‘Die Stem’, the old anthem of the Republic. Although that day neither group knew the lyrics of the anthem they once despised, they would soon know the words by heart.

  • Symbolized- be a symbol of
  • Lyrics- the words of a song
  • Despised- hated, had a very low opinion of

The author recalls the day as the playing of two national anthems of the country, one for whites and one for blacks. On that day, no one knew the words to the blacks' anthem, but Mandela was confident that everyone would soon learn this anthem that they had once despised.

On the day of the inauguration, I was overwhelmed with a sense of history. In the first decade of the twentieth century, a few years after the bitter Anglo-Boer war and before my own birth, the white-skinned peoples of South Africa patched up their differences and erected a system of racial domination against the dark-skinned peoples of their own land. The structure they created formed the basis of one of the harshest, most inhumane, societies the world has ever known. Now, in the last decade of the twentieth century, and my own eighth decade as a man, that system had been overturned forever and replaced by one that recognized the rights and freedoms of all peoples, regardless of the colour of their skin.

  • Overwhelmed- have a strong emotional effect
  • Erected- build; construct
  • Racial domination- when people of one race have power over another race
  • Inhumane-cruel, brutal
  • Overturned- reverse.

On the day of the inaugural ceremony, the author reflected on the days when this entire apartheid system first emerged. It resulted in inequity and poor treatment of people with dark skin. They were denied their most basic fundamental rights. As a result, one of the most brutal and inhumane societies on the planet was born. This started long before he was born. This system created an environment of extreme cruelty and injustice for a specific segment of the community. Now, in his eighth decade as a man, he and countless others have changed the entire system to treat all humans as humans, regardless of colour, caste, gender, or age.

That day had come about through the unimaginable sacrifices of thousands of my people, people whose suffering and courage can never be counted or repaid. I felt that day, as I have on so many other days, that I was simply the sum of all those African patriots who had gone before me. That long and noble line ended and now began again with me. I was pained that I was not able to thank them and that they were not able to see what their sacrifices had wrought.

  • Unimaginable- difficult or impossible to imagine
  • Patriots- a person who vigorously supports their country and is prepared to defend it against enemies

This equal and free country was made possible by the sacrifices of countless other men and women who fought their entire lives for this day. The author wishes he could thank them all, but they did not live to see the outcome of their bravery. Nelson Mandela derived his courage and strength from all of these people and wishes to make them proud.

The policy of apartheid created a deep and lasting wound in my country and my people. All of us will spend many years, if not generations, recovering from that profound hurt. But the decades of oppression and brutality had another, unintended, effect, and that was that it produced the Oliver Tambos, the Walter Sisulus, the Chief Luthulis, the Yusuf Dadoos, the Bram Fischers, the Robert Sobukwes of our time* — men of such extraordinary courage, wisdom and generosity that their like may never be known again. Perhaps it requires such depths of oppression to create such heights of character. My country is rich in the minerals and gems that lie beneath its soil, but I have always known that its greatest wealth is its people, finer and truer than the purest diamonds.

  • Apartheid- a policy or system of segregation on grounds of race
  • Profound- very great or intense
  • Unintended- not planned or meant

Many people have been scarred by the oppression policy, and it will take a long time for them to recover. The author mentions that while this difficult period had its negative consequences, it also exposed a number of strong and courageous men who stood up and raised their voices. As a result, it took that level of unjust treatment to produce such great heroes. He claims that while South Africa is rich in minerals and gems, its greatest strength is its people.

It is from these comrades in the struggle that I learned the meaning of courage. Time and again, I have seen men and women risk and give their lives for an idea. I have seen men stand up to attacks and torture without breaking, showing a strength and resilience that defies the imagination. I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.

  • Comrades- a colleague or a fellow member of an organization
  • Resilience- the ability to deal with any kind of hardship and recover from its effects
  • Defies- refuse to obey
  • Triumph- great victory or achievement

Nelson Mandela drew strength to fight injustice from all of the great nationalists he mentioned above, who risked their lives for freedom and tolerated ill-treatment but never gave up fighting. He discovered that "courage" did not imply the absence of fear, but rather the ability to overcome fear. The man who overcomes his fear is referred to as brave.

No one is born hating another person because of the colour of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite. Even in the grimmest times in prison, when my comrades and I were pushed to our limits, I would see a glimmer of humanity in one of the guards, perhaps just for a second, but it was enough to reassure me and keep me going. Man’s goodness is a flame that can be hidden but never extinguished.

  • Grimmest- very serious or gloomy
  • Glimmer- shine faintly with a wavering light
  • Pushed to our limits- pushed to the last point in our ability to bear pain
  • Reassure- say or do something to remove the doubts

One is taught by society to despise people because of their skin colour, age, gender, or religion. No one is born with a hatred for others. According to the author, if people can be taught hatred, they can also be taught love and brotherhood. Mandela would see a smidgeon of humanity and kindness in one of the guards during their most trying times in prison, and that was enough to keep him going. He believes that human goodness can be suppressed but never eliminated.

In life, every man has twin obligations — obligations to his family, to his parents, to his wife and children; and he has an obligation to his people, his community, his country. In a civil and humane society, each man is able to fulfil those obligations according to his own inclinations and abilities. But in a country like South Africa, it was almost impossible for a man of my birth and colour to fulfil both of those obligations. In South Africa, a man of colour who attempted to live as a human being was punished and isolated. In South Africa, a man who tried to fulfil his duty to his people was inevitably ripped from his family and his home and was forced to live a life apart, a twilight existence of secrecy and rebellion. I did not in the beginning choose to place my people above my family, but in attempting to serve my people, I found that I was prevented from fulfilling my obligations as a son, a brother, a father and a husband.

  • Obligations- a duty or a commitment
  • Civil- courteous and polite
  • Inclination- natural tendencies of behaviour
  • Inevitably- unavoidably
  • Twilight- half-light, semi-darkness
  • Secrecy- the action of keeping something secret
  • Rebellion- the action or process of resisting authority, convention or control

According to the author, every human being has a responsibility to both his or her family and society. Under normal circumstances, a person can maintain a balance between the two, but it was never easy in countries like South Africa. When a person of colour stood up for his society, he was arrested and removed from his family, preventing them from fulfilling both responsibilities. Mandela did not prioritise his people over his family at first, but it was only later that he realised that by being present for his people, he was jeopardising his obligations to his own family.

I was not born with a hunger to be free. I was born free — free in every way that I could know. Free to run in the fields near my mother’s hut, free to swim in the clear stream that ran through my village, free to roast mealies under the stars and ride the broad backs of slow-moving bulls. As long as I obeyed my father and abided by the customs of my tribe, I was not troubled by the laws of man or God. It was only when I began to learn that my boyhood freedom was an illusion, when I discovered as a young man that my freedom had already been taken from me, that I began to hunger for it. At first, as a student, I wanted freedom only for myself, the transitory freedoms of being able to stay out at night, read what I pleased and go where I chose. Later, as a young man in Johannesburg, I yearned for the basic and honorable freedoms of achieving my potential, of earning my keep, of marrying and having a family — the freedom not to be obstructed in a lawful life.

  • Stream- a small, narrow river
  • Mealies- a maize plant
  • Abided- obeyed
  • Boyhood- the state or time of being a boy
  • Illusion- a false idea or belief
  • Transitory- not permanent
  • Yearned- have an intense feeling or longing for something

The author did not plan to oppose the apartheid system from an early age. He grew up in South Africa just like any other kid. He only had to follow his father's rules or the customs of his tribe. As he grew older and became more aware of how people of colour are treated, he decided to take a stand. He had an internal desire for freedom, first for himself (staying out late, etc.) and later for a basic life not just for himself, but for everyone. In Johannesburg, they had to fight for a peaceful marriage, a family, and basic amenities that everyone has access to where there is law and order.

But then I slowly saw that not only was I not free, but my brothers and sisters were not free. I saw that it was not just my freedom that was curtailed, but the freedom of everyone who looked like I did. That is when I joined the African National Congress, and that is when the hunger for my own freedom became the greater hunger for the freedom of my people. It was this desire for the freedom of my people to live their lives with dignity and selfrespect that animated my life, that transformed a frightened young man into a bold one, that drove a law-abiding attorney to become a criminal, that turned a family-loving husband into a man without a home, that forced a life-loving man to live like a monk. I am no more virtuous or self-sacrificing than the next man, but I found that I could not even enjoy the poor and limited freedoms I was allowed when I knew my people were not free. Freedom is indivisible; the chains on anyone of my people were the chains on all of them, the chains on all of my people were the chains on me.

  • Curtailed- reduce; impose a restriction on
  • Dignity- the state or quality of being worthy of honour or respect
  • Frightened- afraid or anxious
  • Monk- a member of a religious community of men typically living under vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience
  • Virtuous- having or showing high moral standards
  • Indivisible- unable to be divided or separated

Nelson Mandela joined the African National Congress (ANC) after realising that his basic rights were being robbed not only of him, but of all those who looked like him. He was driven by a desire to liberate his people from injustice. This fire transformed the author from a scared to a brave man, from a lawyer to the one breaking the law, from a family man to a man without a home, and from a lively man to a monk. It was the realisation that he and his people had limited freedom that transformed him into a selfless man, as opposed to before. He believes that freedom cannot be divided. Taking it away from some meant taking it away from everyone, which meant taking it away from the author.

I knew that the oppressor must be liberated just as surely as the oppressed. A man who takes away another man’s freedom is a prisoner of hatred; he is locked behind the bars of prejudice and narrow-mindedness. I am not truly free if I am taking away someone else’s freedom, just as surely as I am not free when my freedom is taken from me. The oppressed and the oppressor alike are robbed of their humanity.

  • Prejudice- a strong dislike without any good reason

He mentions that the need to liberate the oppressor is just as great as the need to liberate the oppressed because the oppressor is bound by the shackles of hatred. He bears the weight of all the people he has tormented, as he bears the curses of all their families. He becomes a business prisoner for taking away someone else's freedom and making them a prisoner. As a result, he has been stripped of his humanity and must be freed.

About the Author

Nelson Mandela was a great hero who gave black South Africans their freedom. On July 18, 1918, he was born in the village of Mvezo in Umtata, South Africa's Cape province. He fought against South Africa's 'apartheid' regime, which believed in racial segregation. He was imprisoned in South Africa for more than thirty years. When his party won democratic elections in 1994, he became South Africa's first black president. This passage appears in Nelson Mandela's autobiography, Long Walk to Freedom. It tells the storey of the glorious struggle for freedom waged by South African blacks against the apartheid regime.

3.Two Stories About Flying

Two Stories about Flying

His First Flight by Liam O’ Flaherty

Black Aeroplane by Frederick Forsryth.

Introduction

The story “His First Flight” written by Liam OH Hearty, is about how a young seagull overcame his fear and learned flying. Earlier he used to be too scared of flying as he thought that his wings are not strong enough to support him.

At last, he accidently realized his potential when he dived to get fish and made his first flight.

This story illustrates that when we make attempts, we realize our potential and abilities and become successful.

One cannot be successful until or unless one makes attempts as only then he becomes confident and believe in oneself.

About the Author Liam O’ Flaherty

Liam O'Flaherty (28 August 1896 – 7 September 1984) was an Irish novelist and short-story writer,  His genre was socialism and was writing about the common people's experience and from their perspective.

Summary

 “His First Flight” by “Liam O’ Flaherty” is beautiful story with a strong message about being successful on any venture in life. It illustrates a little account of  a young seagull who scares to fly whereas his younger siblings were practicing and flying without being scared. The young seagull was too afraid that he was not even willing to make any attempt. His parents scolded him and threatened him to be left alone but all in vain. The next day, he was left in isolation as his whole family moved to the opposite plateau. He was sad and watching his parents perfecting his younger siblings in the art of flying. He tried hard to seek their attention but nobody notices except his mother who was catching fish. Being hungry he got very happy seeing that his mother is coming to him with a fish. But she stopped midway.  In the excitement of having fish, the young seagull forgets everything and dives from the ledge. Soon he realized that he was in the air and thud, started fluttering his wings to save his life. In doing so he became confident and made his first flight.  He whole family celebrates his first flight by cheering and dancing  around him. He also tries to float and dive in the sea to catch fish . In this way he conquers his fear and made his first flight and realized that he always had a potential to fly, the only thing required was to make an attempt.

Explanation

THE young seagull was alone on his ledge. His two brothers and his sister had already flown away the day before. He had been afraid to fly with them. Somehow when he had taken a little run forward to the brink of the ledge and attempted to flap his wings he became afraid. The great expanse of sea stretched down beneath, and it was such a long way down — miles down. He felt certain that his wings would never support him; so he bent his head and ran away back to the little hole under the ledge where he slept at night.

Word meanings

  • Seagull- a bird that lives near the sea and has short legs, long wings, and white and grey feathers

  • Ledge- a narrow horizontal shelf projecting from a wall (or here) a cliff.
  • Brink- the extreme edge of land before a steep slope or a body or water
  • Expanse- a wide continuous area of something

The story starts with a young seagull who has to learn flying. However, he is all alone on his ledge as he is too afraid of flying while his younger siblings have already made their flights. When he went near the edge with his siblings to fly, all Flew away except him as he couldn’t gather courage and got terrified by the depth below his ledge and vast expanse of  the sea. Being convinced that his wings are not strong enough to support him he  ran back to the hole in his ledge where he slept at night.

Even when each of his brothers and his little sister, whose wings were far shorter than his own, ran to the brink, flapped their wings, and flew away, he failed to muster up courage to take that plunge which appeared to him so desperate. His father and mother had come around calling to him shrilly, upbraiding him, threatening to let him starve on his ledge unless he flew away. But for the life of him he could not move.

Flapped- (of a bird) move (its wings) up and down when flying or preparing to fly

Word meanings.

  • Muster- gather
  • Plunge- jump or dive
  • Shrilly- with a high pitched and piercing voice or sound
  • Upbraiding- scold

His younger siblings took their first flight even though they had small wings   than that of young seagull. Although he tried so desperately but he could not gather courage to dive from the ledge.  His parents scolded him but he was too afraid that he couldn’t even move.

That was twenty-four hours ago. Since then nobody had come near him. The day before, all day long, he had watched his parents flying about with his brothers and sister, perfecting them in the art of flight, teaching them how to skim the waves and how to dive for fish. He had, in fact, seen his older brother catch his first herring and devour it, standing on a rock, while his parents circled around raising a proud cackle. And all the morning the whole family had walked about on the big plateau midway down the opposite cliff taunting him with his cowardice.

Word meanings

  • Herring- a soft-finned sea fish
  • Devour- eat quickly
  • Cackle- laugh in a loud, harsh way

Now it had been a whole being alone on his ledge. He tried to get a notice from his parents but they were busy in teaching his siblings how to master the art of flying and dive for food. His parents celebrated the proud moment when his older sibling caught his first fish. He was being taunted by his parents for his cowardice.

The sun was now ascending the sky, blazing on his ledge that faced the south. He felt the heat because he had not eaten since the previous nightfall. He stepped slowly out to the brink of the ledge, and standing on one leg with the other leg hidden under his wing, he closed one eye, then the other, and pretended to be falling asleep. Still they took no notice of him. He saw his two brothers and his sister lying on the plateau dozing with their heads sunk into their necks. His father was preening the feathers on his white back. Only his mother was looking at him. She was standing on a little high hump on the plateau, her white breast thrust forward. Now and again, she tore at a piece of fish that lay at her feet and then scrapped each side of her beak on the rock. The sight of the food maddened him. How he loved to tear food that way, scrapping his beak now and again to whet it.

Word meanings

  • Ascending the sky- the act of rising up through the air
  • Preening-to tidy and clean its feathers
  • Hump- a rounded raised mass of earth or land

Now the sun has risen up in the sky and he was feeling intense heat as he was hungry since the night before. He slowly moved toward the brink of the ledge and tried to pretend that he is sleeping by close his eyes but couldn’t grab the attention of his parents.

His siblings were sleeping while his father was cleaning his feathers with his beak. However, his mother kept watching him while standing on another plateau when she was about to tear the fish and eat it. The young seagull became mad on that sight as he was too hungry.  He loved to tear the fish   in that manner by scrapping his beak.

“Ga, ga, ga,” he cried begging her to bring him some food. “Gaw-col-ah,” she screamed back derisively. But he kept calling plaintively, and after a minute or so he uttered a joyful scream. His mother had picked up a piece of the fish and was flying across to him with it. He leaned out eagerly, tapping the rock with his feet, trying to get nearer to her as she flew across. But when she was just opposite to him, she halted, her wings motionless, the piece of fish in her beak almost within reach of his beak. He waited a moment in surprise, wondering why she did not come nearer, and then, maddened by hunger, he dived at the fish.

Word meanings

  • Derisively- in a manner expressing contempt or ridicule.
  • Plaintively- sad
  • Uttered- make a sound with one’s voice
  • Halted- stopped

He made a loud noise, begging for food in hunger while his mother screamed condemning him. But soon his cries got converted into joyful scream as his mother was flying towards him with the piece of fish. He got very excited as she approached nearer and leaned at the brink. But suddenly she stopped being nearer to him. The young seagull got surprised noticing that his mother has stopped, not moving toward him with his food in her beak which appeared to be very close to him. Being mad due to hunger, he forgot that he was not able to fly and dived to get the fish.

With a loud scream he fell outwards and downwards into space. Then a monstrous terror seized him and his heart stood still. He could hear nothing. But it only lasted a minute. The next moment he felt his wings spread outwards. The wind rushed against his breast feathers, then under his stomach, and against his wings. He could feel the tips of his wings cutting through the air. He was not falling headlong now. He was soaring gradually downwards and outwards. He was no longer afraid. He just felt a bit dizzy. Then he flapped his wings once and he soared upwards. “Ga, ga, ga, Ga, ga, ga, Gaw-col-ah,” his mother swooped past him, her wings making a loud noise. He answered her with another scream. Then his father flew over him screaming. He saw his two brothers and his sister flying around him curveting and banking and soaring and diving.

Word meanings

  • Monstrous- horrible
  • Seized- grab
  • Soaring- flying or rising high in the air
  • Swooped- (especially of a bird) move rapidly downwards through the air
  • Curvetting- perform a series of jumps on the hind legs

After taking a dive soon he realized that he is floating in a vast space. That moment was grabbed with a horrible experience and his heart stood still. However, in the next moment he felt that his wings spread outwards cutting through the winds. He was no more falling but flying high and low up and down in the air

He was not scared now. He felt a bit nervous but his mother joined to encourage him. She was making loud noise. He flapped his wings and soared upward and answered her with his scream. Soon rest of the family accompanied him. They celebrated his victory by screaming, soaring, diving and jumping around him in excitement.

Then he completely forgot that he had not always been able to fly, and commended himself to dive and soar and curve, shrieking shrilly. He was near the sea now, flying straight over it, facing straight out over the ocean. He saw a vast green sea beneath him, with little ridges moving over it and he turned his beak sideways and cawed amusedly.

Word meanings

  • Shrieking- making a high-pitched piercing cry or sound
  • Shrilly- loudly and forcefully
  • Ridges- a long, narrow hilltop, mountain range

As he overcame his fear, he completely forgot how he used to be scared of flying.

He was diving downward and soaring up in the sky making loud piercing sound. As went straight upward in the sky, he could see vast green sea beneath him with narrow hilltops over it. He took a turn and made cawing sounds in enjoyment.

His parents and his brothers and sister had landed on this green flooring ahead of him. They were beckoning to him, calling shrilly. He dropped his legs to stand on the green sea. His legs sank into it. He screamed with fright and attempted to rise again flapping his wings. But he was tired and weak with hunger and he could not rise, exhausted by the strange exercise. His feet sank into the green sea, and then his belly touched it and he sank no farther. He was floating on it, and around him his family was screaming, praising him and their beaks were offering him scraps of dog-fish. He had made his first flight.

Word meanings

  • Beckoning- gesture

 He landed on the green sea 

Along with his family. They had proud  expression and were making loud piercing voice in excitement. First he got scared of floating on the sea and tried to escape but being weak and  tired of hunger, he calmed down and started floating on the sea. His family offered him food and celebrated their excitement. Finally, he conquered his fear and made his first flight.

Textbook Questions and Answers

Q1. Why was the young seagull afraid to fly? Do you think all young birds are afraid to make their first flight, or are some birds more timid than others? Do you think a human baby also finds it a challenge to take its first steps?

Ans. The young seagull was afraid to fly because he believed that his wings would not support him.

Surely some birds hesitate taking their first flight and even human babies hesitate taking their first step as every body does have some fear or hesitation, more or less, doing anything for the first time.

Q2. “The sight of the food maddened him.” What does this suggest? What compelled the young seagull to finally fly?

A. The young seagull was starving for a night before. Thus on the sight of his mother flying towards him with the fish, he got overwhelmed with excitement and tried to grab the food any how as soon as possible.  It suggests that a person makes attempts in his dire need of anything without thinking of the risks involved as the young seagull does by diving from the ledge. His hunger and strong wish to get food compelled him to fly at last.

Q3. “They were beckoning to him, calling shrilly.” Why did the seagull’s father and mother threaten him and cajole him to fly?

A. Unlike his younger siblings, the poor seagull could not gather enough courage to take his first flight. Thus, his parents taunted him for being a coward. They even threatened it to let it starve if he did not try. They thought hunger would make him fly looking for his food. They did all of this because they wanted him to fly

Extra questions

Q.  Why the young seagull dived from the ledge? What happened then?

Ans.  The young sea gull dived because he got maddened on the sight of his mother approaching fish, he was starving in hunger from a night before. Thus, on seeing food he got overwhelmed in excitement. But his mother stopped midway, in the haste of getting food he forgot his fear and dived from the ledge. Suddenly, he realized that he was in the air. he fell outwards and downwards with a scream. His monstrous terror seized him and his heart stood still. Soon his wings spread outwards and he could feel the tips of his wings cutting through the air.

Q. Why couldn’t the seagull fly when his belly touched the green sea and what was the outcome?

Ans. The seagull got very scared when his belly touched the green sea. He thought that he would sink. He tried to fly but couldn’t succeed as he was too exhausted and weak due to hunger. So he sat on the water but to his surprise he didn’t sank and started floating. In  this way he conquered his second fear of the sea water.

Q. Do you think a big role was played by the family of the seagull to train him in the art of flying? Why?

Ans. Yes, a vital role was played by the family to make him fly including punishing him and leaving alone to starve was to force him to make attempts.

Earlier his parents scolded and threatened him but all in vain. Finally, they took their last trick by leaving him alone to starve in hunger. After a whole day his mother tempted him for food. Being very hungry he got overjoyed and dived from the ledge forgetting that he couldn’t fly. When he realized that he was in the air. He made attempts to fly as his wings spread outwards cutting through the air while his family kept encouraging him. At last, when he overcame his fear they celebrated his victory by dancing and making loud piercing voice.

 Thus, due to the efforts of his family members he made his first flight.

Q. Do you think hunger was a good motivation for the young seagull in his first flight?

Ans. Yes hunger was a good motivation indeed as being tempted for food since he was too hungry, he forgot his fear and dived from the ledge and when his wings spread outwards cutting through the air automatically, he realized his potential of flying and made his first attempt to fly. If he hadn’t been hungry, he would not have dived and realized his potential. Thus, to get him known about his inborn ability hunger played a big role.

Q. Overcoming fear is the first step to success. How does this saying stand true in context of the story ‘His First Flight”?

Ans. The story illustrates this fact very perfectly. The young seagull was too afraid to fly. He didn’t want to make any attempt even. He was afraid that his wings would not support him. However, his younger siblings had already flew away. But finally, when he dived being hungry, forgetting his fears and made attempts, he got to know his innate abilities, overcame his fear and successfully made his first flight. Earlier he was scared of flying but when he overcame his fear accidently, he made his first flight. Thus, to become successful one needs to overcome his fear first and take initiative to face the challenges and risks involved. As one can only becomes efficient in his task by making efforts without being scared as the seagull does when he fluttered his wings went upward and downwards in the air he gained  confident soon and made his first flight.

The Black Aeroplane

Introduction

The lesson “Black Aeroplane” by Frederick Forsyth reflects on how one’s judgement gets distorted due to fantasizing and how it creates problems. In this chapter, the narrator is a pilot who is so eager to meet his family and have a good breakfast that he takes the wrong decision of facing the storm instead of doing the right thing. Miraculously, he somehow manages to escape with the help of a mysterious aeroplane.

 About the Author

Frederick Forsryth born on 25th August 1938. He is a prominent British English novelist and journalist. He is well known for his thrillers like the Afghan, The fourth protocol, The dogs of war etc. He also served as a pilot of fighter jet plane. In this little account he has shared one of the incident of his life that is beyond imagination.

Summary

The black Aeroplane is a story about a pilot who was very happy and excited to meet his family and have breakfast with them. He was flying  the plane from Paris to London alone without any other pilot and enjoying the self satisfying moment. When  he crossed Paris, he got scared of the big black stormy clouds approaching towards him. But he didn’t want to sacrifice his strong wish to enjoy  the delicious breakfast with his family by any means so decided to take risk and cross that hurdle by going through it. As soon as he entered the clouds, all his instruments stopped working and he lost his connection with the control panel. He got to know that fuel was also not enough for that journey as it could finish at any moment. He was quite helpless but soon he saw a black Aeroplane coming after his Aeroplane . To his astonishment, pilot’s face was quite visible in the dark. It came ahead of his plane and showed him direction through the dark clouds ️ and got disappeared. After landing safely when he went to the control panel asked about the black Aeroplane, he got very surprised as the lady at the control panel answered that only his Aeroplane was visible in the sky. There was no other plane flying in the sky.

Theme

  • Miracle - the story illustrates how tha narrator took a great risk just to meet his family and have that English breakfast and got in to a great trouble. However, miraculously he landed safely at last.
  • Mystery – it is still a mystery that who was the pilot of the black aeroplane? How it was visible among the dark clouds without headlight? Why it was not visible on the radar?

Where had it gone after the narrator landed?

These are some questions with which the narrator left pondering upon.

  • Strong inclination and lack of judgement may lead us to trouble as the narrator was likely to loose his life unless helped by the mysterious aeroplane.

Explanation

THE moon was coming up in the east, behind me, and stars were shining in the clear sky above me. There wasn’t a cloud in the sky. I was happy to be alone high up above the sleeping countryside. I was flying my old Dakota aeroplane over France back to England. I was dreaming of my holiday and looking forward to being with my family. I looked at my watch: one thirty in the morning.

The narrator has explained the beauty of the night time with clear sky and twinkling stars.  He  was happy  flying his old Dakota back to London , his hometown  from Paris, alone high above the countryside which was supposed to be sleeping as it was night-time. He was excited and dreaming of his leisure time with his family. He had a great desire to meet his family  as soon as possible so he looked at his watch it was 1.30 in the morning .

‘I should call Paris Control soon,’ I thought. As I looked down past the nose of the aeroplane, I saw the lights of a big city in front of me. I switched on the radio and said, “Paris Control, Dakota DS 088 here. Can you hear me? I’m on my way to England. Over.” The voice from the radio answered me immediately: “DS 088, I can hear you. You ought to turn twelve degrees west now, DS 088. Over.”

While approaching towards Paris as he could see the light flashing at him he thought he should call the Paris Control for their instructions. When he informed them they provided him with the guidelines regarding his further journey .

I checked the map and the compass, switched over to my second and last fuel tank, and turned the Dakota twelve degrees west towards England. ‘I’ll be in time for breakfast,’ I thought. A good big English breakfast! Everything was going well — it was an easy flight.

Word meanings

  • Compass- instrument for telling direction

He checked the map and compass after receiving the instructions. He put second and last fuel tank into operation and took a turn towards England .Meanwhile he was dreaming of having a delicious English breakfast. He was happy and calm as it was easy to fly in the clear sky and everything was going according to the plan.

Paris was about 150 kilometres behind me when I saw the clouds. Storm clouds. They were huge. They looked like black mountains standing in front of me across the sky. I knew I could not fly up and over them, and I did not have enough fuel to fly around them to the north or south. “I ought to go back to Paris,” I thought, but I wanted to get home. I wanted that breakfast. ‘I’ll take the risk,’ I thought, and flew that old Dakota straight into the storm.

Now he had left Paris and moved ahead 150 kms. Suddenly he noticed big storm clouds  looking like black mountains standing in front of him across the sky. He thought for a while whether he should return Paris or carry on his journey. Finally, he resolved to take risk as he could not give up his dream of having delicious English breakfast and   headed  his Dakota straight into the storm.

Inside the clouds, everything was suddenly black. It was impossible to see anything outside the aeroplane. The old aeroplane jumped and twisted in the air. I looked at the compass. I couldn’t believe my eyes: the compass was turning round and round and round. It was dead. It would not work! The other instruments were suddenly dead, too.

Inside the clouds he could not see anything as it was too dark. Thus, he started losing his control. To his astonishment the compass was dead along with other instruments.

I tried the radio. “Paris Control? Paris Control? Can you hear me?” There was no answer. The radio was dead too. I had no radio, no compass, and I could not see where I was. I was lost in the storm. Then, in the black clouds quite near me, I saw another aeroplane. It had no lights on its wings, but I could see it flying next to me through the storm. I could see the pilot’s face — turned towards me. I was very glad to see another person. He lifted one hand and waved. “Follow me,” he was saying. “Follow me.” ‘He knows that I am lost,’ I thought. ‘He’s trying to help me.’

He tried hard to contact Paris Control but couldn’t connect. He was feeling quite helpless with no connection and dead instruments in the midst of deadly storm. Suddenly he got happy to see that another aeroplane  was flying along with him . It’s pilot waved his hand and instructed to follow him. It seemed he knew that the narrator was lost and thus trying to help him.

He turned his aeroplane slowly to the north, in front of my Dakota, so that it would be easier for me to follow him. I was very happy to go behind the strange aeroplane like an obedient child. After half an hour the strange black aeroplane was still there in front of me in the clouds. Now there was only enough fuel in the old Dakota’s last tank to fly for five or ten minutes more. I was starting to feel frightened again. But then he started to go down and I followed through the storm. Suddenly I came out of the clouds and saw two long straight lines of lights in front of me. It was a runway! An airport! I was safe! I turned to look for my friend in the black aeroplane, but the sky was empty. There was nothing there. The black aeroplane was gone. I could not see it anywhere.

The  other pilot turned his aeroplane towards north in front of his Dakota to guide him through the dark clouds.  Due to this inconceivable help, the narrator was very happy and followed the  instructions like an obedient child. For half an hour, he was following the black aeroplane which was visible among the dark clouds ️ strangely. But suddenly, he was again in panic as the fuel  was available for only ten minutes more. However,  he kept following the black aeroplane which was now moving down . Suddenly he could see the lights emitting from the runway and got relieved  that he was safe now. As soon as, he turned to see  the black aeroplane, he found that black aeroplane  has  got disappeared.

I landed and was not sorry to walk away from the old Dakota near the control tower. I went and asked a woman in the control centre where I was and who the other pilot was. I wanted to say ‘Thank you’. She looked at me very strangely, and then laughed. “Another aeroplane? Up there in this storm? No other aeroplanes were flying tonight. Yours was the only one I could see on the radar.” So who helped me to arrive there safely without a compass or a radio, and without any more fuel in my tanks? Who was the pilot on the strange black aeroplane, flying in the storm, without lights?

Word meanings

  • Radar- an instrument used to detect direction, distance, and speed of aircraft, ships.
  • Strangely- in a strange manner

After landing, the narrator wanted to express his gratitude to the pilot of the black aeroplane. So he went to the control tower and asked about location where he had been and who was the pilot of the black aeroplane. To his astonishment, the lady at the control tower answered that there was none of the aeroplane visible on the  radar except his. The narrator left pondering that who was the pilot of black aeroplane?  How he was able  to land safely without enough fuel and proper instruments?

There were several questions in his mind that were supposed to be unanswered as none had seen that strange aeroplane except him.

 

Questions Answers

Q1. “I’ll take the risk.” What is the risk? Why does the narrator take it?

Ans. The “risk” was to move to the destination through the storm. The pilot was desperately wanted to  meet his family and have that English breakfast. Thus, he didn’t move back to Paris and risked his life by heading into the storm.

Q2. Describe the narrator’s experience as he flew the aeroplane into the storm.

Ans. The narrator got horrified as it was too dark inside and he was not able to control the plane. Soon he got to know that his compass and other instruments had stopped working. He felt that he was in the midst of nowhere.  Suddenly an unknown plane was visible moving along with his aeroplane and the pilot was keen to help him. The narrator was worried as there was very less fuel left but at last, he landed safe following the black aeroplane .

Q3. Why does the narrator say, “I landed and was not sorry to walk away from the old Dakota…”?

Ans. The narrator said so because he had had a very horrible experience in the plane when his compass and radar had stopped functioning in the midst of the storm. Thus, he felt relieved When

he left that plane. Moreover, he was curious about the pilot of the black aeroplane who helped him in his safe landing and wanted to tell him thanks.

Q4. What made the woman in the control centre look at the narrator strangely?

Ans. The woman in the control centre looked at the narrator strangely when he asked about the other pilot that helped him escape the storm. As she had not seen any other plane on the radar.

Q5. Who do you think helped the narrator to reach safely? Discuss this among yourselves and give reasons for your answer.

Ans. It was the pilot’s own conscience which helped him out of the storm. There was no other plane out on that stormy night. So, probably, he was hallucinating. It was his own capability as a pilot which led him out of that black cloud.

 

Grammar Exercise

Now, try to guess the meanings of the word ‘black’ in the sentences given below. Check the meanings in the dictionary and find out whether you have guessed right.
1. Go and have a bath; your hands and face are absolutely black. ________
2. The taxi-driver gave Ratan a black look as he crossed the road when the traffic light was green. ___________
3. The bombardment of Hiroshima is one of the blackest crimes against humanity. __________
4. Very few people enjoy Harold Pinter’s black comedy. ____________
5. Sometimes shopkeepers store essential goods to create false scarcity and then sell these in black. ___________
6. Villagers had beaten the criminal black and blue. _______________

Answers-

1. Go and have a bath; your hands and face are absolutely black.

Here, ‘black’ refers to the dirty hands with dust.

2. The taxi-driver gave Ratan a black look as he crossed the road when the traffic light was green.

Here, ‘black’ refers to an furious look.

3. The bombardment of Hiroshima is one of the blackest crimes against humanity.

Here, ‘blackest’ refers to the most unfortunate and inhumane against humanity.

4. Very few people enjoy Harold Pinter’s black comedy

Here, ‘black’ refers to dark and gloomy comedy.

5. Sometimes shopkeepers store essential goods to create false scarcity and then sell these in black.

Here, ‘black’ refers to unethical way of selling the goods at high price.

6. Villagers had beaten the criminal black and blue.

Here, ‘black’ means excessive beatin

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3.Two Stories About Flying

Lesson-3

Two Stories About Flying

(1) His First Flight

   By Liam O’ Flaherty

“The journey of a thousand miles begin with a single step”

His First Flight Introduction

"Liam O' Flaherty's" storey is about a young bird who is afraid to fly for the first time. He believes that his wings will not be able to support him. Despite his younger siblings flying fearlessly with much shorter wings, he couldn't muster the courage. He was punished by being forced to go hungry if he did not try. Thus, it was his mother who forced him to fly by enticing him with food. The lesson demonstrates how one hesitates to take the first step and how fear is all in one's mind. Because "the fear of suffering is worse than the suffering itself," one should have faith in one's abilities.

His First Flight Summary

"Liam O' Flaherty's" storey "His First Flight" is about a young seagull who is afraid to fly. Despite their much shorter wings, his younger siblings flew fearlessly, whereas he couldn't muster the courage to trust his own wings. When he saw his parents perfecting the art of flying for his younger siblings, the young seagull became sad. His parents chastise and mock him for not even attempting. They even refer to him as a "coward." They beg him to try and threaten him with leaving him alone and hungry if he does not. The next day, he is left alone, and when he becomes hungry, he tries to attract the attention of his family members. His son is only noticed by his mother, who is withering a fish in an attempt to eat it. The young seagull cries out in desperation, hoping that his mother will come to his aid. He becomes ecstatic when he sees his mother approaching him with the fish. But when he notices his mother has stopped mid-way, he becomes enraged out of hunger and dives at the fish, forgetting for a moment that he is afraid to fly. He finally took his first flight. Everyone in his family celebrates his victory by cheering and dancing around him. He also tries to float in the sea, which he was once afraid of. As a result, he overcomes his fear and realises that it is all in his head.

His First Flight Lesson Explanation

THE young seagull was alone on his ledge. His two brothers and his sister had already flown away the day before. He had been afraid to fly with them. Somehow when he had taken a little run forward to the brink of the ledge and attempted to flap his wings he became afraid. The great expanse of sea stretched down beneath, and it was such a long way down — miles down. He felt certain that his wings would never support him; so he bent his head and ran away back to the little hole under the ledge where he slept at night.

  • Seagull- a bird that lives near the sea and has short legs, long wings, and white and grey feathers
  • Ledge- a narrow horizontal shelf projecting from a wall (or here) a cliff
  • Brink- the extreme edge of land before a steep slope or a body or water
  • Expanse- a wide continuous area of something

The plot revolves around a young seagull who is in the process of learning to fly. He, unlike his younger brothers and sisters, is terrified of flying. Except for him, when they attempted to fly for the first time near the edge of the sea, they all succeeded. He couldn't put his faith in his wings. He became terrified of the vast sea and convinced himself that he would never be able to fly. As a result, he was embarrassed and disheartened, and he retreated to the ledge where he usually slept.

Even when each of his brothers and his little sister, whose wings were far shorter than his own, ran to the brink, flapped their wings, and flew away, he failed to muster up courage to take that plunge which appeared to him so desperate. His father and mother had come around calling to him shrilly, upbraiding him, threatening to let him starve on his ledge unless he flew away. But for the life of him he could not move.

  • Flapped- (of a bird) move (its wings) up and down when flying or preparing to fly
  • Muster- gather
  • Plunge- jump or dive
  • Shrilly- with a high pitched and piercing voice or sound
  • Upbraiding- scold

Despite the fact that his younger siblings' wings were shorter than his, he could not muster the courage, no matter how hard he tried. His parents chastised him for not trying again, but he was too terrified to move.

That was twenty-four hours ago. Since then nobody had come near him. The day before, all day long, he had watched his parents flying about with his brothers and sister, perfecting them in the art of flight, teaching them how to skim the waves and how to dive for fish. He had, in fact, seen his older brother catch his first herring and devour it, standing on a rock, while his parents circled around raising a proud cackle. And all the morning the whole family had walked about on the big plateau midway down the opposite cliff taunting him with his cowardice.

  • Herring- a soft-finned sea fish
  • Devour- eat quickly
  • Cackle- laugh in a loud, harsh way
  • Cowardice- lack of bravery

He had been alone for a day after attempting because his parents were preoccupied with his siblings. They assisted his siblings in learning to fly and dive for food (fish). His older brother even caught his first fish, which he proudly ate while his parents celebrated. His parents mocked him all the way to school that morning for being a coward.

The sun was now ascending the sky, blazing on his ledge that faced the south. He felt the heat because he had not eaten since the previous nightfall. He stepped slowly out to the brink of the ledge, and standing on one leg with the other leg hidden under his wing, he closed one eye, then the other, and pretended to be falling asleep. Still they took no notice of him. He saw his two brothers and his sister lying on the plateau dozing with their heads sunk into their necks. His father was preening the feathers on his white back. Only his mother was looking at him. She was standing on a little high hump on the plateau, her white breast thrust forward. Now and again, she tore at a piece of fish that lay at her feet and then scrapped each side of her beak on the rock. The sight of the food maddened him. How he loved to tear food that way, scrapping his beak now and again to whet it.

  • Ascending the sky- the act of rising up through the air
  • Preening-to tidy and clean its feathers
  • Hump- a rounded raised mass of earth or land
  • Scrapped- discard

The sun had now risen, and he was feeling the heat more than ever because he had been fasting since the previous night. To attract his family's attention, he stepped off his ledge and pretended to sleep on one leg. Nonetheless, no one noticed him. His siblings were sleeping, his father was cleaning his feathers with his beak, and his mother was eating fish on another plateau when he walked by. Because he was starving, the seagull became enraged when he saw the fish. He liked to tear fish apart and scrape his beak every now and then.

“Ga, ga, ga,” he cried begging her to bring him some food. “Gaw-col-ah,” she screamed back derisively. But he kept calling plaintively, and after a minute or so he uttered a joyful scream. His mother had picked up a piece of the fish and was flying across to him with it. He leaned out eagerly, tapping the rock with his feet, trying to get nearer to her as she flew across. But when she was just opposite to him, she halted, her wings motionless, the piece of fish in her beak almost within reach of his beak. He waited a moment in surprise, wondering why she did not come nearer, and then, maddened by hunger, he dived at the fish.

  • Derisively- in a manner expressing contempt or ridicule.
  • Plaintively- sad
  • Uttered- make a sound with one’s voice
  • Halted- stopped

He screamed in hunger to his mother, who screamed back angrily, but he kept crying, which soon turned into a joyful scream when he saw his mother flying towards him with the piece of fish. As she got closer, he became excited and leaned forward. She came to a sudden halt not far from him. He dived at the fish out of excitement and hunger, not realising for a moment that he was afraid to fly.

With a loud scream he fell outwards and downwards into space. Then a monstrous terror seized him and his heart stood still. He could hear nothing. But it only lasted a minute. The next moment he felt his wings spread outwards. The wind rushed against his breast feathers, then under his stomach, and against his wings. He could feel the tips of his wings cutting through the air. He was not falling headlong now. He was soaring gradually downwards and outwards. He was no longer afraid. He just felt a bit dizzy. Then he flapped his wings once and he soared upwards. “Ga, ga, ga, Ga, ga, ga, Gaw-col-ah,” his mother swooped past him, her wings making a loud noise. He answered her with another scream. Then his father flew over him screaming. He saw his two brothers and his sister flying around him curveting and banking and soaring and diving.

  • Monstrous- horrible
  • Seized- grab
  • Headlong- with the head foremost
  • Soaring- flying or rising high in the air
  • Swooped- (especially of a bird) move rapidly downwards through the air
  • Curvetting- perform a series of jumps on the hind legs

He became so enthralled that he fell the first time he tried. For a brief moment, he was stunned and stood motionless in terror. All of this happened in an instant, and soon his feathers opened as he flew. The wind was brushing against his breast feathers, stomach, and wings. He could feel himself piercing the air. He was no longer afraid. He was a little nervous at first, but his mother came with him. The entire family screamed with delight, celebrating his triumph over fear.

Then he completely forgot that he had not always been able to fly, and commended himself to dive and soar and curve, shrieking shrilly. He was near the sea now, flying straight over it, facing straight out over the ocean. He saw a vast green sea beneath him, with little ridges moving over it and he turned his beak sideways and cawed amusedly.

  • Shrieking- making a high-pitched piercing cry or sound
  • Shrilly- loudly and forcefully
  • Ridges- a long, narrow hilltop, mountain range, or watershed
  • Cawed- utter a caw

He forgot he was afraid of it once he had overcome it. He did everything he had previously feared. He was flying straight over the sea, and he could see the greenery and mountains below him. He screamed with delight as he celebrated his victory.

His parents and his brothers and sister had landed on this green flooring ahead of him. They were beckoning to him, calling shrilly. He dropped his legs to stand on the green sea. His legs sank into it. He screamed with fright and attempted to rise again flapping his wings. But he was tired and weak with hunger and he could not rise, exhausted by the strange exercise. His feet sank into the green sea, and then his belly touched it and he sank no farther. He was floating on it, and around him his family was screaming, praising him and their beaks were offering him scraps of dog-fish. He had made his first flight.

  • Beckoning- gesture

When he landed, his family landed alongside him as a proud gesture. In their high pitched voices, they screamed and shouted in delight. He then went into the sea, where he became terrified and panicked. He attempted to flee but became exhausted and weak from hunger. As a result, when he calmed down, he began floating in the sea he had once feared. His family was overjoyed and offered him food as a form of praise. He had finally overcome his fear and taken his first flight.

About the Author

Liam 0′ Flaherty was a novelist and short storey writer from Ireland. He was born on August 28, 1896, and died on September 7, 1984. He was born in the remote Galway village of Gort Nag Capall. He enrolled at Rockwell College in 1908. With his best-selling novel 'The Informer,' he rose to literary prominence (1925). Return of the Brute, his next novel, was also a huge success. 0' Flaherty will be remembered as a key figure in Ireland's literary renaissance.

 

(2) Black Aeroplane 

By Frederick Forsyth

Black Aeroplane Introduction

The lesson "Black Aeroplane" by Frederick Forsyth reflects on how fantasising distorts one's judgement and causes problems. In this chapter, the narrator is a pilot who is so eager to see his family and eat a good breakfast that he chooses to face the storm rather than do the right thing. He miraculously escapes with the assistance of a mysterious aeroplane.

Black Aeroplane Summary

The storey "Black Aeroplane" is about a pilot who is happy and content to fly over a sleeping city (at night time). He's taking a flight from Paris to London. While on the plane, he fantasises about his upcoming vacation with his family. He also fantasises about the delectable breakfast he'll have upon arrival. As soon as he crosses Paris, he notices the dark clouds that foreshadowed the impending storm. For the sake of safety, the correct decision would have been to return to Paris. But he is overshadowed by his dreams, and in order not to delay them, he jeopardises the lives of his passengers and drives straight into the storm. Everything goes dark, he can't see, all of his navigation instruments stop working, and he loses control of the plane. He saw another plane whose pilot was more than willing to rescue them when all hope had been lost. The author was in a panic because there was very little fuel left. The unidentified pilot led them out of the storm and vanished as soon as they saw light. When he asks the lady in the control room about the other pilot after landing, he is taken aback when she tells him that his was the only plane in the sky.

Black Aeroplane Lesson Explanation

THE moon was coming up in the east, behind me, and stars were shining in the clear sky above me. There wasn’t a cloud in the sky. I was happy to be alone high up above the sleeping countryside. I was flying my old Dakota aeroplane over France back to England. I was dreaming of my holiday and looking forward to being with my family. I looked at my watch: one thirty in the morning.

It was late at night, when the sky was clear and the stars twinkled. The pilot felt at ease flying above a country that had dozed off while he was flying from France to England. It was half past one a.m., and he was daydreaming about going on vacation with his family.

‘I should call Paris Control soon,’ I thought. As I looked down past the nose of the aeroplane, I saw the lights of a big city in front of me. I switched on the radio and said, “Paris Control, Dakota DS 088 here. Can you hear me? I’m on my way to England. Over.” The voice from the radio answered me immediately: “DS 088, I can hear you. You ought to turn twelve degrees west now, DS 088. Over.”

When the plane arrived in France, the pilot considered informing the Paris Control personnel of its presence and requesting instructions. The lights of Paris were blaring at him at the time. He notified the Control Agency, who responded with additional instructions on how to proceed. The control room in Paris directed him to turn 12 degrees west.

I checked the map and the compass, switched over to my second and last fuel tank, and turned the Dakota twelve degrees west towards England. ‘I’ll be in time for breakfast,’ I thought. A good big English breakfast! Everything was going well — it was an easy flight.

  • Compass- instrument for telling direction

After receiving the instructions, the pilot suited up and followed them while turning on the last fuel tank. During this time, he was daydreaming about his time with his family, and then he began to consider having a satisfying breakfast at the destination point. He was at ease because everything was going according to plan.

Paris was about 150 kilometres behind me when I saw the clouds. Storm clouds. They were huge. They looked like black mountains standing in front of me across the sky. I knew I could not fly up and over them, and I did not have enough fuel to fly around them to the north or south. “I ought to go back to Paris,” I thought, but I wanted to get home. I wanted that breakfast. ‘I’ll take the risk,’ I thought, and flew that old Dakota straight into the storm.

The plane had just passed through Paris when he noticed clouds in the sky. The presence of clouds made flying dangerous due to the possibility of a storm. The pilot compared them to "black mountains" because they were so large and dark. He knew he couldn't pass them because there was no way he could go above them or escape them with the amount of fuel left in the last tank. The correct decision would have been to return to Paris safely. However, the pilot's decision was clouded by his desire to see his family. He was so desperate to see his family and eat the English breakfast he had been craving all day that he risked not returning. As a result, he flew the plane directly into the storm.

Inside the clouds, everything was suddenly black. It was impossible to see anything outside the aeroplane. The old aeroplane jumped and twisted in the air. I looked at the compass. I couldn’t believe my eyes: the compass was turning round and round and round. It was dead. It would not work! The other instruments were suddenly dead, too. I tried the radio.

Because of the storm, it was so dark outside the plane that nothing could be seen. He began to lose control of the plane. Because of the bad weather, the compass and other instruments had also stopped working. He was rendered helpless.

“Paris Control? Paris Control? Can you hear me?” There was no answer. The radio was dead too. I had no radio, no compass, and I could not see where I was. I was lost in the storm. Then, in the black clouds quite near me, I saw another aeroplane. It had no lights on its wings, but I could see it flying next to me through the storm. I could see the pilot’s face — turned towards me. I was very glad to see another person. He lifted one hand and waved. “Follow me,” he was saying. “Follow me.” ‘He knows that I am lost,’ I thought. ‘He’s trying to help me.’

He attempted to contact the Paris Control Agency, which had previously assisted him, but was unable to connect due to inclement weather. When everything else failed in the middle of nowhere, he saw a ray of hope when he saw another plane. When he saw another pilot's face and willingness to assist him in escaping the storm, he felt relieved. He thought to himself that the other pilot was very nice because he knew they were lost and was attempting to assist him.

He turned his aeroplane slowly to the north, in front of my Dakota, so that it would be easier for me to follow him. I was very happy to go behind the strange aeroplane like an obedient child. After half an hour the strange black aeroplane was still there in front of me in the clouds. Now there was only enough fuel in the old Dakota’s last tank to fly for five or ten minutes more. I was starting to feel frightened again. But then he started to go down and I followed through the storm. Suddenly I came out of the clouds and saw two long straight lines of lights in front of me. It was a runway! An airport! I was safe! I turned to look for my friend in the black aeroplane, but the sky was empty. There was nothing there. The black aeroplane was gone. I could not see it anywhere.

  • Runway- a strip of hard ground along which aircraft take off and land
  • Frightened- terrified
  • Followed- chased
  • Obedient- one who obeys
  • Glad- happy

The other pilot flew ahead of the lost plane to make it easier for them to follow, while the author trailed behind him like a "obedient child." He was also terrified because there was so little fuel left. Only then did he begin to emerge from the storm and see the runway, allowing him to safely land his plane. When he turned to thank the other pilot, he noticed that the plane that had assisted him had vanished as soon as he emerged from the storm.

I landed and was not sorry to walk away from the old Dakota near the control tower. I went and asked a woman in the control centre where I was and who the other pilot was. I wanted to say ‘Thank you’. She looked at me very strangely, and then laughed. “Another aeroplane? Up there in this storm? No other aeroplanes were flying tonight. Yours was the only one I could see on the radar.” So who helped me to arrive there safely without a compass or a radio, and without any more fuel in my tanks? Who was the pilot on the strange black aeroplane, flying in the storm, without lights?

  • Radar- a system for detecting the presence, direction, distance, and speed of aircraft, ships, and other objects, by sending out pulses of radio waves which are reflected off the object back to the source
  • Strangely- in a strange manner

The author had no idea where he had landed, but he was not concerned about leaving his plane unattended. He went right into the control room to inquire about the other pilot. To his astonishment, the lady informed him that due to bad weather, there was no other plane in the sky except his. He is left perplexed, with many unanswered questions in his mind.

About the Author

Frederick Forsyth was born in Ashford, Kent, England on August 25, 1938. He attended Tonbridge School before enrolling at the University of Granada in Spain. He joined the RAF and rose through the ranks to become a jet fighter pilot. In 1965, he became a journalist and joined the BBC as an assistant diplomatic correspondent.

4.From Diary of Anne Frank

From the diary of Anne Frank

Introduction

This lesson a little account of the autobiographical work “Diary of a Young Girl” or “The Diary of Anne Frank”, published in 1947.

In this, the little author Anne has shared a little incident of her life and a lot of things she hesitated to share with others in a diary which was gifted to her on her thirteenth birthday. She names the diary “kitty” which she considers as her only true friend.

Summary

The chapterFrom the Diary of Anne Frank’ illustrates a little account from the autobiography of a young Jewish girl, Anne Frank who has shared her thoughts which she was not likely to tell anyone, except writing in her diary which was a gift on her 13th birthday by her father.

At first, she thought that no one would be Interested in her past experiences as she is an immature little girl but finally, she resolved to write her thoughts in her diary which she named ‘kitty’.

She considered that diary her true friend as she could write anything in it that she couldn’t tell to anyone. In her opinion her diary has more patience than other people around her as being non living it is not going to put questions upon anything she would write on it.

Anne mentions in her diary that how her entire class was nervous about their exam results on 20th June 1942 and she was confident about other subjects as compared to Mathematics.

She mentions that how much talkative she used to be in her class which annoyed her mathematics teacher, Mr. Keesing. He punished her three times by giving an extra writing work on ridiculous topics but at last realized that talking was her nature that couldn’t be changed.

First time he asked her to write an essay upon ‘a Chatterbox’. In the essay, she tried to justify her traits of talking that she couldn’t help it as she has inherited it from her mother . Mr. Keesing got amused on her arguments and assigned her another writing work, an essay upon ‘An Incorrigible Chatterbox’ for her irredeemable talkative nature.

However, getting irritated by her excessive talking and a lot of justification and arguments he assigned her third essay

, ‘Quack, Quack, Quack, Said Mistress Chatterbox’. However, this time Anne presented the essay in the form of a satirical verse with the help of her friend Sanne who wad good at poetry. Mr. Keesing not only enjoyed it but also allowed Anne to talk in the class as he realized that one cannot change the true nature of a person. After that Anne was never punished by her teacher Mr. Keesing .

Theme

Need of a true friend

In the chapter, the author feels lonely despite of having a lot of friends and relatives. She longs for a true, loyal and unquestionable friend in her life, with whom she could freely share her emotions and secrets.

Ones natural traits could not be suppressed

Here, in the chapter, the author is quite talkative and after being punished and a lot of attempts she could not control it. Finally, she made her teacher realize that talking is natural to her.

Explanation

WRITING in a diary is a really strange experience for someone like me. Not only because I’ve never written anything before, but also because it seems to me that later on neither I nor anyone else will be interested in the musings of a thirteen-year -old schoolgirl. Oh well, it doesn’t matter. I feel like writing, and I have an even greater need to get all kinds of things off my chest.

Word meanings

  • Musings- a period of reflection or thought

According to the author, writing diary is a strange experience as she was sharing her thoughts for the first time. However, no one would be interested in her thoughts as she is an immature girl.

But then she resolved that would write as she liked doing so. Moreover, she was desperate to share her lot of thoughts to anyone but she couldn’t not find any true friend .

Paper has more patience than people.’ I thought of this saying on one of those days when I was feeling a little depressed and was sitting at home with my chin in my hands, bored and listless, wondering whether to stay in or go out. I finally stayed where I was, brooding: Yes, paper does have more patience, and since I’m not planning to let anyone else read this stiff-backed notebook grandly referred to as a ‘diary’, unless I should ever find a real friend, it probably won’t make a bit of difference. Now I’m back to the point that prompted me to keep a diary in the first place: I don’t have a friend.

Word meanings

  • Listless- with no energy or interest
  • Brooding- engaged in or showing deep thought about something that makes one sad, angry, or worried.
  • Prompted- provoke

One day when the author was more depressed than usual, she was pondering upon whether to go out or stay at home. That day she realized that paper has more patience than people as she can express any of the thought by writing on it. Being non living paper would not refuse to absorb her thoughts. It was like her true and loyal friend that would neither raise any question nor reveal her secrets to anyone unless she let anybody read it. Till then that diary was like her true friend that would keep her secrets. The author then comes back to the point where she thought of beginning to write. It is because she is lonely and has no friend to talk to.

Let me put it more clearly, since no one will believe that a thirteen-year-old girl is completely alone in the world. And I’m not. I have loving parents and a sixteen-year-old sister, and there are about thirty people I can call friends. I have a family, loving aunts and a good home. No, on the surface I seem to have everything, except my one true friend. All I think about when I’m with friends is having a good time. I can’t bring myself to talk about anything but ordinary everyday things. We don’t seem to be able to get any closer, and that’s the problem. Maybe it’s my fault that we don’t confide in each other. In any case, that’s just how things are, and unfortunately, they’re not liable to change. This is why I’ve started the diary.

Word meanings

  • Confide- to tell personal things privately to a person that one trusts
  • Liable- likely (here)

The author felt that despite of having a lovable family including an elder sister, parents and loving aunts she was alone. Even though there are about thirty people whom she can consider her friends, she longed for a true and loyal friend who could keep her secrets and listen to her personal thoughts or opinions.

She shared the general things and spent good time with her so called friends but she didn’t feel like to be close to them. She said that it might be her fault to remain reserved and things were not likely to change. Thus, she started writing diary to express her inner feelings that were not supposed to be shared with anybody.

 

To enhance the image of this long-awaited friend in my imagination, I don’t want to jot down the facts in this diary the way most people would do, but I want the diary to be my friend, and I’m going to call this friend ‘Kitty’. Since no one would understand a word of my stories to Kitty if I were to plunge right in, I’d better provide a brief sketch of my life, much as I dislike doing so.

Word meanings

  • Enhance- intensify, increase, or further improve the quality, value, or extent of.
  • Plunge- jump or dive quickly

The author named the diary ‘Kitty’ considering it her true friend. She says that she didn’t want to write in a formal manner as usually people do. She further says that before writing about her personal thoughts first she needed to give a brief sketch of her life to make it understandable for those who would willing to read it.

My father, the most adorable father I’ve ever seen, didn’t marry my mother until he was thirty-six and she was twenty-five. My sister, Margot, was born in Frankfurt in Germany in 1926. I was born on 12 June 1929. I lived in Frankfurt until I was four. My father emigrated to Holland in 1933. My mother, Edith Hollander Frank, went with him to Holland in September, while Margot and I were sent to Aachen to stay with our grandmother. Margot went to Holland in December, and I followed in February, when I was plunked down on the table as a birthday present for Margot.

Word meanings

  • Adorable- lovable, cute
  • Emigrated- leave one’s own country in order to settle permanently in another.
  • Plunked- to put down

Author gives a little account of her early life.

Her parents got married when her father was 36 and mother 25. In 1926 her elder sister was born in Frankfurt, Germany. For her father was the most adorable father. Later her parents emigrated to Holland in September,1933 while the author, with her sister sent to stay with her grandmother. After sometimes Margot her elder sister went to Holland in December and she followed her in February and was put down as a birthday present for Margot.

I started right away at the Montessori nursery school. I stayed there until I was six, at which time I started in the first form. In the sixth form my teacher was Mrs Kuperus, the headmistress. At the end of the year we were both in tears as we said a heartbreaking farewell. In the summer of 1941 Grandma fell ill and had to have an operation, so my birthday passed with little celebration.

Word meanings

Farewell- an act of parting or of making someone’s departure

The author says that her education started at Montessori nursery school. She stayed there from first to sixth form until the age of six. At the end of her schooling there in Holland,

She and her headmistress Mrs Kuperus cried a lot at the time of her departure from the school.

In the summer of 1941 , her grandma fell ill and had to have an operation. Thus her birthday could not be celebrated properly.

Grandma died in January 1942. No one knows how often I think of her and still love her. This birthday celebration in 1942 was intended to make up for the other, and Grandma’s candle was lit along with the rest. The four of us are still doing well, and that brings me to the present date of 20 June 1942, and the solemn dedication of my diary.

Word meanings

Intended- planned
Solemn- characterized by deep sincerity
Dedication- commitment

Author lost her grandmother in January 1942. She says that she still loves her and misses her a lot.

This birthday was celebrated in the memories of grandma. She says that her family is doing well that is all about her family backgrounds and brings her to the present date of June 20, 1942 when she is writing her diary.

Saturday, 20 June 1942

Dearest Kitty,

Our entire class is quaking in its boots. The reason, of course, is the forthcoming meeting in which the teachers decide who’ll move up to the next form and who’ll be kept back. Half the class is making bets. G.N. and I laugh ourselves silly at the two boys behind us, C.N. and Jacques, who have staked their entire holiday savings on their bet. From morning to night, it’s “You’re going to pass”, “No, I’m not”, “Yes, you are”, “No, I’m not”. Even G.’s pleading glances and my angry outbursts can’t calm them down. If you ask me, there are so many dummies that about a quarter of the class should be kept back, but teachers are the most unpredictable creatures on earth.

Word meanings

  • Quaking in its boot – nervous
  • Staked- bet
  • Pleading- to make an emotional appeal
  • Outbursts- a sudden release of strong emotion
  • Unpredictable- not able to be predicted; changeable

On 20th June 1942, Anne writes by addressing her close friend ‘ the diary” as ‘kitty’ that on the day when the results was going to be announced the whole class was nervous.

Students were making bet about who will be promoted or not. Two boys staked their entire savings of summer holidays and assuring one another about their promotion in the next grade. Anne and her friend were laughing at the boys and even trying to calm them down by pleading and even scolding but all in vain

Anne said that half of the entire class didn’t deserve to be promoted but one cannot predict the results prepared by the teachers.

I’m not so worried about my girlfriends and myself. We’ll make it. The only subject I’m not sure about is maths. Anyway, all we can do is wait. Until then, we keep telling each other not to lose heart.

The author says that she was not nervous about their promotion in the next grade as she and her friends would certainly get passed. But she was not sure about Maths. But they couldn’t do anything except waiting for results. Till then they could only suggest to be hopeful each other.

I get along pretty well with all my teachers. There are nine of them, seven men and two women. Mr Keesing, the old fogey who teaches maths, was annoyed with me for ages because I talked so much. After several warnings, he assigned me extra homework. An essay on the subject, ‘A Chatterbox’. A chatterbox — what can you write about that? I’d worry about that later, I decided. I jotted down the title in my notebook, tucked it in my bag and tried to keep quiet.

Word meanings

  • Old fogey- an old-fashioned person
  • Annoyed- slightly angry; irritated
  • Chatterbox- a talkative person
  • Jotted down- write quickly without much thinking

The author says that she had a friendly relationship with all the teachers except her old-fashioned Mathematics teacher, Mr. Keesing.

 He used to get annoyed with the author as she was very talkative.

 He warned her many times but it didn’t work. So, at last he assigned her an extra homework.

The homework was to write an  essay upon an absurd topic ‘A Chatterbox’.

The author pondered about what could be written on that weird topic.

 Finally, she quickly wrote the topic in her notebook and tried to keep quiet.

That evening, after I’d finished the rest of my homework, the note about the essay caught my eye. I began thinking about the subject while chewing the tip of my fountain pen. Anyone could ramble on and leave big spaces between the words, but the trick was to come up with convincing arguments to prove the necessity of talking. I thought and thought, and suddenly I had an idea. I wrote the three pages Mr Keesing had assigned me and was satisfied. I argued that talking is a student’s trait and that I would do my best to keep it under control, but that I would never be able to cure myself of the habit since my mother talked as much as I did if not more, and that there’s not much you can do about inherited traits.

Word meanings

  • Ramble on - to talk or write in improper way
  • Trait- quality
  • Inherited- derived genetically from one’s parents or ancestors.

The author says that after finishing her homework that evening, she came across the note about the essay she had to write

So, she started thinking about the contents by chewing the tip of her fountain pen.

The author says that anyone could write without a proper planning by leaving big spaces as the topic was quite weird.

But she wanted to write the convincing arguments to prove her need of talking. She wrote three pages as an argument that talking was natural to students. She couldn’t get rid of that trait completely as she had inherited that habit from her mother but she would try to control it. After writing that essay in support of her talking habit the author felt contented.

Mr Keesing had a good laugh at my arguments, but when I proceeded to talk my way through the 2next lesson, he assigned me a second essay. This time it was supposed to be on ‘An Incorrigible Chatterbox’. I handed it in, and Mr Keesing had nothing to complain about for two whole lessons. However, during the third lesson he’d finally had enough. “Anne Frank, as punishment for talking in class, write an essay entitled — ‘Quack, Quack, Quack, Said Mistress Chatterbox’.”

Word meanings

Proceeded- to begin a course of action
Incorrigible- not able to be changed
Mistress- a woman in a position of authority or control

Mr. Keesing laughed heartily at the funny argument of the author regarding her talking traits. However, when she kept on talking in the next 2 classes, he assigned her another essay ‘An Incorrigible Chatterbox ‘. Anne controlled her somehow for next two whole lesson. However,

During the third lesson. Mr Keesing got too much irritated with the talking of the author that he assigned her the third essay ‘Quack, Quack, Quack, Said Mistress Chatterbox’.”

The class roared. I had to laugh too, though I’d nearly exhausted my ingenuity on the topic of chatterboxes. It was time to come up with something else, something original. My friend, Sanne, who’s good at poetry, offered to help me write the essay from beginning to end in verse and I jumped for joy. Mr Keesing was trying to play a joke on me with this ridiculous subject, but I’d make sure the joke was on him.

Word meanings

  • Roared- laughed (here)
  • Exhausted- completely used up
  • Ingenuity- the quality of being clever, original and inventive
  • Verse- writing arranged with a metrical rhythm, typically having a rhyme

When the author got punished third time, the whole class laughed at her, to hide her embarrassment she also laughed but she felt quite exhausted by writing and using her intelligence on the same topic again and again. She determined to produce something effective. Thus, she took help of her friend Sanne, who was good at poetry. She gave a rhythmic touch to the essay from beginning to end. The author was quite excited that now she would make fun of Mr Keesing by giving an effective reply.

I finished my poem, and it was beautiful! It was about a mother duck and a father swan with three baby ducklings who were bitten to death by the father because they quacked too much. Luckily, Mr Keesing took the joke the right way. He read the poem to the class, adding his own comments, and to several other classes as well. Since then I’ve been allowed to talk and haven’t been assigned any extra homework. On the contrary, Mr Keesing’s always making jokes these days.

Anne
[Extracted from The Diary of a Young Girl,
with slight adaptation]

Finally, with the help of her friend she wrote an effective and convincing essay in the form of poem in which there was a mother duck and father swan with three baby ducklings. The baby ducklings were beaten to death due to their habit of quaking too much.

Mr. Keesing recited the poem in front of the class and gave his remarks at the same time.

Fortunately, he realized that talking was natural to the author and never interrupted and even punished for her talking traits.

On the contrary Mr. Keesing himself started cracking jokes in the class.

Question Answers

Q1. What makes writing in a diary a strange experience for Anne Frank?

 

  1. It was a strange experience for Anne Frank because she was writing diary for the first time in her life. Moreover, she felt that later no one would be interested in the immature thoughts of a young girl.

 

Q2. Why does Anne want to keep a diary?

 

Ans. Anne wanted to keep a diary as she wanted to share her lots of thoughts or personal stuff someone who could listen to her without any questions and even keep them secret. Since, she had no such true friend

Keeping diary was only option.

 

 

Q3. Why did Anne think she could confide more in her diary than in people?

 

Ans. She could confide more in her diary because she feels that none of her are friends has enough patient to listen to her thoughts without  asking any question upon it. According to her “paper has more patience than people“.

 

Q4. Why does Anne provide a brief sketch of her life?

Ans. Anne provides a brief sketch of her life because she thinks to simply write down her thoughts would not make any sense. The readers would not understand and relate it to the author’s life.

 

 

 

Q5. What tells you that Anne loved her grandmother?

 

Ans. It is evident in the fact that she Put two candles in the memory of her grandmother on her birthday. She used to miss her grandmother more than anyone is aware of.

 

 

 

Q6. Why was Mr Keesing annoyed with Anne? What did he ask her to do?

 

Ans. Mr. Keesing annoyed with Anne because she was very talkative and used to talk during the lectures as well even after getting punished and warned many times.

 

 

 

Q7. How did Anne justify her being a chatterbox in her essay?

 

Ans. Anne justified her talking by explaining that  that she had inherited this habit from her mother. Thus, being an innate quality she could not control it.

 

 

Q8. What made Mr Keesing allow Anne to talk in class?

 

Ans. Anne wrote  a convincing and  satirical essay in form of verse to justify her habit of talking which made Mr. Keesing realize that one’s natural tendencies can’t be controlled. Thus, he allowed her to talk in  the class.

 

 

Q9. Was Anne right when she said that the world would not be interested in the musings of a thirteen-year-old girl?

 

Ans. Yes, Anne was right as she had not written anything earlier. Moreover she was an immature girl. Probably readers wouldn’t be interested in the thoughts of a young girl.

 

 

 

Q10. There are some examples of diary or journal entries in the ‘Before You Read’ section. Compare these with what Anne writes in her diary. What language was the diary originally written in? In what way is Anne’s diary different?

 

Ans. Anne’s diary was different in many sense as hadn’t  followed the general method of writing diary and simply writing the facts of her life. She had named her diary ‘kitty’ and addressed her diary as her true friend who has more patience than people.  Thus, she addressed it as ‘Dearest Kitty’ before starting to write and ended by writing ‘Yours Anne’. She actually shared her thoughts to her so called friend her diary ‘Kitty’.

 

 

 

 

Q11. Why does Anne need to give a brief sketch about her family? Does she treat ‘Kitty’ as an insider or an outsider?

 

Ans. Ans. Anne provides a brief sketch of her life because she thinks to simply write down her thoughts would not make any sense. The readers would not understand and relate it to the author’s life.

 

She indeed treated ‘ Kitty’  as her true friend who only ought to know her feelings.

 

 

Q12. How does Anne feel about her father, her grandmother, Mrs Kuperus and Mr Keesing? What do these tell you about her?

 

Ans. According to Anne her father was most adorable person one could ever meet.

She loved and missed her grandmother more than she expressed.

Mrs. Kuperus was her teacher at Montessori school and she was too close to her that at the time of leaving the school both Anne and her teacher cried a lot.

Mr. Keesing used to get annoyed with the talkativeness of Anne but finally he got convinced and allowed her to talk.

All these things indicate that Anne was a loving and affectionate girl.

 

 

 

Q13. What does Anne write in her first essay?

 

Ans. In her first essay, she explained that she had inherited this habit of talking from her mother that is why it is somehow difficult to control her talkative nature. However, she assured that she will try not to talk too much in the class.

 

 

Q14. Anne says teachers are most unpredictable. Is Mr Keesing unpredictable? How?

Ans. Yes , Mr. Keesing was an unpredictable person. Earlier he was quite angry and irritated with the talking traits of Anne and even punished her after a lot of warnings. But at last easily got convinced by the satirical verse written by Anne to justify her talkativeness. Later on,  he himself started cracking jokes and have some fun in the class.

 

 

 

 

Q15. What do these statements tell you about Anne Frank as a person?
i. We don’t seem to be able to get any closer, and that’s the problem. Maybe it’s my fault that we don’t confide in each other.

Ans. It shows that Anne doesn’t trust upon people very easily and likes to share her thoughts with anyone.

ii. I don’t want to jot down the facts in this diary the way most people would, but I want the diary to be my friend.

Ans. It depicts that Anne feels lonely despite of having a lovable family, relatives and friends. She longs for a true friend who would digest her thoughts. Thus, she considered her diary as her true friend.

iii. Margot went to Holland in December, and I followed in February, when I was plunked down on the table as a birthday present for Margot.

Ans. It depicts the love between the sisters.

On migration, Anne was the last one to be brought to Holland and it was done on the birthday of her elder sister to surprise her.

iv. If you ask me, there are so many dummies that about a quarter of the class should be kept back, but teachers are the most unpredictable creatures on earth.

Ans. Anne feels that half of the class doesn’t deserve promotion but teachers decision can’t be predicted.

v. Anyone could ramble on and leave big spaces between the words, but the trick was to come up with convincing arguments to prove the necessity of talking.

Ans. Anyone could write anything with no sense I  order to just complete the assignment but Anne was to justify her trait. Thus she wanted to write a convinced stuff.

Here are a few sentences from the text which have idiomatic expressions. Can you say what each means? (You might want to consult a dictionary first.)

Answers:

1. Our entire class is quaking in its boots- Shaking with fear and nervousness

2. Until then, we keep telling each other not to lose heart- not to lose hope

3. Mr Keesing was annoyed with me for ages because I talked so much- Since a long time

4. Mr Keesing was trying to play a joke on me with this ridiculous subject, but I’d make sure the joke was on him.- He was outwitted by her

Try to use them in sentences of your own.

1. caught my eye

2. laugh ourselves silly

3. he’d had enough

4. can’t bring myself to

Answers-

1. Caught my eye- The natural beauty and greenery ver there caught my eye.

2. Laugh ourselves silly- On hearing  he satirical speech , the audiences laughed themselves silly.

3. He’d had enough- The teacher said that he’d had enough, and he wanted all the notebooks by Wednesday.

4. Can’t bring myself to- After yesterday’s embarrassing incident, I can’t bring myself to face him.

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4.From Diary of Anne Frank

Lesson-4

From the Diary of Anne Frank

By Anne Frank

“Laziness might be attractive, but work gives satisfaction.”

From the Diary of Anne Frank Introduction

This lesson is based on "Diary of a Young Girl" or "Anne Frank's Diary." It is an autobiography that was published for the first time in 1947. Anne expresses her thoughts in a diary that was given to her on her thirteenth birthday. She refers to the diary as "kitty," and considers it to be her only true friend. She talks about her childhood, her family, and a variety of other topics that she has never discussed with anyone else.

From the Diary of Anne Frank Summary

In this lesson, Anne discusses being lonely and having no one to talk to despite the fact that she was surrounded by family and around 30 people she referred to as "friends." As a result, she decides to keep a diary of her feelings. It is unusual for her to keep a diary, but she is in desperate need of a true friend. As a result, she decides to call her diary "kitty," and, unlike other people, she intends to include more than just facts in it. She begins by writing her background to make it easier for anyone who reads it later to understand. She talks about her family and her early childhood, when they all moved, as well as her early schooling.

After giving us a brief history of her life, she moves on to the present day and tells us about the result day. Everyone in the class is worried about their results, and some of the boys are even placing bets. Anne was certain of herself and her friends. Except for her maths professor, who was constantly annoyed by her talking habits, she got along well with all of the teachers. As a result, he began punishing her with essays on strange topics such as "Chatterbox," to which she responded with wit.

She wrote amusing essays in which she explained that this was a trait she inherited from her mother and that there was little she could do about it. He continued to give her essays until she wrote a satire. Mr Keesing never singled her out for talking after that third and final assignment.

From the Diary of Anne Frank Lesson Explanation

WRITING in a diary is a really strange experience for someone like me. Not only because I’ve never written anything before, but also because it seems to me that later on neither I nor anyone else will be interested in the musings of a thirteen-year -old schoolgirl. Oh well, it doesn’t matter. I feel like writing, and I have an even greater need to get all kinds of things off my chest.

  • Musings- a period of reflection or thought

Because it was her first time writing in a diary about her feelings and experiences, the author considers it strange and unusual. She believes this because she believes that no one will be interested in reading about the past of a young schoolgirl in the future. She believes that she will not be interested in reading it later. But then she puts these thoughts aside and decides that if she feels like writing, she should do so. She feels compelled to write because she has been harbouring a lot of thoughts that she needs to get off her chest. It is well known that writing one's thoughts can be therapeutic; she decides to keep a diary.

‘Paper has more patience than people.’ I thought of this saying on one of those days when I was feeling a little depressed and was sitting at home with my chin in my hands, bored and listless, wondering whether to stay in or go out. I finally stayed where I was, brooding: Yes, paper does have more patience, and since I’m not planning to let anyone else read this stiff-backed notebook grandly referred to as a ‘diary’, unless I should ever find a real friend, it probably won’t make a bit of difference. Now I’m back to the point that prompted me to keep a diary in the first place: I don’t have a friend.

  • Listless- with no energy or interest
  • Brooding- engaged in or showing deep thought about something that makes one sad, angry, or worried.
  • Prompted- provoke

Paper, according to the author, has a much greater capacity to absorb thoughts than people. People have short attention spans, but a piece of paper, despite being a non-living thing, would not refuse to absorb her thoughts. This realisation struck her one day when she was feeling particularly depressed and perplexed. At the time, she couldn't decide whether to go out or stay at home. She sat depressed and in deep thought when she finally decided to stay at home. Again, she believed that paper had more patience, and she decided to write down everything that came to mind because she did not intend to make anyone read it unless she found a "real friend." She meant a "true friend" with whom she could share all her secrets. The author then returns to the point at which she considered starting to write. It's because she's lonely and doesn't have anyone to talk to.

Let me put it more clearly, since no one will believe that a thirteen-year-old girl is completely alone in the world. And I’m not. I have loving parents and a sixteen-year-old sister, and there are about thirty people I can call friends. I have a family, loving aunts and a good home. No, on the surface I seem to have everything, except my one true friend. All I think about when I’m with friends is having a good time. I can’t bring myself to talk about anything but ordinary everyday things. We don’t seem to be able to get any closer, and that’s the problem. Maybe it’s my fault that we don’t confide in each other. In any case, that’s just how things are, and unfortunately, they’re not liable to change. This is why I’ve started the diary

  • Confide- to tell personal things privately to a person that one trusts
  • Liable- likely (here)

She then goes on to explain why she is in need of a friend. She believes that no one will believe that a young girl like her is so alone, which she is not because she has a loving family, about 30 people she can call "friends," loving aunts, and a safe place to stay. This portrays a clear picture of a happy family, but one thing is missing in her life: the presence of a true friend with whom she can share everything. She has a good time with her friends; they talk about things, but not real things that are going on in their lives. Despite their best efforts, they are unable to get any closer. She believes that it is because she is unable to trust anyone with her personal information that she is unable to connect with her friends. She believes that the current situation cannot be changed and, as a result, she feels compelled to record her thoughts in a diary.

To enhance the image of this long-awaited friend in my imagination, I don’t want to jot down the facts in this diary the way most people would do, but I want the diary to be my friend, and I’m going to call this friend ‘Kitty’. Since no one would understand a word of my stories to Kitty if I were to plunge right in, I’d better provide a brief sketch of my life, much as I dislike doing so.

  • Enhance- intensify, increase, or further improve the quality, value, or extent of.
  • Plunge- jump or dive quickly

When someone writes in a diary, they usually list all of their personal information in a formal manner, which the author does not want to do. This is because she wanted to give her need for a friend a shape, so she names the diary "kitty." She believes that writing without providing details about the background storey would be ineffective if she hopes that someone will read her diary one day. So, despite her reluctance, she shares some details about her life.

My father, the most adorable father I’ve ever seen, didn’t marry my mother until he was thirty-six and she was twenty-five. My sister, Margot, was born in Frankfurt in Germany in 1926. I was born on 12 June 1929. I lived in Frankfurt until I was four. My father emigrated to Holland in 1933. My mother, Edith Hollander Frank, went with him to Holland in September, while Margot and I were sent to Aachen to stay with our grandmother. Margot went to Holland in December, and I followed in February, when I was plunked down on the table as a birthday present for Margot.

  • Adorable- lovable, cute
  • Emigrated- leave one’s own country in order to settle permanently in another.
  • Plunked- to put down

She describes her father as the most lovable father imaginable. He father married her mother when he was 36 years old and she was 25 years old. Her sister Margot and she were both born in Frankfurt. Anne's father moved to Holland when she was four years old, followed by her mother in September, while both sisters stayed with their grandmother in Aachen. Margot was also sent to Holland in December, and Anne arrived in February as a birthday present for Margot.

I started right away at the Montessori nursery school. I stayed there until I was six, at which time I started in the first form. In the sixth form my teacher was Mrs Kuperus, the headmistress. At the end of the year we were both in tears as we said a heartbreaking farewell. In the summer of 1941 Grandma fell ill and had to have an operation, so my birthday passed with little celebration.

  • Farewell- an act of parting or of making someone’s departure

Anne was sent to a Montessori nursery school in Holland. (It was her first school.) She began in first form. Mrs Kuperus, the headmistress, was her sixth-form teacher, and she even cried at the end of the year. The author's birthday could not be properly celebrated in 1941 because her grandmother became ill and had to undergo surgery.

Grandma died in January 1942. No one knows how often I think of her and still love her. This birthday celebration in 1942 was intended to make up for the other, and Grandma’s candle was lit along with the rest. The four of us are still doing well, and that brings me to the present date of 20 June 1942, and the solemn dedication of my diary.

  • Intended- planned
  • Solemn- characterized by deep sincerity
  • Dedication- commitment

Sadly, her grandmother abandoned them in January 1942. Anne misses her grandmother more than anyone else realises. This year's birthday was to be celebrated with zeal in order to make up for last year's. She then mentions how well her family is doing, which summarises her background and brings her to the present date of June 20, 1942, when she is writing her diary.

                                                  Saturday, 20 June 1942

Dearest Kitty,

Our entire class is quaking in its boots. The reason, of course, is the forthcoming meeting in which the teachers decide who’ll move up to the next form and who’ll be kept back. Half the class is making bets. G.N. and I laugh ourselves silly at the two boys behind us, C.N. and Jacques, who have staked their entire holiday savings on their bet. From morning to night, it’s “You’re going to pass”, “No, I’m not”, “Yes, you are”, “No, I’m not”. Even G.’s pleading glances and my angry outbursts can’t calm them down. If you ask me, there are so many dummies that about a quarter of the class should be kept back, but teachers are the most unpredictable creatures on earth.

  • Quaking- shake or tremble
  • Staked- bet, chanced
  • Pleading- to make an emotional appeal
  • Glances- take a brief or hurried look
  • Outbursts- a sudden release of strong emotion
  • Dummies- an object designed to resemble and serve as a substitute for the real or usual one
  • Unpredictable- not able to be predicted; changeable

On June 20, 1942, Anne begins writing in her diary, addressing it as "kitty," her friend. She mentions how nervous her entire class is about their results. It is unpredictable and will be decided by a meeting of teachers who will choose which students will be moved to the next class and which will be held back. Many students were placing wagers. Some had staked their entire summer savings. She and her friend G made fun of the nervous boys as well. They kept saying to each other, "I'm not going to pass!" while others consoled them, saying, "Yes, you would." G was polite as she tried to keep them quiet while Anne scolded them, but nothing worked. Anne believes that about a quarter of the class should not be allowed to pass because they rarely respond or participate in any of the activities. They are referred to as "dummies" by her. However, this may not be the case because teachers' decisions are unpredictable.

I’m not so worried about my girlfriends and myself. We’ll make it. The only subject I’m not sure about is maths. Anyway, all we can do is wait. Until then, we keep telling each other not to lose heart.

  • Not to lose heart- not be discouraged

The author claims that she is unconcerned about her friends because she knows they will pass. The only subject in which she is unsure is mathematics. She appears to be struggling with the subject. But all they could do was wait for the results and keep their spirits up.

I get along pretty well with all my teachers. There are nine of them, seven men and two women. Mr Keesing, the old fogey who teaches maths, was annoyed with me for ages because I talked so much. After several warnings, he assigned me extra homework. An essay on the subject, ‘A Chatterbox’. A chatterbox — what can you write about that? I’d worry about that later, I decided. I jotted down the title in my notebook, tucked it in my bag and tried to keep quiet.

  • Old fogey- an old fashioned person
  • Annoyed- slightly angry; irritated
  • Chatterbox- a person who likes to chatter; talkative
  • Jotted- write (something) quickly

She describes how she gets along well with all of her teachers except the math professor. The author's chattiness irritated him all the time. Despite several warnings, Anne continued to talk in his classes, prompting him to assign her extra homework as punishment. The first assignment was to write an essay about "Chatterbox," which she thought was an odd topic to write about because what could one write about that? For the time being, she jotted down the topic in her notebook, tucked it into her bag, and concentrated on remaining silent.

That evening, after I’d finished the rest of my homework, the note about the essay caught my eye. I began thinking about the subject while chewing the tip of my fountain pen. Anyone could ramble on and leave big spaces between the words, but the trick was to come up with convincing arguments to prove the necessity of talking. I thought and thought, and suddenly I had an idea. I wrote the three pages Mr Keesing had assigned me and was satisfied. I argued that talking is a student’s trait and that I would do my best to keep it under control, but that I would never be able to cure myself of the habit since my mother talked as much as I did if not more, and that there’s not much you can do about inherited traits.

  • Ramble- to talk or write at length in confused or inconsequential ways
  • Convincing- capable of causing someone to believe that something is true or real; powerful
  • Trait- quality
  • Inherited- derived genetically from one’s parents or ancestors.

After finishing the rest of her homework, the author came across the note she made as a reminder for the essay. She began to consider the subject. "While chewing the tip of my fountain pen," is a sign that a person is deep in thought. While anyone could mention random things written to fill pages, she wanted to present concrete arguments in support of talking. She stated that she will try to improve herself as a student, but that talking is something that cannot be completely avoided. This is because she inherited it from her mother, which is how she ended up writing three pages on the subject.

Mr Keesing had a good laugh at my arguments, but when I proceeded to talk my way through the 2next lesson, he assigned me a second essay. This time it was supposed to be on ‘An Incorrigible Chatterbox’. I handed it in, and Mr Keesing had nothing to complain about for two whole lessons. However, during the third lesson he’d finally had enough. “Anne Frank, as punishment for talking in class, write an essay entitled — ‘Quack, Quack, Quack, Said Mistress Chatterbox’.”

  • Proceeded- to begin a course of action
  • Incorrigible- not able to be changed
  • Mistress- a woman in a position of authority or control

The professor found Anne's arguments amusing, but when she did not stop talking in the following lesson, he assigned her yet another assignment as punishment. "An incorrigible chatterbox" was the topic. The term incorrigible refers to a bad habit that is difficult to break. He assigned her this topic because he was fed up with her constant chattering during his lessons. The professor did not say anything to her for a while after receiving this assignment, but when he lost patience, he handed her another assignment as punishment on the topic 'Quack, Quack, Quack, Said Mistress Chatterbox.'

The class roared. I had to laugh too, though I’d nearly exhausted my ingenuity on the topic of chatterboxes. It was time to come up with something else, something original. My friend, Sanne, who’s good at poetry, offered to help me write the essay from beginning to end in verse and I jumped for joy. Mr Keesing was trying to play a joke on me with this ridiculous subject, but I’d make sure the joke was on him.

  • Roared- laughed (here)
  • Exhausted- completely used up
  • Ingenuity- the quality of being clever, original and inventive
  • Verse- writing arranged with a metrical rhythm, typically having a rhyme
  • Ridiculous- deserving or inviting derision or mockery; absurd

The entire class burst out laughing when the professor scolded her for the third time and punished her. As a result, she was forced to pretend to be amused as well. She ran out of ideas after writing about the same subject twice. As a result, her poet friend Sanne offered to assist her in writing in rhyme. This entire assignment scenario was designed to make Anne feel embarrassed, but she made certain that she provided an effective response.

I finished my poem, and it was beautiful! It was about a mother duck and a father swan with three baby ducklings who were bitten to death by the father because they quacked too much. Luckily, Mr Keesing took the joke the right way. He read the poem to the class, adding his own comments, and to several other classes as well. Since then I’ve been allowed to talk and haven’t been assigned any extra homework. On the contrary, Mr Keesing’s always making jokes these days.

Yours,
Anne
[Extracted from The Diary of a Young Girl,
with slight adaptation]

  • Contrary- opposite in nature, direction, or meaning

She completed her third assignment in the form of a poem, which turned out to be fantastic. She wrote a satire in which a father swan bites his three baby ducklings to death because they are too noisy. Fortunately for her, the professor dismissed it. The professor recited the entire poem in front of the class while also making his own remarks. As a result of this incident, the author was able to speak for an extended period of time without having to complete any additional homework as punishment. Also, Mr. Keesing, the professor, began cracking jokes in front of the class now and then.

About the Author

Anne Frank was a German Jew who lived from 12 June 1929 to February/March 1945. During the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands during World War II, the twelve-year-old Jewish girl wrote 'The Diary of Anne Frank' while hiding with her family and four friends in Amsterdam. After two years in hiding, the group was betrayed and transported to Bergen, where Anne and her elder sister Margot died of typhus in 1945. Her father, Otto, the only survivor of the group, discovered her diary and had it published in English as 'The Diary of a Young Girl.'

5.The Hundred Dresses 1

The Hundred Dresses Part 1

By El Bsor Ester

About the Author

El Bsor Ester ( 9 May 1906 – 15 July 1988) was an American author. Her genre was children literature. Her fictions were mostly based upon reality of the society

Introduction

This story ‘ The Hundred Dresses Part 1’ revolves around a poor Polish girl ‘Wanda Petronski’ whose family has immigrated from Poland to America.

She is a victim of bullying by her classmates due to her poverty striken condition and her polish name.

This story illustrates how discrimination is done on the basis of race and status in the society.

The theme of the Story:

Bullying and discrimination

The story targets upon the impact of racism and social status that leads to bullying and discrimination even at the school level by the students .

Wanda Petronski who is a polish immigrant and is a subject of fun in the class as she had a polish name which seemed too big to the rest of the students.

She has no friend even, as she always wears the same dress being poor.

The Hundred Dresses Summary

In The story , ‘Wanda Petronski’, is a Polish immigrant, who had come to America with her family.

In American school, her classmates ‘American children’ poke fun at her as according to them her name is too strange and difficult to pronounce.

Moreover, she always wears the same faded blue dress. She gets teased by Peggy and Maddie as she claims that she has hundred dresses all lined up in her closet even though she is seen in the same attire every day.

However, Maddie the closest friend of Peggy feels embarrassed when Wanda gets teased but she doesn’t dare to take stand against Peggy as she is afraid of being the next victim of bullying because she herself is a poor girl and wears the dresses handed over by the rich society.

Peggy herself is a kind-hearted person even for animals but she thinks that Wanda deserves to be teased as she always lie about her hundred dresses. One could easily get to know that she just boast of her dresses as she wears the same dress everyday and belongs to a poor society.

However, the reality of hundred dresses gets revealed when the results of drawing competition is announced. Both Peggy and Maddie get dumbstruck on the beautiful hundred designs of dresses with lavish colors, drawn by Wanda.

On the very day they realized what was Wanda mean by ‘ hundred dresses all lined up in the closet’ . She used to refer the hundred beautiful drawings of dresses she has made. At last, both the girls Peggy and Maddie felt ashamed of their misbehaviour toward Wanda.

The Hundred Dresses Part 1 Lesson Explanation

TODAY, Monday, Wanda Petronski was not in her seat. But nobody, not even Peggy and Madeline, the girls who started all the fun, noticed her absence. Usually Wanda sat in the seat next to the last seat in the last row in Room Thirteen. She sat in the corner of the room where the rough boys who did not make good marks sat, the corner of the room where there was most scuffling of feet, most roars of laughter when anything funny was said, and most mud and dirt on the floor. Wanda did not sit there because she was rough and noisy. On the contrary, she was very quiet and rarely said anything at all. And nobody had ever heard her laugh out loud. Sometimes she twisted her mouth into a crooked sort of smile, but that was all.

Word meanings

  • Scuffling - noisy, dragging movements of the feet on the ground

This story illustrated the pitiful condition of Wanda Petronski who had been a subject of laughter in the class. Her classmates Peggy and Maddie would made fun of her. On Monday they noticed that she was not on her seat, a corner seat next to the last row of room no. 13. Which is occupied by the students who are poor in studies and usually misbehave in the class by laughing loudly and making noise by dragging their feet. However, Wanda was not that sort of girl, on the contrary she was calm and quiet and rarely smiled in the class.

Nobody knew exactly why Wanda sat in that seat, they it was because she came all the way from Boggins Heights and her feet were usually caked with dry mud. But no one really thought much about Wanda Petronski, once she sat in the corner of the room. The time when they thought about Wanda was outside of school hours — at noon-time when they were coming back to school or in the morning early before school began, when groups of two or three, or even more, would be talking and laughing on their way to the school yard. Then, sometimes, they waited for Wanda — to have fun with her.

Nobody knew the exact reason why she sat there except that she belonged to a poor locality Boggins Heights and usually have dirty shoes with dry mud.

Nobody in the class paid attention upon her as she remained silent in the class before the end of the school hours. However at the end of the school, a group of two or three girls waited for Wanda to poke fun at her.

The next day, Tuesday, Wanda was not in school, either. And nobody noticed her absence again. But on Wednesday, Peggy and Maddie, who sat down front with other children who got good marks and who didn’t track in a whole lot of mud, did notice that Wanda wasn’t there. Peggy was the most popular girl in school. She was pretty, she had many pretty clothes and her hair was curly. Maddie was her closest friend. The reason Peggy and Maddie noticed Wanda’s absence was because Wanda had made them late to school. They had waited and waited for Wanda, to have some fun with her, and she just hadn’t come. They often waited for Wanda Petronski — to have fun with her.

On next day, Tuesday, Wanda was again absent and none noticed it , but on Wednesday, Peggy and Maddie the intelligent girls who didn’t belong to poor locality and come without dirt in the class, noticed that Wanda was not in the class. Besides being smart Peggy was the most popular girl as she was quite pretty in term of her looks and attire. Maddie was her closest friend. Both the girls used to wait for Wanda to tease her every day and on that day they kept waiting her as usual so that they could have some fun by laughing at Wanda.

Wanda Petronski. Most of the children in Room Thirteen didn’t have names like that. They had names easy to say, like Thomas, Smith or Allen. There was one boy named Bounce, Willie Bounce, and people thought that was funny, but not funny in the same way that Petronski was.

Since Wanda had Polish name it seemed too strange to her classmates. All the class fellow had simple and easy name except Willie Bounce but it was also not that strange and funny as compared to Wanda Petronski

Wanda didn’t have any friends. She came to school alone and went home alone. She always wore a faded blue dress that didn’t hang right. It was clean, but it looked as though it had never been ironed properly. She didn’t have any friends, but a lot of girls talked to her. Sometimes, they surrounded her in the school yard as she stood watching the little girls play hopscotch on the worn hard ground.

Word meanings

  • Didn’t hang right- didn’t fit properly
  • Hopscotch- a game in which children hop into and over squares marked on the ground

Wanda had no friend thus she had to go and come alone . She always wore an unfit and faded blue dress. Although it used to be clean but never seemed properly ironed. Although she had no friend, she had been a matter of discussion and fun in the class due to her funny name and poor dress . Sometimes, she was surrounded by her class mate in the school yard and got teased by them , while she would watch little girls playing hopscotch.

“Wanda,” Peggy would say in a most courteous manner as though she were talking to Miss Mason. “Wanda,” she’d say, giving one of her friends a nudge, “tell us. How many dresses did you say you had hanging up in your closet?” “A hundred,” Wanda would say. “A hundred!” exclaimed all the little girls incredulously, and the little ones would stop playing hopscotch and listen. “Yeah, a hundred, all lined up,” said Wanda. Then her thin lips drew together in silence. “What are they like? All silk, I bet,” said Peggy. “Yeah, all silk, all colours.” “Velvet, too?” “Yeah, velvet too. A hundred dresses,” Wanda would repeat stolidly. “All lined up in my closet.” Then they’d let her go. And then before she’d gone very far, they couldn’t help bursting into shrieks and peals of laughter

Word meanings

  • Nudge- a gentle push
  • Incredulously- showing unwillingness to believe
  • Courteous- polite, respectful
  • Stolidly- calm, dependable, and showing little emotion and animation
  • Shrieks- scream

Peggy pretending to be most respectful, would ask Wanda that how many dresses she had in her closet by gently pushing one of her friends. At this Wanda would reply a hundred all lined up, without any emotion. The girls used to laugh and mock at this answer asking about the dresses regarding color and fabric and Wanda repeated the same answer. They even laughed loudly at Wanda when she just left them.

A hundred dresses! Obviously, the only dress Wanda had was the blue one she wore every day. So why did she say she had a hundred? What a story! “How many shoes did you say you had?” “Sixty pairs. All lined up in my closet.” Cries of exaggerated politeness greeted this.

“All alike?” “Oh, no. Every pair is different. All colours. All lined up.” Peggy, who had thought up this game, and Maddie, her inseparable friend, were always the last to leave. Finally Wanda would move up the street, her eyes dull and her mouth closed, hitching her left shoulder every now and then in the funny way she had, finishing the walk to school alone.

Word meanings

  • Exaggerated- overemphasise.
  • Her eyes dull- having eyes wanting brightness, liveliness, and vivacity

Since Wanda used to wear the same dress, no one believed at her answer and wondered why did she boast like that regarding her hundred dresses of different colors and Sixty pairs of shoes all lined up in her closet. Thus, they mimiced their whole conversations with Wanda even in her absence and laughed.

It was all the plan of Peggy to tease Wanda at her lies. Peggy and Maddie both inseparable friends were the last ones to leave school while Wanda would go back all alone with her dull eyes and behaved in a strange way.

Peggy was not really cruel. She protected small children from bullies. And she cried for hours if she saw an animal mistreated. If anybody had said to her, “Don’t you think that is a cruel way to treat Wanda?” she would have been very surprised. Cruel? Why did the girl say she had a hundred dresses? Anybody could tell that that was a lie. Why did she want to lie? And she wasn’t just an ordinary person, else why did she have a name like that? Anyway, they never made her cry.

Bullies- someone who hurts or frightens someone else, often over a period of time, and forcing them to do something that they do not want to do.
Mistreated- to treat someone badly

Peggy was not actually unkind to others. She would protect children and animals from being mistreated. However, she thought that the way she treated Wanda was not cruel as that girl just boast about her hundred dresses in a weird way as it was evident that she used to lie. Moreover her name was also weird. They are only curious to know about the reasons of her lies. They hadn’t made Wanda cry.

As for Maddie, this business of asking Wanda every day how many dresses and how many hats, and how many this and that she had was bothering her. Maddie was poor herself. She usually wore somebody’s hand-me-down clothes. Thank goodness, she didn’t live up on Boggins Heights or have a funny name.

For Maddie, teasing Wanda regarding the dresses and other accessories was irritating. However, she hadn’t any sympathy for Wanda. The main reason was her own poor status as she herself used to wear handed over clothes from rich people. But she didn’t live in the poor locality Boggins Heights and had weird name like Wanda.

Sometimes, when Peggy was asking Wanda those questions in that mocking polite voice, Maddie felt embarrassed and studied the marbles in the palm of her hand, rolling them around and saying nothing herself. Not that she felt sorry for Wanda, exactly. She would never have paid any attention to Wanda if Peggy hadn’t invented the dresses game. But suppose Peggy and all the others started in on her next? She wasn’t as poor as Wanda, perhaps, but she was poor. Of course she would have more sense than to say she had a hundred dresses. Still she would not like for them to begin on her. She wished Peggy would stop teasing Wanda Petronski.

When Peggy tease Wanda, Maddie used to get embarrassed . To avoid that present situation she would pay attention on the marbles in her hand. In reality she would never take any interest in Wanda and her possessions unless that teasing game invented. Maddie hadn’t any sympathy toward Wanda but she was worried about her own condition in future if she became the next target of the students as she herself was poor though, not like that of Wanda. But she would never lie like Wanda if such situation arises.

Today, even though they had been late to school, Maddie was glad she had not had to make fun of Wanda. She worked her arithmetic problems absentmindedly. “Eight times eight — let’s see…” She wished she had the nerve to write Peggy a note, because she knew she never would have the courage to speak right out to Peggy, to say, “Hey, Peg, let’s stop asking Wanda how many dresses she has.” When she finished her arithmetic she did start a note to Peggy.
Absentmindedly- distracted

That day even though they were late to school as they were waiting for Wanda Maddie was happy that they could not tease Wanda as she didn’t arrive.

At the time of solving Mathematics problems she wished that she could have courage to write Peggy a note and tell her to stop teasing Wanda by asking such ridiculous questions. Being lost in her thoughts Maddie forgot her fear and started writing a note to Peggy however she knew that she couldn’t summon courage to stop Peggy teasing Wanda.

Suddenly she paused and shuddered. She pictured herself in the school yard, a new target for Peggy and the girls. Peggy might ask her where she got the dress that she had on, and Maddie would have to say it was one of Peggy’s old ones that Maddie’s mother had tried to disguise with new trimmings so no one in Room Thirteen would recognise it.

Word meanings

  • Shuddered- shake, tremble
  • Disguise- to give a different appearance to conceal its identity

At the time of writing, Maddie stopped getting scared of thinking about the consequences of her actions against Peggy regarding teasing Wanda. She would be the new target of Peggy.

Peggy would tease her in a same way and she would be a trying to conceal the reality of her dresses that they are actually the customized form of the old one of Peggy’s dresses.

If only Peggy would decide of her own accord to stop having fun with Wanda. Oh, well! Maddie ran her hand through her short blonde hair as though to push the uncomfortable thoughts away. What difference did it make? Slowly Maddie tore into bits the note she had started. She was Peggy’s best friend, and Peggy was the best-liked girl in the whole room. Peggy could not possibly do anything that was really wrong, she thought.

Maddie wished that Peggy herself stopped making fun of Wanda.

She tried to push away those negative thoughts thinking that Peggy would not be wrong as she was her closest friend and even the most liked girl of the class.

She tore the note she had written as didn’t want to loose her true friend.

As for Wanda, she was just some girl who lived up on Boggins Heights and stood alone in the school yard. She scarcely ever said anything to anybody. The only time she talked was in the school yard about her hundred dresses. Maddie remembered her telling about one of her dresses, pale blue with coloured trimmings. And she remembered another that was brilliant jungle green with a red sash.

“You’d look like a Christmas tree in that,” the girls had said in pretended admiration.

Word meanings

  • Scarcely- barely
  • Trimmings- decoration
  • Pretended- not genuine
  • Admiration- praise or appreciation regarding the attire or looks.

Being satisfied by her decision that she was not going to be against Peggy, Maddie thought that Wanda is simply like other girls who lived in a poor locality like Boggins Heights who barely spoke to anybody besides telling about her hundred dresses.

Maddie recalled one or two incidents when Wanda had spoken up about her pale blue trimmed dress and jungle green colored dress with red sash and how girls mocked to be respectful towards her and made fun of her saying that in those dresses she would be looking like a Christmas tree .

Thinking about Wanda and her hundred dresses all lined up in the closet, Maddie began to wonder who was going to win the drawing and colouring contest. For girls, this contest consisted of designing dresses and for boys, of designing motorboats. Probably Peggy would win the girls’ medal. Peggy drew better than anyone else in the room. At least, that’s what everybody thought. She could copy a picture in a magazine or some film star’s head so that you could almost tell who it was. Oh, Maddie was sure Peggy would win. Well, tomorrow the teacher was going to announce the winners. Then they’d know.

Maddie suddenly wondered about the winner of the drawing competition while thinking about Wanda. In the contest girls had to design dresses while boys were supposed to draw design for motorboats.

Maddie was pretty sure that Peggy would be the winner as none could draw like her in the class that’s why she was supposed to draw the pictures for school magazines as she was expert in copying exactly the same picture even of the film star’s. However, the next day they would know about the winner after the declaration of the results.

The next day it was drizzling. Maddie and Peggy hurried to school under Peggy’s umbrella. Naturally, on a day like this, they didn’t wait for Wanda Petronski on the corner of Oliver Street, the street that far, far away, under the railroad tracks and up the hill, led to Boggins Heights. Anyway, they weren’t taking chances on being late today, because today was important.

Word meanings

  • Drizzling- rain lightly
  • Hurried- quick

That day, it was raining lightly. Peggy and Maddie were not willing to wait for Wanda on the corner of Oliver Street as they wished to reach school quickly since the result was going to be announced. Moreover, the Oliver Street was too far away, leading up to the hills towards Boggins Heights, through the railroad tracks. Thus they didn’t want to take chance and get late for it was the important day for the declaration of the results.

“Do you think Miss Mason will announce the winners today?” asked Peggy. “Oh, I hope so, the minute we get in,” said Maddie. “Of course, you’ll win, Peg.” “Hope so,” said Peggy eagerly. The minute they entered the classroom, they stopped short and gasped. There were drawings all over the room, on every ledge and windowsill, dazzling colours and brilliant, lavish designs, all drawn on great sheets of wrapping paper. There must have been a hundred of them, all lined up. These must be the drawings for the contest. They were! Everybody stopped and whistled or murmured admiringly.

As soon as the class had assembled, Miss Mason announced the winners. Jack Beggles had won for the boys, she said, and his design for an outboard motor was on exhibition in Room Twelve, along with the sketches by all the other boys.

Word meanings

  • Gasped- catch one’s breath with an open mouth, owing to pain or astonishment.
  • Windowsill- ledge or sill forming the bottom part of a window
  • Ledge- mantel shelf
  • Dazzling- extremely impressive, beautiful, or skilful
  • Lavish- luxurious, rich in ingredients.
  • Murmured- say something in a low or distinct voice
  • Admiringly- appreciatively or praising something
  • Assembled- gather together in one place for a common purpose

Both the girls were talking about the would be winner of the contest. Maddie assured that Peggy would be the winner and the latter showed her hope too. However, they both got awestruck when they entered the room as there were extremely impressive drawings of dresses with luxurious designs, lined up all over the walls , windows and ledges. They guessed that the drawings were surely for the contest. Everyone in the class was admiring and watching those beautiful drawings.

As soon as the class Assembled, class teacher Miss Mason announced the winners. She declared Jack Beggles , the winner amongst the boys for his best designs of motor boats , displayed in Room No 12.

“As for the girls,” she said, “although just one or two sketches were submitted by most, one girl — and Room Thirteen should be proud of her — this one girl actually drew one hundred designs — all different and all beautiful. In the opinion of the judges, any one of the drawings is worthy of winning the prize. I am very happy to say that Wanda Petronski is the winner of the girls’ medal.

After announcing the results of boys Miss Mason mentioned about the sketches submitted by girls and the winners amongst them. She declared the girl that drew the beautiful hundred different designs of the dresses deserved the first prize and that girl is Wanda Petronski who had won the medal.

Unfortunately, Wanda has been absent from school for some days and is not here to receive the applause that is due to her. Let us hope she will be back tomorrow. Now class, you may file around the room quietly and look at her exquisite drawings.” The children burst into applause, and even the boys were glad to have a chance to stamp on the floor, put their fingers in their mouths and whistle, though they were not interested in dresses. “Look, Peg,” whispered Maddie. “There’s that blue one she told us about. Isn’t it beautiful?” “Yes,” said Peggy, “And here’s that green one. Boy, and I thought I could draw

She further said that sadly Wanda would not be able to receive the prize as she had been absent for some days and she expressed her hope for Wanda’s arrival the next day. She suggested everyone to look carefully at the extremely beautiful designs drew by Wanda. All the children whether boy or girl heartily applauded the sketches. Maddie indicated toward the blue and green dress sketch about which Wanda told them earlier. Maddie said that those dresses were really looking very nice and Peggy replied would that she could draw such beautiful designs.

Question Answers

Q1. Where in the classroom does Wanda sit and why?

Ans. Wanda sits in the corner of the last row where the boys poor on studies sit and make lot of noise by laughing loudly. It is assumed that she probably sits there as she comes from a poor society with a lot of mud in her shoes.

Q2. Where does Wanda live? What kind of a place do you think it is?

Ans. Wanda lived in a poor locality Boggins Heights. According to the author , it was the part of the city or town filled with mud and not proper roads or pathways that is why Wanda had a lot of dirt on her shoes as she was the resident of Boggins Heights.

Q3. When and why do Peggy and Maddie notice Wanda’s absence?

Ans. On Wednesday, while Peggy and Maddie had been waiting for her outside school, before school began, they noticed that Wanda was missing as she did not arrive. They even got late for school. It was then that they realized her absence from school.

Q4. What do you think “to have fun with her” means?

Ans. “To have fun with her” means to poke fun at her about her claim regarding hundred dresses as it was clearly evident that she used to lie.

Q5. In what way was Wanda different from the other children?

Ans. Wanda was introvert as she didn’t talk or laugh loudly in class. Moreover being Polish girl her name seemed quite strange to other students.

Q6. Did Wanda have a hundred dresses? Why do you think she said she did?

Ans. No, Wanda did not have a hundred dresses . However she had hundred sketches of different designs of dresses .

She used to say this just to avoid more bullying that would have been possible if the girls got to know that she had no other dresses wear.

Q7. Why is Maddie embarrassed by the questions Peggy asks Wanda? Is she also like Wanda, or is she different?

Ans. Maddie gets embarrassed as she herself was poor and that situation reminded her of her own predicaments and poor conditions. Moreover, she was also worried to be the next target of the students.

Q8. Why didn’t Maddie ask Peggie to stop teasing Wanda? What was she afraid of?

Ans. Maddie was scared regarding the consequences of going against Peggy. She was afraid of being the next target for the girls as she herself was poor and wore dresses handed over by rich people.

Q9. Who did Maddie think would win the drawing contest? Why?

Ans. Maddie was sure that Peggy would win the contest as she was best at copying exactly the same picture even of the film stars.

Q10. Who won the drawing contest? What had the winner drawn?

A. Wanda had won the drawing contest. She had drawn a hundred different sketches of beautiful luxurious dresses.

Q11. How is Wanda seen as different by the other girls? How do they treat her?

Ans. According to other girls Wanda was different in terms of her attire, name and status.

She had a funny name being a polish immigrant which was not easy to pronounce.

She belonged to a poor locality with muddy pathways as she had a lot of dirt on her shoes every day.

She used to wear a same fade dress everyday and boasted of having hundred dresses all lined up in her closet.

They used to tease her for her lies and poor status.

Q12. How does Wanda feel about the dresses game? Why does she say that she has a hundred dresses?

Ans. Wanda felt quite ashamed and insulted when other girls played the dress game on her. She used to say that she had a hundred dresses to avoid more embarrassing and insulting situations.

Q13. Why does Maddie stand by and not do anything? How is she different from Peggy? (Was Peggy’s friendship important to Maddie? Why? Which lines in the text tell you this?)

Ans. According to Maddie, Peggy could not be wrong as she was a popular and very intelligent girl in the class. Maddie was scared to be against her and become her next target . She didn’t was to loose her closest friend and even face the mistreatment like Wanda.

The lines which tell this are –
“Peggy was the most popular girl in school. She was pretty, she had many pretty clothes and her hair was curly. Maddie was her closest friend.”

Q14. What does Miss Mason think of Wanda’s drawings? What do the children think of them? How do you know?

Ans. Wanda’s drawings were beautiful and outstanding for Miss Mason. The children too were speechless. Even the boys who had no interest in dresses were whistling. Peggy herself was agreed that designs were amazing and wished that she could have drawn such designs.

 

The Hundred Dresses- I – Grammar Exercises

Combine the following to make sentences like those above.

1. This is the bus (what kind of bus?). It goes to Agra. (use which or that)

2. I would like to buy (a) shirt (which shirt?). (The) shirt is in the shop window. (use which or that)

3. You must break your fast at a particular time (when?). You see the moon in the sky. (use when)

4. Find a word (what kind of word?). It begins with the letter Z. (use which or that)

5. Now find a person (what kind of person). His or her name begins with the letter Z. (use whose)

6. Then go to a place (what place?). There are no people whose name begins with Z in that place. (use where)

Answers

1. This is the bus which goes to Agra.

2. I would like to buy the shirt that is in the shop window.

3. You must break your fast at a particular time when you see the moon in the sky.

4. Find a word that begins with the letter Z.

5. Now find a person whose name begins with the letter Z.

6. Then go to a place where there are no people whose name begins with Z.

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5.The Hundred Dresses 1

Lesson-5

The Hundred Dresses Part I

By El Bsor Ester

The Hundred Dresses Part I Introduction

The lesson "The Hundred Dresses I" is about Wanda, a girl who claims to have a hundred dresses. Her classmates mocked her because her claims contradicted the fact that she was always seen wearing the same dress. Her classmates thought her name was "funny." It was because everyone else's names were "easier" than 'Wanda Petronski.' Her name was unusual because she was a Polish immigrant who had moved to America with her family. She was impoverished and had few friends. She was quiet and always sat in the far corner of the classroom. The truth about the hundred dresses was revealed when she entered a drawing contest with her hundred drawings. They were the same hundred dresses she'd mentioned before. They were all breathtakingly beautiful.

The Hundred Dresses Part I Summary

The plot revolves around Wanda Petronski, a quiet and shy Polish immigrant who immigrated to America with her family. She went to school with American kids who thought her name was strange, possibly the strangest in the class. This is due to the fact that they all had simpler names. She was impoverished and always wore a faded blue dress. Her classmates made fun of her because she claimed to have a hundred dresses "all lined up" in her closet, despite the fact that she was always seen wearing one. Peggy and Maddie, her two best friends, were the ones who teased her the most. Peggy was the most well-known girl at school, while Wanda was barely known.

Peggy and Maddie used to stand in line for Wanda before school, even if it meant being late. Maddie, a poor girl herself, was offended when Peggy mocked Wanda. She was afraid she would be next. She wanted Peggy to stop making fun of Wanda, but she couldn't bring herself to confront her for fear of losing her best friend. Peggy's intention was never to hurt Wanda, but she was curious as to why Wanda felt compelled to lie about having a hundred dresses in her closet.

The truth about the same hundred dresses revealed on the drawing competition's result day. The room was lined with one hundred drawings of various dresses, each of which was stunning. She did, in fact, have "a hundred dresses all lined up" that day, but in the classroom. Peggy and Maddie, who were awestruck at the time, realised the theory of a hundred dresses and felt guilty for having treated her badly.

The Hundred Dresses Part I Lesson Explanation

TODAY, Monday, Wanda Petronski was not in her seat. But nobody, not even Peggy and Madeline, the girls who started all the fun, noticed her absence. Usually Wanda sat in the seat next to the last seat in the last row in Room Thirteen. She sat in the corner of the room where the rough boys who did not make good marks sat, the corner of the room where there was most scuffling of feet, most roars of laughter when anything funny was said, and most mud and dirt on the floor. Wanda did not sit there because she was rough and noisy. On the contrary, she was very quiet and rarely said anything at all. And nobody had ever heard her laugh out loud. Sometimes she twisted her mouth into a crooked sort of smile, but that was all.

  • Scuffling of feet- noisy, dragging movements of the feet on the ground

Wanda Petronski is the protagonist of this storey, as are her classmates Peggy and Madeline, who tease her. On Monday, the plot of the storey begins. Wanda's absence went unnoticed by Peggy and Madeline. These were the girls who initiated all of the teasing. Wanda usually sat in the corner of the classroom with the less-than-academically brilliant and loud guys. That was the dirtiest part of the classroom, but Wanda was not like those boys. She was so quiet that no one had ever heard her laugh.

Nobody knew exactly why Wanda sat in that seat, unless it was because she came all the way from Boggins Heights and her feet were usually caked with dry mud. But no one really thought much about Wanda Petronski, once she sat in the corner of the room. The time when they thought about Wanda was outside of school hours — at noon-time when they were coming back to school or in the morning early before school began, when groups of two or three, or even more, would be talking and laughing on their way to the school yard. Then, sometimes, they waited for Wanda — to have fun with her.

No one ever understood why Wanda sat there because she was nothing like those boys. There were only educated guesses that it was because she was from Boggins Heights and her shoes were always filthy from all the mud. People hardly noticed her in the classroom because she was always silent and alone. They only thought of her before or after school hours, when groups of kids would gather to mock her. Some people used to wait even if it meant being late for school.

The next day, Tuesday, Wanda was not in school, either. And nobody noticed her absence again. But on Wednesday, Peggy and Maddie, who sat down front with other children who got good marks and who didn’t track in a whole lot of mud, did notice that Wanda wasn’t there. Peggy was the most popular girl in school. She was pretty, she had many pretty clothes and her hair was curly. Maddie was her closest friend. The reason Peggy and Maddie noticed Wanda’s absence was because Wanda had made them late to school. They had waited and waited for Wanda, to have some fun with her, and she just hadn’t come. They often waited for Wanda Petronski — to have fun with her.

Wanda's absence from the meeting on Tuesday went unnoticed. However, it wasn't until Wednesday that Maddie and Peggy noticed her absence. It was also the time when they waited before school to mock her but ended up being late because she didn't show up. Peggy was the most well-known girl who dressed neatly. She sat with the class's top students. No one ever inquired as to why Wanda was no longer attending school. They only cared that they couldn't make fun of her.

Wanda Petronski. Most of the children in Room Thirteen didn’t have names like that. They had names easy to say, like Thomas, Smith or Allen. There was one boy named Bounce, Willie Bounce, and people thought that was funny, but not funny in the same way that Petronski was.

Wanda was a Pole who had immigrated to the United States. Her classmates thought "Wanda Petronski" was a strange name because they all had simpler and easier "American" names, with the exception of a guy named Willie Bounce, who they thought sounded funny but was still inferior to "Petronski." Her name was long and unfamiliar to them. This demonstrates that those children did not understand diversity and that whatever they did was done in haste.

Wanda didn’t have any friends. She came to school alone and went home alone. She always wore a faded blue dress that didn’t hang right. It was clean, but it looked as though it had never been ironed properly. She didn’t have any friends, but a lot of girls talked to her. Sometimes, they surrounded her in the school yard as she stood watching the little girls play hopscotch on the worn hard ground.

  • Didn’t hang right- didn’t fit properly
  • Hopscotch- a game in which children hop into and over squares marked on the ground

Wanda was usually seen in a faded blue dress that was too small for her. Even though it was clean, it appeared unironed. This demonstrates that Wanda came from a poor family that couldn't afford too many dresses. Ironically, a lot of people talked to her, but she didn't have any friends because they all talked to her to mock her. They found everything amusing, from her storey about a hundred dresses to her strange name. When she used to sit on the ground and watch little girls play, other students surrounded her and mocked her.

“Wanda,” Peggy would say in a most courteous manner as though she were talking to Miss Mason. “Wanda,” she’d say, giving one of her friends a nudge, “tell us. How many dresses did you say you had hanging up in your closet?” “A hundred,” Wanda would say. “A hundred!” exclaimed all the little girls incredulously, and the little ones would stop playing hopscotch and listen. “Yeah, a hundred, all lined up,” said Wanda. Then her thin lips drew together in silence. “What are they like? All silk, I bet,” said Peggy. “Yeah, all silk, all colours.” “Velvet, too?” “Yeah, velvet too. A hundred dresses,” Wanda would repeat stolidly. “All lined up in my closet.” Then they’d let her go. And then before she’d gone very far, they couldn’t help bursting into shrieks and peals of laughter.

  • Nudge- a gentle push
  • Incredulously- showing unwillingness to believe
  • Courteous- polite, respectful
  • Stolidly- calm, dependable, and showing little emotion and animation
  • Shrieks- scream

Peggy used to ask Wanda how many dresses she had in a very polite and respectful tone, with no intention of hurting her. They mocked her because they couldn't figure out why she made up the storey about the hundred dresses. They did all of this oblivious to the fact that it could harm her. Nobody believed her when she said she had a hundred dresses lined up in her closet. The little girls would stop playing to see what was going on as the other girls screamed in surprise. Wanda would respond to their inquiries by stating that she, too, had dresses made of velvet and silk. Unfortunately, they all used to mock her after she left.

A hundred dresses! Obviously, the only dress Wanda had was the blue one she wore every day. So why did she say she had a hundred? What a story! “How many shoes did you say you had?” “Sixty pairs. All lined up in my closet.” Cries of exaggerated politeness greeted this.

“All alike?” “Oh, no. Every pair is different. All colours. All lined up.” Peggy, who had thought up this game, and Maddie, her inseparable friend, were always the last to leave. Finally Wanda would move up the street, her eyes dull and her mouth closed, hitching her left shoulder every now and then in the funny way she had, finishing the walk to school alone.

  • Exaggerated- overemphasise
  • Her eyes dull- having eyes wanting brightness, liveliness, and vivacity

Wanda's words were difficult to believe because the only dress she was seen wearing was the faded blue one. No one could figure out why she lied. They were never rude to her, even when they were teasing her. Thus, they continued to question her in the same tone about the number of shoes she claimed to have, to which she replied "sixty," each pair different. Though she was polite, it was Peggy's idea to embarrass her like that. Peggy and Maddie, the inseparable friends, were the last to leave school, while Wanda would return alone with her dull eyes and strange behaviour.

Peggy was not really cruel. She protected small children from bullies. And she cried for hours if she saw an animal mistreated. If anybody had said to her, “Don’t you think that is a cruel way to treat Wanda?” she would have been very surprised. Cruel? Why did the girl say she had a hundred dresses? Anybody could tell that that was a lie. Why did she want to lie? And she wasn’t just an ordinary person, else why did she have a name like that? Anyway, they never made her cry.

  • Bullies- someone who hurts or frightens someone else, often over a period of time, and forcing them to do something that they do not want to do.
  • Mistreated- to treat someone badly

Peggy was not the mean girl she had previously been portrayed as. She rescued children from whoever was torturing them and couldn't stand it when animals were mistreated. She claimed she wasn't being rude to Wanda. Wanda's lie about the number of dresses she owned seemed very strange to her, and her name was even stranger. They never made Wanda cry, no matter how much they teased her.

As for Maddie, this business of asking Wanda every day how many dresses and how many hats, and how many this and that she had was bothering her. Maddie was poor herself. She usually wore somebody’s hand-me-down clothes. Thank goodness, she didn’t live up on Boggins Heights or have a funny name.

Maddie didn't like the idea of making fun of Wanda's abundance of clothes and accessories because she cared about her, but because she was poor herself. She wore clothes given to her by others, but she wasn't as poor as Wanda, didn't live in Boggins Heights, and didn't even have a strange name.

Sometimes, when Peggy was asking Wanda those questions in that mocking polite voice, Maddie felt embarrassed and studied the marbles in the palm of her hand, rolling them around and saying nothing herself. Not that she felt sorry for Wanda, exactly. She would never have paid any attention to Wanda if Peggy hadn’t invented the dresses game. But suppose Peggy and all the others started in on her next? She wasn’t as poor as Wanda, perhaps, but she was poor. Of course she would have more sense than to say she had a hundred dresses. Still she would not like for them to begin on her. She wished Peggy would stop teasing Wanda Petronski.

Maddie didn't like teasing Wanda, so when Peggy asked her those questions, she would silently count the marbles in her hand while pretending to play with them. Maddie would never have known Wanda existed if that dress-up game hadn't been invented. She was uneasy not because she cared about Wanda, but because she was afraid she might be next. Even though she wasn't stupid enough to say she had a hundred dresses, she wished Peggy wouldn't tease Wanda.

Today, even though they had been late to school, Maddie was glad she had not had to make fun of Wanda. She worked her arithmetic problems absentmindedly. “Eight times eight — let’s see…” She wished she had the nerve to write Peggy a note, because she knew she never would have the courage to speak right out to Peggy, to say, “Hey, Peg, let’s stop asking Wanda how many dresses she has.” When she finished her arithmetic she did start a note to Peggy.

  • Absentmindedly- distracted

Wanda didn't show up that day, and after waiting for her for so long, Maddie and Peggy were late for school. Maddie was secretly relieved that they wouldn't be able to make fun of Wanda. She was preoccupied with her own thoughts and was unable to concentrate on her studies. After finishing arithmetic, she kept thinking about writing a note to Peggy telling her to stop making fun of Wanda, which she did. She wanted to write a note because she didn't have the courage to say it to her face.

Suddenly she paused and shuddered. She pictured herself in the school yard, a new target for Peggy and the girls. Peggy might ask her where she got the dress that she had on, and Maddie would have to say it was one of Peggy’s old ones that Maddie’s mother had tried to disguise with new trimmings so no one in Room Thirteen would recognise it.

  • Shuddered- shake, tremble
  • Disguise- to give a different appearance to conceal its identity

Maddie shook as she wrote the note to Peggy, imagining herself as a new target for Peggy and the girls. She was afraid they'd ask her where she got that dress, which was actually Peggy's. Maddie's mother had it remade with new laces and ribbons so that none of her classmates recognised it.

If only Peggy would decide of her own accord to stop having fun with Wanda. Oh, well! Maddie ran her hand through her short blonde hair as though to push the uncomfortable thoughts away. What difference did it make? Slowly Maddie tore into bits the note she had started. She was Peggy’s best friend, and Peggy was the best-liked girl in the whole room. Peggy could not possibly do anything that was really wrong, she thought.

She wished Peggy would stop having fun with Wanda by herself. Suddenly, she "ran her hand through her hair" as a gesture to clear her mind. She reasoned to herself that Peggy was the most popular girl in the room and her best friend, so she couldn't be wrong. As a result, she tore and threw away the note. She was also concerned about losing her friend Peggy.

As for Wanda, she was just some girl who lived up on Boggins Heights and stood alone in the school yard. She scarcely ever said anything to anybody. The only time she talked was in the school yard about her hundred dresses. Maddie remembered her telling about one of her dresses, pale blue with coloured trimmings. And she remembered another that was brilliant jungle green with a red sash.

“You’d look like a Christmas tree in that,” the girls had said in pretended admiration.

  • Scarcely- hardly; barely
  • Trimmings- decoration
  • Sash- a long strip or loop of cloth worn over one shoulder or round the waist, especially as part of a uniform or official dress
  • Pretended- not genuine
  • Admiration- respect and warm approval

Maddie began to think about Wanda after she had cleared her mind about confessing to Peggy. Wanda, she thought, was just another girl in Boggins Heights who didn't talk to anyone. She recalls Wanda mentioning her pale blue dress and jungle green dress with a red sash. The girls mocked her by saying she looked like a Christmas tree in that dress.

Thinking about Wanda and her hundred dresses all lined up in the closet, Maddie began to wonder who was going to win the drawing and colouring contest. For girls, this contest consisted of designing dresses and for boys, of designing motorboats. Probably Peggy would win the girls’ medal. Peggy drew better than anyone else in the room. At least, that’s what everybody thought. She could copy a picture in a magazine or some film star’s head so that you could almost tell who it was. Oh, Maddie was sure Peggy would win. Well, tomorrow the teacher was going to announce the winners. Then they’d know.

Maddie was thinking about Wanda when she remembered the drawing contest in which the boys had to design motorboats and the girls had to design dresses. Because she was the best artist in the room, Peggy was the obvious winner of that competition. She was able to replicate exact images as well as recognisable portraits. She was confident that Peggy would win, and the results were to be announced the following day, when everyone would know what had happened.

The next day it was drizzling. Maddie and Peggy hurried to school under Peggy’s umbrella. Naturally, on a day like this, they didn’t wait for Wanda Petronski on the corner of Oliver Street, the street that far, far away, under the railroad tracks and up the hill, led to Boggins Heights. Anyway, they weren’t taking chances on being late today, because today was important.

  • Drizzling- rain lightly
  • Hurried- quick

The day the results were to be announced, it was lightly raining, so the two best friends dashed to school without waiting for Wanda. They usually waited for her on Oliver Street, which led to Boggins Heights, where Wanda lived, but they didn't that day. Even if it hadn't been raining that day, they wouldn't have waited for her because the results were to be announced that day

“Do you think Miss Mason will announce the winners today?” asked Peggy. “Oh, I hope so, the minute we get in,” said Maddie. “Of course, you’ll win, Peg.” “Hope so,” said Peggy eagerly. The minute they entered the classroom, they stopped short and gasped. There were drawings all over the room, on every ledge and windowsill, dazzling colours and brilliant, lavish designs, all drawn on great sheets of wrapping paper. There must have been a hundred of them, all lined up. These must be the drawings for the contest. They were! Everybody stopped and whistled or murmured admiringly.

  • Gasped- catch one’s breath with an open mouth, owing to pain or astonishment.
  • Ledge- shelf
  • Windowsill- ledge or sill forming the bottom part of a window
  • Dazzling- extremely impressive, beautiful, or skilful
  • Lavish- gorgeous
  • Murmured- say something in a low or distinct voice
  • Admiringly- in a way that shows respect or warm approval

When Peggy and Maddie entered the classroom, Peggy asked Maddie if Miss Mason would announce the results, to which Maddie replied, 'yes.' Maddie told her that she thought Peggy would win, but when they entered the class, there were drawings all over the place. They dazzled everyone with their brilliance. These were the entries for the competition.

As soon as the class had assembled, Miss Mason announced the winners. Jack Beggles had won for the boys, she said, and his design for an outboard motor was on exhibition in Room Twelve, along with the sketches by all the other boys.

  • Assembled- gather together in one place for a common purpose

After everyone had settled, Miss Mason announced the winners. Jack Beggles had triumphed among the lads. He drew an outboard motor, which was displayed in Room No. 12 alongside other boys' drawings.

“As for the girls,” she said, “although just one or two sketches were submitted by most, one girl — and Room Thirteen should be proud of her — this one girl actually drew one hundred designs — all different and all beautiful. In the opinion of the judges, any one of the drawings is worthy of winning the prize. I am very happy to say that Wanda Petronski is the winner of the girls’ medal.

She then discussed the submissions from the girls. She mentioned one such girl who had submitted a hundred designs, each of which was so beautiful that the judges thought any of them deserved the gold medal. Wanda was declared the competition's winner by Miss Mason, who was overjoyed.

Unfortunately, Wanda has been absent from school for some days and is not here to receive the applause that is due to her. Let us hope she will be back tomorrow. Now class, you may file around the room quietly and look at her exquisite drawings.” The children burst into applause, and even the boys were glad to have a chance to stamp on the floor, put their fingers in their mouths and whistle, though they were not interested in dresses. “Look, Peg,” whispered Maddie. “There’s that blue one she told us about. Isn’t it beautiful?” “Yes,” said Peggy, “And here’s that green one. Boy, and I thought I could draw.”

She went on to say that Wanda hadn't come in a few days and that she hoped she'd be there the next day. She directed everyone's attention to the flawless collection, to which they applauded and whistled. Maddie and Peggy even saw the blue dress that Wanda had mentioned; it was stunning. Peggy sighed, "I thought I could draw," implying that the drawings left her in awe.

About the Author

Eleanor Estes (May 1906 – July 15, 1988) was a children's author and librarian from the United States. Her novel, 'Ginger Pyre,' was awarded the Newfry Medal. Eleanor based the storey 'The Hundred Dresses' on her own real-life experience as the recipient of Peggy's hand-me-down dresses.

6.The Hundred Dresses 2

Lesson-6

The Hundred Dresses Part II

By El Bsor Ester

The Hundred Dresses Part II Introduction

In continuation of the previous lesson, "The Hundred Dresses II" explains why Wanda Petronski hasn't been attending school. The Petronskis decided to relocate to a large city where no one would notice their unusual surname. When Maddie and Peggy heard the note, they became concerned because they realised they would never be able to make amends for all of their teasing. Only after learning that Wanda liked them and had dedicated one of the hundred dresses (drawings) to each of them do the girls feel relieved.

The Hundred Dresses Part II Summary

The lesson begins with all of the students in Room 13 looking at Wanda Petronski's wonderful drawings. Only then does Miss Mason receive a note from Wanda's father informing her that neither of his two children will be attending the school because they are moving to a big city where no one will judge them for their names. Miss Mason was taken aback and expressed her disappointment to the class. Wanda's father's letter had an impact on Maddie. She felt compelled to apologise to Wanda right away. Peggy and Maddie, two best friends, rush to Boggins Heights in the hopes that the family hasn't moved yet. However, there was no sign of life in or around the house, much to their dismay. Maddie lost sleep over the fact that she was a coward who couldn't stand up to injustice. That day, she resolved never to let anyone tease her like that again. That weekend, Peggy and Maddie decided to write Wanda a letter that was supposed to be apologetic but ended up being a friendly note asking her how she liked the new place. Weeks passed with no response until Miss Mason announced one day near Christmas that she had heard from Wanda. Wanda wrote in that letter that she misses everyone and that she intends to give Maddie and Peggy one dress each because she has a whole new lot of hundred dresses lined up in her new house. They were both delighted to receive it and later realised that it was their faces she had drawn alongside the dresses. As a result, they both concluded that Wanda liked them.

The Hundred Dresses Part II Lesson Explanation

WHILE the class was circling the room, the monitor from the principal’s office brought Miss Mason a note. Miss Mason read it several times and studied it thoughtfully for a while. Then she clapped her hands. “Attention, class. Everyone back to their seat.” When the shuffling of feet had stopped and the room was still and quiet, Miss Mason said, “I have a letter from Wanda’s father that I want to read to you.” Miss Mason stood there a moment and the silence in the room grew tense and expectant. The teacher adjusted her glasses slowly and deliberately. Her manner indicated that what was coming — this letter from Wanda’s father — was a matter of great importance. Everybody listened closely as Miss Mason read the brief note.

  • Listened closely- listened with attention

Everyone was looking at Wanda's amazing drawings and admiring them when the class monitor brought a piece of paper for Miss Mason. Miss Mason had to read that note several times because she couldn't believe what was written on it. Finally, she decided to gather the class and read it aloud. Wanda Petronski's father had written her a letter. For a brief moment, she remained silent, creating tension in the minds of her students. She adjusted her spectacles, emphasising the significance of that note. Everyone was paying close attention as she began reading it.

Dear Teacher:

My Wanda will not come to your school any more. Jake also. Now we move away to big city. No more holler ‘Pollack’. No more ask why funny name. Plenty of funny names in the big city.
Yours truly,

Jan Petronski

The letter started with a greeting to Miss Mason. Wanda's father stated that he would no longer send both of his children, Wanda and Jake, to school. He mentioned that they were moving to another city, a big one where no one would notice their unusual name, a big city with a lot of people with unusual names. (Wanda's classmates thought her name was strange and amusing.) Wanda was a Polish immigrant to America, so her name was unfamiliar.)

A deep silence met the reading of this letter. Miss Mason took off her glasses, blew on them and wiped them on her soft white handkerchief. Then she put them on again and looked at the class. When she spoke her voice was very low. “I am sure that none of the boys and girls in Room Thirteen would purposely and deliberately hurt anyone’s feelings because his or her name happened to be a long, unfamiliar one. I prefer to think that what was said was said in thoughtlessness. I know that all of you feel the way I do, that this is a very unfortunate thing to have happened — unfortunate and sad, both. And I want you all to think about it.”

Everyone was speechless after hearing what was in that letter. Miss Mason, too, was taken aback, so she cleaned her glasses, put them back on, and spoke to the class in hushed tones. She expressed her displeasure to the class and asked them to reassure her that nothing was done on purpose to harm Wanda. She gave the children the benefit of the doubt, claiming that everything they did was unintentional. Whatever happened was "sad" and "unfortunate," she said. She advised the students to think about it as well.

The first period was a study period. Maddie tried to prepare her lessons, but she could not put her mind on her work. She had a very sick feeling in the bottom of her stomach. True, she had not enjoyed listening to Peggy ask Wanda how many dresses she had in her closet, but she had said nothing. She had stood by silently, and that was just as bad as what Peggy had done. Worse. She was a coward. At least Peggy hadn’t considered they were being mean but she, Maddie, had thought they were doing wrong. She could put herself in Wanda’s shoes.

Everyone began to reflect on what was written in the letter and how they each made Wanda feel. Maddie couldn't concentrate on her studies during their first period because she was sick from not stopping Peggy at the appropriate time. Things might have turned out differently if she had stopped Peggy from playing the dress-up game with Wanda. Although Maddie never teased Wanda, she did not stop Peggy from doing so, making her just as bad, if not worse. Peggy's intentions were never to hurt Wanda, and she had no idea that her game was hurting her feelings. Maddie, on the other hand, was aware of the impact, but she remained silent, making her a coward for not standing up to what is wrong.

Goodness! Wasn’t there anything she could do? If only she could tell Wanda she hadn’t meant to hurt her feelings. She turned around and stole a glance at Peggy, but Peggy did not look up. She seemed to be studying hard. Well, whether Peggy felt badly or not, she, Maddie, had to do something. She had to find Wanda Petronski. Maybe she had not yet moved away. Maybe Peggy would climb the Heights with her, and they would tell Wanda she had won the contest, that they thought she was smart and the hundred dresses were beautiful.

Maddie wished for a chance to apologise to Wanda, who was filled with guilt and regret. She looks at Peg, hoping she is thinking about Wanda as well, but she is busy studying. Regardless of what Peggy was thinking, Maddie made the decision to act. She hoped Wanda hadn't already moved away so she could apologise and thank her for her hundred dresses.

When school was dismissed in the afternoon, Peggy said, with pretended casualness, “Hey, let’s go and see if that kid has left town or not.” So Peggy had had the same idea! Maddie glowed. Peg was really all right. The two girls hurried out of the building, up the street toward Boggins Heights, the part of town that wore such a forbidding air on this kind of a November afternoon, drizzly, damp and dismal.

  • Damp and dismal- wet and sad (here, expressing a state of hopelessness)
  • Forbidding- Unfriendly or threatening in nature

That day, after school, Peggy asked Maddie if they could go check to see if Wanda had moved or not. Maddie was relieved to learn that they both intended to apologise to Wanda. They both hurried to Boggins Heights, Wanda's home, in order to find her. During this season, the area was generally wet, and the mood was depressing and hopeless.

“Well, at least,” said Peggy gruffly, “I never did call her a foreigner or make fun of her name. I never thought she had the sense to know we were making fun of her anyway. I thought she was too dumb. And gee, look how she can draw!” Maddie could say nothing. All she hoped was that they would find Wanda. She wanted to tell her that they were sorry they had picked on her, and how wonderful the whole school thought she was, and please, not to move away and everybody would be nice. She and Peggy would fight anybody who was not nice. The two girls hurried on. They hoped to get to the top of the hill before dark.

Peggy tries to console herself by saying that at least she didn't refer to her as a foreigner because she was an immigrant. She also didn't make her feel different because she had an unfamiliar name. She was always under the impression that Wanda had no idea those girls were mocking her. Above all, Wanda is a fantastic artist. Maddie, on the other hand, was speechless. What she hoped for was an opportunity to confess, make amends, appreciate her, and try to keep her from leaving. She even considered telling Wanda about her plan to protect her if anyone tried to bother her in any way. They hurried to get there before it got dark.

“I think that’s where the Petronskis live,” said Maddie, pointing to a little white house. Wisps of old grass stuck up here and there along the pathway like thin kittens. The house and its sparse little yard looked shabby but clean. It reminded Maddie of Wanda’s one dress, her faded blue cotton dress, shabby but clean. There was not a sign of life about the house. Peggy knocked firmly on the door, but there was no answer. She and Maddie went around to the back yard and knocked there. Still there was no answer.

They noticed a white little house up there and assumed it belonged to Wanda Petronski. Like Wanda's worn-out blue dress, the house and its surroundings were "shabby but clean." Along the path leading to the house, thin clumps of grass grew. They looked like skinny kittens. There was no one to be seen around the house. They knocked on both the front and back doors, but received no response.

There was no doubt about it. The Petronskis were gone. How could they ever make amends? They turned slowly and made their way back down the hill. “Well, anyway,” said Peggy, “she’s gone now, so what can we do? Besides, when I was asking her about all her dresses, she probably was getting good ideas for her drawings. She might not even have won the contest, otherwise.”

  • (To) make amends- to show that one is sorry by doing something else

The Petronskis were gone, and with them, Maddie and Peggy's last chance to make amends. To console herself, Peggy began to say that Wanda must have looked for drawing inspiration only after she began her dress-up game. Wanda would not have won the drawing competition if she hadn't done so.

Maddie turned this idea carefully over in her head, for if there were anything in it she would not have to feel so badly. But that night she could not get to sleep. She thought about Wanda and her faded blue dress and the little house she had lived in. And she thought of the glowing picture those hundred dresses made — all lined up in the classroom. At last Maddie sat up in bed and pressed her forehead tight in her hands and really thought. This was the hardest thinking she had ever done. After a long, long time, she reached an important conclusion. She was never going to stand by and say nothing again.

Maddie also tried to persuade her after what Peggy said, saying that if this is the case, she shouldn't feel so bad. Later that night, however, she couldn't sleep because she kept thinking about Wanda's little house, her faded blue dress, both shabby but clean, and her glorious hundred dresses, which were all lined up in the classroom, rather than the "closet." Finally, she sat in her bed and began to think deeply, the most difficult thing she'd ever done. She clenched her fists around her brow, indicating that she was really trying to concentrate. She came to the conclusion after much and deep thought that she will always stand up to wrongs and will never say nothing when she has to.

If she ever heard anybody picking on someone because they were funny looking or because they had strange names, she’d speak up. Even if it meant losing Peggy’s friendship. She had no way of making things right with Wanda, but from now on she would never make anybody else that unhappy again.

  • Picking on someone- criticising someone

She resolved that she would never allow anyone to make fun of others because of their appearance, name, clothing, or origin. She would not be afraid to speak out against Peggy, even if it meant losing her friend. She couldn't go back in time to make amends with Wanda, no matter how badly she wanted to, but she will never let another person feel embarrassed or unhappy again.

On Saturday Maddie spent the afternoon with Peggy. They were writing a letter to Wanda Petronski. It was just a friendly letter telling about the contest and telling Wanda she had won. They told her how pretty her drawings were. And they asked her if she liked where she was living and if she liked her new teacher. They had meant to say they were sorry, but it ended up with their just writing a friendly letter, the kind they would have written to any good friend, and they signed it with lots of X’s for love. They mailed the letter to Boggins Heights, writing ‘Please Forward’ on the envelope.

On Saturday, they sat down and decided to write a letter to Wanda, telling her about the contest and asking her where she is now and how she likes it there. No matter how much they wanted to apologise, they couldn't muster the courage to do so, so they ended up writing a friendly letter to Wanda as if she were a good friend. Because they didn't know her new address, they mailed it to Boggins Heights with the note 'Please forward.'

Days passed and there was no answer, but the letter did not come back, so maybe Wanda had received it. Perhaps she was so hurt and angry she was not going to answer. You could not blame her. Weeks went by and still Wanda did not answer. Peggy had begun to forget the whole business, and Maddie put herself to sleep at night making speeches about Wanda, defending her from great crowds of girls who were trying to tease her with, “How many dresses have you got?” And before Wanda could press her lips together in a tight line, the way she did before answering, Maddie would cry out, “Stop!” Then everybody would feel ashamed the way she used to feel.

Wanda did not respond, but they did not receive the letter back, so they concluded that it must have reached Wanda, but she was so upset that she did not respond. They waited for weeks and received no response. Peggy began to forget about the whole thing, whereas Maddie used to play out scenarios in her head before going to bed in which she defended Wanda. She imagined scenarios in which large groups of girls surrounded Wanda and asked her, "How many dresses do you have?" and as soon as anyone could say anything more, Wanda would interrupt and say "stop," making them all feel embarrassed.

Now it was Christmas time and there was snow on the ground. Christmas bells and a small tree decorated the classroom. On the last day of school before the holidays, the teacher showed the class a letter she had received that morning.

“You remember Wanda Petronski, the gifted little artist who won the drawing contest? Well, she has written me, and I am glad to know where she lives, because now I can send her medal. I want to read her letter to you.”

It was the winter season, and there was snow on the ground everywhere. Christmas had arrived. Their classrooms were decorated with bells and a small tree. Miss Mason informed the students that she had received a letter from Wanda Petronski that day. She is overjoyed to have received it because she can now send her the medal as well.

Dear Miss Mason,

How are you and Room Thirteen? Please tell the girls they can keep those hundred dresses, because in my new house I have a hundred new ones, all lined up in my closet. I’d like that girlPeggy to have the drawing of the green dress with the red trimming, and her friend Maddie to have the blue one. For Christmas, I miss that school and my new teacher does not equalise with you. Merry Christmas to you and everybody.

Yours truly,

Wanda Petronski

The letter started out in a very friendly tone. Wanda asked how everyone was doing and if they could keep her hundred dresses because she has another hundred dresses "lined up in her closet" in her new house. She specifically requested that Maddie and Peggy take her dress home with them. Peggy wore the green dress with red trimmings, while Maddie wore the blue one. She expressed her feelings for Miss Mason and wrote that her new teacher would never be able to replace her. She ended the letter by wishing everyone a Merry Christmas and mentioning how much she missed everyone in Room 13.

On the way home from school Maddie and Peggy held their drawings very carefully. All the houses had wreaths and holly in the windows. Outside the grocery store, hundreds of Christmas trees were stacked, and in the window, candy peppermint sticks and cornucopias of shiny transparent paper were strung. The air smelled like Christmas and light shining everywhere reflected different colours on the snow. “Boy!” said Peggy, “this shows she really likes us. It shows she got our letter and this is her way of saying that everything’s all right. And that’s that.” “I hope so,” said Maddie sadly. She felt sad because she knew she would never see the little tight-lipped Polish girl again and couldn’t ever really make things right between them.

  • Cornucopias- decorative containers (usually containing flowers and fruits)
  • Holly- a shrub having prickly dark green leaves, small white flowers, and red berries. It is used in Christmas decorations.

It was the Christmas season, and all of the houses were decked out. Christmas trees, candy peppermint sticks, and other Christmas items were available in grocery stores. The atmosphere was vibrant and upbeat. When Peggy realised that this gesture implied that Wanda liked the drawings, she and Maddie took them home with great care. They also assumed she received their letter and that everything was fine between them. Maddie, on the other hand, was heartbroken because she would never see that Polish, close-lipped girl again. She'd never have the opportunity to make amends.

She went home and she pinned her drawing over a torn place in the pink-flowered wallpaper in the bedroom. The shabby room came alive from the brilliancy of the colours. Maddie sat down on her bed and looked at the drawing. She had stood by and said nothing, but Wanda had been nice to her, anyway.

When Maddie got home, she hung her drawing on the part of the wall where her pink-flowered wallpaper had been slightly torn. Maddie's room was also shabby, but the drawing brought it to life. She kept staring at the drawing, remembering how nice Wanda had been to them.

Tears blurred her eyes and she gazed for a long time at the picture. Then hastily she rubbed her eyes and studied it intently. The colours in the dress were so vivid that she had scarcely noticed the face and head of the drawing. But it looked like her, Maddie! It really looked like her own mouth. Why it really looked like her own self! Wanda had really drawn this for her. Excitedly, she ran over to Peggy’s

Maddie's vision blurred as she stared at the drawing Wanda had given her. She rubbed her eyes and realised Wanda had drawn Maddie's face along with the dress. The dress's colours were so bright and vibrant that the face was barely visible. Maddie became enthralled and dashed over to Peggy to see if she had noticed it as well.

“Peg!” she said, “let me see your picture.” “What’s the matter?” asked Peggy, as they clattered up to her room where Wanda’s drawing was lying face down on the bed. Maddie carefully raised it. “Look! She drew you. That’s you!” she exclaimed. And the head and face of this picture did look like Peggy.

She asked for the picture as soon as she arrived at Peggy's house. On the bed, the drawing was turned upside down. Maddie raised her hand, and yes, that was Peggy in the drawing. Both were taken aback and amazed at the same time.

“What did I say!” said Peggy, “She must have really liked us, anyway.” “Yes, she must have,” agreed Maddie, and she blinked away the tears that came every time she thought of Wanda standing alone in that sunny spot in the school yard, looking stolidly over at the group of laughing girls after she had walked off, after she had said, “Sure, a hundred of them, all lined up.”

Peggy exclaims that she was correct in her assessment that Wanda liked them. Maddie, whose eyes welled up with tears every time she remembered Wanda looking at the girls laughing at her, agreed with Peggy.

About the Author

Eleanor Estes (May 1906 – July 15, 1988) was a children's author and librarian from the United States. Her novel, 'Ginger Pyre,' was awarded the Newfry Medal. Eleanor based the storey 'The Hundred Dresses' on her own real-life experience as the recipient of Peggy's hand-me-down dresses.

6.The Hundred Dresses 2

The Hundred Dresses Part 2

By El Bosr Ester

Introduction

This chapter as the name suggests is the continuation of the story of the previous chapter.

In this part both the girls Peggy and Maddie introspect and regret upon their misdeeds and mistreatment against Wanda. They make attempts to make amends with Wanda but latter has moved to another city. However , at last they  got relieved when they got to know through a letter that Wanda has no animosity with them.  She actually liked them and two of sketches of dresses has been made for them.

Summary

The story continues with room no. 13 where all the children of room no 13 were admiring the drawings made by Wanda. In midst Miss Mason reads the letter received on the very day from Wanda’s father.

The letter reads that none of his children would attend the school as they have moved to another city where people are not judged by their names. Mason was very regretful to know about the mistreatment done towards Wanda. She conveyed her disappointment regarding the issue.  That episode had a very positive Impact over Maddie that she was inclined to apologize for her bad behavior and make amends with Wanda .  So both Peggy and Maddie went to Boggins Heights but they found that family had already moved on to another city. Since than Maddie kept awake repenting for her cowardice that she couldn’t stand against Peggy for  her mistreatment toward Wanda and used to support the former.

Both the girls   wrote a letter to Wanda asking how did she feels in the new place rather than asking to apologize.  After many days waiting for the reply from Wanda finally they got informed through Miss Mason about Wanda’s  message that she missed every one and wanted to gift the dresses she had in her closet. Both the girls realized that Wanda had drawn their faces along with the dresses which proved that latter actually liked them and dedicated two of the sketches to both of them.

Explanation

WHILE the class was circling the room, the monitor from the principal’s office brought Miss Mason a note. Miss Mason read it several times and studied it thoughtfully for a while. Then she clapped her hands. “Attention, class. Everyone back to their seat.” When the shuffling of feet had stopped and the room was still and quiet, Miss Mason said, “I have a letter from Wanda’s father that I want to read to you.” Miss Mason stood there a moment and the silence in the room grew tense and expectant. The teacher adjusted her glasses slowly and deliberately. Her manner indicated that what was coming — this letter from Wanda’s father — was a matter of great importance. Everybody listened closely as Miss Mason read the brief note.

While everyone was  admiring the sketches made by Wanda,  Miss Mason received a letter from the principal’s office. After reading it Mr. Mason grew very concerned. She asked everyone to be on their seats.  Suddenly the atmosphere became tense. She carefully adjusted her glasses which indicated that something was very important, to be announced. In next moment Miss Mason was reading and every student was carefully listening to it.

Dear Teacher:

My Wanda will not come to your school any more. Jake also. Now we move away to big city. No more holler ‘Pollack’. No more ask why funny name. Plenty of funny names in the big city.
Yours truly,

Jan Petronski

The letter was from Wanda’s father informing that both Wanda and her brother Jake would not attend the school anymore as they had moved to a big city where  nobody  cared about any  different and strange names as in big cities most of the people had such names.

A deep silence met the reading of this letter. Miss Mason took off her glasses, blew on them and wiped them on her soft white handkerchief. Then she put them on again and looked at the class. When she spoke her voice was very low. “I am sure that none of the boys and girls in Room Thirteen would purposely and deliberately hurt anyone’s feelings because his or her name happened to be a long, unfamiliar one. I prefer to think that what was said was said in thoughtlessness. I know that all of you feel the way I do, that this is a very unfortunate thing to have happened — unfortunate and sad, both. And I want you all to think about it.”

After the letter had been read there was deep silence as everyone was shocked.

Miss Mason herself was disheartened. She took off her glasses, cleaned them with her white handkerchief and put them on again.

She spoke to the class in a low voice which was showing her disgust. In her speech she was trying to convince herself that no e of the students in Room no. 13would hurt anyone’s feelings just because of his or her long and different name. She further said if something has happened like that it was just because of the lack of consideration.

She remarked that incident unfortunate and sad and asked the students to introspect about it.

The first period was a study period. Maddie tried to prepare her lessons, but she could not put her mind on her work. She had a very sick feeling in the bottom of her stomach. True, she had not enjoyed listening to Peggy ask Wanda how many dresses she had in her closet, but she had said nothing. She had stood by silently, and that was just as bad as what Peggy had done. Worse. She was a coward. At least Peggy hadn’t considered they were being mean but she, Maddie, had thought they were doing wrong. She could put herself in Wanda’s shoes.

The above incident had a very deep impact over Maddie that she kept on introspecting about all her misdeeds. She was not even able to concentrate during her study period. She kept condemning herself that she hadn’t tried to stop Peggy to poke fun at Wanda regarding her dresses. Even though she didn’t like this behaviour towards Wanda, she couldn’t summon courage to go against Peggy. Thus, she held herself equally responsible for all that.

For Peggy it was just a game she wasn’t aware that to what extent it was hurtful for Wanda, Maddie, on the contrary, knew everything but due to her cowardice she couldn’t stand against Peggy.

Goodness! Wasn’t there anything she could do? If only she could tell Wanda she hadn’t meant to hurt her feelings. She turned around and stole a glance at Peggy, but Peggy did not look up. She seemed to be studying hard. Well, whether Peggy felt badly or not, she, Maddie, had to do something. She had to find Wanda Petronski. Maybe she had not yet moved away. Maybe Peggy would climb the Heights with her, and they would tell Wanda she had won the contest, that they thought she was smart and the hundred dresses were beautiful.

Maddie regretted that she must have done something to stop Peggy. She should have at least assured Wanda that they didn’t want to hurt her. Thinking all this she looked at Peggy but she was studying hard and she didn’t pay any attention at Maddie.

Irrespective of Peggy’s intentions, Maddie decided to take an action by visiting Wanda at Boggins Heights. She was hoping that Peggy would come along with her and Wanda hadn’t moved away. They both would inform Wanda that she had won the contest and in their point of view latter is very smart and her hundred dresses were beautiful.

When school was dismissed in the afternoon, Peggy said, with pretended casualness, “Hey, let’s go and see if that kid has left town or not.” So Peggy had had the same idea! Maddie glowed. Peg was really all right. The two girls hurried out of the building, up the street toward Boggins Heights, the part of town that wore such a forbidding air on this kind of a November afternoon, drizzly, damp and dismal.

Word meanings

  • Damp and dismal- wet and sad (here, expressing a state of hopelessness)
  • Forbidding- Unfriendly or threatening in nature

At the end of the school, Maddie got excited and satisfied finding that Peggy herself had the same opinion as she offered her to visit Wanda.

 Both the girls approached towards Boggins Heights, the wet and muddy area of the town with gloomy atmosphere.

“Well, at least,” said Peggy gruffly, “I never did call her a foreigner or make fun of her name. I never thought she had the sense to know we were making fun of her anyway. I thought she was too dumb. And gee, look how she can draw!” Maddie could say nothing. All she hoped was that they would find Wanda. She wanted to tell her that they were sorry they had picked on her, and how wonderful the whole school thought she was, and please, not to move away and everybody would be nice. She and Peggy would fight anybody who was not nice. The two girls hurried on. They hoped to get to the top of the hill before dark.

On their way Peggy as trying to clarify that she never called her foreigner and made fun of her name. She rather used to think that Wanda was too dumb to understand that they were poking fun at her. However, she further appreciated Wanda’s drawings.

Maddie couldn’t say anything upon all the explanation given by Peggy. She was just hoping that they would find Wanda and apologize for their bad behaviour.  She wanted to tell her how much appreciation she was getting for her amazing sketches and assure her that nobody would mistreat her in future and even fight for her against any mistreatment. Thus, she need not move to another place.  Both the girls hurried to reach the place before getting dark.

“I think that’s where the Petronskis live,” said Maddie, pointing to a little white house. Wisps of old grass stuck up here and there along the pathway like thin kittens. The house and its sparse little yard looked shabby but clean. It reminded Maddie of Wanda’s one dress, her faded blue cotton dress, shabby but clean. There was not a sign of life about the house. Peggy knocked firmly on the door, but there was no answer. She and Maddie went around to the back yard and knocked there. Still there was no answer.

 Maddie pointed a white house that could be the resident of Wanda.

On the way of Wanda’s house, there were locks of old grasses looking like thin kittens.

The house and its yard were looking clean although their condition was poor. That sight reminded Maddie one of faded blue coloured cotton dress of Wanda that used to be of poor quality but clean.

When they reached there it seemed that none was residing there. Girls got distressed as they knocked at the front and backyard door but there was no answer.

There was no doubt about it. The Petronskis were gone. How could they ever make amends? They turned slowly and made their way back down the hill. “Well, anyway,” said Peggy, “she’s gone now, so what can we do? Besides, when I was asking her about all her dresses, she probably was getting good ideas for her drawings. She might not even have won the contest, otherwise.”

Word meanings

  • (To) make amends- to show that one is sorry by doing something else

Both the girls were disappointed as they had lost the chance of making amends with Wanda.  On their way back to home Peggy tried to console herself saying that it was just because of her dress game Wanda was getting new ideas  for the sketches to be drawn for the contest otherwise she would have not won the contest.

Maddie turned this idea carefully over in her head, for if there were anything in it she would not have to feel so badly. But that night she could not get to sleep. She thought about Wanda and her faded blue dress and the little house she had lived in. And she thought of the glowing picture those hundred dresses made — all lined up in the classroom. At last Maddie sat up in bed and pressed her forehead tight in her hands and really thought. This was the hardest thinking she had ever done.

At the comment of Peggy, Maddie tried to convince herself that there was no need to feel bad about Wanda. However, at that night she was not able to sleep as the thoughts about Wanda’s faded but clean dresses,  her gleaming sketches all lined up in the class  were coming again and again in her mind . She sat up in bed and tried to concentrate by pressing her forehead tight in her hands.

After a long, long time, she reached an important conclusion. She was never going to stand by and say nothing again.

If she ever heard anybody picking on someone because they were funny looking or because they had strange names, she’d speak up. Even if it meant losing Peggy’s friendship. She had no way of making things right with Wanda, but from now on she would never make anybody else that unhappy again.

Word meanings

Picking on someone- criticising someone

Finally after a deep thinking and introspection Maddie made a firm decision that she would never support criticising  others.

She would raise her voice if there is any mistreatment towards anybody for his/ her strange name or looks. In doing so she would not care about her friendship even.

She had lost her chance of making amends with Wanda but since then she would never let  anybody  unhappy again.

On Saturday Maddie spent the afternoon with Peggy. They were writing a letter to Wanda Petronski. It was just a friendly letter telling about the contest and telling Wanda she had won. They told her how pretty her drawings were. And they asked her if she liked where she was living and if she liked her new teacher. They had meant to say they were sorry, but it ended up with their just writing a friendly letter, the kind they would have written to any good friend, and they signed it with lots of X’s for love. They mailed the letter to Boggins Heights, writing ‘Please Forward’ on the envelope.

On Saturday afternoon, both the girls wrote a letter to Wanda  telling her that she had won the contest as her drawings were very beautiful and asked if she liked the new place and teacher. They wanted to express their confession regarding their misbehaviour but they couldn’t gather courage to do so . Thus, they ended up writing  letter in friendly tone that they could have written to any of best friend and mailed it to Boggins Heights with ‘ please forward’ note on its top.

Days passed and there was no answer, but the letter did not come back, so maybe Wanda had received it. Perhaps she was so hurt and angry she was not going to answer. You could not blame her. Weeks went by and still Wanda did not answer. Peggy had begun to forget the whole business, and Maddie put herself to sleep at night making speeches about Wanda, defending her from great crowds of girls who were trying to tease her with, “How many dresses have you got?” And before Wanda could press her lips together in a tight line, the way she did before answering, Maddie would cry out, “Stop!” Then everybody would feel ashamed the way she used to feel.

Many days passed but the didn’t get reply from Wanda nor even received the letter back so they assumed that she had received the letter but she was too hurt due to their misbehaviour that she didn’t want to answer. Soon Peggy  began forgetting the whole incident. However, at night Maddie used to think about the situation where girl were making fun of Wanda and  she used to defend her shouting “ stop” and everybody felt ashamed of their mistreatment towards Wanda.

Now it was Christmas time and there was snow on the ground. Christmas bells and a small tree decorated the classroom. On the last day of school before the holidays, the teacher showed the class a letter she had received that morning.

“You remember Wanda Petronski, the gifted little artist who won the drawing contest? Well, she has written me, and I am glad to know where she lives, because now I can send her medal. I want to read her letter to you.”

It was Christmas time. There were snow all over on the ground. Classroom was decorated with Christmas tree and bells. On the last day before holidays Miss Mason showed and informed the class about Wanda’s letter she had received. She reminded the class about Wanda Petronski who had won the contest due to her innate abilities and expressed her happiness that now she could send medal to Wanda because she has got to know her address.

Dear Miss Mason,

How are you and Room Thirteen? Please tell the girls they can keep those hundred dresses, because in my new house I have a hundred new ones, all lined up in my closet. I’d like that girlPeggy to have the drawing of the green dress with the red trimming, and her friend Maddie to have the blue one. For Christmas, I miss that school and my new teacher does not equalise with you. Merry Christmas to you and everybody.

Yours truly,

Wanda Petronski

The letter started in a friendly tone asking about Miss Mason and Room no Thirteen.

She requested Miss Mason to tell the girls to keep those hundred dresses with them as she has another set of hundred dresses all lined up in her closet. In the letter, she mentioned Peggy and Maddie her friends and requested both of them to take green and blue dresses among the drawings.

She wrote on the occasion of Christmas she is missing her school and her new teacher couldn’t take the place of Miss Mason and wished Merry Christmas to all of them.

On the way home from school Maddie and Peggy held their drawings very carefully. All the houses had wreaths and holly in the windows. Outside the grocery store, hundreds of Christmas trees were stacked, and in the window, candy peppermint sticks and cornucopias of shiny transparent paper were strung. The air smelled like Christmas and light shining everywhere reflected different colours on the snow. “Boy!” said Peggy, “this shows she really likes us. It shows she got our letter and this is her way of saying that everything’s all right. And that’s that.” “I hope so,” said Maddie sadly. She felt sad because she knew she would never see the little tight-lipped Polish girl again and couldn’t ever really make things right between

Word meanings

  • Cornucopias- decorative containers (usually containing flowers and fruits)
  • Holly- a shrub having prickly dark green leaves, small white flowers, and red berries. It is used in Christmas decorations.

As it was the occasion of Christmas, there were decorations everywhere. Grocery store were stacked with christmas trees, candy peppermint sticks and cornucopia of shiny papers. Atmosphere was joyful ,  snow was shining in different colors due to colorful decorative lights . Both the girls carefully held the drawings on their way to home. Peggy exclaimed that since Wanda had specially mentioned their names it was her way of saying that everything was alright and even proved that she had received their letter. Maddie, on the other hand was sad thinking that she would never get chance to make amends with Wanda.

She went home and she pinned her drawing over a torn place in the pink-flowered wallpaper in the bedroom. The shabby room came alive from the brilliancy of the colours. Maddie sat down on her bed and looked at the drawing. She had stood by and said nothing, but Wanda had been nice to her, anyway.

Maddie sticked her drawings over a torn place in the pink flowered wallpaper in the bedroom and realized that her lifeless room came alive due to beautiful designs and colors. She sat down gazing at the drawings for a while and finally stood saying Wanda had been nice to her any way.

Tears blurred her eyes and she gazed for a long time at the picture. Then hastily she rubbed her eyes and studied it intently. The colours in the dress were so vivid that she had scarcely noticed the face and head of the drawing. But it looked like her, Maddie! It really looked like her own mouth. Why it really looked like her own self! Wanda had really drawn this for her.

Looking at the pictures her eyes got filled with tears. She suddenly rubbed her eyes and had a careful look upon the drawings. 

She realized   that she  hadn’t been able to notice her own face in the picture due to the beautiful different colors. There was no doubt that Wanda had drawn it for Maddie as the face really resembled her  face.

Excitedly, she ran over to Peggy’s

“Peg!” she said, “let me see your picture.” “What’s the matter?” asked Peggy, as they clattered up to her room where Wanda’s drawing was lying face down on the bed. Maddie carefully raised it. “Look! She drew you. That’s you!” she exclaimed. And the head and face of this picture did look like Peggy.

Being very excited Maddie ran towards Peggy’s house and asked her about the picture. It was lying upside down on the bed . Maddie carefully raised the drawing and looked at it and said that it was actually Peggy’s picture as the face was quite resembling her face.

“What did I say!” said Peggy, “She must have really liked us, anyway.” “Yes, she must have,” agreed Maddie, and she blinked away the tears that came every time she thought of Wanda standing alone in that sunny spot in the school yard, looking stolidly over at the group of laughing girls after she had walked off, after she had said, “Sure, a hundred of them, all lined up.”

Both the girls got amazed and fully assured that Wanda actually liked them inspite of their bad behavior. Maddie, whose eyes get filled with tears every time she recalled that scene where Wanda would look at the girls laughing at her, also agreed with Peggy.

Question Answers

Q1. What did Mr Petronski’s letter say?

Ans. In the letter Wanda’s father, Mr. Petronski informed that both of his children, Wanda and Jake, wouldn’t come school anymore as they were now being shifted to   big city, a with a lot of people having weird names. So there nobody would care about their strange names.

Q2. Is Miss Mason angry with the class, or is she unhappy and upset?

Ans. Miss Mason gets shocked and disappointed after reading the fact in the students have misbehaved someone quite badly just because of different race and an strange name. Even though she was unhappy, she gave the children benefit of the doubt that whatever happened must have happened in thoughtlessness.

Q3. How does Maddie feel after listening to the note from Wanda’s father?

Ans. Maddie felt   extremely bad after listening to the note from Wanda’s father. She regreted for her cowardice and  supporting girls who were teasing Wanda. She was thinking about how they used to mistreat Wanda and hoping to get a chance to make amends with her.

Q4. What does Maddie want to do?

Ans. Maddie, wishes to make amends with Wanda and hopes to get a chance to express her apologies.

Q5. What excuses does Peggy think up for her behaviour? Why?

Ans. Peggy makes excuses that she never intended to make fun of Wanda Petronski because of her being an immigrant and strange name. She was only curious to know about her hundred dresses about which Wanda used to lie.

Q6. What are Maddie’s thoughts as they go to Boggins Heights?

Ans. Maddie was hopeful that Wanda would be at home so that she would be able to express her apologies and make amends with her and tell her how everyone in the class likes her drawings.

Q7. Why does Wanda’s house remind Maddie of Wanda’s blue dress?

Ans. Wanda’s house was looking  clean but shabby as there were dry grasses all around. This reminded Maddie of Wanda’s faded blue dress which looked clean but shabby as if it was never ironed.

Q8. What does Maddie think hard about? What important decision does she come to?

Ans. The thought of never getting a chance to express apologies about her ridiculous behavior to Wanda, haunted Maddie again and again that night. Finally, she made a firm decision that she would never let anybody tease any one on the account of strange name or appearance.

Q9. What did the girls write to Wanda?

Ans. Firstly, the girls decided to write an apology letter to Wanda but they couldn’t gather courage to admit their guilt so they ended up to write  a friendly letter telling her that she had won the contest and asking about how she feels at new place.  

Q10. Did they get a reply? Who was more anxious for a reply, Peggy or Maddie? How do you know?

Ans. No, they didn’t get a reply. However, Miss Mason received letter from Wanda. Maddie was more anxious for a reply as she was feeling extremely sorry and wanted to make amends with Wanda. It was evident as weeks after sending the letter, Peggy almost forget about the business while Maddie used to make scenarios in her head where she would defend Wanda from the mean girls.

Q11. How did the girls know that Wanda liked them even though they had teased her?

Ans. In her note to  Miss Mason Wanda had specifically mentioned to give   the drawing of the blue dress to Maddie and the one with a green dress to Peggy. This implied that Wanda liked them even after they teased her.

Q12. Why do you think Wanda’s family moved to a different city? Do you think life there was going to be different for their family?

Ans. Since Wanda’s family was in great pain due to the misbehaviour their children were facing at school regarding their polish race and different names, so they moved to a big city where people don’t pay any heed on the racial or community differences. Thus, in hope to dwell a peaceful life the family moved to a big city. Certainly, there life Would be different and comfortable there

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7. Glimpses of India

Lesson-7

Glimpses of India

 (1) A Baker from Goa

   By Lucio Rodrigues

Glimpses of India – A Baker from Goa Introduction

'A Baker from Goa' is about the importance of bakers in Goan culture, which dates back to when the Portuguese ruled over the city of Goa. The Portuguese may have left, but the bread-makers' status remains unassailable. The author recalls his childhood days and their excitement at seeing the baker in this storey. They were so excited that they would rush to him as soon as they awoke, without even brushing their teeth.

Glimpses of India – A Baker from Goa Summary

The lesson begins with the narrator's elders frequently recalling the time when Goa was under Portuguese rule. They discuss how the importance of bakers has persisted in their villages even after the Portuguese left. In Goa, they are referred to as 'Paders.' The mixers, moulders, and time-tested furnaces continue to provide Goans with their famous bread loaves. It is possible that the originals no longer exist, but their profession is carried on by their sons. In some parts of the village, the thud of their bamboo stick can still be heard. During their childhood, the same jingling thud would wake the narrator and his friends, who would rush to him without brushing or washing their teeth properly. The loaves were collected by the maid-servant of the house, while the children sorted the bread bangles for themselves. Goa's culture and traditions place a high value on bakery products. Bol, or sweet bread, is given as a wedding gift, cakes and Bolinhas, or coconut cookies, are eaten at every festival, and the lady of the house makes sandwiches for her daughter's wedding. Previously, bakers wore a unique knee-length frock known as 'kabai,' but during the narrator's childhood, they wore a shirt and trousers that were slightly shorter in length than usual. They usually paid their bills at the end of each month. Bakery has remained a profitable profession, allowing them to keep their families happy and prosperous.

Glimpses of India – A Baker from Goa Lesson Explanation

OUR elders are often heard reminiscing nostalgically about those good old Portuguese days, the Portuguese and their famous loaves of bread. Those eaters of loaves might have vanished but the makers are still there. We still have amongst us the mixers, the moulders and those who bake the loaves. Those age-old, time-tested furnaces still exist. The fire in the furnaces has not yet been extinguished. The thud and jingle of the traditional baker’s bamboo, heralding his arrival in the morning, can still be heard in some places. Maybe the father is not alive but the son still carries on the family profession. These bakers are, even today, known as pader in Goa.

  • Reminiscing nostalgically- thinking fondly of the past
  • Loaves- (plural form of loaf) bread that is shaped and baked in a single piece and can be sliced for eating
  • Vanished- disappear suddenly and completely
  • Moulders- a person who moulds dough into a shape
  • Furnaces- an enclosed structure in which materials can be heated to very high temperatures
  • Extinguished- cause a fire to cease to burn
  • Heralding- announcing
  • Pader- word for baker in Portuguese language

The storey transports us to a time when the Portuguese ruled Goa. They were well-known for their breads. The narrator frequently encounters his elders reminiscing about "those good old days," and tells them that the famous breads date back to the time when Goa was ruled by the Portuguese. They reflect on the past and inform them that, while the Portuguese have left Goa, the bakers of bread continue to exist, albeit not in the original locations, and that their legacy is being carried on by their sons. Paders are still used to refer to bakers. Everything about baking hasn't changed, from the people who shape the bread loaves to the furnaces that have withstood the test of time. The sound of their arrival, as well as the thud of their bamboo stick, can still be heard, just as it was in the past.

During our childhood in Goa, the baker used to be our friend, companion and guide. He used to come at least twice a day. Once, when he set out in the morning on his selling round, and then again, when he returned after emptying his huge basket. The jingling thud of his bamboo woke us up from sleep and we ran to meet and greet him. Why was it so? Was it for the love of the loaf? Not at all. The loaves were bought by some Paskine or Bastine, the maid-servant of the house! What we longed for were those bread-bangles which we chose carefully. Sometimes it was sweet bread of special make.

  • Companion- a person with whom one spends a lot of time
  • Jingling- make or cause to make a light metallic ringing sound

The baker was their friend and companion during their childhood days in Goa, according to the narrator. The baker used to come twice a day, once while he was on his way to sell his loaves and once when he returned with an empty basket, having sold all the loaves. The children were awakened by the sound of his bamboo stick. The kids were overjoyed to meet him and select from the bread bangles and Kankon he had made especially for them. While bangles were for children, loaves were for adults and were usually collected by the household maid-servant.

The baker made his musical entry on the scene with the ‘jhang, jhang’ sound of his specially made bamboo staff. One hand supported the basket on his head and the other banged the bamboo on the ground. He would greet the lady of the house with “Good morning” and then place his basket on the vertical bamboo. We kids would be pushed aside with a mild rebuke and the loaves would be delivered to the servant. But we would not give up. We would climb a bench or the parapet and peep into the basket, somehow. I can still recall the typical fragrance of those loaves. Loaves for the elders and the bangles for the children. Then we did not even care to brush our teeth or wash our mouths properly. And why should we? Who would take the trouble of plucking the mango-leaf for the toothbrush? And why was it necessary at all? The tiger never brushed his teeth. Hot tea could wash and clean up everything so nicely, after all!

  • staff – stick
  • Rebuke- an expression of disapproval; a scolding
  • Fragrance- a pleasant, sweet smell
  • Parapet- railing, a low protective wall
  • bangles- here, refers to the bread in the shape of a bangle called ‘Kankon’

With his bamboo stick, the baker frequently made a musical entrance. His one hand held the basket above his head, while the other smacked the bamboo on the ground. He would go from house to house, greeting the ladies before handing them the loaves. The children would be scolded and made to stand aside by their parents. But, no matter how eager they were, they would climb a bench or a wall to peer into the basket. They didn't even bother brushing their teeth before eating those bread bangles because it seemed like a waste of time to pluck mango leaves from the branches and use them to brush their teeth. They thought brushing was unnecessary because hot tea could easily clean their mouths, and they believed that animals like the tiger never brushed their teeth.

Marriage gifts are meaningless without the sweet bread known as the bol, just as a party or a feast loses its charm without bread. Not enough can be said to show how important a baker can be for a village. The lady of the house must prepare sandwiches on the occasion of her daughter’s engagement. Cakes and bolinhas are a must for Christmas as well as other festivals. Thus, the presence of the baker’s furnace in the village is absolutely essential.

  • Feast- a large meal, typically a celebratory one
  • bolinhas – another name for coconut cookies

Bread is an important part of Goan culture, as evidenced by its presence at all important occasions. Sweet breads at weddings, sandwiches at engagement parties, and cakes and coconut cookies at Christmas, among other occasions, necessitate the presence of a baker in every village.

The baker or bread-seller of those days had a peculiar dress known as the kabai. It was a singlepiece long frock reaching down to the knees. In our childhood we saw bakers wearing a shirt and trousers which were shorter than full-length ones and longer than half pants. Even today, anyone who wears a half pant which reaches just below the knees invites the comment that he is dressed like a pader!

Bakers were known to wear unique knee-length frock dresses known as 'kabai.' During his childhood, the narrator observed them wearing shirts and pants that were shorter in length than usual. It was so much a part of their identity that even if someone wears that trouser length today, he is said to have dressed like a baker, or 'pader' as it was called in the olden days.

The baker usually collected his bills at the end of the month. Monthly accounts used to be recorded on some wall in pencil. Baking was indeed a profitable profession in the old days. The baker and his family never starved. He, his family and his servants always looked happy and prosperous. Their plump physique was an open testimony to this. Even today any person with a jackfruit-like physical appearance is easily compared to a baker.

  • Plump physique- pleasantly fat body
  • Open testimony- public statement about a character or quality

The baker used a pencil to make a monthly record of bills on a wall and then collected the money at the end of the month. Baking has always been a lucrative business. The baker's family and employees have always been cheerful and joyful. The baker was usually fat, which indicated that he had a lot to eat and thus was wealthy. Even today, a well-built body is compared to that of a baker.

About the Author

Lucio Rodrigues (1916-73) was an outstanding Konkani essayist. He contributed articles in both English and Konkani to a variety of periodicals and magazines. He was a visiting professor of folklore at many universities, as well as an English professor in Mumbai and Goa. His essays were published posthumously under the titles 'Of Soil and Soul' and 'Konkani Folk Tales.' His writings are distinguished by subtle humour and informal narration.

 

(2) Coorg

By Lokesh Abrol

“Coorg is a coffee country, famous for its rainforests and spices”

Glimpses of India – Coorg Introduction

The lesson provides us with a fascinating look at Karnataka's smallest district and its people. The weather is beautiful all year, with plenty of rain during the monsoon season. The Coorg people are known to be among the bravest. The main crop grown in this region is coffee. A wide range of animals can be found here, and the area is surrounded by stunning Brahmagiri hills, islands, and Tibetan settlements.

Glimpses of India – Coorg Summary

The author describes the hill station of Coorg, which is located in the western ghats of Karnataka. It is located in the middle of the state of Karnataka, halfway between Bengalore and Mangalore. Coorg is best visited between September and March. The region is well-known for its coffee plantations and spices. There are many rainforests, which cover 30% of the land. The Coorgi men are brave warriors who, due to their trustworthiness, are allowed to keep firearms without a licence. The women of Coorg are stunning. Coorg is also known as Kodavu, and the Kodavus are Hindus by religion, but their customs are distinct from those of mainstream Hindus.

They marry within the confines of their community. Kodavus are thought to be of Greek or Arabic ancestry. There were some soldiers from Alexander's army who settled there. Furthermore, because the Kodavus' ethnic dress, Kuppia, is similar to the Arab garment Kuffia, it is speculated that their ancestors were either Arabs or Kurds. Coorg is the source of the Kaveri River. The Mahaseer fish can be found in the river. Along the river, many animals and birds can be seen, including kingfishers, langurs, squirrels, and elephants.

Tourists can unwind in the tranquil atmosphere while also participating in adventure sports such as river rafting, canoeing, rappelling, mountain biking, rock climbing, and trekking. Animals such as Macaques, Malabar squirrels, langurs, and slender loris can be spotted on the nature trails. The main tourist attractions are the Brahmagiri hills, Nisargdham island, and the Tibetan settlements of Bylakuppe. Coorg provides visitors with a taste of India's diverse cultures.

Glimpses of India – Coorg Lesson Explanation

MIDWAY between Mysore and the coastal town of Mangalore sits a piece of heaven that must have drifted from the kingdom of god. This land of rolling hills is inhabited by a proud race of martial men, beautiful women and wild creatures.

  • Drifted from- been carried along gently by hair
  • Martial- having to do with war

Coorg, a place so beautiful that it appears to be a piece of heaven that has strayed from God's kingdom and landed on Earth. It is located halfway between Mysore and Mangalore. It is a region with low hills of varying heights. Coorg men are brave warriors, and Coorg women are beautiful. There are also a variety of wild animals in the area.

Coorg, or Kodagu, the smallest district of Karnataka, is home to evergreen rainforests, spices and coffee plantations. Evergreen rainforests cover thirty percent of this district. During the monsoons, it pours enough to keep many visitors away. The season of joy commences from September and continues till March. The weather is perfect, with some showers thrown in for good measure. The air breathes of invigorating coffee. Coffee estates and colonial bungalows stand tucked under tree canopies in prime corners.

  • Canopies- roof-like coverings made of trees that form a shelter
  • Prime- here, best
  • Invigorating- strong (here)

It is one of Karnataka's smallest districts, also known as Kodagu. Evergreen rainforests cover 30% of Coorg's land area, and the region receives rain for the majority of the year, especially during the monsoon season. The months of September through March are ideal for visiting Coorg. The weather is pleasant, and there is some rain, so it is worthwhile to go. Because of the abundance of coffee plantations, the air is filled with the strong aroma of coffee.

The fiercely independent people of Coorg are possibly of Greek or Arabic descent. As one story goes, a part of Alexander’s army moved south along the coast and settled here when return became impractical. These people married amongst the locals and their culture is apparent in the martial traditions, marriage and religious rites, which are distinct from the Hindu mainstream. The theory of Arab origin draws support from the long, black coat with an embroidered waist-belt worn by the Kodavus. Known as kuppia, it resembles the kuffia worn by the Arabs and the Kurds.

  • Mainstream- a tradition which most people follow
  • Tales of Valour- stories of courage and bravery, usually in a war
  • Descent- origin

The Coorg people are thought to be of Greek or Arabic origin and are generally ferocious. This theory arose as a result of their clothing style. They are typically dressed in a long, black coat with an embroidered waist belt known as a Kuppia. Kuppia is a type of kuffia worn by Arabs and Kurds. It is also said that some of Alexander's army members were unable to return to their homeland and thus settled here while returning from the south. Coorg people marry each other, and their cultures and rituals differ greatly from those practised by Hindus.

Coorgi homes have a tradition of hospitality, and they are more than willing to recount numerous tales of valour related to their sons and fathers. The Coorg Regiment is one of the most decorated in the Indian Army, and the first Chief of the Indian Army, General Cariappa, was a Coorgi. Even now, Kodavus are the only people in India permitted to carry firearms without a licence.

  • Most decorated- having received the maximum number of awards for bravery in a war

In general, the people are very welcoming and warm. They are always willing to entertain with stories about their forefathers. They are known to be independent, ferocious, and brave, as evidenced by the fact that the Coorg regiment in the Indian army has received the most bravery awards. General Cariappa, the first chief of the Indian Army, was from Coorg. Furthermore, unlike others who require a licence, these are the only people who are permitted to carry firearms freely. This demonstrates that the Coorgis are also trustworthy.

The river, Kaveri, obtains its water from the hills and forests of Coorg. Mahaseer — a large freshwater fish — abound in these waters. Kingfishers dive for their catch, while squirrels and langurs drop partially eaten fruit for the mischief of enjoying the splash and the ripple effect in the clear water. Elephants enjoy being bathed and scrubbed in the river by their mahouts.

  • Mischief- playful behaviour
  • Ripple effect- a small wave or series of waves on the surface of water, especially as caused by a slight breeze or an object dropping into it
  • Mahouts- a person who works with, rides, and tends an elephant

Coorg's evergreen forests and hills supply water to the Kaveri River, a major river in South India. The birds are looking for a large freshwater fish called Mahaseer, which is found in these waters. Squirrels and langurs enjoy bathing in these waters while throwing half-eaten fruits into them.

The most laidback individuals become converts to the life of high-energy adventure with river rafting, canoeing, rappelling, rock climbing and mountain biking. Numerous walking trails in this region are a favourite with trekkers.

  • Laidback-relaxed, not in a hurry
  • Rafting- travelling in a river in a raft (a floating platform made by tying planks together)
  • Canoeing- travelling in a river in a canoe (a large, narrow boat)
  • Rappelling- going down a cliff by sliding down a rope
  • Trails- paths created by walking

Tourists who visit Coorg to relax in the natural beauty of the area are also drawn to the various adventure sports activities available, such as river rafting, canoeing, rappelling, rock climbing, and mountain climbing. The paths in the hills are formed by the footsteps of walkers who trek there.

Birds, bees and butterflies are there to give you company. Macaques, Malabar squirrels, langurs and slender loris keep a watchful eye from the tree canopy. I do, however, prefer to step aside for wild elephants.

A variety of animals may be encountered while walking in their area. Birds, bees, and butterflies buzz around you, while squirrels and langurs watch from the trees. Coorg is also home to wild elephants.

The climb to the Brahmagiri hills brings you into a panoramic view of the entire misty landscape of Coorg. A walk across the rope bridge leads to the sixty-four-acre island of Nisargadhama. Running into Buddhist monks from India’s largest Tibetan settlement, at nearby Bylakuppe, is a bonus. The monks, in red, ochre and yellow robes, are amongst the many surprises that wait to be discovered by visitors searching for the heart and soul of India, right here in Coorg.

  • Panoramic view- a view of a wide area of land

Climb up to the Brahmagiri hills for a panoramic view of the beautiful city of Coorg. Coorg is surrounded by breathtaking natural beauty, such as the island of Nisargadhama and Bylakuppe, India's largest Tibetan settlement. Monks dressed in red, orange, and yellow garments can also be found in the Coorg district, where their way of life is a fascinating sight for visitors. A diverse mix of cultures can be seen here, representing the heart and soul of India.

About the Author

Lokesh Abrol is a well-known physician. In Gurgaon, he established the first private multispecialty hospital. He also works as a social worker. In Gurgaon, he founded the first stray cow shelter. Lokesh Abrol is also a well-known author. The current essay on 'Coorg' highlights his keen observation and ability to paint a vivid picture of the wonderful land known as Coorg.

(3) Tea from Assam

By Arup Kumar Dutta

“Pranjol, a youngster from Assam, is Rajvir’s classmate at school in Delhi. Pranjol’s father is

the manager of a tea-garden in Upper Assam and Pranjol has invited Rajvir to visit his home

during the summer vacation”

Glimpses of India – Tea from Assam Introduction

The lesson is about two friends, Pranjol and Rajvir, who are spending the summer in Pranjol's hometown of Assam. Assam is known as the "Tea Kingdom." It has the world's highest concentration of plantations. Throughout their journey, they talk about the various 'legends' who are said to have discovered tea. The storey describes the popularity of tea as a beverage.

Glimpses of India – Tea from Assam Summary

The plot revolves around the infamous beverage 'tea,' explaining its history and discovery. It begins with two friends, Pranjol and Rajvir, preparing to travel to Assam, Pranjol's hometown, when a tea vendor approaches them and asks if they would like some freshly made tea. They purchase two cups and join nearly every other person in their compartment. From there, the journey begins, and Pranjol begins reading his detective book, while Rajvir chooses to take in the scenery. Soft green paddy fields were followed by tea bushes.

Rajvir is ecstatic to see such vast tea plantations, but Pranjol is unable to match his enthusiasm because he was born and raised in Assam, also known as "Tea Country." When Rajvir first went there, he did a lot of research on how tea was discovered and discovered that it dates back to 2700 B.C. According to what he read, it was first consumed in China and then made its way to Europe in the 16th century, where it was primarily popular for its medicinal properties. There are several stories about how it was discovered, one involving a Chinese Emperor and another involving a Buddhist monk.

The former enjoyed the taste of it, while the latter used it to induce sleep. While they were having this conversation, they arrived at their destination, where Pranjol's parents were waiting to greet them and take them to their tea garden. They passed through a cattle bridge and gave way to a truck loaded with tea leaves, which alerted them to the fact that it was the second sprouting season. Rajvir had done a lot of research before coming, which impressed Pranjol's father, and he intended to learn a lot more.

Glimpses of India – Tea from Assam Lesson Explanation

“CHAI-GARAM… garam-chai,” a vendor called out in a high-pitched voice. He came up to their window and asked,”Chai, sa’ab?” “Give us two cups,” Pranjol said. They sipped the steaming hot liquid. Almost everyone in their compartment was drinking tea too. “Do you know that over eighty crore cups of tea are drunk every day throughout the world?” Rajvir said. “Whew!” exclaimed Pranjol. “Tea really is very popular.”

  • Chai– Tea
  • Garam– hot
  • Sa’ab- Sahab or Sir
  • Steaming- extremely hot
  • Exclaimed- cry out suddenly in surprise

A tea vendor approaches two friends at a train station and asks if they want to buy some freshly-made hot tea. They decide to share two cups of tea with the rest of the passengers in their compartment. Pranjol uses this to highlight the fact that "almost eighty crore cups of tea are consumed every day throughout the world," while Rajvir is taken aback. Tea is, indeed, a popular beverage all over the world.

The train pulled out of the station. Pranjol buried his nose in his detective book again. Rajvir too was an ardent fan of detective stories, but at the moment he was keener on looking at the beautiful scenery. It was green, green everywhere. Rajvir had never seen so much greenery before. Then the soft green paddy fields gave way to tea bushes. It was a magnificent view. Against the backdrop of densely wooded hills a sea of tea bushes stretched as far as the eye could see. Dwarfing the tiny tea plants were tall sturdy shade-trees and amidst the orderly rows of bushes busily moved doll-like figures.

  • Paddy fields- a field where rice is grown
  • Backdrop- lie behind or beyond; serve as a background to
  • As far as eye could see- for a long distance until something is so far away and small it cannot be seen anymore
  • Dwarfing- cause to seem small or insignificant in comparison
  • Sturdy- strong
  • Amidst- in the middle of

Pranjol began reading his detective book as soon as the train began moving. Both of their friends were huge fans of detective novels, but Rajvir chose to focus on the scenery at the time. There was a lot of greenery around, which Rajvir had never seen before. Tea plantations followed the green paddy fields. Only tea bushes were visible as far as he could see, so much so that the narrator compared it to a "sea" of tea bushes. There were hills with dense forests in the background. There were orderly rows of tall and strong trees moving in the wind between the tea plantations. It was a breathtaking view.

In the distance was an ugly building with smoke billowing out of tall chimneys. “Hey, a tea garden!” Rajvir cried excitedly. Pranjol, who had been born and brought up on a plantation, didn’t share Rajvir’s excitement. “Oh, this is tea country now,” he said. “Assam has the largest concentration of plantations in the world. You will see enough gardens to last you a lifetime!”

  • Billowing- moving or flowing outwards
  • Concentration- cluster

While the train was moving, Rajvir noticed an unsightly building with smoke billowing from it. It was a tea plantation! Rajvir became enthralled, but Pranjol, who had witnessed it all as a child, couldn't match his friend's enthusiasm. Pranjol informs him that they have arrived in Assam, also known as "tea country." The state is home to the most tea plantations in the world.

“I have been reading as much as I could about tea,” Rajvir said. “No one really knows who discovered tea but there are many legends.” “What legends?” “Well, there’s the one about the Chinese emperor who always boiled water before drinking it. One day a few leaves of the twigs burning under the pot fell into the water giving it a delicious flavour. It is said they were tea leaves.”

Rajvir had done a lot of research on tea and how it came to be discovered before visiting Tea Country. There were several theories, one of which was about a Chinese Emperor who drank boiled water. When he was boiling the water, a few leaves fell into it and it tasted delicious. Those leaves were said to be tea leaves.

“Tell me another!” scoffed Pranjol. “We have an Indian legend too. Bodhidharma, an ancient Buddhist ascetic, cut off his eyelids because he felt sleepy during meditations. Ten tea plants grew out of the eyelids. The leaves of these plants when put in hot water and drunk banished sleep. “Tea was first drunk in China,” Rajvir added, “as far back as 2700 B.C.! In fact words such as tea, ‘chai’ and ‘chini’ are from Chinese. Tea came to Europe only in the sixteenth century and was drunk more as medicine than as beverage.”

  • Ascetic- characterized by severe self-discipline and abstention from all forms of indulgence, typically for religious reasons.
  • Banished- get rid of

When Pranjol inquired, Rajvir related another storey about an Indian legend known as Bodhidharma. He was a Buddhist monk who had shaved his eyelids because meditating made him sleepy. Tea plants eventually grew out of his eyelids, and when consumed after boiling with water, they helped him sleep. Rajvir also mentioned a few facts, such as the fact that tea dates back to 2700 B.C. and was first consumed in China. All of these words, including 'chai' and 'chini,' are derived from the Chinese language. Tea was introduced to Europe relatively late—in the sixteenth century—and was thought to have medicinal properties.

The train clattered into Mariani junction. The boys collected their luggage and pushed their way to the crowded platform. Pranjol’s parents were waiting for them. Soon they were driving towards Dhekiabari, the tea-garden managed by Pranjol’s father . An hour later the car veered sharply off the main road. They crossed a cattle-bridge and entered Dhekiabari Tea Estate.

  • Clattered- (loud noise made by the train brakes)
  • Veered- change direction

The train had come to a halt, and the boys had arrived at their destination, where they gathered their belongings and de-boarded the train, only to find a crowded platform. Pranjol's parents had arrived to greet them. After taking a turn and crossing a cattle-bridge, they arrived at Dhekiabari, Pranjol's tea garden, after nearly an hour.

On both sides of the gravel-road were acre upon acre of tea bushes, all neatly pruned to the same height. Groups of tea-pluckers, with bamboo baskets on their backs, wearing plastic aprons, were plucking the newly sprouted leaves.

  • Gravel- small, rounded stones often mixed with sand
  • Pruned- cut away from a tree

Their tea garden covered a large plot of land. All of the bushes had been cut to the same height and cared for. Tea pluckers were seen in the fields wearing an apron and carrying bamboo baskets to pluck the newly sprouted leaves.

Pranjol’s father slowed down to allow a tractor, pulling a trailer-load of tea leaves, to pass. “This is the second-flush or sprouting period, isn’t it, Mr Barua?” Rajvir asked. “It lasts from May to July and yields the best tea.” “You seem to have done your homework before coming,” Pranjol’s father said in surprise. “Yes, Mr Barua,” Rajvir admitted. “But I hope to learn much more while I’m here.”

  • Sprouting period- when a plant sends out new growth (second harvest of tea leaves in a season)

Pranjol's father yielded to a tractor loaded with tea leaves on their way to the fields. When Rajvir notices this, he shows off his knowledge by mentioning that this is the second sprouting period of the year, which lasts from May to July and produces an excellent yield. Pranjol's father, who appears impressed, responds that he appears to have done extensive research before coming. Pranjol, who was eager to learn more about the amazing beverage, expressed his desire to do so.

About the Author

Amp Kumar Datta was born in the Assam town of Jorhat in 1946. He attended cAanacar and Delhi University for his education. For many years, he was an English professor at JB College in Jorhat. His published works, including 'The Adventure Stories' (1978) and Brahmaputra (2001), have been translated into numerous foreign languages

7. Glimpses of India

Glimpses of India

Part 1 – A Baker from Goa

By Lucio Rodrigues

Lucio Rodrigues was a great Konkani essayist (1916-73)

Theme

The story depicts the passing on of tradition of eating breads from one generation to another. Even today breads have a very important place in every function of goan village.

It illustrates the love and respect of one culture for another in Indian societies and how an alien culture easily gets mingle up and adopted by Indians.

Introduction

A Baker from Goa’  depicts the importance of a baker in the Goan culture since  Portuguese ruled over the city of Goa.

 The Portuguese may have left but the bread-makers continue to have an important status in goan society.

In this story, the author recalls his childhood memories where they used to enjoys the fresh loaves of breads and Would  enthusiastically run to choose the bangles  as soon as they woke up without even brushing their teeth.

Baker From Goa Summary –

In the beginning, the narrator’s elders recalling  the time since the  Portuguese ruled over Goa and importance of bakers that is still prevalent in their villages even after the Portuguese have left as their profession is  continued by their children.

 The same jingling thud of bamboo sticks are still heard in their villages that used to wake the narrator and his friends in the morning  

to run towards the paders and choose the sweetest bread without even brushing their teeth

Breads still bear an important place in the culture and traditions of Goa as Bol or sweet bread is an integral of marriage gifts, cakes and Bolinhas or coconut cookies are eaten at every festival and the lady of the house prepares sandwiches at her daughter’s engagement.

Bakery is still a profitable business through which bakers and their family lead a prosperous life in the community and are known for their jackfruit appearance.

During the Portuguese rules bakers used to wear ‘kabai’ a unique frock of knee length.

but during the narrator’s childhood days, they wore a shirt and trousers of length slightly shorter than the usual ones.

Explanation

OUR elders are often heard reminiscing nostalgically about those good old Portuguese days, the Portuguese and their famous loaves of bread. Those eaters of loaves might have vanished but the makers are still there. We still have amongst us the mixers, the moulders and those who bake the loaves. Those age-old, time-tested furnaces still exist. The fire in the furnaces has not yet been extinguished. The thud and jingle of the traditional baker’s bamboo, heralding his arrival in the morning, can still be heard in some places. Maybe the father is not alive but the son still carries on the family profession. These bakers are, even today, known as pader in Goa.

Word meanings

  • Reminiscing nostalgically- thinking fondly of the past
  • Loaves- (plural form of loaf) bread that is shaped and baked in a single piece and can be sliced for eating
  • Vanished- disappear suddenly and completely
  • Moulders- a person who moulds dough into a shape
  • Furnaces- an enclosed structure in which materials can be heated to very high temperatures
  • Extinguished- cause a fire to cease to burn
  • Heralding- announcing
    Pader- word for baker in Portuguese language

The narrator tells how fondly their elders talk about their olden days when Portuguese were there in Goa. Today although, most of them have gone but their tradition of making bread is still prevalent in the many goan villages  as their profession is continued by their children. Their moulders , mixers and time tested Furnace still exist in the villages since the bakers still bake breads their and the same thud and jingling sounds can be heard.

During our childhood in Goa, the baker used to be our friend, companion and guide. He used to come at least twice a day. Once, when he set out in the morning on his selling round, and then again, when he returned after emptying his huge basket. The jingling thud of his bamboo woke us up from sleep and we ran to meet and greet him. Why was it so? Was it for the love of the loaf? Not at all. The loaves were bought by some Paskine or Bastine, the maid-servant of the house! What we longed for were those bread-bangles which we chose carefully. Sometimes it was sweet bread of special make.
The narrator recalls his childhood days when he  would respect the baker as their friend , guide and companion. The baker used to come twice a day , once at the time of setting out and second at the time of returning from his selling round. The narrator and his friends would wake up in the morning by listening the thud and jingling sound of the baking furnaces and the bakers selling bread door to door. In the morning they would rush to meet and greet the bakers at the door not to purchase the bread loaves as it was done by the maid servants but to choose the sweetest and delicious bread bangles or Kankon.

 The baker made his musical entry on the scene with the ‘jhang, jhang’ sound of his specially made bamboo staff. One hand supported the basket on his head and the other banged the bamboo on the ground. He would greet the lady of the house with “Good morning” and then place his basket on the vertical bamboo. We kids would be pushed aside with a mild rebuke and the loaves would be delivered to the servant. But we would not give up. We would climb a bench or the parapet and peep into the basket, somehow. I can still recall the typical fragrance of those loaves. Loaves for the elders and the bangles for the children. Then we did not even care to brush our teeth or wash our mouths properly. And why should we Who would take the trouble of plucking the mango-leaf for the toothbrush? And why was it necessary at all? The tiger never brushed hŕis teeth. Hot tea could wash and clean up everything so nicely, after all!

  • staff – stick
  • Rebuke- an expression of disapproval; a scolding
  • Fragrance- a pleasant, sweet smell
  • Parapet- railing, a low protective wall
  • bangles- here, refers to the bread in the shape of a bangle called ‘Kankon’

The baker would arrive in the morning making a unique musical sound using bamboo sticks. The narrator and his companion used to get too much excited to rush towards the baker and would usually get scolded for their haste of getting bread. However, they didn’t give up and try to peep in the basket of bread by climbing upon the bench or lower walls. Narrator says that he can still recall the sweet fragrance of the freshly made delicious bread and how he longed to have the bread bangles that they even didn’t care brushing their teeth. Since they had to make a lot of efforts of plucking mango stem to brush their teeth it seemed to them an unnecessary task as their teeth got cleaned by the hot tea. Moreover, according to them strong animals like tiger never brushed their teeth.

Marriage gifts are meaningless without the sweet bread known as the bol, just as a party or a feast loses its charm without bread. Not enough can be said to show how important a baker can be for a village. The lady of the house must prepare sandwiches on the occasion of her daughter’s engagement. Cakes and bolinhas are a must for Christmas as well as other festivals. Thus, the presence of the baker’s furnace in the village is absolutely essential.

  • Feast- a large meal, typically a celebratory one
  • bolinhas – another name for coconut cookies

The coconut cookies called Bolinhas and bread loaves were an integral part of each and every occasion like marriages of the Goan villages. Thus, presence of bakers and their furnaces were very essential in the Goan villages  for sweet breads, sandwiches at engagement parties prepared by the mother of the brides and cake and bolinhas on Christmas eve and other occasions.

The baker or bread-seller of those days had a peculiar dress known as the kabai. It was a singlepiece long frock reaching down to the knees. In our childhood we saw bakers wearing a shirt and trousers which were shorter than full-length ones and longer than half pants. Even today, anyone who wears a half pant which reaches just below the knees invites the comment that he is dressed like a pader!

A strange single piece long frock called kabai was worn by those bakers or bread sellers during the reign of Portuguese. Later they started wearing shirt and trousers slightly longer than half pants as it was seen by the narrator in his childhood.  The narrator says that even today if someone found wearing such trousers are commented the he is dressed like a pader or baker.

The baker usually collected his bills at the end of the month. Monthly accounts used to be recorded on some wall in pencil. Baking was indeed a profitable profession in the old days. The baker and his family never starved. He, his family and his servants always looked happy and prosperous. Their plump physique was an open testimony to this. Even today any person with a jackfruit-like physical appearance is easily compared to a baker.

  • Plump physique- pleasantly fat body
  • Open testimony- public statement about a character or quality

The bakers used to keep records of the sale by simply writing on the walls and collect money at the end. The narrator says that baking was certainly a profitable profession as the baker, his  family and even servants used to lead a happy and prosperous life. It could be judge through their healthy and well build up body. Even today a person having such health and plumps is compared with a baker

Question Answers

 Q1. What are the elders in Goa nostalgic about?
Ans. The elders in Goa are often fond of telling about their olden days and famous sweet bread loaves since the Portuguese ruled over Goa. They used to say that although Portuguese have left but their tradition of making bread still exists on the goan village.

Q2. Is bread-making still popular in Goa? How do you know?

Ans.Yes, bread-making is still popular in the city of goa. It is evident from the existence of time-tested furnaces, mixers and moulders. The legacy of bakers is being continued by their sons. You will find a bakery in every Goan village as bread is an important part of the Goan culture.

Q3. What is the baker called?
Ans. The baker is referred to as ‘Pader’ in the city of Goa.

Q4. When would the baker come everyday? Why did the children run to meet him?
Ans. The baker would come twice every day during the narrator’s childhood days. Once in the morning to deliver the loaves of bread and secondly, in the evening on his return after selling his stock. The children would go running to him to take the special bread bangles he had made for them.

Q5. What did the bakers wear:

  1. In the Portuguese days?
  2. When the author was young?

Ans.
(i) In the Portuguese days, the bakers wore a unique knee-length frock dress typically known as ‘kabai’.
(ii) In the narrator’s childhood days, he had seen them wearing shirts and shorter than usual pants.

Q6. Who invites the comment — “he is dressed like a pader”? Why?
Ans. During the narrator’s childhood days, the bakers had a peculiar dress. They wore shirts and shorter than usual pants. Thus, if someone is seen wearing pants of this much length, they invite the comment – “he is dressed like a pader”.

Q7. Where were the monthly accounts of the baker recorded?
Ans. The monthly accounts of the baker were recorded on some wall with a pencil.

Q8. What does a ‘jackfruit-like appearance’ mean?
Ans. ‘Jackfruit-like appearance’ means a well-built or plump physique, similar to a jackfruit. In those days, bakers had plump physique because baking was a profitable profession. His family and servants never starved and were prosperous.

Q9. Is bread an important part of Goan life? How do you know this?
Ans. Bread is indeed an important part of the goan village as it is evident from the existence of time tested bread making furnaces and the presence and demand of bread in each and every occasion like marriages, engagement parties and Christmas.

Glimpses of India Part 2 – Coorg

By Lokesh Abrol

Introduction

The lesson illustrates heavenly beauty insight of the smallest district of Karnataka, surrounded by beautiful Brahmagiri hills, islands and Tibetan settlements and its people.

 The place receives enough rain during monsoon and has breath taking weather throughout the year. It is full of forest and greenery all over with variety of animals and plants.

The people of Coorg are known for their bravery and has a privilege of having gun without license.

Summary

The writer has depicted the breath taking  beauty of the Indian  hill station of Coorg located in the western ghats in the state of Karnataka. It is located midway between Bengalore and Mangalore and is famous for coffee plantations and spices.

The 30 percent of whole area is covered with rainforests.

The Coorgi men are brave warriors who are known as the   Greek and Arabic by their origin and their ancestors were from the soldiers of Alexander’s army which is evident in their local dress kuppia which is similar to the Arab garment Kuffia. These people have the privileges to keep firearms without a licence due to their honesty and bravery.

The river Kaveri originates from Coorg in which the fish named Mahaseer is found  in abundance Many animals and birds like kingfisher, langur, squirrels and elephants can be seen along the river. Tourists relax in the breath taking atmosphere and also enjoy adventure sports like river rafting, canoeing, rappelling, mountain biking, rock climbing and trekking. While trekking on the nature trails, animals like Macaques, Malabar squirrels, langurs and slender loris can be spotted on the trees. The major tourist attractions are Brahmagiri hills, Nisargdham island and Bylakuppe Tibetan settlements. Coorg gives visitors a feel of India’s diverse cultures.

Explanation

MIDWAY between Mysore and the coastal town of Mangalore sits a piece of heaven that must have drifted from the kingdom of god. This land of rolling hills is inhabited by a proud race of martial men, beautiful women and wild creatures.

Coorg, or Kodagu, the smallest district of Karnataka, is home to evergreen rainforests, spices and coffee plantations. Evergreen rainforests cover thirty percent of this district. During the monsoons, it pours enough to keep many visitors away. The season of joy commences from September and continues till March. The weather is perfect, with some showers thrown in for good measure. The air breathes of invigorating coffee. Coffee estates and colonial bungalows stand tucked under tree canopies in prime corners.

Word meanings

Drifted from- been carried along gently by hair

Martial- having to do with war

Canopies- roof-like coverings made of trees that form a shelter
Prime- here, best
Invigorating- strong (here)

A beautiful place of rolling hills ‘Coorg’ lies between Mysore and coastal town of Mangalore.  It seems to be carried from heaven and is inhabited by a proud race of martial men, beautiful women and wild creatures.

This place is the smallest district of Karnataka and is covered with thirty percent of its total area. Main crops grown here are coffee and spices.  In monsoon it receives heavy rainfall and is not convenient to visit.

The season of tourism occurs between September to March as during this time the weather is perfect with required amount of rainfall. The air is filled with the aroma of coffee due to coffee estates in wide range. The bungalow of the time when India was the colony of British time, can bee seen under the shelter of big trees.

The fiercely independent people of Coorg are possibly of Greek or Arabic descent. As one story goes, a part of Alexander’s army moved south along the coast and settled here when return became impractical. These people married amongst the locals and their culture is apparent in the martial traditions, marriage and religious rites, which are distinct from the Hindu mainstream. The theory of Arab origin draws support from the long, black coat with an embroidered waist-belt worn by the Kodavus. Known as kuppia, it resembles the kuffia worn by the Arabs and the Kurds.

Word meanings

  • Mainstream- a tradition which most people follow
  • Tales of Valour- stories of courage and bravery, usually in a war
  •  Descent- origin

It is believed that this voilent and brave community belongs to Arab or Greek as according to one story a part of Alexander’s army settled here while moving toward southern coast.  Later on, they married the locals. Their tradition is quite different from that of Hindus which is evident in their marriages and religious functions and in their local dresses kovadu or kuppia which is quite similar to that of Arabic known as kuffia.

Coorgi homes have a tradition of hospitality, and they are more than willing to recount numerous tales of valour related to their sons and fathers. The Coorg Regiment is one of the most decorated in the Indian Army, and the first Chief of the Indian Army, General Cariappa, was a Coorgi. Even now, Kodavus are the only people in India permitted to carry firearms without a licence.

Word meanings

Most decorated- having received the maximum number of awards for bravery in a war

Coorg people are very hospitable and  always willing to tell the stories of their courageous ancestors in the battles.

In Indian army, Coorg regiment is one of the most decorated one.

The first chief of the Indian Army named General Cariappa belonged to Coorg. These people are permitted to carry firearms without license unlike others. This shows that the Coorgis are reliable too

The river, Kaveri, obtains its water from the hills and forests of Coorg. Mahaseer — a large freshwater fish — abound in these waters. Kingfishers dive for their catch, while squirrels and langurs drop partially eaten fruit for the mischief of enjoying the splash and the ripple effect in the clear water. Elephants enjoy being bathed and scrubbed in the river by their mahouts

The most laidback individuals become converts to the life of high-energy adventure with river rafting, canoeing, rappelling, rock climbing and mountain biking. Numerous walking trails in this region are a favourite with trekkers.

Word meanings

Laidback-relaxed, not in a hurry
Rafting- travelling in a river in a raft (a floating platform made by tying planks together)
Canoeing- travelling in a river in a canoe (a large, narrow boat)
Rappelling- going down a cliff by sliding down a rope
Trails- paths created by walking

Word meanings

Mischief- playful behaviour
Ripple effect- a small wave or series of waves on the surface of water, especially as caused by a slight breeze or an object dropping into it
Mahouts- a person who works with, rides, and tends an elephant

River Kaveri which is abundant in a Mahaseer, a fresh water fish originates from the hills and forests of Coorg.   The river bank is usually spotted with the different activities of animals and birds. Kingfishers tries to catch the fish. Squirrels and langurs drop partially eaten fruit to enjoy the splash of water in the river , whereas elephants   enjoy bathing in the river. Not only animals but the humans  are also provided with a large number of adventures like rafting, canoeing, rappelling, rock climbing and mountain biking. Numerous walking path in this region are a favourite with trekkers.

Birds, bees and butterflies are there to give you company. Macaques, Malabar squirrels, langurs and slender loris keep a watchful eye from the tree canopy. I do, however, prefer to step aside for wild elephants.

One  can spot a large no. Of animals while walking in the forests. Birds, bees and butterflies fly around  a person walking  on the tracks of the forest while squirrels and langurs can be seen   peeping through the clumps  of  trees. Wild elephants can also be found in Coorg.

The climb to the Brahmagiri hills brings you into a panoramic view of the entire misty landscape of Coorg. A walk across the rope bridge leads to the sixty-four-acre island of Nisargadhama. Running into Buddhist monks from India’s largest Tibetan settlement, at nearby Bylakuppe, is a bonus. The monks, in red, ochre and yellow robes, are amongst the many surprises that wait to be discovered by visitors searching for the heart and soul of India, right here in Coorg.

  • Panoramic view- a view of a wide area of land

One can have a view of a wide area of Coorg by climbing the top of Brahmagiri hills. Across the  rope bridge, there is a 64 acres island of Nisargadhama. The area known as Bylakuppe found in Coorg, is India’s largest Buddhist monks settlements. Thus,

Coorg  also serves as a place where one can get spiritual satisfaction among the Monks who wear a simple robe if red , ochre and yellow color.

Glimpses of India Part 2 Coorg Question Answers

Q1. Where is Coorg?
Ans. Coorg , the smallest district of Karnataka lies between  Mysore and the coastal city of Mangalore.

Q2. What is the story about the Kodavu people’s descent?

Ans. There are many stories of the origin of Kodavus, according to one of them  Kodavus are of either Greek or Arabic descent as a part of Alexander’s army could not return to its homeland and so, settled there. As the traditional dress of the Kodavus, Kuppia is similar to the dress of the Arabs and Kurds, the Kuffia, it is said that probably the Kodavus are descendants of the Arabs.

Q3. What are some of the things you now know about

The people of Coorg?

Ans. People of Coorg are honest and brave warriors who are said  to be the descendants of the Greeks or the Arabs which even evident through their dressing style. They are independent and ferocious. They are the bravest soldiers in the Indian Army. They  are known for their hospitality as well.  Their tradition and culture is very different from that of Hinduism.

The main crop of Coorg?

Ans. Coffee is the main crop of Coorg. Coffee estates with colonial bungalows are abundant and even provide homestays for visitors to experience the Coorgi way of life.

The sports it offers to tourists?

Ans. A large no. Of adventurous activities are offered to tourists like river rafting, canoeing, rappelling, rock climbing and mountain biking. Trekking is also one of the famous activities.

The animals you are likely to see in Coorg?

Ans. Fishes like Mahaseer are found in the waters of the river Kaveri. Birds like Kingfisher and other animals like squirrels, langurs, butterflies, bees accompany you in this area while wild elephants can be seen enjoying bathing in the rivers. If you are on a trek, Macaques, Malabar squirrels, langurs and slender loris can be spotted on the trees.

Its distance from Bangalore, and how to get there?

Ans. Coorg is at a distance of 260 kms from Bangalore. The nearest airports are Mangalore (135 km) and Bangalore (260 km). There are flights to Mangalore from Mumbai, and to Bangalore from Ahmedabad, Chennai, Delhi, Goa, Hyderabad, Kochi, Kolkata, Mumbai and Pune. The nearest railheads are at Mysore, Mangalore and Hassan. There are two routes to Coorg from Bangalore. Both are almost the same distance (around 250-260 km). The route via Mysore is the most frequented one. The other route is via Neelamangal, Kunigal, Chanrayanapatna.

Q4. Here are six sentences with some words in italics. Find phrases from the text that have the same meaning. (Look in the paragraphs indicated)

  1. During monsoons, it rains so heavily that tourists do not visit Coorg. (para 2)
  2. Some people say that Alexander’s army moved south along the coast and settled there. (para 3)
  3. The Coorg people are always ready to tell stories of their sons’ and fathers’ valour. (para 4)
  4. Even people who normally lead an easy and slow life get smitten by the high-energy adventure sports of Coorg. (para 6)
  5. The theory of the Arab origin is supported by the long coat with embroidered waist-belt they wear. (para 3)
  6. Macaques, Malabar squirrels observe you carefully from the tree canopy. (para 7)

Keep many visitors away
(ii)As one story goes
(iii) Are more than willing to recount
(iv) The most laidback individuals become converts to
(v) Draws support from
(vi) Keep a watchful eye.

Glimpses of India Part 2 – Coorg Grammar Exercises

1. Here are some nouns from the text.

Culture, monks, surprise, experience, weather, tradition
Work with a partner and discuss which of the nouns can collocate with which of the adjectives given below. The first one has been done for you.
Unique, terrible, unforgettable, serious, ancient, wide, sudden

  1. culture: unique culture, ancient culture
  2. monks:
  3. surprise:
  4. experience:
  5. weather:
  6. tradition:

Answers-

  1. culture: unique culture, ancient culture
  2. monks:  ancient monks
  3. surprise: Unique surprise, terrible surprise, unforgettable surprise
  4. experience: Unique experience, terrible experience, unforgettable experience, sudden experience
  5. weather: terrible weather, sudden weather
  6. tradition: unique tradition, ancient tradition

2. Complete the following phrases from the text. For each phrase, can you find at least one other word that would fit into the blank?

  1. tales of ________
  2. coastal ________
  3. a piece of ________
  4. evergreen ________
  5. ________ plantations
  6. ________ bridge
  7. wild ________

You may add your own examples to this list.
Answers-

  1. tales of valour
  2. coastal town
  3. a piece of heaven
  4. evergreen rainforests
  5. Coffee plantations
  6. Rope bridge
  7. wild animals

Part 3 – Tea from Assam

By Arup Kumar Dutta

Pranjol, a youngster from Assam, is Rajvir’s classmate at school in Delhi. Pranjol’s father is

the manager of a tea-garden in Upper Assam and Pranjol has invited Rajvir to visit his home

during the summer vacation

Introduction

The lesson  revolves   around two friends- Pranjol and Rajvir . During summer Vacation they visited to Assam, the home town of Pranjol. Assam is known for Its largest concentration of tea plantations in the world.

 In the train,  they discuss about the various ‘legends’ that are known to have discovered tea.  The story tells us about the popularity of tea as a beverage.

The story tells about  the  ‘tea’ the world’s famous and  its history I.e. how it was   discovered . In the first scene both the  two friends, Pranjol and Rajvir have boarded train  to  Assam, a tea vendor asks them if they would like to have some freshly made tea. They buy two cups joining almost every other person in their compartment. As the train started Pranjol beings with  reading his detective book while Rajvir decides to enjoy the scenic beauty out of the window where  paddy fields followed by tea bushes.

Rajvir is  more  excited to explore  large plantations of tea  as compared Pranjol since the latter belongs to Assam and knows many things .

Assam is famously known as the ‘Tea country’.

Rajvir has already gathered about tea like how and  it was discovered

dates back to 2700 B.C.  

According to Rajvir, tea was first consumed in China and reached Europe in the 16th century, where it was mostly popular for it’s medicinal properties.

 There are several  stories  about  how it was discovered, one about a Chinese Emperor and the other about a Buddhist monk.

At last they reached  at the station of Assam  destination and got received by  Pranjol’s parents  and taken   to their tea garden.

 On their way, they passed a cattle bridge and gave way to a truck filled with tea leaves which drew their attention to the fact that it was the second sprouting season.

Rajvir, indeed did a lot of study before coming which impressed Pranjol’s father and he intended to learn a lot more.

Tea From Assam Explanation – “CHAI-GARAM… garam-chai,” a vendor called out in a high-pitched voice. He came up to their window and asked,”Chai, sa’ab?” “Give us two cups,” Pranjol said. They sipped the steaming hot liquid. Almost everyone in their compartment was drinking tea too. “Do you know that over eighty crore cups of tea are drunk every day throughout the world?” Rajvir said. “Whew!” exclaimed Pranjol. “Tea really is very popular.”

At the  station  a tea vendor shouting and asking  the two friends if they would like to buy some freshly-made hot tea.

Along with them the whole compartment  have  cups of tea

Pranjol tells  that “almost eighty crore cups of tea are consumed everyday throughout the world” At this  Rajvir gets surprised on listening to it. Indeed, tea is a popular beverage all over the world.

The train pulled out of the station. Pranjol buried his nose in his detective book again. Rajvir too was an ardent fan of detective stories, but at the moment he was keener on looking at the beautiful scenery. It was green, green everywhere. Rajvir had never seen so much greenery before. Then the soft green paddy fields gave way to tea bushes. It was a magnificent view. Against the backdrop of densely wooded hills a sea of tea bushes stretched as far as the eye could see. Dwarfing the tiny tea plants were tall sturdy shade-trees and amidst the orderly rows of bushes busily moved doll-like figures.

Word meanings

  • Paddy fields- a field where rice is grown
  • Backdrop- lie behind or beyond; serve as a background to
    As far as eye could see- for a long distance until something is so far away and small it cannot be seen anymore
    Dwarfing- cause to seem small or insignificant in comparison
    Sturdy- strong
    Amidst- in the middle of

The train started, Pranjol got busy in reading detective books while Rajvir who is himself likes detective book is intended to enjoy the greenery outside the window. As the train is moving in the north east region of India there was greenery  every where which Rajvir has never seen in his life .

Tea plantations is seen after the fields of paddy. It was a magnificent view. As far as Rajvir eyes could see there were bushes of tea plantations everywhere looking like a sea, in a  vast area at the foot of densely wooded hills . In the middle of the rows of these tea plants, there were huge and strong trees due to which these plants seemed as dwarfs.

In the distance was an ugly building with smoke billowing out of tall chimneys. “Hey, a tea garden!” Rajvir cried excitedly. Pranjol, who had been born and brought up on a plantation, didn’t share Rajvir’s excitement. “Oh, this is tea country now,” he said. “Assam has the largest concentration of plantations in the world. You will see enough gardens to last you a lifetime!”

Word meanings

  • Billowing- moving or flowing outwards
  • Concentration- cluster

Further at some distance they saw an ugly building with tall chimney through which smoke was coming out. Seeing that Rajvir cried in excitement that it was a tea garden. However Pranjol was not excited as he was born and spent his childhood there, said that they reached Assam now,a tea country known for largest concentration of tea plantations in the world.  Pranjol said that Rajvir would see there large number of tea garden that would remember in his whole life.

“I have been reading as much as I could about tea,” Rajvir said. “No one really knows who discovered tea but there are many legends.” “What legends?” “Well, there’s the one about the Chinese emperor who always boiled water before drinking it. One day a few leaves of the twigs burning under the pot fell into the water giving it a delicious flavour. It is said they were tea leaves.”

Rajvir told Pranjol that he had been reading a lot   about how the tea was discovered and there were many legends regarding it.

Pranjol asked what were those legends. Rajvir replied that according to one of them once a Chinese Emperor who always boiled water before drinking it was boiling water in a pot at the same time some leaves fell into it and gave a delicious flavour to the water. It is said that they were tea leaves.

“Tell me another!” scoffed Pranjol. “We have an Indian legend too. Bodhidharma, an ancient Buddhist ascetic, cut off his eyelids because he felt sleepy during meditations. Ten tea plants grew out of the eyelids. The leaves of these plants when put in hot water and drunk banished sleep. “Tea was first drunk in China,” Rajvir added, “as far back as 2700 B.C.! In fact words such as tea, ‘chai’ and ‘chini’ are from Chinese. Tea came to Europe only in the sixteenth century and was drunk more as medicine than as beverage.”

Word meanings

Ascetic- characterized by severe self-discipline and abstention from all forms of indulgence, typically for religious reasons.

Banished- get rid of

When Pranjol asked for another legend, Rajvir told an Indian legend named Bodhidharma  in which  a  Buddhist monk cut his eyelids to get rid of his sleep while doing the practice of meditation.  Gradually, those eyelids grew in to a tea plant. Since then tea is being drunk to feel fresh and energetic.

Rajvir said that tea was first discovered in China far back in 2700 b.c. that is why it is called chai, the word formed from China. He added that European started drinking tea in  16th century as a medicine than a beverage due to its healing effects.

The train clattered into Mariani junction. The boys collected their luggage and pushed their way to the crowded platform. Pranjol’s parents were waiting for them. Soon they were driving towards Dhekiabari, the tea-garden managed by Pranjol’s father . An hour later the car veered sharply off the main road. They crossed a cattle-bridge and entered Dhekiabari Tea Estate

Word meanings

Clattered- (loud noise made by the train brakes)
Veered- change direction

Finally the train stopped at Mariani junction making a loud noise. The boys approached towards the crowded junction with their luggage  where Pranjol’s parents were waiting to receive them. Soon,

They were driving in a car towards  Dhekiabari, a tea garden managed by Pranjol’s father. After traveling an hour, their car changed the direction, from the main road crossed the cattle-bridge to enter Dhekiabari.

On both sides of the gravel-road were acre upon acre of tea bushes, all neatly pruned to the same height. Groups of tea-pluckers, with bamboo baskets on their backs, wearing plastic aprons, were plucking the newly sprouted leaves.

Word meanings

Gravel- small, rounded stones often mixed with sand
Pruned- cut away from a tree

There were tea bushes spread all over acre upon acre on both sides of the pathway full of small rounded stones. Groups of tea-pluckers with bamboo baskets were plucking newly sprouted leaves.

Pranjol’s father slowed down to allow a tractor, pulling a trailer-load of tea leaves, to pass. “This is the second-flush or sprouting period, isn’t it, Mr Barua?” Rajvir asked. “It lasts from May to July and yields the best tea.” “You seem to have done your homework before coming,” Pranjol’s father said in surprise. “Yes, Mr Barua,” Rajvir admitted. “But I hope to learn much more while I’m here.”

Word meanings

Sprouting period- when a plant sends out new growth (second harvest of tea leaves in a season)

On their way to the fields, Pranjol’s father  gave the way to tractor that was loaded with tea leaves. At the same time Rajvir flaunts his knowledge by mentioning that this is the second sprouting period of the year that lasts from May to July and gives excellent yield. Pranjol’s father, got surprised and replied that he must have done his homework to do research about tea plantations  before coming. Pranjol admitted and said that he wished to learn more about tea plantations while being there.

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8. Mijbil The Otter

Lesson-8

Mijbil the Otter

By Gavin Maxwell

“Gavin Maxwell lives in a cottage in Camusfearna, in the West Highlands in Scotland. When his dog Jonnie died, Maxwell was too sad to think of keeping a dog again. But life without a pet was lonely…”

Mijbil the Otter Introduction

The author describes how his life changed after he decided to domesticate an otter after losing his pet dog in this lesson. He takes us through his journey of adjusting, playing, and travelling with Mijbil (or Mij) the otter from Iraq to London, and how he formed an inseparable bond with him along the way.

Mijbil the Otter Summary

The storey begins with the author and a friend travelling to Basra. During their journey, the author expresses his desire to domesticate an otter because life had become lonely for him after he had lost his pet dog. His friend suggested he get one from the marshes along the Tigris River in Iraq. When they arrived at their destination, they discovered that only a friend's mail had arrived. The friend left after a few days, while the narrator was still waiting for his mail. He went to his room after receiving it, only to find an otter (brought to him in a sack) and two Arabs with a note. It was a present from a friend. He named the otter Mijbil, or Mij for short. It took some time for Mij to open up and become comfortable in his surroundings. He was so covered in mud that it took nearly a month of cleaning and washing to reveal his true colour.

Mij enjoyed playing with water so much that he learned to turn on the faucet on his own. He was convinced that every drop of water should be squished and splashed until the bowl was empty. Everything was going swimmingly in Basra, but it was time to return to London. Because British airlines do not allow animals, he had to book another flight that allowed Mij on the condition that he be transported in a box. The narrator placed him in a box an hour before the flight so Mij could get used to it before leaving for a quick meal. When he returned, the box was still there, and Mij had made a mess of it by destroying the inner lining. As a result, blood began to drip from the holes. He hurried despite his fear. They were a long distance from the airport, and the flight was scheduled to depart in ten minutes.

He cleaned it all up, jumped in a cab, and arrived just in time. He told the storey to a very nice and generous air hostess, who advised him to keep the box on his lap. Gavin had a lot of respect for the air hostess because she was so nice to him. As soon as he opened the box, the otter leaped out and vanished, causing a commotion. Passengers were terrified. In an attempt to get a hold of Mij, a lady climbed up her chair, and the author got himself covered in curry. The air hostess offered assistance and returned him to Gavin, and they eventually arrived in London.

Mij liked to play with ping-pong balls and marbles. He even made a game out of the author's broken suitcase. It had the potential to keep him engrossed for an extended period of time. While taking the lead, the narrator took him for walks and played with him. People in London had wild guesses about Mij because they were unfamiliar with otters. Some people mistook it for a baby seal, squirrel, or even a hippo. The author received the most startling reaction when a labourer digging the hole asked, "What is that supposed to be?"

Mijbil the Otter Lesson Explanation

EARLY in the New Year of 1956 I travelled to Southern Iraq. By then it had crossed my mind that I should like to keep an otter instead of a dog, and that Camusfearna, ringed by water a stone’s throw from its door, would be an eminently suitable spot for this experiment.

  • Crossed my mind- (a thought) came into my mind
  • A stone’s throw- a very short distance
  • Otter- a semi aquatic fish-eating mammal of the weasel family, with an elongated body, dense fur, and webbed feet
  • Eminently- highly; very

In the early months of 1956, shortly after the death of the author's dog, he travelled to Southern Iraq. He was too lonely without a pet, but this time he wanted to keep an otter instead of a dog. He thought it was a good idea to keep an otter at Camusfearna because otters loved water. Camusfearna was the ideal location to test this novel idea of domesticating an otter because it was surrounded by water.

When I casually mentioned this to a friend, he as casually replied that I had better get one in the Tigris marshes, for there they were as common as mosquitoes, and were often tamed by the Arabs. We were going to Basra to the Consulate-General to collect and answer our mail from Europe. At the Consulate-General we found that my friend’s mail had arrived but that mine had not.

  • As common as mosquitoes- easily found 
  • Tamed- domesticate (an animal)

When the author mentioned his desire to domesticate an otter to a friend, the latter suggested that he get one from the marshes along the Tigris River, where otters were very common and were generally tamed by the Arabs. When the narrator and his friend were on their way to Basra, they had this conversation. When they arrived, they discovered that only a friend's mail had arrived.

I cabled to England, and when, three days later, nothing had happened, I tried to telephone. The call had to be booked twenty-four hours in advance. On the first day the line was out of order; on the second the exchange was closed for a religious holiday. On the third day there was another breakdown. My friend left, and I arranged to meet him in a week’s time. Five days later, my mail arrived.

  • Cabled- sent a message by telegraph (an old method of communication)
  • Breakdown- a mechanical failure

When the author attempted to connect to England via telegraph and received no response, he attempted to connect via a call that required reservations a day in advance. He couldn't contact them for another three days due to a holiday and technical difficulties. Finally, his friend left, and they agreed to meet again in a week. After another 5 days, his mail arrived.

I carried it to my bedroom to read, and there, squatting on the floor, were two Arabs; beside them lay a sack that squirmed from time to time. They handed me a note from my friend: “Here is your otter…”

  • Squatting- crouch or sit with one’s knees bent and one’s heels close to or touching one’s buttocks or the back of one’s thighs
  • Squirmed- twisted about

When the narrator received the mail, he went to his bedroom to read it, only to be met by two Arab men carrying a sack that twisted itself over and over. They presented him with a note from his friend stating that the otter was a gift from him. The otter was stowed away in the sack.

With the opening of that sack began a phase of my life that has not yet ended, and may, for all I know, not end before I do. It is, in effect, a thraldom to otters, an otter fixation, that I have since found to be shared by most other people, who have ever owned one.

  • Thraldom- (old fashioned) being under the control of
  • Fixation- a very strong attachment or feeling

The author saw domesticating an otter as the start of a new phase of his life, which is still ongoing. He developed deep affection and a special bond with the otter that could only be understood by those who had previously owned an otter.

The creature that emerged from this sack on to the spacious tiled floor of the Consulate bedroom resembled most of all a very small, medievally-conceived, dragon. From the head to the tip of the tail he was coated with symmetrical pointed scales of mud armour, between whose tips was visible a soft velvet fur like that of a chocolate-brown mole. He shook himself, and I half expected a cloud of dust, but in fact it was not for another month that I managed to remove the last of the mud and see the otter, as it were, in his true colours.

  • Medievally conceived- an imagination of the middle ages

The otter appeared on the tiled floor as soon as the narrator opened the sack. He resembled a miniature version of the ancient imaginary creature known as the dragon. He was completely covered in mud, with small patches of soft velvet fur visible beneath it. The fur looked like the skin of a chocolate brown mole. He shook himself to get rid of the majority of it, but it took another month of cleaning and washing to bring out his true colour.

Mijbil, as I called the otter, was, in fact, of a race previously unknown to science, and was at length christened by zoologists Lutrogale perspicillata maxwelli, or Maxwell’s otter. For the first twentyfour hours Mijbil was neither hostile nor friendly; he was simply aloof and indifferent, choosing to sleep on the floor as far from my bed as possible. The second night Mijbil came on to my bed in the small hours and remained asleep in the crook of my knees until the servant brought tea in the morning, and during the day he began to lose his apathy and take a keen, much too keen, interest in his surroundings.

  • Christened- named
  • Hostile- unfriendly
  • Aloof and indifferent- keeping a distance
  • Apathy- absence of interest
  • Crook of my knees- soft inside part where you bend your knee

The author named his pet 'Mijbil,' or simply 'Mij.' Mijbil belonged to a race of otters named Lutrogale Perspicillata Maxwelli, which had recently been discovered by a zoologist and was thus known as Maxwell's otter. It took some time for the otter to open up and feel at ease in his new surroundings. On the first day, he was at a distance, on the second day, he slept with the narrator in his bed, lying on the crook of his knees, and on the third day, he began to become more familiar with his surroundings.

I made a body-belt for him and took him on a lead to the bathroom, where for half an hour he went wild with joy in the water, plunging and rolling in it, shooting up and down the length of the bathtub underwater, and making enough slosh and splash for a hippo. This, I was to learn, is a characteristic of otters; every drop of water must be, so to speak, extended and spread about the place; a bowl must at once be overturned, or, if it will not be overturned, be sat in and sploshed in until it overflows. Water must be kept on the move and made to do things; when static it is wasted and provoking.

  • So as to speak- as it were (one could say this)
  • Provoking- causing anger or some other reaction
  • Plunging- falling; sinking
  • Sploshed- splashed
  • Static- motionless

Gavin made an otter a belt, just like a dog, to wear on the lead wherever they went. He discovered Mij enjoyed playing with water when he first took the otter into the bathroom. He would roll and jump in the water like a hippopotamus. Otters were known to be irritated by still water, so they played with it and splashed it until the last drop was in the bowl/bucket. Otters preferred moving water, so when Mijbil saw still water, he appeared to become enraged and would sit in it, splash it, and attempt to tip it over in the bowl.

Two days later, Mijbil escaped from my bedroom as I entered it, and I turned to see his tail disappearing round the bend of the corridor that led to the bathroom. By the time I got there he was up on the end of the bathtub and fumbling at the chromium taps with his paws. I watched, amazed; in less than a minute he had turned the tap far enough to produce a trickle of water, and after a moment or two achieved the full flow. (He had been lucky to turn the tap the right way; on later occasions he would sometimes screw it up still tighter, chittering with irritation and disappointment at the tap’s failure to cooperate.)

  • Fumbling- trying to do something in a clumsy manner
  • Trickle- flow in a small stream
  • Chittering- make a twittering or chattering sound
  • chromium- a hard white metal used to make taps

Soon after becoming acquainted with the location, the otter escaped alone to the bathroom and attempted to open the tap with his paws. Surprisingly, he was able to open the tap enough to get a trickle of water and then more to get the full flow because he began by turning it in the right direction. On other occasions, he would twist it tighter by moving it in the opposite direction, only to be disappointed when no water flowed from it.

Very soon Mij would follow me without a lead and come to me when I called his name. He spent most of his time in play. He spent hours shuffling a rubber ball round the room like a four-footed soccer player using all four feet to dribble the ball, and he could also throw it, with a powerful flick of the neck, to a surprising height and distance. But the real play of an otter is when he lies on his back and juggles with small objects between his paws. Marbles were Mij’s favourite toys for this pastime: he would lie on his back rolling two or more of them up and down his wide, flat belly without ever dropping one to the floor.

  • Flick- a quick, light movement
  • Shuffling- dragging (here)
  • Dribble- repeated hits on a ball to make it go ahead
  • Pastime- distraction; entertainment

The otter quickly learned to follow the author without being led. When he called its name, it would come to him. Mij enjoyed playing a lot. He'd spend most of his time with a ball, dragging and pushing it around the room and chasing it. Otters are known to enjoy lying on their backs and juggling objects between their paws. Mij, on the other hand, enjoyed playing with marbles and never dropped one on the floor. He would roll two or more marbles on his broad, flat stomach.

The days passed peacefully at Basra, but I dreaded the prospect of transporting Mij to England, and to Camusfearna. The British airline to London would not fly animals, so I booked a flight to Paris on another airline, and from there to London. The airline insisted that Mij should be packed into a box not more than eighteen inches square, to be carried on the floor at my feet. I had a box made, and an hour before we started, I put Mij into the box so that he would become accustomed to it, and left for a hurried meal.

  • Accustomed- familiar
  • Dreaded the prospect- was in great fear of something that would happen in the future

After a peaceful stay in Basra, it was time to take Mijbil to England, and the author was nervous even thinking about travelling with him. Because British Airways refused to transport animals, he booked with another airline, which insisted on Mij being transported in a box no larger than eighteen inches square. The flight from Basra to England was not direct. They had to fly to Paris first, then to London. As instructed by the airline, the narrator placed Mij in a box an hour before takeoff, allowing it enough time to become comfortable before departing for a quick meal.

When I returned, there was an appalling spectacle. There was complete silence from the box, but from its airholes and chinks around the lid, blood had trickled and dried. I whipped off the lock and tore open the lid, and Mij, exhausted and blood spattered, whimpered and caught at my leg. He had torn the lining of the box to shreds; when I removed the last of it so that there were no cutting edges left, it was just ten minutes until the time of the flight, and the airport was five miles distant. I put the miserable Mij back into the box, holding down the lid with my hand.

  • An appalling spectacle- a shocking scene
  • Whipped off- quickly took off
  • Trickled- drip, flow
  • Shreds- pieces

Following the meal, the narrator faced his greatest fear. The box was motionless, and blood was dripping from the air holes. He panicked and opened the box, only to discover the inner lining ripped by a terrified Mij. The narrator cleaned the box and removed every piece of the sharp metal lining. It was only ten minutes until the flight took off that everything was back in place, and they had to cover a five-mile distance. Gavin put Mij in the box and closed the lid with his hand to keep him from escaping.

I sat in the back of the car with the box beside me as the driver tore through the streets of Basra like a ricochetting bullet. The aircraft was waiting to take off; I was rushed through to it by infuriated officials. Luckily, the seat booked for me was at the extreme front. I covered the floor around my feet with newspapers, rang for the air hostess, and gave her a parcel of fish (for Mij) to keep in a cool place. I took her into my confidence about the events of the last half hour. I have retained the most profound admiration for that air hostess; she was the very queen of her kind. She suggested that I might prefer to have my pet on my knee, and I could have kissed her hand in the depth of my gratitude. But, not knowing otters, I was quite unprepared for what followed.

  • Ricocheting bullet- a bullet with changes direction after hitting a surface
  • Infuriated- very angry
  • Took her into my confidence- here, shared with her my experiences or secrets

The narrator scurried into a cab after cleaning up the mess. The cab sped up, negotiating the turns like a ricocheting bullet. He arrived just before the flight took off, which irritated the officials. He took his seat and handed Mijbil's fish food package to the air hostess for refrigeration. He told her about the incident that had caused them to be delayed, and she gladly understood while telling him what to do next. Gavin had a lot of respect for the air hostess because she was so helpful. He heeded her advice and sat with the box on his lap. He felt like kissing her hand as a gesture of gratitude for her assistance.

Mij was out of the box in a flash. He disappeared at high speed down the aircraft. There were squawks and shrieks, and a woman stood up on her seat screaming out, “A rat! A rat!” I caught sight of Mij’s tail disappearing beneath the legs of a portly white turbaned Indian. Diving for it, I missed, but found my face covered in curry. “Perhaps,” said the air hostess with the most charming smile, “it would be better if you resumed your seat, and I will find the animal and bring it to you.”

  • Portly- stout

Mij jumped out of the box and vanished as soon as the author opened it. There was chaos everywhere, passengers were terrified, and a lady climbed onto her chair. When he saw Mij beneath the seat of a white-turbaned man, he tried to catch him and ended up with his face covered in curry, only to discover that Mij had vanished. Just then, the air hostess offered to assist Mij in his search and advised him to return to his seat.

I returned to my seat. I was craning my neck trying to follow the hunt when suddenly I heard from my feet a distressed chitter of recognition and welcome, and Mij bounded on to my knee and began to nuzzle my face and my neck.

  • Craning- stretch out one’s body or neck in order to see something
  • Distressed- troubled
  • Recognition- identification; acknowledgement
  • Nuzzle- to rub gently with the nose
  • Bounded on to- climbed up quickly

When the air hostess asked him to, the narrator returned to his seat and began looking for Mij. Only then did he hear some chittering as Mij climbed up his knee to reach his face. Mij had come back.

III.

After an eventful journey, Maxwell and his otter reach London, where he has a flat

Mij and I remained in London for nearly a month. He would play for hours with a selection of toys, ping-pong balls, marbles, rubber fruit, and a terrapin shell that I had brought back from his native marshes. With the ping-pong ball he invented a game of his own which could keep him engrossed for up to half an hour at a time. A suitcase that I had taken to Iraq had become damaged on the journey home, so that the lid, when closed, remained at a slope from one end to the other. Mij discovered that if he placed the ball on the high end it would run down the length of the suitcase. He would dash around to the other end to ambush its arrival, hide from it, crouching, to spring up and take it by surprise, grab it and trot off with it to the high end once more.

  • Terrapin shell- the shell of small turtle found in North America
  • Engrossed- completely interested in
  • Ambush- to attack suddenly from a hidden position
  • Crouching- squat; adopt a position where the knees are bent and the upper body is brought forward and down, typically in order to avoid detection or to defend oneself
  • Trot off- to leave

They stayed in London for a month, during which Mij learned to immerse himself in a plethora of games. Ping-pong balls, marbles, rubber fruit, and a terrapin shell were among his favourite toys. For about 30 minutes, he was occupied by a ping-pong ball. Gavin's suitcase had been damaged during the trip. It slanted from one end to the other. Mij would roll the ball from one end of the field to the other. Then he'd dash to the far end and hide, waiting for the ball to arrive. He'd jump up just in time to catch the ball off guard. Then he'd catch the ball and sprint back to the top of the suitcase. He'd hit the ball from the other end again, which was thrilling.

Outside the house I exercised him on a lead, precisely as if he had been a dog. Mij quickly developed certain compulsive habits on these walks in the London streets, like the rituals of children who on their way to and from school must place their feet squarely on the centre of each paving block; must touch every seventh upright of the iron railings, or pass to the outside of every second lamp post. Opposite to my flat was a single-storied primary school, along whose frontage ran a low wall some two feet high. On his way home, but never on his way out, Mij would tug me to this wall, jump on to it, and gallop the full length of its thirty yards, to the hopeless distraction both of pupils and of staff within.

  • compulsive: irresistible
  • rituals: a religious ceremony
  • tug: pull
  • gallop: run fast

Gavin would walk Mij and exercise him like a pet dog. Mij ran around the streets in the same way that schoolchildren did. Like children, they developed habits such as placing their feet in the centre of each block that came their way, touching every seventh pole of the railing, and crisscrossing out of the street light poles. Opposite the author's flat was a primary school with only the ground floor under construction. A low-rise wall, nearly two feet high, ran along the school's perimeter. Mij would pull Gavin towards the wall, jump on it, and run the entire length of it at high speed on their way back home. He would draw the attention of the students and faculty members inside the school.

It is not, I suppose, in any way strange that the average Londoner should not recognise an otter, but the variety of guesses as to what kind of animal this might be came as a surprise to me. Otters belong to a comparatively small group of animals called Mustellines, shared by the badger, mongoose, weasel, stoat, mink and others. I faced a continuous barrage of conjectural questions that sprayed all the Mustellines but the otter; more random guesses hit on ‘a baby seal’ and ‘a squirrel.’ ‘Is that a walrus, mister?’ reduced me to giggles, and outside a dog show I heard ‘a hippo’. A beaver, a bear cub, a leopard — one, apparently, that had changed its spots — and a ‘brontosaur’; Mij was anything but an otter.

  • Barrage of conjectural questions- a stream of questions filled with guesses

Because otters are not a common sighting in London, the author found it odd that the residents were unable to identify one. People made wild guesses about Mij. Otters are members of the Mustelline family, which also includes the badger, mongoose, weasel, stoat, mink, and others. All of the animals in the group could be guessed except Otter. The most popular guesses were a baby seal or a squirrel. Some people thought Mijbil was a hippo, a beaver, a leopard, a walrus, and so on.

But the question for which I awarded the highest score came from a labourer digging a hole in the street. I was still far from him when he laid down his tool, put his hands on his hips, and began to stare. As I drew nearer I saw his expression of surprise and affront, as though he would have me know that he was not one upon whom to play jokes. I came abreast of him; he spat, glared, and then growled out, “Here, Mister — what is that supposed to be?”

  • affront: insult
  • spat: past tense of spit

The most shocking response came from a labourer digging a hole who paused his work to observe Mij. The man set aside his tool, rested his hands on his back, and stared at Mij. His expressions of surprise and annoyance indicated that he would not put up with any nonsense. He spat, stared at them, and asked the author loudly what that (Mijbil) was supposed to be.

About the Author

Gavin Maxwell was a Scottish naturalist who lived from July 15, 1914 to September 7, 1969. His work with otters is his most well-known. Maxwell grew up in a small village near Port William in Scotland. In 1969, he died of cancer.

8. Mijbil The Otter

Milbil the Otter

by Gavin Maxwell

Introduction

Mijbil the Otter, the story explained the beautiful bond of the author with his pet otter, Mijbil and the series of incidents that followed during their onward journey to London

Summary

Gavin Maxwell depicts the humorous incidents of keeping an otter as his pet. In the beginning he delves deep into finding out an otter as a pet. His hard work paid at last when he was able to get an otter. A different and new phase started for the narrator with the entry of the otter. The way it came out of the sack and shook himself the floor of the room became dirty. He christened him Mijbil. The otter became quite friendly with the narrator, enjoying splashing and sloshing water in the bathtub. He amused himself with water by opening the tap and sometimes he lay on his back and juggled with small objects between his paws.

The narrator had to take Mij to England where he was to be packed in a very small box which was bitten to shreds by Mij. He took the air hostess into his confidence and shared the secret of the otter with her. She advised him to keep it on his knees from where the otter disappeared in the plane. It created a lot of chaos. Somehow the otter came under his control and the journey ended. In London the narrator had to face many problems as people were asking one or the other questions about this unusual pet.

Explanation

EARLY in the New Year of 1956 I travelled to Southern Iraq. By then it had crossed my mind that I should like to keep an otter instead of a dog, and that Camusfearna, ringed by water a stone’s throw from its door, would be an eminently suitable spot for this experiment.

Word meanings

  1. Crossed my mind-  got an idea  or (a thought) came into my mind
  2. A stone’s throw- a very short distance
     
  3. Otter- a semi aquatic fish-eating mammal of the weasel family, with an elongated body, dense fur, and webbed feet
  4. Eminently- highly; very

It was in the year 1956, when the author went to  Southern Iraq, there  he thought  that he should keep an otter as a pet instead of a dog as there the place ‘Camusfearna’ being surrounded by and near the  waters , is quite perfect for that purpose.  

When I casually mentioned this to a friend, he as casually replied that I had better get one in the Tigris marshes, for there they were as common as mosquitoes, and were often tamed by the Arabs. We were going to Basra to the Consulate-General to collect and answer our mail from Europe. At the Consulate-General we found that my friend’s mail had arrived but that mine had not.

I cabled to England, and when, three days later, nothing had happened, I tried to telephone. The call had to be booked twenty-four hours in advance. On the first day the line was out of order; on the second the exchange was closed for a religious holiday. On the third day there was another breakdown. My friend left, and I arranged to meet him in a week’s time. Five days later, my mail arrived.

Word meanings

  1. As common as mosquitoes- abundantly available  
  2. Tamed- domesticate (an animal)
  3. Cabled- sent a message by telegraph (an old method of communication)
  4. Breakdown- a mechanical failure

The author during his casual  conversation, was suggested by his friend that he should get an otter in the Tigris marshes since they are available there on large scale and mostly tamed by the Arabs. Meanwhile they were going to Basra to the Consulate-General to collect and answer their mail from Europe. However, by reaching there, the author found that only his friend’s mail had arrived but not his.

He tried to contact through telegraph but didn’t get any response. So, he managed to contact through phone for which booking before 24 hours was required. This time also he failed to connect as on first day, the line was of reach, on second day, exchange was closed due to religious holiday and on third day, there was another breakdown.

After deciding that they would meet at the end of a week , Author’s friend was left . Finally on 5th day , Author’s mail arrived.

Word meanings

I carried it to my bedroom to read, and there, squatting on the floor, were two Arabs; beside them lay a sack that squirmed from time to time. They handed me a note from my friend: “Here is your otter…”

Word meanings

Squatting- crouch or sit with one’s knees bent and one’s heels close to or touching one’s buttocks or the back of one’s thighs
Squirmed- twisted about

After receiving the mail, the author went to his bedroom to read it, where he found two Arabs with a sack which was twisting again and again. He received a note from the Arabs through which he got to know that in the sack, there was an otter gifted to him by his friend.

With the opening of that sack began a phase of my life that has not yet ended, and may, for all I know, not end before I do. It is, in effect, a thraldom to otters, an otter fixation, that I have since found to be shared by most other people, who have ever owned one.

Word meanings

  1. Thraldom- (old fashioned) being under the control of
  2. Fixation- a very strong attachment or feeling

The author says that  the moment when he received an otter as a pet , was actually the beginning of a new  phase of experience in  is life  and would  last till his life. A deep bond of love was developed between them that he was always keen to share his feelings towards the otter to those who never tamed an otter.

The creature that emerged from this sack on to the spacious tiled floor of the Consulate bedroom resembled most of all a very small, medievally-conceived, dragon. From the head to the tip of the tail he was coated with symmetrical pointed scales of mud armour, between whose tips was visible a soft velvet fur like that of a chocolate-brown mole. He shook himself, and I half expected a cloud of dust, but in fact it was not for another month that I managed to remove the last of the mud and see the otter, as it were, in his true colours.

Word meanings
Medievally conceived- an imagination of the middle ages

On the floor of his big bedroom, the otter was looking like a small dragon with a symmetrical coating of mud armour from his tip to tail. His soft velvet fur of chocolate brown could be seen between the points of mud. It took a month to remove the mud completely after which the otter’s real color and texture was visible properly.

Mijbil, as I called the otter, was, in fact, of a race previously unknown to science, and was at length christened by zoologists Lutrogale perspicillata maxwelli, or Maxwell’s otter. For the first twentyfour hours Mijbil was neither hostile nor friendly; he was simply aloof and indifferent, choosing to sleep on the floor as far from my bed as possible. The second night Mijbil came on to my bed in the small hours and remained asleep in the crook of my knees until the servant brought tea in the morning, and during the day he began to lose his apathy and take a keen, much too keen, interest in his surroundings.

Word meanings

  1. Christened- named
  2. Hostile- unfriendly
  3. Aloof and indifferent- keeping a distance
  4. Apathy- absence of interest
  5. Crook of my knees- soft inside part where you bend your knees

The author started calling him ‘ Mijbil ‘ as his specie was recently searched  and named by zoologists Lutrogale perspicillata maxwelli, or Maxwell’s otter.

Mijbil remained alone  , indifferent and  unfriendly for last 24 hours , however on day 2 it came  on to the author’s bed and slept under his soft knees till the tea time in the morning

Since the third day it started exploring his surroundings with great zeal

I made a body-belt for him and took him on a lead to the bathroom, where for half an hour he went wild with joy in the water, plunging and rolling in it, shooting up and down the length of the bathtub underwater, and making enough slosh and splash for a hippo. This, I was to learn, is a characteristic of otters; every drop of water must be, so to speak, extended and spread about the place; a bowl must at once be overturned, or, if it will not be overturned, be sat in and sploshed in until it overflows. Water must be kept on the move and made to do things; when static it is wasted and provoking.

Word meanings

So as to speak- as it were (one could say this)
Provoking- causing anger or some other reaction
Plunging- falling; sinking
Sploshed- splashed
Static- motionless

The author made a body belt for otter and took him in the bathroom where it got overjoyed and started wildly playing in water by falling, sinking and making splash  like a hippopotamus. That day the author realized that otters like enjoying and playing with water.

The otter made sure that each drop of water

Must be overturned , splashed and kept on move other wise is would be static and make him angry

Two days later, Mijbil escaped from my bedroom as I entered it, and I turned to see his tail disappearing round the bend of the corridor that led to the bathroom. By the time I got there he was up on the end of the bathtub and fumbling at the chromium taps with his paws. I watched, amazed; in less than a minute he had turned the tap far enough to produce a trickle of water, and after a moment or two achieved the full flow. (He had been lucky to turn the tap the right way; on later occasions he would sometimes screw it up still tighter, chittering with irritation and disappointment at the tap’s failure to cooperate.)

Word meanings

Fumbling- trying to do something in a clumsy manner
Trickle- flow in a small stream
Chittering- make a twittering or chattering sound
chromium- a hard white metal used to make taps

It took two days to get familiar with the house for Mijbil to move accordingly. Soon it started exploring the bathroom itself and trying to open the tap itself and gradually became expert after some failure.

One day the author got amazed when he saw that Mijbil itself moved towards the bathroom and managed to get a trickle and afterwards a flow of water as earlier it used to chitter in failure and disappointment for not being successful in opening the tap.

Very soon Mij would follow me without a lead and come to me when I called his name. He spent most of his time in play. He spent hours shuffling a rubber ball round the room like a four-footed soccer player using all four feet to dribble the ball, and he could also throw it, with a powerful flick of the neck, to a surprising height and distance. But the real play of an otter is when he lies on his back and juggles with small objects between his paws. Marbles were Mij’s favourite toys for this pastime: he would lie on his back rolling two or more of them up and down his wide, flat belly without ever dropping one to the floor.

Word meanings

Flick- a quick, light movement
Shuffling- dragging (here)
Dribble- repeated hits on a ball to make it go ahead
Pastime- distraction; entertainment

In a small span of time, the otter started following the author When its name was called. He used to spend most of his time playing with a ball across the room . It could not only drag but also throw the ball at the surprising height with the quick movement of his neck.

Otters usually like to juggle things by lying on their backs.  Mijbil also fond of doing the same with the marbles.

The days passed peacefully at Basra, but I dreaded the prospect of transporting Mij to England, and to Camusfearna. The British airline to London would not fly animals, so I booked a flight to Paris on another airline, and from there to London. The airline insisted that Mij should be packed into a box not more than eighteen inches square, to be carried on the floor at my feet. I had a box made, and an hour before we started, I put Mij into the box so that he would become accustomed to it, and left for a hurried meal.

Word meanings

Accustomed- familiar
Dreaded the prospect- was in great fear of something that would happen in the future

After spending time peacefully at Basra, now time came to move England and Camusfearna that made the author quite worried as animals were not allowed in British airlines. So, he booked the flight of Paris and then to London on another airlines. However, that  airlines also insisted the author to keep Mij in a wooden box of not more than 18 inches. As per the demand the author did the same and put Mij into the box so that he would get habitual of it, and then he left for having a quick meal.

When I returned, there was an appalling spectacle. There was complete silence from the box, but from its airholes and chinks around the lid, blood had trickled and dried. I whipped off the lock and tore open the lid, and Mij, exhausted and blood spattered, whimpered and caught at my leg. He had torn the lining of the box to shreds; when I removed the last of it so that there were no cutting edges left, it was just ten minutes until the time of the flight, and the airport was five miles distant. I put the miserable Mij back into the box, holding down the lid with my hand.

Word meanings

An appalling spectacle- a shocking scene
Whipped off- quickly took off
Trickled- drip, flow
Shreds- pieces

When the author returned, he got shocked as the blood was dripping and flowing out of the box . The author quickly took off the lock and opened the lid and found Mij in blood.

It was completely exhausted as it had torn the lining of the box into pieces. Author cleaned the box and removed each piece of sharp metal.

Till then it was only ten minutes left for the flight and the airport was at the distance of 5 miles. Author placed Mij in the box and closed the lid with his hand, lest he should escape.

I sat in the back of the car with the box beside me as the driver tore through the streets of Basra like a ricochetting bullet. The aircraft was waiting to take off; I was rushed through to it by infuriated officials. Luckily, the seat booked for me was at the extreme front. I covered the floor around my feet with newspapers, rang for the air hostess, and gave her a parcel of fish (for Mij) to keep in a cool place. I took her into my confidence about the events of the last half hour. I have retained the most profound admiration for that air hostess; she was the very queen of her kind. She suggested that I might prefer to have my pet on my knee, and I could have kissed her hand in the depth of my gratitude. But, not knowing otters, I was quite unprepared for what followed.

Word meanings

Ricocheting bullet- a bullet with changes direction after hitting a surface
Infuriated- very angry
Took her into my confidence- here, shared with her my experiences or secrets

Author took the cab to reach the airport which moved at a very high speed like that of a bullet which changes its direction after hitting a surface.  At the airport the flight was waiting to take off. He rushed towards it without caring others that irritated the officials. Luckily his seat was at the front. He called for the hostess and gave her a package of fish (otter’s meal )  to be kept in the freezer. He even her about the reason of his delay which she not only considered but also advised him to took his pet on his knees. The author was quite gracious for she was very kind and thoughtful. He  wished to kiss her hand to express his thanks.

Mij was out of the box in a flash. He disappeared at high speed down the aircraft. There were squawks and shrieks, and a woman stood up on her seat screaming out, “A rat! A rat!” I caught sight of Mij’s tail disappearing beneath the legs of a portly white turbaned Indian. Diving for it, I missed, but found my face covered in curry. “Perhaps,” said the air hostess with the most charming smile, “it would be better if you resumed your seat, and I will find the animal and bring it to you.”

Portly- stout

Mij managed to escape and disappeared at high speed down the aircraft. It spread a tumultuous situation as everyone got horrified. Ladies started screaming  and shouting, “A rat! A rat!”. The author suddenly found Mij’s tail disappearing beneath the legs of a portly white turbaned Indian. He managed to catch it but failed and got his face covered in a curry at last.

The hostess, with a most charming smile advised him to be on his seat and assured him that she would find and bring the animal back.

I returned to my seat. I was craning my neck trying to follow the hunt when suddenly I heard from my feet a distressed chitter of recognition and welcome, and Mij bounded on to my knee and began to nuzzle my face and my neck.

Word meanings

Craning- stretch out one’s body or neck in order to see something
Distressed- troubled
Recognition- identification; acknowledgement
Nuzzle- to rub gently with the nose
Bounded on to- climbed up quickly

As per requested by the air hostess, the author returned to his seat but kept looking for Mij here and there.  Suddenly he heard the chittering sound of Mij that climbed up to the author and started rubbing his nose gently on his face and neck.

III.

After an eventful journey, Maxwell and his otter reach London, where he has a flat

Mij and I remained in London for nearly a month. He would play for hours with a selection of toys, ping-pong balls, marbles, rubber fruit, and a terrapin shell that I had brought back from his native marshes. With the ping-pong ball he invented a game of his own which could keep him engrossed for up to half an hour at a time. A suitcase that I had taken to Iraq had become damaged on the journey home, so that the lid, when closed, remained at a slope from one end to the other. Mij discovered that if he placed the ball on the high end it would run down the length of the suitcase. He would dash around to the other end to ambush its arrival, hide from it, crouching, to spring up and take it by surprise, grab it and trot off with it to the high end once more.

Word meanings

Terrapin shell- the shell of small turtle found in North America
Engrossed- completely interested in
Ambush- to attack suddenly from a hidden position
Crouching- squat; adopt a position where the knees are bent and the upper body is brought forward and down, typically in order to avoid detection or to defend oneself
Trot off- to leave

In London they remained for half a month. There, Mij used to play for hours with a selection of toys, ping-pong balls, marbles, rubber fruit, and a terrapin shell that the author had brought back from his native marshes. He even invented his own game using the damaged suitcase of the author which had a slope from one end to another. Mij would roll the ball from higher end, rush and hide to its lower side waiting for the ball to reach there. As soon as the ball reach, he would jump in joy to surprise the ball and repeat the same actions again and again.

Outside the house I exercised him on a lead, precisely as if he had been a dog. Mij quickly developed certain compulsive habits on these walks in the London streets, like the rituals of children who on their way to and from school must place their feet squarely on the centre of each paving block; must touch every seventh upright of the iron railings, or pass to the outside of every second lamp post. Opposite to my flat was a single-storied primary school, along whose frontage ran a low wall some two feet high. On his way home, but never on his way out, Mij would tug me to this wall, jump on to it, and gallop the full length of its thirty yards, to the hopeless distraction both of pupils and of staff within.

Word meanings

compulsive: irresistable
rituals: a religious ceremony
tug: pull
gallop: run fast

The author used to take Mijbil outside for exercise. Soon he developed the habit of placing his feet at the center of each paving block, touching every seventh iron railings or passing out of every second lamp post , in the streets just like school going kids.

There was a primary school surrounded by a two feet high wall,  at the opposite of author’s flat.

Every time on his way to home, Mij used to pull author to the wall to run fast on it thereby grabbing the attention of the staff and the students.

It is not, I suppose, in any way strange that the average Londoner should not recognise an otter, but the variety of guesses as to what kind of animal this might be came as a surprise to me. Otters belong to a comparatively small group of animals called Mustellines, shared by the badger, mongoose, weasel, stoat, mink and others. I faced a continuous barrage of conjectural questions that sprayed all the Mustellines but the otter; more random guesses hit on ‘a baby seal’ and ‘a squirrel.’ ‘Is that a walrus, mister?’ reduced me to giggles, and outside a dog show I heard ‘a hippo’. A beaver, a bear cub, a leopard — one, apparently, that had changed its spots — and a ‘brontosaur’; Mij was anything but an otter.
Barrage of conjectural questions- a stream of questions filled with guesses

According to author it was not a matter of surprise that residents of London were not able to recognize Mij as an otter as it was generally not kept as a pet there.

They used to make plenty of guesses about what kind of animal it could be that sometimes would surprise the author and made him amused

Otters belong to a comparatively small group of animals called Mustellines, shared by the badger, mongoose, weasel, stoat, mink and others.

 However, people used to make certain guesses and ask questions if it was baby seal, squirrel, walrus, hippo, beaver, a bear cub, brontosaur etc.

But the question for which I awarded the highest score came from a labourer digging a hole in the street. I was still far from him when he laid down his tool, put his hands on his hips, and began to stare. As I drew nearer I saw his expression of surprise and affront, as though he would have me know that he was not one upon whom to play jokes. I came abreast of him; he spat, glared, and then growled out, “Here, Mister — what is that supposed to be?”

Word meanings

affront: insult
spat: past tense of spit

The question which was extremely shocking was asked by a labour, digging a hole in a street. He  saw the author with  Mij at distant and started staring at it, putting down his tools and hands on hip. He was showing his expressions as if he was not going to tolerate any joke played on him. When author came nearer, he spat and asked what that creature (Mij) supposed to be.

 Question and Answers

Q1. What ‘experiment’ did Maxwell think Camusfearna would be suitable for?
Answer. Maxwell thought that as Camusfearna would  be suitable for  domesticating an otter

Q2. Why does he go to Basra? How long does he wait there, and why?
Answer. He had gone to Basra to the Consulate-General to receive and answer his mail from Europe. Unfortunately, only his friend’s mail had arrived.  Therefore, he tried connecting to England via telegraph and telephone but could not associate due to waiting period, holidays and technical glitches for another couple of days. His mail arrived after waiting for 5 days.

 Q3. How does he get the otter? Does he like it? Pick out the words that tell you this.

Answer. The author received a gift from his friend. When he arrived two Arabs were waiting for him with a sack that was twisting again and again. With  a note he got to know that there was an otter in the sack. The author liked the otter very much. The phrase  ‘Otter fixation ‘ used  by the author for his attraction is an evidence of that.

 Q4. Why was the otter named ‘Maxwell’s otter’?
Answer.Otters are of a race previously unknown to science, and were at length named by zoologists as Lutrogale perspicillata maxwelli, or Maxwell’s otter.

Q5. Tick the right answer. In the beginning, the otter was.
• Aloof and indifferent
• friendly
• hostile

Answer.  In the beginning, the otter was aloof and indifferent.

 Q6. What happened when Maxwell took Mijbil to the bathroom? What did it do two days after that?
Answer. When Maxwell took Mijbil to the bathroom, for half an hour he went wild with joy in the water, plunging and rolling in it, shooting up and down the length of the bathtub underwater, and making enough slosh and splash for a hippo. Two days later, it escaped into the bathroom and Maxwell saw it opening the tap, all by itself.

 Q7. How was Mij to be transported to England?
Answer. The author had to travel through Paris using another airlines where he was asked to carry the pet in a box.

Q8. What did Mij do to the box?
Answer. Mij had torn the inner lining of the box to shreds. The lining was made of metal, thus, in the process of tearing off the lining, he hurt himself and started bleeding.

 Q9. Why did Maxwell put the otter back in the box? How do you think he felt when he did this?
Answer. Maxwell removed every bit of the shredded inner lining so that Mij won’t hurt himself. He then kept the otter back in the box as they had to reach the flight on time. He must have felt pity and be worried about Mij.

 Q10. Why does Maxwell say the airhostess was “the very queen of her kind”?
Answer.  When Maxwell boarded the flight, he took the air hostess into confidence about the latest incidents. Being understanding, friendly and kind, she advised him to keep the box on his lap. Thus, the way she listened and helped him, led to an admiration that made the narrator say that she was “the very queen of her kind”.

 Q11. What happened when the box was opened?
Answer. As soon as he opened the box, Mij flashed out of it and disappeared. Everyone in the flight panicked and a lady even climbed her chair. Finally when he saw Mij’s tail disappearing beneath a turbaned man, he tried to catch hold of him and in the process, ended up covering his face with curry. After having created such a chaos, the air hostess advised him to go to his seat while she brought Mij back to him.

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9.Madam Rides the Bus

Lesson-9

Madam Rides the Bus

By Vallikkannan

Madam Rides the Bus Introduction

The lesson "Madam Rides the Bus" is about a brave eight-year-old who had a strong desire and the courage to follow through on it. She enjoyed looking at the hustle and bustle of the street, and her favourite part was seeing a bus arrive and depart. As a result, she developed a strong desire to travel by bus. She needed all sorts of information about the bus trip, as well as the bus fare, and she needed to plan it so that she could be home before her mother woke up from her afternoon nap. As a result, the storey recounts how she innocently but responsibly fulfilled her deepest desire, as well as her experiences on the bus ride. What happens to make her realise the reality of death.

Madam Rides the Bus Summary

The lesson is about an eight-year-old girl named Valli who didn't have any friends to play with and so spent her time watching what was going on in the street. Her favourite part was looking out the window at the bus that passed through her village every hour. Every time the bus passed by, she was filled with joy as she looked at the new set of passengers. She, too, eventually desired to travel by bus. Soon, the wish became a desire, and she made it her mission to fulfil it. She began listening in on conversations between her neighbours who took the bus frequently, and in the process, she would ask a few careful questions here and there to gather more information. She knew that the town was six miles away from her village and that the bus took 45 minutes to travel one way. A one-way fare was thirty pence, making a round-trip fare of sixty pence.

 As a result, she began planning and re-planning her escape during her mother's afternoon nap and returning without her mother noticing. She needed to save money, which was difficult because she had to resist the temptations of candy, peppermint, and merry-go-round. She eventually saved enough money, and one fine day, the brave eight-year-old took the bus during non-peak hours. She refused to accept assistance from the conductor or other passengers. Everyone found it amusing to see such a small girl acting like an adult all by herself. The conductor was joking, so he referred to Valli as a grown-up'madam.' Valli, who was short in stature, would stand on her seat to get a better view out the window, despite everyone's advice to sit for her own safety. Valli was irritated every time someone intruded on her business because she did not consider herself a child.

She didn't want to be friends with an elderly lady who was concerned about her because she didn't think she was socially capable. She was interested in what was going on outside, and the sight of a running cow in the middle of a road was unexpectedly amusing to her. She refused to get off the bus when they arrived in town because she was too scared to do so alone. She returned with great zeal until she came across a lifeless cow on the road. It was the same cow that had been so happy before. Valli was terrified at the thought of how a creature so full of life could transform into something horrible in an instant.

She sat silently for the remainder of the journey. When she arrived home, she found her mother and aunt discussing the endless possibilities in the world outside. Valli confirmed what her mother was saying, which surprised both of them. She then explained her reaction by saying she was casually agreeing with what her mother was saying. Her aunt then referred to Valli as a nose-poking child who acts like a grown-up lady, but only Valli understood what she meant because no one knew about her bus trip.

I.

THERE was a girl named Valliammai who was called Valli for short. She was eight years old and very curious about things. Her favourite pastime was standing in the front doorway of her house, watching what was happening in the street outside. There were no playmates of her own age on her street, and this was about all she had to do.

  • Curious- eager to know or learn something

The plot revolves around an eight-year-old girl named Valliammai, or Valli for short. Valli, like any other child, is curious about new and unknown things, which leads her to spend the entire day staring at the hustle and bustle of the street. Furthermore, she has no friends to play with, so her only option is to observe what is going on outside.

But for Valli, standing at the front door was every bit as enjoyable as any of the elaborate games other children played. Watching the street gave her many new unusual experiences.The most fascinating thing of all was the bus that travelled between her village and the nearest town. It passed through her street each hour, once going to the town and once coming back. The sight of the bus, filled each time with a new set of passengers, was a source of unending joy for Valli.

Even though she couldn't play with her friends, she found that watching what was going on in the world to be just as entertaining. She learned a lot of new things during the process, and the best part was watching the bus arrive and depart from her village to a nearby town. The bus crossed the village street every hour, once on its way to town and once on its way back. Valli was filled with excitement and joy every time the bus crossed the street with a new set of passengers.

Day after day she watched the bus, and gradually a tiny wish crept into her head and grew there: she wanted to ride on that bus, even if just once. This wish became stronger and stronger, until it was an overwhelming desire. Valli would stare wistfully at the people who got on or off the bus when it stopped at the street corner. Their faces would kindle in her longings, dreams, and hopes. If one of her friends happened to ride the bus and tried to describe the sights of the town to her, Valli would be too jealous to listen and would shout, in English: “Proud! proud!” Neither she nor her friends really understood the meaning of the word, but they used it often as a slang expression of disapproval.

  • Wistfully- longingly
  • Kindle- set alight (fire), here, feelings
  • A slang expression- informal words, often used within a close group

After watching the bus arrive and depart for a couple of days, she wished she could ride it just once. Soon, the wish grew stronger and became a desire, indicating that there was now a greater desire to travel by bus. She'd be mesmerised by the expressions on the faces of those who got off the bus. Her desire grew to the point where she would be jealous if any of her friends took the bus and told her about their experiences. When she heard them, she would exclaim, "Proud!, Proud!" She and her friends had no idea what the word "proud" meant, but they used it to express their disapproval.

Over many days and months Valli listened carefully to conversations between her neighbours and people who regularly used the bus, and she also asked a few discreet questions here and there. This way she picked up various small details about the bus journey. The town was six miles from her village. The fare was thirty paise one way — “which is almost nothing at all,” she heard one well-dressed man say, but to Valli, who scarcely saw that much money from one month to the next, it seemed a fortune. The trip to the town took forty-five minutes. On reaching town, if she stayed in her seat and paid another thirty paise, she could return home on the same bus. This meant that she could take the one-o’clock afternoon bus, reach the town at one forty-five, and be back home by about two forty-five…
On and on went her thoughts as she calculated and recalculated, planned and replanned.

  • Discreet questions- careful questions

To fulfil her desire to travel by bus alone, she needed to be well-prepared with all kinds of information. As a result, she began to pay attention to conversations between her neighbours who were used to taking the bus and, in the process, asked a few more careful questions to gain more information. In this manner, she devised a strategy and learned that the town was six miles from the village, that the one-way fare was thirty paise, which was nothing for a well-dressed man but was too much for Valli, and that the trip duration on one side was forty-five minutes. If she paid thirty more paise, the same bus that had taken her to town would return her. Thus, if she could board the bus at one o'clock in the afternoon and arrive at one forty-five, she could return to the village by two-forty-five. She calculated that way to save that much money and time to sneak out without anyone noticing.

II.

Well, one fine spring day the afternoon bus was just on the point of leaving the village and turning into the main highway when a small voice was heard shouting: “Stop the bus! Stop the bus!” And a tiny hand was raised commandingly

The riding day arrived after much re-planning and re-calculation. The bus was on its way to the main highway when they heard a shouting voice commanding them to stop.

The bus slowed down to a crawl, and the conductor, sticking his head out the door, said, “Hurry then! Tell whoever it is to come quickly.” “It’s me,” shouted Valli. “I’m the one who has to get on.” By now the bus had come to a stop, and the conductor said, “Oh, really! You don’t say so!” “Yes, I simply have to go to town,” said Valli, still standing outside the bus, “and here’s my money.” She showed him some coins. “Okay, okay, but first you must get on the bus,” said the conductor, and he stretched out a hand to help her up. “Never mind,” she said, “I can get on by myself. You don’t have to help me.”

When the conductor heard the voice, the bus slowed down, and when he saw Valli, a small girl, he asked her to tell the one who was supposed to travel to hurry up. When Valli informed him that she was a passenger, he was taken aback by the sight of such a young girl and ordered the bus to come to a halt. The conductor couldn't believe she was about to travel alone. She then handed him her bus ticket. The conductor offered her assistance in climbing the bus, but as responsible and proud as she was, she made it clear that she did not require assistance.

The conductor was a jolly sort, fond of joking. “Oh, please don’t be angry with me, my fine madam,” he said. “Here, have a seat right up there in front. Everybody move aside please — make way for madam.” It was the slack time of day, and there were only six or seven passengers on the bus. They were all looking at Valli and laughing with the conductor. Valli was overcome with shyness. Avoiding everyone’s eyes, she walked quickly to an empty seat and sat down

  • Slack time-a time when there is not much work

When little Valli refused to accept any assistance, the conductor sarcastically told her not to be angry with him because he was only trying to help. He addressed her as'madam' and escorted her to her seat, telling other passengers to make room for the'madam.' Because it was late afternoon, not many people were out and about, so everyone's attention was focused on Valli. Together with the conductor, they all adored her. Valli became shy as everyone laughed, so she hurried to her seat.

“May we start now, madam?” the conductor asked, smiling. Then he blew his whistle twice, and the bus moved forward with a roar. It was a new bus, its outside painted a gleaming white with some green stripes along the sides. Inside, the overhead bars shone like silver. Directly in front of Valli, above the windshield, there was a beautiful clock. The seats were soft and luxurious.

Again, in a sarcastic tone, the conductor seeks'madam's approval before embarking on the journey, and then blows his whistle twice to signal the driver to begin the bus. The bus was brand new, as evidenced by the gleaming overhead silver bars. The seats were extremely comfortable, and there was a clock directly in front of Valli. The outside was painted a brilliant white with green stripes down the sides.

Valli devoured everything with her eyes. But when she started to look outside, she found her view cut off by a canvas blind that covered the lower part of her window. So she stood up on the seat and peered over the blind.

  • Devoured- read quickly and eagerly (here)
  • Canvas- a coarse fabric
  • Blind- a partition

She quickly looked around the bus and turned towards the window to get a better view of the outside, but she couldn't get a full view because she was too short and the window blinds were obstructing her view. As a result, she decided to stand up so that she could look properly.

The bus was now going along the bank of a canal. The road was very narrow. On one side there was the canal and, beyond it, palm trees, grassland, distant mountains, and the blue, blue sky. On the other side was a deep ditch and then acres and acres of green fields — green, green, green, as far as the eye could see.

The bus was travelling on a very narrow road. On one side, there was a canal, and beyond it, there were trees, distant mountains, and a large blue sky. On the other hand, there was plenty of greenery all around.

Oh, it was all so wonderful! Suddenly she was startled by a voice. “Listen, child,” said the voice, “you shouldn’t stand like that. Sit down.” Sitting down, she looked to see who had spoken. It was an elderly man who had honestly been concerned for her, but she was annoyed by his attention.

Valli was having a great time when she was abruptly asked to sit down. She noticed an old man showing concern for her as she sat down to see who told her so. Valli became irritated because he was still in no mood for anyone's help or advice.

“There’s nobody here who’s a child,” she said haughtily. “I’ve paid my thirty paise like everyone else.” The conductor chimed in. “Oh, sir, but this is a very grown-up madam. Do you think a mere girl could pay her own fare and travel to the city all alone?” Valli shot an angry glance at the conductor and said, “I am not a madam. Please remember that. And you’ve not yet given me my ticket.” “I’ll remember,” the conductor said, mimicking her tone. Everyone laughed, and gradually Valli too joined in the laughter. The conductor punched a ticket and handed it to her. “Just sit back and make yourself comfortable. Why should you stand when you’ve paid for a seat?” “Because I want to,” she answered, standing up again.

  • Haughtily- proudly

Valli was too proud to accept anyone's assistance and thus informed the old man that she was not a child. She claimed that she was just like everyone else on the bus and that she could take care of herself. She, like everyone else, had paid the full fare. The conductor remarked that she is a "grown up madam" because a child could never afford to pay for a bus ticket. Valli irritably instructed the conductor not to address her as madam and reminded him that she had not yet received the ticket. The conductor then responded by imitating her tone, which caused everyone to laugh. Valli, too, burst out laughing. "Just sit back and make yourself comfortable," the conductor said as he handed her the ticket. "Why should you stand if you've already paid for a seat?" Valli responded proudly, saying she'd do whatever she wanted

“But if you stand on the seat, you may fall and hurt yourself when the bus makes a sharp turn or hits a bump. That’s why we want you to sit down, child.” “I’m not a child, I tell you,” she said irritably. “I’m eight years old.” “Of course, of course. How stupid of me! Eight years — my!” The bus stopped, some new passengers got on, and the conductor got busy for a time. Afraid of losing her seat, Valli finally sat down. An elderly woman came and sat beside her. “Are you all alone, dear?” she asked Valli as the bus started again. Valli found the woman absolutely repulsive — such big holes she had in her ear lobes, and such ugly earrings in them! And she could smell the betel nut the woman was chewing and see the betel juice that was threatening to spill over her lips at any moment. Ugh! — who could be sociable with such a person?

  • Repulsive- causing strong dislike

They tried to persuade her that they were genuinely worried about her and that if she continued to stand, she would injure herself. She stated once more that she was eight years old and thus not a child. The conductor did not pass up the opportunity to have a good laugh as well. When the bus came to a stop and more passengers boarded, she quickly sat down to save her seat when an elderly woman sat next to her. The lady stared at Valli before asking if she was alone. Valli developed a strong dislike for the lady with large holes in her earlobes. She didn't like her earrings either, and from the way she was chewing betel nut, she was the last person Valli wanted to socialise with.

“Yes, I’m travelling alone,” she answered curtly. “And I’ve got a ticket too.” “Yes, she’s on her way to town,” said the conductor. “With a thirty-paise ticket.” “Oh, why don’t you mind your own business,” said Valli. But she laughed all the same, and the conductor laughed too. But the old woman went on with her drivel. “Is it proper for such a young person to travel alone? Do you know exactly where you’re going in town? What’s the street? What’s the house number?” “You needn’t bother about me. I can take care of myself,” Valli said, turning her face towards the window and staring out.

  • Curtly- rudely brief or abrupt
  • Drivel- silly nonsense

Despite being irritated by the elderly lady, Valli responded by saying that, yes, she was travelling alone, and with her own ticket. Clearly, the conductor took every opportunity to tease Valli and have a good laugh. Valli joined him in his laughter, while the old lady continued to interrupt by asking abrupt questions out of concern. She was concerned about Valli's safety and whether she would be able to reach her destination safely on her own. Valli reassured her that she could travel alone and began looking out the window to avoid further conversation.

III.

Her first journey — what careful, painstaking, elaborate plans she had had to make for it! She had thriftily saved whatever stray coins came her way, resisting every temptation to buy peppermints, toys, balloons, and the like, and finally she had saved a total of sixty paise. How difficult it had been, particularly that day at the village fair, but she had resolutely stifled a strong desire to ride the merry go-round, even though she had the money.

  • Thriftily- spend money carefully
  • Resolutely stifled- suppressed/ controlled with determination

Without a doubt, she had put in countless hours of planning and saving for her first bus trip. It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience for her. She resisted every temptation at the village fair, including peppermints, toys, balloons, and the merry-go-round. She was able to save sixty pence after putting in so much effort.

After she had enough money saved, her next problem was how to slip out of the house without her mother’s knowledge. But she managed this without too much difficulty. Every day after lunch her mother would nap from about one to four or so. Valli always used these hours for her ‘excursions’ as she stood looking from the doorway of her house or sometimes even ventured out into the village; today, these same hours could be used for her first excursion outside the village.

  • Ventured out- went cautiously, courageously

When the financial issue was resolved, the next challenge was to sneak out without being noticed. Valli's mother usually slept from one to four o'clock in the afternoon. Valli used to benefit from this and would go on village excursions. It could be used for an outing outside of the village this time.

The bus rolled on now cutting across a bare landscape, now rushing through a tiny hamlet or past an odd wayside shop. Sometimes the bus seemed on the point of gobbling up another vehicle that was coming towards them or a pedestrian crossing the road. But lo! somehow it passed on smoothly, leaving all obstacles safely behind. Trees came running towards them but then stopped as the bus reached them and simply stood there helpless for a moment by the side of the road before rushing away in the other direction.

  • Hamlet: a small settlement with a few houses.
  • Gobbling up: to swallow or eat hastily

The bus had now arrived in an area devoid of trees. It was a desolate landscape with a few shrubs strewn about. It passed through a small settlement and a roadside shop. Valli thought the bus would swallow the oncoming vehicles and pedestrians as it travelled at high speeds, but it passed safely, overcoming all obstacles. When the bus was moving, it appeared as if trees were rushing towards it and stopping as soon as it reached them. The trees appeared to be running away from the bus as it passed through them.

Suddenly Valli clapped her hands with glee. A young cow, tail high in the air, was running very fast, right in the middle of the road, right in front of the bus. The bus slowed to a crawl, and the driver sounded his horn loudly again and again. But the more he honked, the more frightened the animal became and the faster it galloped — always right in front of the bus.

  • Glee- happiness and joy

Valli was excited and overjoyed. Suddenly, a cow appeared in the middle of the road, directly in front of the bus. The bus slowed down to let her pass and honked several times. Unfortunately, it grew more terrified and dashed in front of the bus. As the driver blew more horns, the cow became enraged and continued to run faster and faster.

Somehow this was very funny to Valli. She laughed and laughed until there were tears in her eyes. “Hey, lady, haven’t you laughed enough?” called, the conductor. “Better save some for tomorrow.” At last the cow moved off the road. And soon the bus came to a railroad crossing. A speck of a train could be seen in the distance, growing bigger and bigger as it drew near. Then it rushed past the crossing gate with a tremendous roar and rattle, shaking the bus. Then the bus went on and passed the train station. From there it traversed a busy, well-laid-out shopping street and, turning, entered a wider thoroughfare. Such big, bright-looking shops! What glittering displays of clothes and other merchandise! Such big crowds! Struck dumb with wonder, Valli gaped at everything.

  • Thoroughfare- a busy public road
  • Merchandise- things  for sale
  • Railroad crossing- an intersection where a railway line crosses a road or path

Valli found the cow incident to be extremely amusing and burst out laughing so hard that tears welled up in her eyes. The conductor teased her once more, telling her that it was enough for the day and that she should save some laughter for the next day. The cow wandered off the road on its own, and the bus came to a halt at a level crossing, where the train was visible as a tiny dot. The train grew in size as it approached. The train passed through with a huge roar, shaking the entire road and the bus with it. The bus began to move and soon arrived at a narrow street. It reached a wider road after making a turn. On the road, there were large, brightly lit shops with merchandise for sale. Valli was drawn to all of the lights and decorations. She took a close look at everything.

Then the bus stopped and everyone got off except Valli.  “Hey, lady,” said the conductor, “aren’t you ready to get off? This is as far as your thirty paise takes you.” “No,” Valli said, “I’m going back on this same bus.” She took another thirty paise from her pocket and handed the coins to the conductor. “Why, is something the matter?” “No, nothing’s the matter. I just felt like having a bus ride, that’s all.” “Don’t you want to have a look at the sights, now that you’re here?” “All by myself? Oh, I’d be much too afraid.” Greatly amused by the girl’s way of speaking, the conductor said, “But you weren’t afraid to come in the bus.” “Nothing to be afraid of about that,” she answered.

When the bus arrived at its destination, everyone except Valli disembarked. The conductor informed her that this was the final stop, and she immediately took another thirty paise from her pocket to purchase a ticket back to the village. She stated that she only intended to take the bus, and when he asked her to walk nearby, she stated that she was too afraid. While remaining calm throughout the journey, the conductor responded by saying that if she wasn't afraid to travel alone in the bus without anyone's assistance, why was she afraid to roam around town? Valli responded confidently that there was nothing to be concerned about in terms of the bus ride.

“Well, then, why not go to that stall over there and have something to drink? Nothing to be afraid of about that either.” “Oh, no, I couldn’t do that.” “Well, then, let me bring you a cold drink.” “No, I don’t have enough money. Just give me my ticket, that’s all.” “It’ll be my treat and not cost you anything.” “No, no,” she said firmly, “please, no.” The conductor shrugged, and they waited until it was time for the bus to begin the return journey. Again there weren’t many passengers.

The conductor asked if she wanted to get a drink at a nearby stall or if he could bring her a drink if she was afraid to get off the bus, but Valli said she didn't have enough money. The conductor insisted that it was his treat, but Valli refused, and the two of them waited for a new set of passengers to board. There were fewer passengers this time as well.

IV.

Won’t your mother be looking for you?” the conductor asked when he gave the girl her ticket. “No, no one will be looking for me,” she said.

Concerned about Valli, the conductor inquired whether her mother would be looking for her as she was alone. Valli immediately responded that no one was waiting for her.

The bus started, and again there were the same wonderful sights. Valli wasn’t bored in the slightest and greeted everything with the same excitement she’d felt the first time. But suddenly she saw a young cow lying dead by the roadside, just where it had been struck by some fast-moving vehicle. “Isn’t that the same cow that ran in front of the bus on our trip to town?” she asked the conductor. The conductor nodded, and she was overcome with sadness. What had been a lovable, beautiful creature just a little while ago had now suddenly lost its charm and its life and looked so horrible, so frightening as it lay there, legs spreadeagled, a fixed stare in its lifeless eyes, blood all over…

  • Spreadeagled- spread out

The journey back began, and Valli was just as excited as she had been the first time. She was looking at everything with zeal when she came across a dead cow by the roadside. It was probably hit by a fast-moving vehicle. Valli confirmed with the conductor that the cow they had seen earlier was the same. Her demeanour shifted from happy to sad. She was perplexed as to how a lovable and playful creature could suddenly transform into a horrible and lifeless one.

The bus moved on. The memory of the dead cow haunted her, dampening her enthusiasm. She no longer wanted to look out the window. She sat thus, glued to her seat, until the bus reached her village at three forty. She stood up and stretched herself. Then she turned to the conductor and said, “Well, sir, 1 hope to see you again.” “Okay, madam,” he answered her, smiling. “Whenever you feel like a bus ride, come and join us. And don’t forget to bring your fare.” She laughed and jumped down from the bus. Then away she went, running straight for home.

  • Haunted- returned repeatedly to her mind; was impossible to forget

Valli's enthusiasm was sapped by the sight of the dead cow, and she stopped looking out the window. She sat in silence on her seat until she arrived home around three-forty. While deboarding, she expressed her desire to see the conductor again, to which the conductor replied sarcastically, telling her not to forget her fare the next time she planned to travel. Valli returned home.

When she entered her house she found her mother awake and talking to one of Valli’s aunts, the one from South Street. This aunt was a real chatterbox, never closing her mouth once she started talking. “And where have you been?” said her aunt when Valli came in. She spoke very casually, not expecting a reply. So Valli just smiled, and her mother and aunt went on with their conversation.

When Valli returned home, she discovered her mother awake from her afternoon nap. Her mother was conversing with one of her aunts who lived on South Street. The aunt talked so much that Valli referred to her as a "real chatterbox." It took a lot of effort to get her to stop talking. She even asked Valli a question and then resumed talking without giving her enough time to respond. Valli also took advantage of the situation by avoiding any discussion about where she had been.

“Yes, you’re right,” her mother said. “So many things in our midst and in the world outside. How can we possibly know about everything? And even when we do know about something, we often can’t understand it completely, can we?” “Oh, yes!” breathed Valli. “What?” asked her mother. “What’s that you say?” “Oh,” said Valli, “I was just agreeing with what you said about things happening without our knowledge.” “Just a chit of a girl, she is,” said her aunt, “and yet look how she pokes her nose into our conversation, just as though she were a grown lady.” Valli smiled to herself. She didn’t want them to understand her smile. But, then, there wasn’t much chance of that, was there?

Pokes her nose- takes an interest in something that doesn’t concern her

While her mother and aunt were conversing, her mother was overheard discussing the endless possibilities in the world that one was unaware of, and even if one was aware, it was another thing to comprehend. Valli confirmed what her mother was saying, which surprised both of them. She then explained her reaction by saying she was casually agreeing with what her mother was saying. Her aunt then referred to Valli as a nose-poking child who pretended to be a grown-up lady, but only Valli understood what she meant because, after all, no one knew about her bus trip.

About the Author

Vallikannan is the pen name of R.S. Krishnaswamy, a well-known writer. He was born on November 12, 1920, in a village near Tirunelveli, Tamil Nadu, and died on November 9, 2006. He was a well-known Tamil author, journalist, critic, and translator. He began writing at a young age and had 25 books published by the time he was thirty. In his lifetime, he wrote 75 books. He wrote novels, poetry collections, plays, and essays, among other things. In 1978, he received the Sahitya Akademi award for his critical works on contemporary Tamil poetry.

9.Madam Rides the Bus