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Mijbil the Otter
By– Gavin Maxwell
Important Long/ Detailed Answer Type Questions- to be answered in about 100 -150 words each
1. Mijbil did things which demonstrated its personality. Which qualities of the narrator are shown in his care for Mijbil?
Ans. Mijbil was an intelligent, fun-loving and playful otter. It was fond of water. When Maxwell took it to the bathroom, for half an hour, it went wild with joy in the water, plunging and rolling in it. Maxwell treated Mijbil like his own son. He took care of him very well. He gave him lots of toys including marbles, rubber balls, rubber fruits and a terrapin shell to play with. He also noticed Mijbil’s habits and traits. Maxwell encouraged Mijbil to do whatever he liked to do. He took him out for exercise every day. When Maxwell saw him in blood, he was horrified. He took him out of the box; he jumped all over and then sat on Maxwell’s lap quietly.
2. Why did Maxwell want to have an otter for a pet? How did he get one?
Ans. Gavin Maxwell, the author, wanted to own a pet. His pet dog had died recently and he was feeling too sad to think of keeping a dog as a pet again. So when he travelled to Southern Iraq, he decided to keep an otter instead of a dog. His friend suggested to Maxwell that he could get an otter in the Tigris marshes for they were very common there, like mosquitoes. Moreover, the friend also informed, that otters were often trained by the Arabs. venally Maxwell and his friend went to Basra to the Consulate-General to collect their mail. Later on, i.e., a few days later the author received his mail and took it to his bedroom to ‘iced. There, he found two Arabs squatting on the floor with the sack that contained the otter with a letter from his friend that said, “Here is your otter….”
3. What did Maxwell do to transport Mijbil to England?
Ans. After the British Airways refused to take a pet on its flight, the narrator booked a flight to Paris by another airline. This airline insisted that the pet should be packed into a box not more than eighteen inches square, to be carried on the floor near his feet. Maxwell had a box made, and an hour before they started, put Mij into the box so that he would become accustomed to it and then left for a hurried meal. But when he returned he was terrified. There was an appalling silence. Maxwell found blood had trickled and dried around the air holes of the box. He tore open the box to find Mij exhausted, and blood splattered, and whimpering and he caught hold of Maxwell’s leg. However, since he had very little time left to board the flight, Maxwell just put Mij back into the box, holding down the lid with his hand. On the flight, the stewardess, on hearing the author’s tale, permitted him to travel with Mij on his knee. After the initial chaos, Mijbil travelled to London on the author’s knee.
4. Describe the relationship between the otter and Maxwell in your own words.
Ans. Maxwell and the otter Mijbil shared a lovely relationship. Maxwell treated Mij like his own son. He took very good care of him. He gave him many toys including marbles, rubber bans, rubber fruits and a terrapin shell to play with. He took him to the bathtub to play in the water knowing the fascination of otters with water. He noticed his habits and traits. Mijbil hesitated on the first day but then became very friendly. Maxwell encouraged Mijbil to do whatever he liked to do. He took him out for exercise every day. When Maxwell saw blood on the box in which Mij was packed, he was horrified. When Mij came out of the box he jumped all over but then came and sat on Maxwell’s knees quietly.
5. How did it come to the mind of the writer that an otter can be substituted for dogs or cats?
Ans. The author’s pet dog had died, he was too sad to think of keeping a dog again. Maxwell’s friend suggested him to get an otter from Tigris marshes for they were as common as mosquitoes over there. Moreover, they were often trained by the Arabs. He had to go to Basra to the Consulate-General to collect and answer his mail. His mail had not arrived yet so he had to wait. There he received an otter sent by his friend through two Arabs. The author felt a strong attachment and feelings for it. He liked it and kept it.
6. When did the author decide to have an otter as a pet? How did he get an otter?
Ans. The author had a pet dog. Jonnie. When Jonnie died, his life without a pet was lonely. In 1956. he went to Southern Iraq. He had decided by then that he would keep an otter as a pet instead of a dog. His home in Scotland had much water around it. So it would be suitable for an otter. The author shared this idea with a friend. He supported the idea and suggested that he should take an otter from the Tigris marshes. He said that otters were in plenty at that place. One day, the author found two Arabs in his room. They had brought a sack with them. In the sack, there was an otter. They said that it was for him.
7. How did the otter look when the author got it? What name did he get it? How did the otter enjoy being in the bathroom?
Ans. The otter was a small creature like a small dragon. It was covered with mud from head to tail. Under the mud, it had soft velvet skin. The author named the otter ‘Mijbil’. His race was unknown to scientists. On the first night, it slept on the floor. The next slipped on the author’s bed and slept between his knees. Mijbil started taking interest in its surroundings. When Mijbil was taken to the bathroom he enjoyed his bath. He went wild with joy in the water of the tub. The author knew that the otters are fond of water. Two days later, Mijbil escaped from the bedroom. It went to the bathroom. He sat into the bathtub and turned the tap on. He was happy under the running water.
8. How did the author make arrangements for transporting his otter to London?
Ans. It was time for the author to come back from Iraq. He dreaded the prospect of transporting Mij to England. He knew that the British Airline would not fly animals. So he had to book a flight to Paris in another airline and another to London. The airline advised that Mij should be packed in a box. The author put Mij into it the box an hour before he started for the airport so that Mij would become accustomed to it. Then the author went for a meal. When he returned there was silence in the box. He noticed blood from the air holes. He at once opened it. He found Mij troubled and covered with blood. Mij had torn the inner lining of the box. It was just ten minutes to the flight and the airport was five miles away. So the author put it back in the box and hurried to the airport. The car driver drove very fact.
9. Describe the author’s experience with the otter in the aircraft. I [H.B.S.E. March. 20I7(Ser-C)]
Ana. When the author reached the airport, the aircraft was wailing to take off. He rushed in. He covered the place new his scat with newspaper. lie gave the parcel of fish to the air hostess for the otter. She cooperated with the author and advised him to keep the pet on his knee. But soon Mij was out of the box. He disappeared very soon. Suddenly, there was chaos in the plane. There were squawks and shrieks all around. A woman cried, “A rat, a rat!” The author saw the otter beneath the legs of an Indian. When he tried to catch the otter, His face got covered in curry. The air hostess assured him that she would find the otter. The author returned to his seat. After some time, the otter came to him and sat in his lap.
Q10. Why did Maxwell decide to have an otter as a pet? How did he get it?
Ans. Maxwell’s pet dog Jonnie died. He felt alone without a pet. This time he decided to change his pet. He decided to own an otter as his pet. His place, Camusfearna was ringed by water. It would be a suitable place for this new experiment. One of his friends suggested that he could get an otter in the Tigris marshes. Otters were as common in the Tigris marshes as were mosquitoes. They were often tamed by the Arabs as pets. Maxwell got his mail after five days. He carried it to his bedroom to read. There he found two Arabs squatting on the floor. A sack lay beside them. There was something moving and twisting in it. The Arabs handed him a note from his friend. It read, “Here is your otter …” The sack was opened. And there emerged a
unique creature from the sack. Later on, this otter was named Mijbil by Maxwell.
Q11. Why was Mijbil, the otter was christened Maxwell’s otter by zoologists? How did the otter behave in the beginning and afterwards?
Ans. The otter. Mijbil was, in fact, of a race previously unknown to science. At last, it was christened Lutrogale perspicillata maxwelli by zoologists. It was also called Maxwell’s otter after the name of its master.
In the beginning, Mijbil was neither hostile nor friendly. He was totally aloof and indifferent. He chose to sleep on the floor as far from Maxwell’s bed as possible. But the change started coming from the second night. He came on to his bed and remained asleep in the crook of his knees. He began to lose his indifference and apathy. He started taking a keen interest in his surroundings. Later on, he became playful and started enjoying his stay with his owner.
Q12. What is a characteristic of otters? How did Mijbil enjoy himself by playing different games?
Ans. Maxwell learnt that extending and spreading every drop of water about the place is the main characteristic of otters. And Mijbil was no exception. He went wild with joy in the water. He continued rolling and plunging in the bathtub. He made enough slosh and splash for a hippo. A bowl must be overturned. Water must be kept on the move until it overflows. Mijbil enjoyed himself doing funny things. He would stand up on the end of the bathtub and turn the tap to its full flow. He spent hours shuffling a rubber ball around the room like a four-footed soccer player. He would lie on his back juggling with small objects between his paws. He enjoyed playing with marbles which were his favourite toys for this pastime.
Q13. How was Mijbil transported from Basra to London? What scenes did the otter create in the aircraft?
Ans. Transporting Mijbil from Basra to London was really a problem. The British airline would not fly animals. Maxwell had to book a flight to Paris on another airline. According to the instructions, Mijbil was put into a box not more than eighteen inches square. Luckily, the seat booked for him was at the extreme front. He covered the floor around his feet with newspapers. The air hostess was very friendly and cooperative. Maxwell gave her a parcel of fish for Mij to be kept in a cool place. She suggested that he should keep his pet on his knee. The moment the box was opened, Mij was out in a flash. He disappeared at high speed down the aircraft. The noisy scene was created. There were squawks and shrieks all around. A woman stood up from her seat crying. “A rat!A rat!” Maxwell saw Mijbil disappearing beneath the legs of a portly turbaned Indian. The air hostess requested Maxwell to resume his scat. She hoped to find the animal and bring it to him. Suddenly, he heard Mijbil’s voice from his feet. Mijbil bounded on to his knee and began to nuzzle the face and neck of his owner.
Q14. What were strange and funny wild guesses that Londoners made about Mijbil? Who made the best remark about the otter?
Ans. It was rather difficult for an average Londoner to recognise such a strange animal as an otter. Most of them had never seen such a unique animal. The thing that surprised Maxwell that Londoners made such funny and wild guesses about Mijbil, the otter. He faced a continuous barrage of questions from the anxious but ignorant people. They made random guesses about the animal. Some of them guessed that he was ‘a baby seal’ or ‘a squirrel’ or ‘a walrus’. Others also made fantastic guesses. One called Mijbil ‘a beaver’. Another called it ‘a bear cub’. The third guessed that it was `a leopard’. Mij was anything but an otter.
The question that was awarded the highest score came from a labourer. The surprised labourer spat, glared and growled out, “Here, Mister—what is that supposed to be?”