NCERT Solutions for Class 10th English: Chapter 8: Mijbil the Otter
Question 1: What ‘experiment’ did Maxwell think Camusfearna would be suitable for?
Answer: Maxwell thought that he would keep an otter instead of a dog. Camusfearna, ringed by water a very short distance from its door, would be an eminently suitable spot for the experiment.
Question 2: Why does he go to Basra? How long does he wait there, and why?
Answer: He went to Basra, to the Consultate-General, to collect and answer his mail from Europe. There, he found that his friend’s mail had arrived, but his had not. He sent a message to England. When nothing happened even after three days, he tried placing a call to England. On the first day, the line was out of order; on the second day, the exchange was closed for a religious holiday. On the third day, there was another breakdown. He arranged to meet his friend, who had left, in a week’s time. His mail finally arrived five days later.
Question 3: How does he get the otter? Does he like it? Pick out the words that tell you this.
Answer: When he received his mail, he carried it to his bedroom to read. There, he saw two Arabs and beside them was a sack that twisted from time to time. They handed him a note from his friend saying that he had sent him an otter. Yes, he liked it. We know this because he uses the term ‘otter fixation’ to refer to his feeling towards the otter. He felt that this otter fixation or this strong attachment towards otters was something that was shared by most other people who had ever owned one.
Question 4: Why was the otter named ‘Maxwell’s otter’?
Answer: The otter was of a race previously unknown to science and was at length named by zoologists Lutrogale perspicillata maxwelli or Maxwell’s otter.
Question 5: Tick the right answer. In the beginning, the otter was
- aloof and indifferent
Answer: In the beginning, the otter was aloof and indifferent.
Question 6: 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, it went wild with joy in the water for half an hour. It was 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 after that, it escaped from his bedroom to the bathroom. By the time he got there, Mijbil was up on the end of the bathtub and fumbling at the chromium taps with its paws. In less than a minute, it had turned the tap far enough to produce some water and after a moment, achieved the full flow.
Question 1: How was Mij to be transported to England?
Answer: Maxwell booked a flight to Paris and from there he would go on to London. The airline insisted that Mij should be packed in a box (not more than eighteen inches square) that was to be placed on the floor, near his feet.
Question 2: What did Mij do to the box?
Answer: Maxwell had put Mij in the box and left for a meal. When he came back, he saw a horrific spectacle. There was complete silence from the box. However, from its airholes and chinks around the lid, blood had trickled and dried. He took off the lock and tore open the lid. Mij, exhausted and covered with blood, whimpered and caught his leg. It had torn the lining of the box to shreds. He removed the last of it so that there were no cutting edges left.
Question 3: Why did Maxwell put the otter back in the box? How do you think he felt when he did
Answer: By the time Maxwell had removed the last of the lining of the box so that there were no cutting edges left, it was just ten minutes for the flight to take off. He had to rush to the airport, which was five miles away, and that is why he put the miserable otter back into the box. Like the otter, Maxwell would also have felt miserable for putting it back in the box, particularly so, after seeing that the otter disliked being in the
Question 4: Why does Maxwell say the airhostess was “the very queen of her kind”?
Answer:Maxwell said that the airhostess was “the very queen of her kind” because she was extremely friendly and helpful. He took her into his confidence about the incident with the box. She suggested that he might prefer to have his pet on his knee. Hearing this, he developed a profound admiration for her, for she understood the
pain of both the otter and its owner.
Question 5: What happened when the box was opened?
Answer: When the box was opened, Mij leapt out of it immediately. It disappeared very quickly down the aircraft. Several passengers shrieked. A woman stood up on her seat screaming that there was a rat. He saw Mij’s tail disappearing beneath the legs of an Indian passenger. He dived for it, but missed. The airhostess suggested him to be seated and that she would find the otter. After a while, Mij had returned to him. It climbed on his knee and began to rub its nose on his face and neck.
Thinking About the Text
Question 1: What things does Mij do which tell you that he is an intelligent, friendly and fun- loving animal who needs love?
Answer: Mij was an intelligent animal. It invented it own game out of the ping-pong balls. It screwed the tap till water began to flow and then it would play and splash in the water. Though it was aloof and indifferent in the beginning, it soon became very friendly. It formed a special attachment with Maxwell. It responded when Maxwell
called out his name. It grew desperate when Maxwell left it in a box and it got hurt while trying to come out of it. After Maxwell took it out, it clung to his feet. It was a fun-loving animal. It enjoyed playing all kinds of games. It would play with a selection of toys, ping-pong balls, marbles, rubber fruit, and a terrapin shell. It required love and affection from Maxwell and it got that readily.
Question 2: What are some of the things we come to know about otters from this text?
Answer: Otters belong to a comparatively small group of animals called Mustellines, shared by the badger, mongoose, weasel, stoat, mink and others. Maxwell’s otter was of a race previously unknown to science and was at length named by zoologists Lutrogale perspicillata maxwelli or Maxwell’s otter. They are found in large numbers in
marshes. They are often tamed by the Arabs. It is characteristic of otters that every drop of water must be extended and spread about the place; a bowl must at once be overturned, or, if it would not be overturned, be sat in and splashed in until it overflowed. For them, water must be kept on the move. Otters love playing various games, especially with a ball.
Question 3: Why is Mij’s species now known to the world as Maxwell’s otter?
Answer: Maxwell’s otter was of a race previously unknown to science and was at length named by zoologists Lutrogale perspicillata maxwelli or Maxwell’s otter.
Question 4: Maxwell in the story speaks for the otter, Mij. He tells us what the otter feels and thinks on different occasions. Given below are some things the otter does. Complete the column on the right to say what Maxwell says about what Mij feels and thinks.
Question 1: What game had Mij invented?
Answer: Mij invented a game with a ping-pong ball, which kept him engrossed for up to half an hour at a time. Maxwell had a suitcase that had become damaged, such that the lid, when closed, remained at a slope from one end to the other. Mij discovered that if the ball was placed on the high end, it would run down the length of the suitcase. It would dash around to the other end to surprise the ball. Then, it would grab it and trot off with it to the high end once more.
Question 2: What are ‘compulsive habits’? What does Maxwell say are the compulsive habits of
(i) school children
Answer: Compulsive habits are habits that are impossible to control. According to Maxwell, children on their way to and from school must place their feet squarely on the centre of each paving block; they must touch every seventh upright of the iron railings, or pass to the outside of every second lamp post. Such were the compulsive habits of children. Opposite to Maxwell’s flat, there was a single-storied primary school. Along its frontage ran a low wall some two feet high. On its way home, Mij would tug Maxwell to this wall, jump onto it, and gallop the full length of its thirty yards, distracting both the pupils and the staff. Such was the compulsive habit of Mij.
Question 3: What group of animals do otters belong to?
Answer: Otters belong to a comparatively small group of animals called Mustellines, shared by the badger, mongoose, weasel, stoat, mink and others.
Question 4: What guesses did the Londoners make about what Mij was?
Answer: According to Maxwell, the average Londoner does not recognize an otter. The Londoners who saw Mij made different guesses about who Mij was. They guessed, among other things, that it was a baby seal, a squirrel, a walrus, a hippo, a beaver, a bear cub, a leopard and a brontosaur.
Question 5: Read the story and find the sentences where Maxwell describes his pet otter. Then choose and arrange your sentences to illustrate those statements below that you think are true.
(i) makes Mij seem almost human, like a small boy.
(ii) shows that he is often irritated with what Mij does.
(iii) shows that he is often surprised by what Mij does.
(iv) of Mij’s antics is comical.
(v) shows that he observes the antics of Mij very carefully.
(vi) shows that he thinks Mij is a very ordinary otter.
(vii) shows that he thinks the otter is very unusual.
(i)He spent most of his time in play.
(iii)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.
(v)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.
(vii)It is not, I suppose, in any way strange that the average Londoner should not recognize an otter, but the variety of guesses as to what kind of animal this might be came as a surprise to me. Mij was anything but an otter.
Thinking About Language
Question 1: From the table below, make as many correct sentences as you can using would and/or used to, as appropriate. (Hint: First decide whether the words in italics show an action, or a state or situation, in the past.) Then add two or three sentences of your own to it.
1.Emperor Akbar used to be fond of musical evenings.
2. Every evening we used to take long walks on the beach.
3. Fifty years ago, very few people used to own cars.
4. Till the 1980s, Shanghai used to have very dirty streets.
5. My uncle would spend his holidays by the sea.
6. My uncle used to take long walks on the beach.
7. My uncle used to be fond of musical evenings.
Question 2: II. Noun Modifiers
1. Look at these examples from the text, and say whether the modifiers (in italics) are nouns, proper nouns, or adjective plus noun.
(i) An otter fixation (iv) The London streets
(ii) The iron railings (v) soft velvet fur
(iii) The Tigris marshes (vi) A four-footed soccer player
2. Given below are some nouns, and a set of modifiers (in the box). Combine the nouns and modifiers to make as many appropriate phrases as you can. (Hint: The nouns and modifiers are all from the texts in this book.) temple three girls triangle dresses person thoughts boys roar gifts scream farewell expression time subject landscape handkerchief
crossing flight chatterbox profession physique coffee view celebration
(iii) Proper noun
(iv) Proper noun
(v) Adjective plus noun
(vi) Adjective plus noun
Temple − white temple, stone temple, first temple
Person − incorrigible person, ridiculous person
Gifts − hundred gifts, ordinary gifts, birthday gifts
Time − college time, rough time, first time
Crossing − railroad crossing, first crossing
Physique − plump physique, ordinary physique
Three girls − first three girls, incorrigible three girls
Thoughts − incorrigible thoughts, uncomfortable thoughts, ridiculous thoughts,
heartbreaking thoughts, first thoughts, ordinary thoughts
Scream − tremendous scream, loud scream
Subject − college subject, ordinary subject
Flight − rough flight, first flight
Coffee − invigorating coffee, ordinary coffee
Triangle − love triangle
Boys − college boys, incorrigible boys, rough boys, hundred boys
Farewell − college farewell, heartbreaking farewell
Landscape − bare landscape, rough landscape, white landscape
Chatterbox − incorrigible chatterbox
View − tremendous view, panoramic view, ordinary view
Dresses − hundred dresses, ordinary dresses, birthday dresses, marriage dresses
Roar − tremendous roar, loud roar
Expression − bare expression, slang expression, slack expression
Handkerchief − white handkerchief, ordinary handkerchief
Profession − family profession, first profession, ordinary profession
Celebration − tremendous celebration, family celebration, birthday celebration
Question 3: 1. Match the words on the left with a word on the right. Some words on the left
can go with more than one word on the right.
(i) a portion of – blood
(ii) a pool of – cotton
(iii) flakes of – stones
(iv) a huge heap of – gold
(v) a gust of – fried fish
(vi) little drops of – snow
(vii) a piece of – water
(viii) a pot of – wind
2. Use a bit of/a piece of/a bunch of/a cloud of/a lump of with the italicised nouns in
the following sentences. The first has been done for you as an example.
(i) My teacher gave me some advice. My teacher gave me a bit of advice.
(ii) Can you give me some clay, please. ____________________________
(iii) The information you gave was very useful.
(iv) Because of these factories, smoke hangs over the city. ________________________________________________________
(v) Two stones rubbed together can produce sparks of fire. ________________________________________________________
(vi) He gave me some flowers on my birthday. ________________________________________________________
Answer: 1.(i) a portion of – fried fish
(ii) a pool of – blood
(iii) flakes of – snow
(iv) a huge heap of – stones
(v) a gust of – wind
(vi) little drops of – water
(vii) a piece of – cotton
(viii) a pot of – gold
2. (i) My teacher gave me some advice. My teacher gave me a bit of advice.
(ii) Can you give me some clay, please. Can you give me a lump of clay, please.
(iii) The information you gave was very useful.
The piece of information you gave was very useful.
(iv) Because of these factories, smoke hangs over the city.
Because of these factories, a cloud of smoke hangs over the city.
(v) Two stones rubbed together can produce sparks of fire.
Two pieces of stones rubbed together can produce sparks of fire.
(vi) He gave me some flowers on my birthday.
He gave me a bunch of flowers on my birthday.
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