The Snake and The Mirror NCERT Solutions | Board Material

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The Snake and The Mirror NCERT Solutions

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The Snake and The Mirror NCERT Solutions

Page No.60

Textual Questions

Thinking about the Text

I. Discuss in pairs and answer each question below in a short paragraph (30-40 words).

 1. ‘The sound was a familiar one’. What sound did the doctor hear? What did he think it was? How many times did he hear it? (Find the phrases its the text.) When and why did the sounds stop? 

Ans. The doctor heard a noise from the roof as lie opened the door. He thought it the sound made by the rats. He .heard that sound thrice. The sounds stopped after some time because the snake had fallen to the ground.

2. What two ‘important’ and ‘earth-shaking’ decisions did the doctor take while he was looking info-the mirror?

Ans. The doctor decided that he would try to look more handsome. For this purpose, he would shave daily. He would also grow a thin moustache. He would keep an attractive smile on his face. The second decision was that he would marry a woman doctor who was rich and fat.

3.`I looked into the mirror and smiled,’ says the doctor. A little later he says, ‘I forgot my danger and smiled feebly at myself.’ What is the doctor’s opinion about himself when (i) he first smiles, and (ii) he smiles again? In what way do his thoughts change in between, and why?

Ans. (i) The doctor sits in front of the mirror. He makes an important decision. He decides that he will shave daily and grow a thin moustache to look more handsome. This decision makes him smile.

 (ii) The snake has a tight grip on his arm. He thinks that death is just four inches away from him. If the snake bites him, what medicine he will take. There was not any such medicine in the room. He calls himself a poor. foolish and stupid doctor. He forgets his danger and smiles feebly at his foolishness.

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II. This story about a frightening incident is narrated in a humorous way. What makes it humorous? (Think of the contrasts it presents between dreams and reality.)

1.(i) The kind of person the doctor is (money, possessions)

(ii) The kind of person he wants to be (appearance, ambition)

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2.(i) The person he wants to marry

(ii)The person he actually marries

3.(i) His thoughts when he looks into the mirror

(ii) His thoughts when the snake is coiled around his arm

 Write short paragraphs on each of these to get your answer.

 Ans. (1) The doctor lives in a small rented room. His income is small. He has about sixty rupees in his suitcase. He has some shirts and dhotis and also possesses one black coat. In appearance he wants his face to look more handsome. For this, he decides to shave daily and grow a thin moustache. His ambition is to become a good medical practitioner.

 (ii) He wants to marry a woman doctor with plenty of money and good medical practice. He wants her to be fat. He says that if ever lie makes some mistake, she will never be able to run behind him. But in reality, he marries a thin reedy woman with the gift of a sprinter

(iii) When he looks into the mirror he thinks that his face should look handsome. For this, he decides to shave daily and grow a thin moustache. He also decides to keep an attractive smile on his face. But when the snake coils around his arm he turns to a stone image. He prays to God to save his life.

Thinking about Language

1. Here are some sentences from the text. Say which of them tell you that the author (a) was afraid of the snake. (b) was proud of his appearance (c) had a sense of humour (d) was no longer afraid of the snake.

(i)    I was turned to stone.

(ii)   I was no mere image cut in granite.

(iii)  The arm was beginning to be drained of strength.

(iv)  I tried in my imagination to write in bright letters outside my little heart the words. “0 God”.

(v)    I didn’t tremble. I didn’t cry out.

 (vi)  I looked in the mirror and smiled. It was an attractive smile.

(vii)  I was suddenly a man of flesh and blood.

(viii) I was after all a doctor, and a doctor too on top of it!

(ix)  The fellow had such a sense of cleanliness I The rascal could have taken it and used it after a rinse in soap and water.

(x)   Was it trying to make an important decision about growing a moustache or using eyeshadow and mascara or wearing a vermilion spot on its forehead?


(i)    was afraid of the snake.

(ii)    was no longer afraid of the snake.

(iii)   was afraid of the snake.

(iv)   was no longer afraid of the snake.

(v)   was afraid of the snake.

(vi)   had a sense of humour.

(vii)   was no longer afraid of the snake.

(viii)  was proud of his appearance.

(ix)   had a sense of humour

(x)   had a sense of humour.

II. Expressions used to show fear

Can you find the expressions in the story that tells you that the author was frightened? Read the story and complete the following sentences :

1. I was turned 

2. I sat there holding   

3. In the light of the lamp I sat there like 


1. I was turned to stone.

2. I sat there holding my breath.

3. In the light of the lamp, I sat there like a stone image in the flesh.

III. Given below are some words and expressions. They are used to show that one.

  • is very frightened
  • is too scared to move
  • frightened by something that happens suddenly
  • makes someone feel frightened

Find out which meaning goes with which word/expression in bold, and put the appropriate meaning next to the sentence. The first one has been done for you.

1. I knew a man was following me, I was scared out of my wits. (very frightened)

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 2. I got a fright when I realized how close 1 was to the cliff edge.

3. He nearly jumped out of his skin when he saw the ball coming toward him.

4. You really gave me a fright when you crept up behind me like that.

5. Wait until I tell his story—it will make your hair stand on end.

6. Paralyzed with fear, the boy faced his abductors.

7. The boy hid behind the door, not moving a muscle.


  • very frightened
  • makes someone feel frightened
  • frightened by something that happens suddenly
  • frightened by something that happens suddenly
  • makes someone feel frightened
  • too scared to move
  • very frightened

IV.Reported questions

Study these sentences :

  • His friend asked, “Did you see the snake the next day, doctor?”
  • His friend asked the doctor whether/if he had seen the snake the next day.
  • The little girl wondered, “Will I be home before the TV show begins?”
  • The little girl wondered if/whether she would be home before the TV show began.
  • Someone asked, “Why has the thief left the vest behind?”
  • Someone asked why the thief had left the vest behind.

 The words if/whether arc used to report questions which begin with: do, will, can, have, are etc. These questions can be answered ‘yes’ or ‘no’.

Questions beginning with why/when/where/how/which/what arc reported using these same words.

The reporting verbs we use in questions, with if/whether/why/when etc. are: ask, inquire and wonder.

Remember that in reported speech,

(i)   the present tense changes to past tense

(ii)   here, today, tomorrow, yesterday etc. change to there, that day, the next day, the day before,   etc.

(iii) I/you change to me/him/he etc., as necessary.

[Example: • He said to me, V don’t believe you.’

  • He said he did not believe me.
  • She said to him, ‘I don’t believe you.’
  • She told him that she did not believe him.]

Report these questions, using if/whether or why/when/where/how/which/what. Remember the underlined verbs change into the past tense.

1. Meena asked her friend. “Do you think Your teacher will come today?”

2. David asked his colleague, “Where will you go this summer ?” •

3. He asked the little boy, “Why are you studying English?”

4. She asked me, “When are we going to leave?”

5. Pran asked me. “Have you finished reading the newspaper?’

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6. Seema asked her, “How long have you lived here?”

7. Sheila asked the children, “Are you ready to do the work?”


1. Meena asked her friend if/whether she thought her teacher would come that day

2. David asked his colleague where he would go that summer.

3. He asked the little boy why he was studying English.

4. She asked me when I was going to leave.

5. Pran asked me if/whether I had finished reading the newspaper.

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6. Seema asked her how long he had lived there.

7. Sheila asked the children if/whether they were ready to do the work.


Using some of the expressions given above in exercise II-C, talk about an incident when you were very scared. You may have a competition to decide whose story was the most frightening one.

Ans. for self-attempt


The following paragraph is about the Indian cobra. Read it twice and close your books. Your teacher

will then dictate the paragraph to you. Write it down with appropriate punctuation marks.

Indian Cobra, generally classified as Naja naja, is the common name for members of the family of venomous snakes, known for their intimidating looks and deadly bite. Cobras are recognized by the hoods that they flare when angry or disturbed; the hoods are created by the extension of the ribs behind the Cobras’ heads. Obviously, the best prevention is to avoid getting bitten. This is facilitated by the fact that humans are not the natural prey of any venomous snake. We are a bit large for them to swallow whole and they have no means of chopping us up into bite-size pieces. Nearly all snakebites in humans are the result of a snake defending itself when it feels threatened. In general, snakes are shy and will simply least if you give them a chance.

Writing Tasks

1. Try to rewrite the story without its humour, merely as a frightening incident. What details or parts of the story would you leave out?

Ans. The narrator who was a homoeopath doctor and his friend were discussing snakes. The narrator told a horrible incident that happened to him some days ago. He said that he had just started his practice. His income was small in those days. He lived in a small and dirty rented house. It had a tiled roof. There was regular traffic of rats on the beam.

 One night when he returned home from work, he heard some sound from the roof. He took it the sound of the rats. It was a hot night. There was no ceiling in the room. He felt restless in the room. So he came out to the veranda for a little air but the Wind God seemed to have taken time off. He went back into the room and sat down on the chair. He started reading a book. The mirror was just in front of him.

There were no more sounds from above. Suddenly there came a dull thud as if a rubber tube had fallen to the ground. No sooner had the narrator turned than a snake wriggled over the back of the chair and landed on his shoulder. He could not jump. He did not ay out. He did not tremble. There was no time to do any such thing. The snake slithered along his shoulder and coiled around his left arm above the elbow. The food was spread out and it was hardly three or four inches from his face.

The narrator was sitting there holding his breath. He was turned to stone. But his mind was active. He felt then the great presence of God. There was some pain in his left arm. It was as if a thick leaden rod was slowly but powerfully crushing his arm. The arm was beginning to be drained of all strength.

At his slightest movement, the snake would strike him! Death lurked four inches away. He prayed to God to save his life. It seemed as if God listened to his prayer. The snake turned its head. It looked in the mirror. It was still looking into the minor. It unwounded itself from the narrator’s arm and slowly slithered into his lap. From there it crept onto the table and moved towards the mirror.

The narrator stands up quietly and went out through the door into the veranda. From there he leapt into the yard and ran away with all his might.

 2. Read the description given below the picture. (TOI, 14 June 1999). Make up a story about what the monkey is thinking, or why it is looking into a mirror. Write a paragraph about it.

THE FAIREST OF THEM ALL: A monkey preens itself using a piece of mirror, in the Delhi ridge. (to preen oneself means to spend a lot of time making yourself look attractive, and then admiring your appearance. The word is used in disapproval.)

Ans. Monkeys are very much like human beings in their behaviour. They too love things that human beings love. In this picture, a young monkey is looking into the mirror. It has a dream. It wants to look handsome. It wants that everyone should praise its beauty. It wants to attract more female monkeys towards it. It thinks that beauty is life. For this purpose, it preens itself into the mirror.

Page No.64


The text you read is a translation of a story by a well-known Malayalam writer, Vaikom Muhammad Basheer.

 In translating a story from one language to another, a translator must keep the content intact. However, the language and the style differ in different translations of the same text.

Here are two translations of the opening paragraphs of a novel by the Japanese writer, Haruki Murakami. Read them and answer the questions given below.

                   A                                                                                              B                           

When the phone rang I was in the kitchen, boiling a potful of spaghetti and whistling along with an FM broadcast of the overture to Rossini’s The Thieving Magpie, which has to be the perfect music for cooking pasta.


I wanted to ignore the phone, not only because the spaghetti was nearly done, but because Claudio Abbado was bringing the London Symphony to its musical climax.


 I’m in the kitchen cooking spaghetti when the woman calls. Another moment until the spaghetti is done; there I am, whistling the prelude to Rossini’s La Garza Ladra along with the FM radio. Perfect spaghetti-cooking music!


 I hear the telephone ring but tell myself. Ignore it. Let the spaghetti finish cooking. It’s almost done, and besides. Claudio Abbado and the London Symphony Orchestra are coming to a crescendo.


1. Compare the two translations using the following points :

(a) the tense of narration (past, present tense)

(b) short incomplete sentences

(c) sentence length

Which of these translations do you like ? Give reasons for your choice.

Ans. 1. (a) In column ‘A’ the translation has been given in Past Tense while the tense of translation in column ‘B. is Present Tense.

(b) In column ‘A’ has short incomplete sentences as a part of a long sentence while the story in column ‘B’ has complete sentences of short length.

(c) The sentences in column ‘A’ are much longer than the sentences in column ‘B’.

2. I like the translation given under column ‘A’ than that of ‘B’. A story described in Past Tense is much more impressive than that of the Present Tense.

3. Do it yourself