Comprehension – I
1. What ‘experiment t’ did Maxwell think Camusfearna would be suitable for? 2. Why does he go to Basra? How long does he wait there, and why?
3. How does he get the otter? Does he like it? Pick out the words that tell you this.
4. Why was the otter named ‘Maxwell’s otter’?
5. Tick the right Answer. I n the beginning, the otter was
• Aloof and indifferent
6. What happened when Maxwell took Mijbil to the bathroom? What did i t do two days after that?
1. Maxwell thought it was better to 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.
2. Maxwell went to Basra, to the Consulate-General to collect and Answer his mail from Europe. He had to wait for three days before anything could happen. It took him a waiting period of five days. His mail didn’t reach on time. The call had to be booked 24 hours in advance in those times. Then he tried to make a telephone call but telephone line was not working properly on the first day. Next day it was some public holiday so it was not operational. Finally after a tortuous wait of five days his mail arrived.
3. When he finally received his mail after waiting for five long days, he carried it to his bedroom to read. There, he saw two Arabs squatting on the floor and beside them was a sack that squirmed from time to time. They handed him a note from his friend saying that he had sent him an otter. Yes liked otter. 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.
4. The otter was of a race previously unknown to science and was at length named by zoologists Lutrogale perspicillata Maxwell or Maxwell’s otter.
5. In the beginning, the otter was aloof and indifferent.
6. Maxwell made a body-belt for Mijbil and took him on a lead to bathroom. It went wild with joy in the water for half an hour, 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 from his bedroom to the bathroom. By the time Maxwell got there, Mijbil was up on the end of the bathtub and fumbling at the chromium taps with its paws. Maxwell was left amazed. In less than a minute, it had turned the tap far enough to produce some water and after a moment, achieved the full flow.
1. How was Mij to be transported to England?
2. What did Mij do to the box?
3. Why did Maxwell put the otter back in the box? How do you think he felt when he did this?
4. Why does Maxwell say the airhostess was “the very queen of her kind”?
5. What happened when the box was opened?
1. Maxwell was in great fear by the though t of transporting Mij to England and to Camusfearna. He booked a flight to Paris and from there he would go on to London. The airlines insisted that Mij should be packed in a box not more than eighteen inches square, so that it could be carried on the floor near his feet.
2. When Maxwell came after having his hurried meal he observed complete silence from the box. Blooded had trickled and dried. Mij didn’t find it comfortable to be there so tried to escape. In its attempt to escape Mij tore into the metal lining of the box to shreds. As a result it hurt itself and started bleeding.
3. As there was no other way to carry Mij to London so the author had put it back into the box. He must have felt pity on the way the otter had hurt itself. Moreover, he must be worried as well.
4. Luckily Maxwell got a seat in front. He covered the floor with newspa per. He rang for the air hostess and gave her a parcel of fish to keep in cool place. 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. This is because he calls the airhostess “the very queen of her kind”.
5. When the box was opened, Mij went out of the box. He disappeared at a high speed down the aircraft. There were squawks and shrieks. There were cries all around. A woman stood up on her seat screaming that there was a rat. He saw Mij’s tail disappearing beneath the legs of a portly white turbaned Indian passenger. He dived for it, but missed. The airhostess suggested him to be seated and that she would find the animal and bring it back to him. After a while, Mij had returned to him. It climbed on his knee and began to rub its nose on his face an d neck.
Comprehension – III
1. What game had Mij invented?
2. What are ‘compulsive habits’? What does Maxwell say are the compulsive habits of?
(I) school children
3. What group of animals do otters belong to?
4. What guesses did the Londoners make about what Mij was?
1. Mij had invented a game with ping-pong ball. He would put the ball at one end of a sloping lid and then grab it as it ran to the other end.
2. Compulsive habits are usually strange act or behavior which a person does without clear reason. These habits are almost impossible to control.
On their way to and from school, children make it a habit to place their feet exactly on the center of each paving block. Similarly, Mij had made it a habit to jump on to the school wall and go galloping all along its length of thirty yards.
3. Otters belong to a comparatively small group of animals called Mousselines, shared by the badger, mongoose, weasel, stoat, mink and others.
4. According to Maxwell, he faced a continuous barrage of conjectural question that sprayed all the Mousselines but the otter. He said that the average Londoner does not recognize an otter. The Londoners who saw Mij made different guesses about who Mij was. Some same that it was a baby seal, a squirrel, a walrus, a hippo, a beaver, a bear cub, a leopard and a brontosaur.