|The horse and two goats|
(i). What is meant by microscopic dot? What is said about Kritam in the extract?
Ans. Microscopic dot means something very small. In the extract, it is mentioned that probably the "Kritam" is the smallest village in India among seven hundred thousand villages which lies in India.
(ii). It is the wrong question maybe.
(iii) Give a brief description of the village Kritam.
Ans. "Kritam" was probably the tiniest villages among seven hundred thousand villages of India. The village consisted of less than thirty houses, only one of them built with brick and cement. The other houses, distributed in four streets, were generally of bamboo thatch, straw, mud or unspecified material. And also a shop for foodstuff and other items in the third street.
(iv) Give the meaning of Kritam in Tamil. Where did Muni live in the village?
Ans. Meaning of "Kritam" in Tamil is "coronet" or " crown" on the brow of the Indian subcontinent.
Muni lived in the last house in the fourth street, beyond which stretched the fields.
(v) How did the Big House differ from other houses? How does this difference reflect on the theme of the story?
Ans. Unlike other houses in the village, the Big House was built with bricks and cement. It was painted with brilliant yellow and blue colour with gorgeous carvings of gods and gargoyles on its balustrade while the other houses in the village were generally of bamboo thatch, straw, mud and other unspecified materials. The difference in wealth and property is reflected in this story as the big house represents the status of the wealthy while the other houses represent the poverty of the people like Muni in the village.
(i) How did Muni care for his sheep and goats? Why did he carry a crook at the end of a bamboo pole?
Ans. Muni care for his sheep and goats as he drives the flock to the highway a couple of miles away to graze around. He carried a crook at the end of a bamboo pole and to collect foliage from the avenue trees to feed his flock.
(ii) In his prosperous days, how many sheep and goats did Muni have? What happened to most of them later?
Ans. In his prosperous days, Muni had owned a flock of forty sheep and goats. Gradually, Muni’s fortunes declined and his flock of forty was reduced to only two goats.
(iii) What did Muni’s wife give him for breakfast and midday meal? What does it show about his economic condition?
Ans. Muni’s wife would give him salted millet flour in boiled water for breakfast. For the midday meal, she would give him the same millet cooked into a little ball, with raw onion. This shows their poverty as they could not afford anything else.
(iv) Why did Muni tether his two goats to the trunks of the drumstick tree? What claim does he have over the tree?
Ans. Muni tethers his goats to the trunks of the drumstick tree so that his two goats could graze only within a set radius and not wander off and get lost. Although no one could say precisely who owned the tree, the only claim Muni had was that he lived in its shadow, so it was his.
(v) Compare and contrast Muni’s prosperous days with his present living conditions. Give two points of difference between the living conditions of Muni and the foreigner.
Ans. He once lived a prosperous life and reared a flock of forty sheep and goats, but now he was left with two goats. Muni wanted to enjoy his life, but now he had lost his riches, he had no option but to remember his past with regret. He remembered the time when he smoked a cigarette, chewed betel leaves and bhang in a hut in the coconut grove with the famous butcher from the town. Even today, he craved to chew the drumstick out of sauce but failed to obtain the food items prepare it, on credit from the shopkeeper.
The "West" here is ignorant of the fact that poverty, hunger, bad weather, etc. are everyday troubles in the "East". The American is linked with materialism and Muni with spiritualism.
(i) What was Muni craving for? Why?
Ans. Muni has a carving to chew the drumstick out of the sauce. Because he was tired of eating the drumstick alone.
(ii) Why did his wife agree to supply him with what he was craving for? Under what condition would she oblige him?
Ans. His wife became agree by thinking that next year, Muni might not be alive to ask for anything. She asked him for rice or millet, and some other food items like "Dhall, chilly, curry leaves, mustard, coriander, gingelly oil, and one large potato."
(iii) How did Muni attract the attention of the shopkeeper and win over his goodwill?
Ans. Muni attracted the attention of shopkeeper by kept clearing his throat, coughing, and sneezing until the shopman could not stand it anymore. Muni responded appropriately at the shop man’s jokes, inordinately, in order to please the shopman, at being called "Young Man" by shop man. This completely won over the shopkeeper's goodwill.
(iv) How could Muni get some raw food items from the shop?
Ans. Muni would go and sit outside the shop. He would make polite sounds by cleaning his throat, coughing and sneezing until he caught the attention of the shopman. He would humour the shopman by appropriately responding to his jokes and then Muni could always ask for one or two items of food, promising repayment later.
(i) Explain what has happened earlier because of which the shopkeeper is reluctant to give on credit.
Ans. Muni had been in the habit of coming to the shop, humouring the shopman and requesting for one or two items of food with the promise of repaying later. But always Muni was unable to repay later. So, due to this, the shopkeeper is reluctant to give on credit to him. Moreover, when the shopman's mood is bad he would lose his temper suddenly and bark at Muni for daring to ask for credit.
(ii) Finally, from where did Muni say that he would get the money? Was he saying the truth? Give a reason to support your answer.
Ans. Muni said that he will get the money from his daughter that she will be sending for him on his 50th birthday. No, he was telling lie as in later part of the story we came to know that he has no child, and also that he was not 50 years old.
(iii) According to Muni, how old was he? How did he calculate his age?
Ans. According to Muni, he was 50 years old. He always calculated his age from the time of great famine when he stood as high as the parapet around the village well.
(iv) What did the shop man say about Muni’s age? How could he guess that?
Ans. According to the shopman, Muni was 70 years old. Muni might be referring himself as 50 years old man since the last few years from the time of great famine.
(v) Which characteristics trait of Muni is revealed from this extract? Give examples to support your answer.
Ans. Muni appeared to be an innocent man, as he tried to convince the shopkeeper to give him food items on credit. It can be said that he was artless but was not cunning. Though he lied, he did not intend to do any harm.
(i) Who is referred to as scoundrel? Why was Muni annoyed with the scoundrel?
Ans. The shopman is referred to as scoundrel. Muni was annoyed because the shop man mocked at his habit of mentioning his birthday time and again asking for credit.
(ii) Why doesn’t Muni argue against what she says? How can you conclude that he trusts her as far as his welfare is concerned?
Ans. Muni did not argue because he knew that if he obeyed his wife she would somehow conjure up some food for him in the evening, only he must be careful not to argue and irritate her. Muni trusted her as far as his welfare was concerned. He knew by taking up occasional jobs in the big house, she would earn some money to keep dinner ready for him in the evening.
(iii) How would Muni’s wife get money to buy foodstuff?
Ans. She would go out and work-grind corn in the Big House, sweep or scrub somewhere, and earn enough money to buy foodstuff and keep dinner ready for him in the evening.
(iv) When Muni was passing through the village what was his and onlookers attitude to each other? Why?
Ans. When Muni was passing through the village, he avoided looking at anyone and wanted to live a lonesome life. He even ignored the call of his "a couple of cronies", when he was taking his goats to graze. Because being a poor man he realised that the only way to connect with the larger world was to sit at the pedestal in the highway and see the lorries and buses passing through.
(v) Why did Muni's wife refuse him any food? What does it reveal about Muni's wife?
Ans. Muni's wife refuses to give him any food because she had nothing in her store to prepare the food. This reveals that Muni's wife was a hardworking woman, whom poverty had not worn down. She was so honest that she was not delighted on seeing the hundred rupees note but accused Muni of stealing it.
(i) Which statue is referred to in the extract? Describe the statue of the horse.
Ans. The statue of a horse is to refer in the extract. The horse was nearly life-size, moulded out of clay, baked, burnt, and brightly coloured, and reared its head proudly, prancing its forelegs in the air and flourishing its tail in a loop.
(ii) How did the statue of the warrior look? How did the image-makers depict him as a man of strength?
Ans. The statue of the warrior, stood beside the horse, has scythe-like mustachios, bulging eyes, and aquiline nose. The image-makers depict him as the man of strength by giving him scythe-like mustachios, bulging eyes, and aquiline nose.
(iii) Why didn’t Muni, the villagers or the vandals notice the splendour of the statue of the horse?
Ans. Muni, the villagers or the vandals didn’t notice the splendour of the statue of the horse because the statue was far away from the residence of the villagers. So, hardly anyone had the time or cared of seeing the statue, as a result, there were no marks on it, no scratches.
(iv) Why didn’t Muni go back home early?
Ans. Muni didn’t go back home early because if he went too early his wife would have no food for him and also he wanted to give his wife time to cool off her temper and feel sympathetic enough to arrange some food for him.
(v) Briefly give the difference between Muni and the visiting American. State how does it reflect on the theme of the clash between "materialism and spiritualism"?
Ans. Muni was an old man residing in the Kritam village. He once lived a prosperous life and reared a flock of forty, but now he was left with two goats. Muni wanted to enjoy life, but now he had lost his riches, he had no option but to remember his past with regret. He was a man who lived more in the past, than in the present.
The red-faced man represents a typically wealthy American. He is polite and courteous as he offered Muni a cigarette and though he did not understand Muni, he listened to him attentively. He was a typical American tourist who wished to take back home the statue as a souvenir.
(i) Describe the arrival of the red-faced foreigner.
Ans. The red-faced foreigner arrived in the village by a yellow vehicle that looked like both motor car and bus with full speed. He stopped that vehicle in front of Muni, got down and went around it, poked under the vehicle because his car ran out of gas. And then starred in Muni's direction and approached him.
(ii) What did the foreigner say looking at the clay horse?
Ans. The foreigner looked up at the clay horse and cried, “ Marvellous.”
(iii) State the feelings of Muni after meeting the foreigner. Why did he have such feelings?
Ans. As soon as Muni met the foreigner his first impulse was just to run away but his age did not allow him. He assumed the foreigner to be a policeman or a soldier enquiring about the rumoured murder as he had worn a khaki cloth.
iv) Looking at the clothes of the foreigner what did Muni think? How did the foreigner put him at ease?
Ans. The foreigner had worn khaki clothes. It made Muni think that he was a policeman or a soldier. To put Muni at ease, the other man pressed his palms together, smiled, and said, “ Namaste!”
(v) Having exhausted his English vocabulary, what did Muni say in Tamil?
Ans. Having exhausted his English vocabulary, he started in Tamil:" My name is Muni. These goats are mine, and no one can gainsay it- though our village is full of slanderers these days who will not hesitate to say that what belongs to a man doesn't belong to him."
(i). Who was the foreigner? What was his background?
Ans. The foreigner was a tourist in India. He was a rich American businessman who dealt in coffee.
(ii). What is referred to as the courtesies of the seasons? Why did Muni answer ‘Yes, no”?
Ans. As the American tries to engage Muni in a lively conversation, he suddenly remembers the etiquette of a gentleman and offers him a cigarette. These polite codes of manners refer to as the courtesies of the season. Muni was totally baffled as he couldn’t speak or understand a word of English except for "yes" and “no”. So with a puzzled expression, he answered both “yes, no” to whatever he was being asked even though it was irrelevant and didn’t make any sense.
(iii) State Muni earlier experience of smoking a cigarette. When the foreigner flicked the light open and offered a cigarette to Muni, what were the latter’s feelings?
Ans. Muni remembered the cigarette the shopman had given him on credit. He recalled how good it had tasted. When the foreigner flicked the light open Muni was confused about how to react, so he blew on the light and put it out.
(iv) What were the consequences of smoking an American cigarette on Muni?
Ans. Muni started coughing. It pained him yet he felt it was extremely pleasant. He started to remember the feelings of that time when he had a first smoked cigarette on credit.
(v) Describe Muni’s fears and anxieties when he was given the card by the visitor.
Ans. Muni feared that the business card was an arrest warrant to arrest him for the crime that had happened recently in his village area, so he moved back.
(i) What did Muni speak in a fearful tone in the extract?
Ans. Muni speaks in a fearful tone in the extract because the language was a barrier between the foreigner and Muni and he misunderstood his visiting card as an arrest warrant. And he was explaining to the foreigner that he is an innocent man and he had not done that murder, which was done under a tamarind tree at the border between Kritam and Kuppam a few weeks ago.
(ii) Which case is Muni referring to in the extract? Why did he say that he did not know anything about the case and only God knew about it? Which characteristic trait of Muni is revealed from his talk?
Ans. A mutilated dead body had been found thrown under a tamarind tree at the border between Kritam and Kuppam a few weeks ago. Muni was referring to this murder case in the extract. He thought American was a policeman and came for inquiry so he told that he knows nothing about the case and only God knows the truth. From this, we can tell that he is a religious man.
(iii) Explain why Muni spoke of a murder with the foreigner. What does it reveal about Muni's behaviour?
Ans. Muni spoke of a murder with the foreigner because Muni misunderstood the khaki-clad foreigner to be a policeman who was investigating about a murder committed a few weeks ago at the border between the villages Kritam and Kuppam.
Initially, Muni spoke in a fearful tone but when the foreigner produced a card, Muni was greatly troubled and afraid and began to plead the foreigner that he knew nothing about the murder. It reveals the innocent and ignorant nature of Muni.
(iv) State how the title of the story, ‘A Horse and Two Goats’ is relevant.
Ans. A Horse and Two Goats is an apt title for the story. Though the hero of the story is Muni, who drives the story forward, the major part of the story is a dialogue between the American and Muni concerning the horse statue. From the beginning of the story, it is observed that Muni is left with two goats. It is only when the goats are being taken to graze near the highway, that Muni’s chance encounter with the American takes place. Muni who is sitting on the pedestal of the statue is assumed to be its owner by the American. Muni, on the other hand does not understand what the foreigner says. When the American gives Muni a hundred rupee note as the price for the statue, Muni gets confused. He assumes it to be the price of his two goats.
(v) How is the clash of cultures brought about in the story?
Ans. On one hand, Muni is the representative of typical Indian native; who is poor, rural and uneducated. He doesn’t know English and is striving to make a living. On the other hand, we have the American who knows no Tamil but expects Mini to understand English. He is wealthy, urban and educated and is only interested in a business deal with Muni.
(i) What has the foreigner just said about Tamil and Muni’s sales talk?
Ans. The foreigner said that Tamil to him ‘sounds wonderful’ and he got a kick out of every word Muni uttered. The foreigner assumed Muni to be engaging in sales talk and told him that he already appreciated the article and was ready for a better sales talk.
(ii) What is Pongal? What does Muni do on Pongal in his village?
Ans. Pongal is a four-day harvest festival celebrated in Tamil Nadu. During Pongal Muni and his father would cut the harvest. Muni would then allowed by his father to go out and play with others at the tank.
(iii) State what does Muni hint in the extract about the caste and class distinction between the rich and the poor in Kritam.
Ans. Muni had no formal education. He grew up as a member of a lower caste when only the Brahmins, the highest caste, could attend school. he has not travelled beyond his village and he likes to watch trucks and buses go by on highway a few miles away so that he can have "a sense of belonging to a larger world". He has some knowledge of the two major religious texts the Ramayana and the Mahabharata, which he has learned by acting in plays and by listening to preachers at the temple.
(iv) After the extract, how does Muni show himself as a gossip-monger?
Ans. Muni shows himself as a gossip-monger by asking the red-faced foreigner several questions about his family life and children and telling the American about his theatrical days, Vishnu avatars, cattle, etc. without even realising that the foreigner did not understand anything.
(v) Explain two characteristic features of Muni's wife. State briefly the position of women in villages as seen in the story, A Horse and Two Goats.
Ans. Muni's wife was really very supportive as she never questioned or blamed Muni for his failures. Although she appeared to be a little rude from outside sometimes she was really a kind-hearted wife. She loved her husband a lot and cared for him too.
Child marriage was prevalent as in the case of Muni and his wife. Women were honoured as seen as nurturers but they needed a man to support them. Women in Kritam do jobs at the Big House to earn their livelihood. Women use clay pots and clay ovens to cook food.
(i) Which dead body is referred to in the extract? Why was Muni afraid of the dead body earlier?
Ans. A mutilated dead body, that had been found thrown under a tamarind tree at the border between Kritam and Kuppam a few weeks ago, is referred to as dead body in the extract. Muni mistook the foreigner’s khaki dress and thought the foreigner was a policeman who was investigating the case of that mutilated body.
(ii) What is Kali Yuga? What is said to happen in Kali Yuga?
Ans. Kali Yuga is the last of the four stages the world goes through as part of the cycle of the ages. At the end of kali yuga, this world and all other worlds will be destroyed, and the Redeemer will come in the shape of a horse called Kalki and save all good people while evil ones will perish.
(iii) How does the language barrier in the conversation between the American and Muni provides humour in the story?
Ans. Muni and the red-faced man(foreigner) both were speaking in different languages and neither of them was able to understand each other. They converse, though, in reality, they are both speaking on entirely unrelated subjects. The first time Muni saw the foreigner in Khaki clothes he thought that he was police came here to arrest him for the murder he hadn't committed. But when Muni started to prove himself innocent the foreigner thought that Muni was describing the beauty of the horse statue.
After sometime when the foreigner offered him a cigarette he accepted it, then the foreigner blew on the lighter and offered it to Muni, but Muni was confused and he blew it off. When the foreigner showed him a card of where he lives in the USA, Muni thought that it was an arrest warrant card. These are some examples of humour between the communication in Muni and the red-faced man.
(iv) Describe the living room of the foreigner in America as stated by him.
Ans. The living room of the foreigner has a large bookcase filled with volumes of books. There are books piled up too.
(v) How does Muni describe the horse? How would the horse be accommodated in the foreigner’s house?
Ans. Muni describes the horse as a warrior. The horse symbolises salvation for the people of a village (Kritam) during a calamity. The foreigner assures Muni that he would keep the statue with the utmost care in his living room in his house in the USA.
(i) Who speaks these words? In what context does he speak them?
Ans. The foreigner speaks these words. Muni was reflecting on the end of the world and asked the foreigner if he had any idea when Kali Yuga would end.
(ii) What does Muni say about the coffee hotel in the locality? Why does he say about the coffee hotel?
Ans. Muni had heard from passers-by that there were ‘Kapi-hotels’ opened at the Friday Markets in the next town along the highway. Muni only recognized the word ‘coffee’ in the foreigner’s conversation. He thought that the foreigner wanted to drink coffee, so, he says about the coffee hotel.
(iii) What has Muni said about the end of the world?
Ans. Muni said about the end of the world that at this time the Redeemer would come on the horse statue which would grow bigger and be called Kalki. There would be floods in which Kalki would carry good people to safety and the evil would perish.
(iv) Explain what the kind of businessman was the foreigner.
Ans. The foreigner claimed that he was a modest businessman dealing in coffee. However, he bragged about having the best home. He was a shrewd businessman-he realised he had bragged too much about his house. He took out a hundred rupee note and started bargaining over the price of the statue.
(v) How does the foreigner plan to transport the horse to America? What does he intend to do within America?
Ans. The foreigner planned to cancel his air ticket and travel by ship with the horse in his cabin. The foreigner assures Muni that he would keep the statue with the utmost care in his living room in his house in the USA.
(i) Muni asked the red man, “ How many children do you have? The red man replied, “ I said a hundred. “ What was each one talking about? Explain the humour in this conversation.
Ans. The red man was talking about the cost of the horse which he was willing to buy in Rs. 100 but Muni thought that he is telling him that he has 100 children. The humour in the conversation arose about the number 100. The humour here also arises out of each one's inability to understand the other. They seemed to be conversing, but in reality, they are talking about entirely unrelated subjects.
(ii) Give two examples to show that Muni was curious about the red man.
Ans. Muni asked the red man that how many children does he has. He even asks how many of them are boys and how many are girls. They were not able to understand each other.
(iii) Looking at the hundred rupees note, how did Muni react? What did he think was the purpose of giving him that money?
Ans. Muni peered closely at the hundred rupees note. He was amazed as he had never seen it before. Muni thought that the red man wanted him to exchange the note for change. Muni laughed at this idea.
(iv) How did Muni describe the village headman?
Ans. The village headman was a moneylender who disguised himself in rags just to mislead the public. According to Muni, in reality, the headman had so much money that he could even have changed a lakh of rupees in gold sovereigns.
(v)Why did the red man show some interest in Muni’s goats? Briefly describe the intentions of Muni for rearing the goats. Why couldn’t his plan be carried out?
Ans. The foreigner showed interest in Muni’s goats merely out of courtesy. Muni had reared the goats in the hope of selling them someday and, with the profit, opening a small shop on that very spot. His plan couldn't be carried out because the red man left his goat near the highway and took away the statue of horse when Muni reached his home after some times his goats also come back.
(i) What food did Muni normally take? Explain why he is expecting miraclefood at his occasion.
Ans. Muni would eat salted millet cooked into a little ball along with the raw onion. He was expecting a miracle food because he has given enough time to prepare some food for him and today he has got Rs. 100 unexpectedly.
(ii) How did Muni’s wife react when she saw the cash?
Ans. Muni’s wife was a hard-working woman, whom poverty had not worn down. She was so honest that she was not delighted on seeing the hundred rupees note but accused Muni of stealing it.
(iii) As soon as Muni completed his speech what did Muni’s wife conclude from the scene? What does that reveal about Muni's wife?
Ans. Muni and his wife heard bleating outside. On opening the door, she saw the two goats and thus concluded Muni has stolen the money.
(iv) How can you conclude that Muni was annoyed by seeing the goats?
Ans. Muni’s annoyance was revealed when he questioned the goats, “Where is that man? Don’t you know you are his? Why did you come back?
(v) How does the story end? What has appealed to you in the story?
Ans. The American at the end believed he had bought the horse statue, whereas Muni thought he had just got rid of his goats for money. Muni came home to present the money to his wife and told her that he had sold their goats to a foreigner. The American on the other hand with the help of a couple of men detached, " the horse from its pedestal and placed it in his station wagon."
The goats followed Muni back home, his wife became suspicious and thus accused him of stealing the money. The story ends with a misunderstanding between Muni and his wife. The latter accuses him of stealing since the goats follow Mini back home. R K Narayan is known for using ironic humour in his stories. It is in no way insulting but is enjoyable. It lets the readers laugh at the characters and their situation gently. There are various situations in the story which creates a comic effect.
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