mijbil the otter
In this story the author Gavin Maxwell tells us about his pet. After the death of the dog, he thought to have another pet. Early in 1956 he travelled to Southern Iraq. He saw there some Arab people having an otter. Then, he also thought of having an otter. He told this to his friend. His mail was due; therefore, with a friend he went to Basra to receive his mail. His friend collected his mail and went away. After he had left, he received a sack in which there was something. The sack was for the narrator and there was an otter in it. The narrator christened it, Mijbil. First the otter slept on the floor but soon he entered the bed till the servant bought tea. When it went to bathroom it plunged and rolled in the bath tub joyfully. The narrator was extremely surprised when he found it struggling with the water tap. It had learnt how to turn on the tap. It spent most of its time playing with the rubber ball and marbles.
He was staying at Basra while he had to move to England and then to Camusfearna. But the problem was that some of the airlines did not allow transporting animals. Therefore, the narrator had to choose a different flight that allowed animals on board. As a result, Mijbil was packed in a box of its size. Then the narrator went for the meals. When he returned to his room, he noticed blood coming out from the air holes. He got frightened. He hurriedly opened it and saw that Mij was almost unconscious. He removed all the sharp edges from the box and placed it again into the box. The time was passing and he managed to hire a taxi. There were only ten minutes in his flight. So he sat at the back seat of the taxi and placed the box on his lap. Somehow he managed to catch the flight and he boarded the plane. The air hostess was somewhat friendly and she allowed the narrator to place the otter on his lap. But as soon as the narrator opened the box the otter disappeared in the plane. This frightened the passengers. But the airhostess helped him to find out Mij again.
In London people did not recognize otters. They used to make blind guesses to recognize the animal. The most surprising event was when the labourer was digging his hole in the street. On seeing the animal, he placed down his tools and when the narrator neared him, he shouted, what is that supposed to be.
SHORT QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
Q1. How was Mij to be transported to England?
A: The British Airline to England would not fly animals. So Maxwell 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. Thus Mij was transported to England in that box, which was kept on the floor at his feet
Q2. What happened when the box was opened?
A: When the box was opened, Mij went out of the box. He disappeared at a high speed down the aircraft. There were cries all around. A woman stood up on her seat crying, “A rat”
Q3. Why did Maxwell get his mail after five days and what he did to get it?
A: Maxwell cabled to England. But even after three days, nothing happened. He then 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 day, there was another breakdown.
Q4. What did the otter look like?
A: The otter looked like a small dragon belonging to the middle ages. It was covered with symmetrical pointed scales of mud armour. One could see between the scales a soft velvet fur like that of a chocolate-brown mole.
Q5. What did Mijbil do during the second night?
A: Mijbil came on to Maxwell’s bed soon after midnight. It remained asleep in the crook of his knees until the morning.
Q6. What, according to the writer, is the ‘real play’ of the otter?
A: The real play of an otter is lying on his back and juggling with small objects between his paws. Marbles were Mijbil’s favourite toys for this pastime. He would roll two or more of them up and down on his wide,fat belly. He never dropped one to the floor.
TEXT BOOK QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
Q1. What ‘experiment’ did Maxwell think Camusfearna would be suitable for?
A: Maxwell had settled in Camusfearna. He thought that he should like to keep an otter instead of a dog. Camusfearna was ringed by water. So it would be a very suitable spot for this experiment of keeping an otter.
Q2. Why does he go to Basra? How long does he wait there, and why?
A: He goes there to collect his mail and also to mail his answers. He had to wait there for five days .He had to wait there because his mail arrived five days later due to certain problems.
Q3. How does he get the otter? Does he like it? Pick out the words that tell you this.
A:It was sent to him by his friend. He liked the otter very much. He made for it a body-belt and also enjoyed its pranks in the bathroom
Q4. Why was otter named ‘Maxwell’s Otter’?
A: It was because the scientists came to know this particular species from Maxwell’s otter only.
Q5. What happened when Maxwell took Mijbil to the bathroom? What did it do two days after that?
A:It at once started plunging and rolling in the bathtub. It went wild with joy. Two days later,it escaped into the bathroom and started fumbling with the tap; soon it turned the tap on.
Page No 108-109
Q1. How was Mij to be transported to England?
A: Mij was to be flown to Paris and from there to England. The airline insisted that Mij had to be packed in a box.
Q2. What did Mij do to the box?
A: It tore the lining of the lid to shreds.
Q3. Why did Maxwell put the otter back in the box? How do you think he felt when he did this?
A: He was to take the otter with him to the airport. So he put it back into the box. He was sad for the poor otter.
Q4. Why does Maxwell say-‘the air hostess was the very queen of her kind’?
A: The air hostess was very nice to Maxwell.She did all she could do for Maxwell and his otter.
Q5. What happened when the box was opened?
A: The otter at once jumped out of the box and disappeared under the seats.
Page No 110
Q1. What game had Mij invented?
A: He 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.
Q2. What are ‘Compulsive habits’? What does Maxwell say are the compulsive habits of :
A: Compulsive habits are the things that one feels compelled to do in circumstances. On their way to and from school, children make it a habit to place their feet exactly on the centre 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.
Q3. What group of animals does otters belongs to?
A: Otters belong to the group known as Mustellines.
Q4. What guesses did the Londoners make about what Mij was?
A: Their guesses included all possible animals but the otter. They called it a beaver, a seal, a leopard, a bear cub, a squirrel and what not.
Q5. What things does Mij do which tell you that he is an intelligent, friendly and fun loving animal who needs love?
A: Mij develops a bond of friendship with the author in just twenty-four hours. He sleeps comfortably in the crook of the author’s knees. His behavior in the aeroplane shows that he is intelligent,friendly and fun loving animal who needs love.
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