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Mijbil the Otter
By– Gavin Maxwell
Summary in English- Mijbil the Otter
The author lived in a cottage in Camusfeama in Scotland. He had a pet dog Jonnie. When Jonnie died, he did keep a dog again for some time. But life without a pet was lonely. So he decided to have another pet. He didn’t want to have a dog. In 1956, he went to Southern Iraq. He had decided by them 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. He and his friend decided to go to Basra for an otter.
His friend’s mail had arrived. But the author’s mail was late. There was a delay of a few days. In the meantime, his friend left. At last, the author’s mail came. He went to his room in order to read it. There he found two Arabs. They had brought a sack which was on the floor. In the sack, there was an otter. They said that it was for him.
The otter was a small creature like a small dragon. It was covered with mud from head to tail. Under the mud, it had a soft velvet skin. He was like that of a chocolate-brown mole. It took the author many days to completely remove the mud from his body. He named the otter `Mijbil’. His race was unknown to scientists. At first, Mijbil was neither hostile nor friendly. He was simply aloof and indifferent. On the first night, it slept on the floor. The next night, he slipped on the author’s bed and slept between his knees. Mijbil started taking interest in its surroundings. The author made a body-belt for him. 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.
Soon the otter became habitual of being called as ‘Mij’. He followed the author when he called his name. It spent most, of its time playing with a rubber ball and marbles. He would throw the ball like a soccer player. His real play was when he lay on his back and played with small objects between his paws. Marbles were his favourite toys.
Days passed peacefully at Basra. Then it was time for the author to come hack. He dreaded the prospect of transporting Mij to England and to Camusfeama. He knew that the British Airline would not fly animals to London. 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 fast.
The aircraft was waiting to take off. He rushed in. He covered the place near his seat with newspapers. He 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.
The otter and the author remained in London for nearly a month. Mijbil used to play for hours with toys, ping-pong balls, marbles, rubber fruit, etc. He played with a suitcase and a ping-pong ball. He would place the ball on the sloping top of the suitcase. Then he would hurry and catch it before the bell fell off the suitcase. The author used to take otter out for exercise and walk. Both walked through the streets. Mij developed certain habits on those walks. He went with the author like children playing, running and touching things in the streets. When the author was near primary school. Mij would jump on the wall and gallop on it. In London, many people had not seen an otter. When they saw Mij, they guessed what kind of animal it was. The author faced a stream of questions filled with guesses. The people guessed that it could be a baby seal, a walrus, a hippo, a beaver, a bear cub, a leopard, etc. But nobody could guess that it was an otter.
DETAILED SUMMARY (2) :
1.An Otter as Pet: It was in 1956 when the narrator travelled to Iraq. After the death of his pet dog, he wanted to have a new pet. But this time, he decided to keep an otter instead of a dog. A friend advised him to get an otter in the Tigris marshes. They were found in large numbers there. They were often tamed and kept by the Arabs. One day he found two Arabs squatting on the floor. Beside them lay a sack. They handed the narrator a note from his friend. It read “Here is your otter …”
2. Otter Like a Small Dragon: A wonderful creature emerged from the sack. It resembled a very small dragon imagined in the Middle Ages. He was coated with pointed scales. Between the scales was visible a soft velvet fur. The narrator managed to remove the mud completely only after a month. Now the otter could be seen in his true colours.
3. Maxwell’s Otter: The pet otter was named Mijbil. It was christened by zoologistsLutrogaleperspicillatamaxwelli or Maxwell’s Otter. For the first twenty-four hours, Mijbil was quite indifferent. He chose to sleep on the floor as far