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English CBSE Class 10 NCERT First Flight Chapter 9 Madam Rides the Bus Line by Line Explanation and Meaning of Difficult Words

MADAM RIDES THE BUS

(Explanation)

I

THERE was a girl named Valliammai who was called Valli for short. She was eight years old and very curious about things.

Word Meaning
Curious Eager to know or learn

There was a girl whose name was Valliammai. In short she was called as Valli. Her age was eight years. She was very eager to learn about everything.

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.

Her favourite activity to pass time was to stand in front of the door of her house to watch what was happening in the street. She did not play with anybody in the street because nobody was of her age. Therefore she could only watch incidents happening in the street.

 

 

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.

Word Meaning
Elaborate Fancy, Detailed, Complex
Unusual Extraordinary

Valli enjoyed standing at the door and watching. It was as enjoyable as playing fancy games with other children. She gained lot of extraordinary information by watching the street.

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.

Word Meaning
Fascinating Very interesting
Sight Scene, Glimpse, 

The most interesting thing was the bus travelling between her village and the nearby town. A bus passed through her street every hour. Once going to the town and next hour coming back from the town. Each time, different passengers were travelling in the bus. Valli always enjoyed observing every bus.

 

 

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.

Word Meaning
Day after day Everyday
Gradually Slowly
Crept Came, Slipped
Overwhelming Immense, Massive, Forceful

She watched the bus every day. Slowly a small wish came to her mind and the wish became bigger. She wanted to travel in that bus at least once. This wish became stronger and  it became an immense 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.

Word Meaning
Wistfully Being sad because you can’t get it
Kindle Appear, Inspire
Longing Wish, Desire

The bus used to stop at the corner of the street. She was aware that she may not be able to travel in a bus. Valli used to stare at the people getting down from the bus. Faces of those travelers used to come in her dreams, hopes and wishes. These dreams used to inspire her to travel in bus.

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.

Word Meaning
Slang Informal language

If any of her friends had travelled in the bus to the town,  the friend would try to describe scene of the town. On such occasions, Valli would get jealous. She would shout in English : ‘Proud, proud!’ Valli and her friends did not understand meaning of this word. But they used it to express their disapproval or disliking.

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.

Word Meaning
Discreet questions Specific questions

For many days and many months, Valli carefully listened to the conversation between people who had regularly travelled in the bus. She used to ask some questions during their conversations.

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.

Word Meaning
Picked up Learnt
Almost nothing at all Very small amount
Scarcely Hardly, Rarely
Seemed a fortune Was very big amount

By this method she learnt many details about the bus journey. The town was six miles from the village. The fare of one side travel was thirty paise. One person who was wearing good clothes said that this was very small amount. Valli had hardly seen this much of money during a month. So thirty paise was a very big amount for her.

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.

The travel time from village to town was forty five minutes. After reaching town if she remained in the bus and paid another thirty paise, she could return to the village in 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.

Valli calculated that if she started from the village by one-o’ clock bus in the afternoon, she would reach the town at one forty-five and could be back to the village by about two forty five. She thought many times about it. She did her calculation many times. She checked her planning many times.

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.

Word Meaning
Command Order, To give order
Commandingly Giving order

In the one clear afternoon of the spring season, bus had reached the point of leaving the village and turning on the main highway. A small voice was heard to stop the bus. A small hand was raised to order the bus 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.”

Word Meaning
Crawl Move at very slow speed

The bus slowed down and moved at very slow speed. The bus conductor took out his head from the door and said to hurry up. He told Valli to tell the passenger to come quickly. Valli shouted that she wanted to get into the bus to travel.

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.

Now the bus had stopped. The conductor was surprised to hear that Valli wanted to travel alone in the bus. Valli said that she wanted to go to the town. She told that she had money with her. While standing outside the bus she showed some coins to the conductor

“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.”

Word Meaning
Stretched out Extended
Never mind Not to worry

The conductor told Valli that first she should get into the bus. He extended his hand to help her. But Valli told him not to worry about her. She said that she can get into the bus without any help. She does not need help of conductor.

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.”

Word Meaning
Jolly sort Cheerful, Fun-loving
Fond of Liked

The bus conductor was a cheerful person and fond of joking. He addressed Valli as madam and requested her not to be angry at him. He asked Valli to sit at a seat that was in the front of the bus. He asked other passengers to move sideways to give way to Valli 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.

Word Meaning
Slack time Less crowded period, Lean time
Avoid Not to do something

That time was of period of lesser business. There were only six or seven passengers in the bus. They all looked at Valli and laughed with the conductor. Valli became very shy. She did not look at anybody. She walked quickly to an empty seat and sat down

“May we start now, madam?” the conductor asked, smiling. Then he blew his whistle twice, and the bus moved forward with a roar.

The conductor smiled at Valli and asked her if the bus can begin to move. Then he blew his whistle twice and the bus started to move with a loud sound.

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.

Word Meaning
Gleaming Shining
Stripes Lines
Overhead Above
Windshield Front glass of a vehicle
Luxurious Very comfortable

It was a new bus. Outside colour of the bus was shining white with some lines of green colour on its sides. Inside the bus, the top bars were shining like silver. Exactly in front of Valli and above the front glass, there was a beautiful clock. Seats were soft and comfortable.

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.

Word Meaning
Devoured Looked quickly
Cut off Blocked, Obstructed
Canvas Type of cloth
Peered Looked

Valli quickly looked at everything in the bus through her eyes. When she looked outside she found that she could not see everything because a canvas on the lower part of the window blocked her view. So she stood on the seat and tried to see from above the canvas cloth.

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.

Word Meaning
Bank Side, Edge,
Grassland Fields of grass

Now the bus was moving along the side of a canal. The road was very narrow. On one side of the bus there was a canal. Beyond canal there were palm trees and fields of grass. At a far distance there were mountains and 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. 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.”

Word Meaning
Ditch Trench, Channel
Startled Surprised

On the other side of the road was a trench. Beyond that there were large areas of green fields as far as one could see. It was very wonderful. Suddenly she was surprised by a voice. The voice advised Valli not to stand on the seat. It asked her to 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.

Word Meaning
Honestly Really
Concerned Worried
Annoyed Angry

While sitting down she looked around to see who had spoken. An elderly man had given the advice, he was really worried about her. But she was angry that he had noticed her or was watching her.

“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?”

Word Meaning
Haughtily Proudly, Angrily
Chimed in Spoke in between, Joined discussion

Valli angrily told that there was no child in the bus. I have paid thirty paise same as every other person has paid. The conductor joined the discussion and said to the man that Valli was a grown up madam. A small girl cannot pay her own fare and travel alone to the city.

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.”

Word Meaning
Shot an angry glance Looked angrily

Valli looked at the conductor angrily and said that she was not a madam. She further told him to recall that he had not yet given her ticket.

“I’ll remember,” the conductor said, mimicking her tone. Everyone laughed, and gradually Valli too joined in the laughter.

Word Meaning
Mimicking Copying

Copying her style of speaking, conductor replied that he would remember. Everyone in the bus laughed. Slowly Valli also started laughing.

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?”

The conductor punched a ticket and gave it to her. He advised Valli to sit on the seat and be comfortable. He told Valli that she should not stand on the seat because she has paid for the seat.

“Because I want to,” she answered, standing up again. “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.”

Valli said that she was standing because she wanted to stand. The conductor informs Valli that she may fall down and get injured when bus takes a sharp turn or goes over a bump. He addressed Valli as a child and requested her to sit down.

“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!”

Word Meaning
Irritably Angrily

She angrily told that she was not a child. She was eight years old. The conductor told that certainly she was eight years old. It was foolish of him to call her a child.

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.

Word Meaning
Elderly Aged, Old person

The bus stopped. Some new passengers got into the bus. The conductor got busy for some time. Valli was now afraid of losing her seat so she sat down. An elderly woman came and sat near Valli. She asked Valli if she was travelling alone. The Bus had started to move 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?

Word Meaning
Absolutely Totally
Repulsive Hateful, Unpleasant
Spill over Come out
Sociable Friendly, Cordial

Valli did not like that woman. She had big holes in her ear lobes. She was wearing ugly earrings. Valli could smell beetle nuts she was chewing. The juice of beetle nut was about to come out of her mouth. Valli thought who can be a friend of such a woman.

“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.

Word Meaning
Curtly Abruptly, Rudely

Valli rudely replied that she was travelling alone and she had a ticket also. The conductor told the woman that Valli was going to the town after buying a thirty paise ticket. Valli told conductor to do his own work. But then she laughed and conductor also laughed.

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?”

Word Meaning
Drivel Nonsense talk
Proper Correct

But the old woman continued her nonsense talk. She asked if it was correct for such a young person to travel alone. She asked Valli if she knew where exactly in the town would she go. What is the street and what is 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.

Vali told the lady to not to worry about her. She declared that she could take care of herself. Then she turned her face towards window and started looking out.

III

Her first journey — what careful, painstaking, elaborate plans she had had to make for it!

Word Meaning
Painstaking Thorough, Accurate
Elaborate Detailed

Valli had carefully made accurate and detailed plan for her first journey.

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.

Word Meaning
Thriftily Miserly, Spending less
Stray Random, Unexpected
Resist To control
Peppermints Toffees

By spending less money she had saved whatever coins she randomly received from anyone. She controlled her every wish to buy peppermints, toys, balloons and other such things. Finally she had saved 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.

Word Meaning
Resolutely Firmly, With determination
Stifled Suppressed, Controlled, Withheld

It has been very difficult not to spend money. It was especially difficult when there was a fair in the village. Though she had money, with great determination she controlled her desire to ride merry go-round.

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.

After she had saved money, her next problem was how to go out of the house without knowledge of her mother. But she did that without 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.

Word Meaning
Nap Short sleep
Excursions A short journey
Ventured Went, Made a risky journey
Hours Period of time

Every day after after taking lunch, her mother used to sleep from 1 PM to 4 PM. During this period of time Valli used to stand at the doorway of her house. Sometimes she took the risk of going out of her house into the village. Today during this period of time she will be going out of her village for the first 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.

Word Meaning
Landscape Area
Hamlet Small group of houses
Tiny Very small
Gobbling up Colliding
Pedestrian Person walking on foot

Now the bus was moving through an area that did not have any house. Now the bus was moving through an area that had small group of houses or a shop on the side of road. Sometime it appeared that bus will collide with another vehicle coming from other side or with a person 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.

Word Meaning
Passed on Ended, Moved on

But somehow the bus moved on smoothly and peacefully. [Meaning that accident did not occur]. All obstacles were left behind and the bus moved ahead. The trees at the distance appeared running but stopped as soon as the bus stopped. But trees again started running when bus moved.

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.

Word Meaning
Glee Happiness
Crawl Move at very low speed

Suddenly Valli started clapping her hands with happiness. A young cow was running very fast in the middle of the road and right ahead of the bus. Its tail was high in the air. The driver slowed down the bus to a very low speed. The driver sounded the horn 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. Somehow this was very funny to Valli. She laughed and laughed until there were tears in her eyes.

Word Meaning
Honked Sounded horn
Galloped Ran fast

But whenever he sounded the horn, the cow became more frightened. And it ran faster in the front of the bus. This incident was very funny to Valli. She laughed so much that tears came to 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.

The conductor told Valli that she had already laughed a lot. He advised her to save some of her laugh for tomorrow. Eventually the cow moved away from 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.

Word Meaning
Speck A small dot
Rushed Moved quickly
Tremendous Very big

Very soon the bus came to a railway crossing. A small dot of train could be seen at a far distance. This dot was become bigger and bigger as the train came near. The train moved past the crossing at a great speed. The sound of train was very big. The bus shook slightly because of movement of train.

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!

Word Meaning
Passed Crossed
Traversed Travelled
Well laid out Nicely arranged
Thoroughfare Main road
Glittering Shining, Impressive
Merchandise Goods, Products

After this, the bus started to move and it crossed railway crossing and passed the railway station. Then the bus travelled to a busy street. This street had nicely constructed and nicely arranged shops. Then it entered a wide main road. Shops on this road were very big and bright. There was an impressive display of clothes and other products in each shop.

Struck dumb with wonder, Valli gaped 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.”

Word Meaning
Struck dumb Unable to speak due to surprise
Gaped Stared
Got off Got down

She was so surprised that she could not speak anything. She merely stared at everything. Then the bus stopped and everyone got out of the bus. The conductor asked Valli why she was not getting down from the bus. He said that in thirty paise she could come upto that point only.

“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.”

Valli said that she would not get down from the bus. She wanted to go back to the village in the same bus. She took out another thirty paise from her pocket and gave to the conductor. The conductor asked Valli if there was any problem. Valli replied that she just wanted to have a ride in the bus.

“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.”

Word Meaning
Sights Scenes
Amused Happy, Filled with fun,

The conductor said that since she is already in the town, she may like to see the town. Valli said that she was afraid to move alone in the city. The conductor felt funny at the way girl spoke this time. He said that but she was not afraid to come alone in the bus.

“Nothing to be afraid of about that,” she answered. “Well, then, why not go to that stall over there and have something to drink? Nothing to be afraid of about that either.”

Word Meaning
Stall Shop

Valli answered that there was nothing to be afraid of while travelling alone in the bus. Conductor suggested Valli to go to a shop and buy something to drink. There is nothing to be afraid about it also.

“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.”

Valli said that she cannot buy it. Conductor said that he will bring something to drink for her. Valli said that she did not have money to buy a drink. She asked him to give her tickets. Nothing more than that she wanted. Conductor said that it will be a treat from him, Valli need not pay 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.

Word Meaning
Shrugged Ignored

Valli firmly said no to the conductor. The conductor now ignored Valli. They waited till it was the time for the bus to start its journey back to the village. Once again there were not many passengers in the bus.

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. The bus started, and again there were the same wonderful sights.

Word Meaning
Look for Search
Wonderful Interesting, Good

The conductor gave Valli her ticket. He asked if her mother would be searching for her. Valli said that no one would be searching for her. The bus started and during the journey there were same interesting scenes.

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.

Word Meaning
Not in the slightest Not at all
Greeted Enjoyed, Welcomed
Struck Collided, Hit

Valli did not get bored at all. She enjoyed everything with the eagerness of the first time. Suddenly she saw a dead young cow lying on the side of road. Some fast moving vehicle had collided with it.

“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.

She asked conductor if that was the same cow which was running ahead of the bus during their journey to the town. The conductor moved his head to indicate yes. Valii was full of 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…

Word Meaning
Charm Attractiveness, Attraction
Spreadeagled Legs and hands stretched out
Horrible Bad
Frightening Full of fear

This was a lovable and beautiful animal some time ago. Suddenly it had lost its happiness and life. It looked very bad and full of fear. It legs were stretched out and lifeless eyes were staring at one point only. There was blood around its body.

The bus moved on. The memory of the dead cow haunted her, dampening her enthusiasm. She no longer wanted to look out the window.

Word Meaning
Haunted Troubled
Dampen To reduce
Enthusiasm Interest, Excitement

The bus continued to move. The memory of the dead cow troubled her. It reduced her excitement. Now she did not want to look out of 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, I hope to see you again.”

Word Meaning
Glued Fixed

Therefore she continued to sit fixed on her seat till the bus reached her village at 3:40 PM. She stood from her seat and stretched herself. Then she looked at the conductor and said that she hoped to meet him 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.”

The conductor smiled at her said OK madam. He said that whenever she wanted to ride a bus, she could come to his bus. He reminded her to always bring the fare.

She laughed and jumped down from the bus. Then away she went, running straight for home. When she entered her house she found her mother awake and talking to one of Valli’s aunts, the one from South Street.

Valli laughed and jumped down from the bus. She ran directly towards her home. When she reached home she noticed that her mother had already woken up. She was talking to one of Valli’s aunts. This aunt lived in the South Street of the village.

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.

Word Meaning
Chatterbox Talkative, One who talks a lot
Conversation Discussion, Talk

This aunt was very talkative. She never stopped talking after starting to talk. Her aunt asked Valli where she had been to. Her aunt had spoken very casually as if she did not expect a reply. So Valli smiled at her. Her aunt and her mother continued to talk.

“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?”

Her mother told to aunt that there are so many things around us and in the world. We cannot know everything. And even when we know about certain things, we cannot fully understand about it.

“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.”

Valli agreed with her mother and said yes in a low voice. Her mother asked Valli about what she had said. Valli replied that she agreed with what her mother that certain things happen around us 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.”

Word Meaning
Chit of a girl Naughty girl
Poke a nose To interfere

Aunt said that Valli was a naughty girl. Aunt also said that Valli interfered into their conversation as if she was a grown up 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?

Valli smiled to herself. She did not want them to understand why she was smiling. But there was very less chance for them to understand her smile.

 

****

THE TALE OF CUSTARD THE DRAGON

(Explanation)

Belinda lived in a little white house,

With a little black kitten and a little grey mouse,

And a little yellow dog and a little red wagon,

And a realio, trulio, little pet dragon.

Word Meaning
Kitten Baby cat
Wagon A small vehicle
Realio, trulio Really, Truly
Poetic Devices
Belinda lived in a little white house Alliteration
With a little black kitten and a little grey mouse Repetition
And a little yellow dog and a little red wagon, Repetition

Belinda is a little girl who lived in a white coloured house. She had a black coloured baby cat as her pet. She also had a grey mouse, yellow dog and a really little dragon as a pet. She also had a small wagon of red colour.

 

Now the name of the little black kitten was Ink,

And the little grey mouse, she called him Blink,

And the little yellow dog was sharp as Mustard,

But the dragon was a coward, and she called him Custard.

Word Meaning
Sharp Smart, Brave
Poetic Devices
Now the name of the little black kitten was Ink, Repetition
Now the name of the little black kitten was Ink, Alliteration
And the little yellow dog was sharp as Mustard, Simile
But the dragon was a coward, and she called him Custard. Alliteration

Name of the kitten was Ink. Name of the mouse was Blink. Name of the dog was Mustard. These pets were very smart and brave. Name of the dragon was Custard. It was a coward.

 

Custard the dragon had big sharp teeth,

And spikes on top of him and scales underneath,

Mouth like a fireplace, chimney for a nose,

And realio, trulio daggers on his toes.

Word Meaning
Spikes Sharp pointed surface
Scales Skin same as fish
Underneath Below
Fireplace Place where fire is burnt
Dagger Knife, Small sword
Toes Fingers of feet
Poetic Devices
And spikes on top of him and scales underneath, Alliteration
Mouth like a fireplace, Simile
chimney for a nose Metaphor

The dragon had big and sharp teeth. It had some sharp projections on top of its body and scales on its lower portion. Its mouth looked like a fireplace and was very hot. Its nose was as long as a chimney. The nails on feet of the dragon were like a knife.

 

Belinda was as brave as a barrel full of bears,

And Ink and Blink chased lions down the stairs,

Mustard was as brave as a tiger in a rage,

But Custard cried for a nice safe cage.

Word Meaning
Barrel full of bears Group of bears
Chase To pursue, To run behind
Rage Anger
Poetic Devices
Belinda was as brave as a barrel full of bears, Simile
Belinda was as brave as a barrel full of bears, Alliteration
Mustard was as brave as a tiger in a rage, Simile
But Custard cried for a nice safe cage. Alliteration

Belinda was as brave as a group of bears. Ink and Blink were so brave that they could chase away lion. [Meaning that they were more brave than lions]. Mustard was as brave as an angry tiger. But custard always wanted to stay in a cage for his safety.

 

Belinda tickled him, she tickled him unmerciful,

Ink, Blink and Mustard, they rudely called him Percival,

They all sat laughing in the little red wagon

At the realio, trulio, cowardly dragon.

Word Meaning
Tickled Teased
Unmercifully Without any sympathy
Rudely Impolitely, Without respect
Poetic Devices
Belinda tickled him, she tickled him unmerciful, Repetition
they rudely called him Percival, Personification
They all sat laughing in the little red wagon Alliteration

Belinda used to tease the dragon without having sympathy or mercy towards it. Ink, Blink and Mustard teased the dragon by calling him Percival. [Percival was a knight of King Arthur of England. He was known for his bravery and being pious]. The animals used to sit in the red wagon and laugh at the dragon for his cowardice.

Belinda giggled till she shook the house,

And Blink said Weeck! which is giggling for a mouse,

Ink and Mustard rudely asked his age,

When Custard cried for a nice safe cage.

Word Meaning
Giggled Laughed
Poetic Devices
And Blink said Weeck! which is giggling for a mouse, Onomatopoeia
But Custard cried for a nice safe cage. Alliteration

Belinda used to laugh a lot at the cowardice of dragon. Her laugh was so loud that it could be heard everywhere in the house. Blink also used to laugh at the dragon. The laughing sound of a mouse is called ‘weeck’. Ink and Mustard used to tease the dragon by asking his age. [Meaning that they considered him to be a child]. Custard always wanted to stay in a cage for his safety.

Suddenly, suddenly they heard a nasty sound,

And Mustard growled, and they all looked around.

Meowch! cried Ink, and ooh! cried Belinda,

For there was a pirate, climbing in the winda.

Word Meaning
Nasty Bad, Terrible, Harsh
Growled Sound of a dog
Pirate Robber
Winda Window
Poetic Devices
Suddenly, suddenly they heard a nasty sound, Repetition
Meowch! cried Ink Onomatopoeia
Meowch! cried Ink, and ooh! cried Belinda, Repetition

Suddenly they heard very harsh sound. Mustard the dog growled and all animals started looking around to see what had happened. Ink and Belinda spoke different sounds. A robber was climbing through the window.

 

Pistol in his left hand, pistol in his right,

And he held in his teeth a cutlass bright,

His beard was black, one leg was wood;

It was clear that the pirate meant no good.

Word Meaning
Cutlass A small sword
Pirate Robber
Poetic Devices
Pistol in his left hand, pistol in his right, Repetition
And he held in his teeth a cutlass bright, Alliteration
His beard was black, one leg was wood; Repetition
His beard was black, one leg was wood; Alliteration
It was clear that the pirate meant no good. Alliteration

The pirate had pistol in his each hand. He had a small sword between his teeth. His beard was of black colour. His one leg was made of wood. It was clear that the pirate had come to harm them.

 

Belinda paled, and she cried Help! Help!

But Mustard fled with a terrified yelp,

Ink trickled down to the bottom of the household,

And little mouse Blink strategically mouseholed.

Word Meaning
Paled Got afraid
Fled Ran away
Terrified Afraid, Feared
Yelp Sound of dog
Trickled Silently ran away
Strategically In a planned way
Poetic Devices
Belinda paled, and she cried Help! Help! Repetition
But Mustard fled with a terrified yelp Onomatopoeia
And little mouse Blink strategically mouseholed. Alliteration

Belinda was afraid and shouted for help. But Mustard got afraid and ran away. It was making sounds of fear. Ink silently went to the basement of the house. And to save itself, the mouse went into its mousehole.

 

But up jumped Custard, snorting like an engine,

Clashed his tail like irons in a dungeon,

With a clatter and a clank and a jangling squirm,

He went at the pirate like a robin at a worm.

Word Meaning
Snort Sounds from nose
Clashed Fought, Struck
Dungeon Cage, Prison
Clatter, Clank, Jangle Different metallic sounds
Squirm Twist, Wriggle
Robin Type of bird
Poetic Devices
snorting like an engine Simile
Clashed his tail like irons in a dungeon Simile
With a clatter and a clank and a jangling squirm Onomatopoeia
With a clatter and a clank and a jangling squirm Alliteration
He went at the pirate like a robin at a worm Simile

But Custord jumped up at the pirate. His nose was producing sounds of an engine. [He was very angry]. He struck the pirate with his tail. His tail was as hard as the iron rods of a cage. He twisted and moved his body. Every time it produced a metallic sound. [Meaning that his body was very strong and powerful]. He attacked the pirate as a bird attacks a worm. [The pirate was helpless, he could not do anything]

 

The pirate gaped at Belinda’s dragon,

And gulped some grog from his pocket flagon,

He fired two bullets, but they didn’t hit,

And Custard gobbled him, every bit.

Word Meaning
Gaped Stared
Gulped Swallowed
Grog Alcoholic drink with water, Liquor
Flagon Container
Gobbled Eat quickly, Swallow quickly
Poetic Devices
And gulped some grog from his pocket flagon, Alliteration

The pirated started at the Belinda’s dragon. He took out a container from his pocket and drank some liquor. Then he fired two bullet but these did not hit the dragon. And the dragon quickly ate every piece of the pirate.

 

Belinda embraced him, Mustard licked him,

No one mourned for his pirate victim.

Ink and Blink in glee did gyrate

Around the dragon that ate the pirate.

Word Meaning
Embraced Hugged
Mourned Felt sad
Glee Happiness, Joy
Gyrate Dance
Poetic Devices
Belinda embraced him, Mustard licked him, Repetition
Ink and Blink in glee did gyrate Alliteration
Around the dragon that ate the pirate. Repetition
Around the dragon that ate the pirate. Alliteration

Belinda hugged the dragon and Mustard licked him. No one was feeling sad for the pirate who was eaten by the dragon. Ink and Blink danced with joy around the dragon that had eaten the robber. Everybody was happy that dragon had saved them from the robber.

 

But presently up spoke little dog Mustard,

I’d have been twice as brave if I hadn’t been flustered.

And up spoke Ink and up spoke Blink,

We’d have been three times as brave, we think,

And Custard said, I quite agree

That everybody is braver than me.

Word Meaning
Flustered Confused
Poetic Devices
And up spoke Ink and up spoke Blink Repetition
That everybody is braver than me. Alliteration

Now the little dog Mustard spoke. He said that he would have been twice as brave as dragon if he was not confused. Now Ink and Blink also spoke. They said they would have been thrice as brave as the dragon. Custard agreed that everybody was braver than him.

 

Belinda still lives in her little white house,

With her little black kitten and her little grey mouse,

And her little yellow dog and her little red wagon,

And her realio, trulio little pet dragon.

Belinda continues to live in a white coloured house. She has a black coloured baby cat as her pet. She also has a grey mouse, yellow dog and a really little dragon as a pet. She also has a small wagon of red colour.

 

Belinda is as brave as a barrel full of bears,

And Ink and Blink chase lions down the stairs,

Mustard is as brave as a tiger in a rage,

But Custard keeps crying for a nice safe cage.

 

Belinda is as brave as a group of bears. Ink and Blink are so brave that they can chase away lion. [Meaning that they are more brave than lions]. Mustard is as brave as an angry tiger. But custard always wants to stay in a cage for his safety.

Poet wants to say that nothing has changed. Every animal continues to behave as earlier. No one appreciates bravery of dragon.

****

 

Important Links
Madam Rides the Bus – Textbook Q&A Madam Rides the Bus – Extra Q&A
Mijbil the Otter – Explanation The Sermon at Benaras – Explanation
Mijbil the Otter – Textbook Q&A The Sermon at Benaras – Textbook Q&A
Mijbil the Otter – Extra Q&A The Sermon at Benaras – Extra Q&A
Re-arrange Exercises Error Finding Exercises
Active-Passive Rules Gap Filling Exercises
Passages Direct-Indirect Speech Rules
Story Writing Tips Letter Writing

 


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