CBSE Study Notes for Class 10 English Chapter – 3


CBSE Class 10 English Chapter 3 Two Stories About Flying- Download Free PDF Notes


The third chapter of the class 10th English text First Flight has two different stories. The first story, His First Flight, is about a seagull bird. The story tells us about the experience of a young bird who is afraid of flying and how it overcame its fear at the end of the story. The second story, Black Aeroplane, is about a pilot who experiences something unexplainable. Read both the stories carefully to know what happened next. Students can supplement their reading with the PDF Notes provided by GharPeShiksha. The study material available at the website of GharPeShiksha has helped numerous students enhance their understanding of this chapter and its teachings. The material contains the chapter’s vocabulary with meaning, textbook exercise questions with solutions, previous year questions with solutions, important questions that may come in the exam, teachings of the chapter, model answer sheet, and many more things compiled by expert teachers. You can download the PDFs through the website of GharPeShiksha.

How to Tell Wild Animals

How to Tell Wild Animals is a fascinating poem written by noted poet Carolyn Wells. In this poem, the poet talks about identifying wild animals. She describes many wild animals with their characteristic features in an amusing manner. Students are required to understand this poem to score good marks in exams. The best way to understand the poem is to study it from the PDF notes provided by GharPeShiksha. The PDF Notes contain a summary of the poem in easy language, vocabulary with meaning, textbook exercise questions with solutions, previous year questions with solutions, important questions that may come in the exam, literary devices used in the poem, rhyming scheme analysis, and many more things all compiled by expert teachers of GharPeShiksha. This study material is available at the website of GharPeShiksha.

The Ball Poem

The Ball Poem written by John Berryman is a part of class 10th English textbook First Flight. It is a compassionate poem. In this poem, the poet talks about a boy who lost his favorite ball. Through this poem, the poet wants to understand that nothing is permanent and everything is subject to change. We must accept this harsh reality to sustain a happy life. This is an essential poem from the perspective of exams, and it must be prepared sincerely. The best way to understand what the poem tries to tell its readers is to study it from the PDF notes provided by GharPeShiksha. The PDF Notes contain a summary of the poem in easy language, vocabulary with meaning, textbook exercise questions with solutions, previous year questions with answers, important questions that may come in the exam, literary devices used in the poem, rhyming scheme analysis, and many more things all compiled by expert teachers of GharPeShiksha. This study material is available at the website of GharPeShiksha only. Here, download the pdf file of the CBSE Class 10 English Chapter 3 Two Stories About Flying.


Two Stories About Flying

I. His First Flight by Liam O’ Flaherty

The young seagull was alone on his ledge. His two brothers and his sister had already flown away the day before. He had been afraid to fly with them. Somehow when he had taken a little run forward to the brink of the ledge and attempted to flap his wings he became afraid. The great expanse of sea stretched down beneath, and it was such a long way down – miles down. He felt certain that his wings would never support him; so he bent his head and ran away back to the little hole under the ledge where he slept at night. Even when each of his brothers and his little sister, whose wings were far shorter than his own, ran to the brink, flapped their wings, and flew away, he failed to muster up courage to take that plunge which appeared to him so desperate. His father and mother had come around calling him shrilly, upbraiding him, threatening to let him starve on his ledge unless he flew away. But for the life of him he could not move.

The was twenty-four hours ago. Since then nobody had come near him. The day before, all day long, he had watched his parents flying about with his brothers and sister, perfecting them in the art of flight, teaching them how to skim the waves and how to dive for fish. He had, in fact, seen his older brother catch his first herring and devour it, standing on a rock, while his parents circled around raising a proud cackle. And all the morning the whole family had walked about on the big plateau midway down the opposite cliff taunting him with his cowardice.

The sun was now ascending the sky, blazing on his ledge that faced the south. He felt the heat because he had not eaten since the previous nightfall.

He stepped slowly out to the brink of the ledge, and standing on one leg with the other leg hidden under his wing, he closed on eye, then the other, and pretended to be falling asleep. Still they took no notice of him. He saw his two brothers and his sister lying on the plateau dozing with their heads sunk into their necks. His father was preening the feathers of his white back. Only his mother was looking at him. She was standing on a little high hump on the plateau, her white breast thrust froward. Now and again, she tore at a piece of fish that lay at her feet and then scrapped each side of her beak on the rock. The sight of the food maddened him. How he loved to tear food that way, scrapping his beak now and again to whet it.

“Ga, ga, ga,” he cried begging her to bring him some food. “Gaw-col-ah,” she screamed back derisively. But he kept calling plaintively, and after a minute or so he uttered a joyful scream. His mother had picked up a piece of the fish and was flying across to him with it. He leaned out eagerly, tapping the rock with his feet, trying to get nearer to her as she flew across. But when she was just opposite to him, she halted, her wings motionless, the piece of fish in her beak almost within reach of his beak. He waited a moment in surprise, wondering why she did not come nearer, and then, maddened by hunger, he dived at the fish. With a loud scream he fell outwards and downwards into space. Then a monstrous terror seized him and his heart stood still. He could hear nothing. But it only lasted a minute. The next moment he felt his wings spread outwards. The wind rushed against his breast feathers, then under his stomach, and against his wings. He could feel the tips of his wings cutting through the air. He was not falling headlong now. He was soaring gradually downwards and outwards. He was no longer afraid. He just felt a bit dizzy. Then he flapped his wings once and he soared upwards. “Ga, ga, ga, Ga, ga, fa, Gaw-col-ah,” his mother swooped past him, her wings making a loud noise. He answered her with another scream. Then his father flew over him screaming. He saw his two brothers and his sister flying around him curveting and banking and soaring and diving.

Then he completely forgot that he had not always been able to fly, and commended himself to dive and soar and curve, shrieking shrilly.

He was near the sea now, flying straight over it, facing straight out over the ocean. He saw a vast green sea beneath him, with little ridges moving over it and he turned his beak sideways and cawed amusedly.

His parents and his brothers and sister had landed on this green flooring ahead of him. They were beckoning to him, calling shrilly. He dropped his legs to stand on the green sea. His legs sank into it. He screamed with fright and attempted to rise again flapping his wings. But he was tried and weak with hunger and he could not rise, exhausted by the strange exercise. His feet sank into the green sea, and then his belly touched it and he sank no farther. He was floating on it, and around him his family was screaming, praising him and their beaks were offering him scraps of dog-fish.

He had made his first flight.


  Chapter Highlights

  1. Seagull family consists of 6 members.
  2. The young seagull is afraid of flying and family has concern of his food and fear of flying.
  3. Cajoling (entrap) and provoking him by family.
  4. Family leaves him alone at the rock, so he cries because of heat and hunger.
  5. No one looks at him except the mothers who tries to tempt him for a piece of fish.
  6. Everybody taunts him for his cowardice, so the young seagull dives to catch a fish to feed himself.
  7. He tries to spread his winds outwards and begins to fly slowly downwards and upwards.
  8. He is not no longer afraid of flying and falling down in the sea. He soars with a joyous scream.
  9. Seagull family came near to him and encourage him.
  10. He had made his first flight successfully.

Word Meanings

ledge : a narrow horizontal shelf

brink : edge

attempted : tried

flap : to move wings up and down

muster up : gather

plunge : dive

shrilly : sharply

upbraiding : rebuking

starve : die of hunger

skim : moving lightly over an area, surface

dive : plunge

herring : a kind of fish

devour : eat at a great speed

cackle : cackling sound

taunting : jeering

cowardice : lack of courage

blazing : shining with great heat, burning

dozing : feeling sleepy

preening : smoothing feathers with beak

scrapped : rubbed

maddened : was made mad

whet : sharpening

derisively : mockingly

plaintively : sorrowfully

leaned out : knelt

tapping : beating lightly

halted : stopped

monstrous : very fearful

seized : caught

headlong : head downwards

soaring : flying upwards

dizzy : confused, spinning

swooped : pounced

curveting : moving with an action resembling a horse’s leap

banking : flying with one wing higher than the other

commended : praised

ridges : wavy edges

cawed : made a cawing sound

beckoning : signalling

II. Black Aeroplane by Frederick Forsyth

The moon was coming up in the east, behind me, and stars were shinning in the clear sky above me. There wasn’t a cloud in the sky. I was happy to be alone high up above the sleeping countryside. I was flying my old Dakota aeroplane over France back to England. I was dreaming of my holiday and looking forward to being with my family. I looked at my watch: one thirty in the morning.

‘I should call Paris Control soon,’ I thought. As I looked down past the nose of the aeroplane, I saw the lights of a big city in front of me. I switched on the radio and said, “Paris Control, Dakota DS 088 here. Can you hear me? I’m on my way to England. Over.”

The voice from the radio answered me immediately: “DS 088, I can hear you. You ought to turn twelve degrees west now, DS o88. Over.”

I checked the map and the compass, switched over to my second and last fuel tank, and turned the Dakota twelve degrees west towards England.

‘I’ll be in time for breakfast,’ I thought. A good big English breakfast! Everything was going well – it was an easy flight.

Paris was about 150 kilometers behind me when I saw the clouds. Storm clouds. They were huge. They looked like black mountains standing in front of me across the sky. I knew I could not fly up and over them, and I did not have enough fuel to fly around them to the north or south.

“I ought to go back to Paris,” I thought, but I wanted to get home. I wanted that breakfast.

‘I’ll take the risk,’ I thought, and flew that old Dakota straight into the storm.

Inside the clouds, everything was suddenly black. It was impossible to see anything outside the aeroplane. The old aeroplane jumped and twisted in the air. I looked at the compass. I couldn’t believe my eyes: the compass was turning round and round and round. It was dead. It would not work! The other instruments were suddenly dead, too. I tried the radio.

“Paris Control? Paris Control?  Can you hear me?”

There was no answer. The radio was dead too. I had no radio, no compass, and I could not see where I was. I was lost in the storm. Then, in the black clouds quite near me, I saw another aeroplane. It had no lights on its wings, but I could see it flying next to me through the storm. I could see the pilot’s face – turned towards me. I was very glad to see another person. He lifted one hand and waved.

“Follow me,” he was saying. “Follow me.”

‘He knows that I am lost,’ I thought. ‘He’s trying to help me.’

He turned his aeroplane slowly to the north, in front of my Dakota, so that it would be easier for me to follow him. I was very happy to go behind the strange aeroplane like an obedient child.

After half an hour the strange black aeroplane was still there in front of me in the clouds. Now there was only enough fuel in the old Dakota’s last tank to fly for five or ten minutes more. I was starting to feel frightened again. But then he started to go down and I followed through the storm.

Suddenly I came out of the clouds and saw two long straight lines of lights in front of me. It was a runway! An airport! I was safe! I turned to look for my friend in the black aeroplane, but the sky was empty. There was nothing there. The black aeroplane was gone. I could not see it anywhere.

I landed and was not sorry to walk away from the old Dakota near the control tower. I went and asked a woman in the control centre where I was and who the other pilot was. I wanted to say ‘Thank you’.

She looked at me very strangely, and then laughed.

“Another aeroplane? Up there in this storm? No other aeroplanes were flying tonight. Yours was the only one I could see on the radar.”

So who helped me arrive there safely without a compass or a radio, and without any more fuel in my tanks? Who was the pilot on the strange black aeroplane, flying in the storm, without lights?

Chapter Highlights

  1. The sky was clear with shining stars and the narrator was about to meet his family at breakfast.
  2. At 1:30 in the morning, the narrator flew in his Dakota aeroplane and he was instructed by Paris Control to turn 12 degrees West.
  3. He was about 150 Kilometers away from Paris. Suddenly the cloud storm approached him. He decided to enter the storm.
  4. Due to his willingness to see his family, the narrator took this risky decision but he lost the way in the storm.
  5. All the instruments of his plane stopped working.
  6. A black aeroplane appeared by the narrator’s side in the storm and he was instructed to follow the black plane.
  7. Without much fuel, he flew for half an hour and he landed safely on the runway.
  8. He went out from his aeroplane to thank the pilot of the black aeroplane, but he got surprised not to find anyone there in the aeroplane.
  9. The narrator asked the woman of Control Tower about the black aeroplane, but she laughed and replied in negative about such a plane.
  10. It was miracle with no explanation for the narrator which saved his life.

Word Meanings

countryside : rural side

immediately : at once

twisted : moved sideways

strange : unusual or surprising

obedient : one who is ready to follow order or request

frightened : afraid

landed : came down





Questions and Answers

NCERT Solutions



His First Flight : NCERT Solutions

Thinking about the Text (Page 36)

Question 1 : Why was the young seagull afraid to fly? Do you think all young birds are afraid to make their fist flight? Do you think a human baby also finds it a challenge to take its first step?

Answer : The young seagull was afraid to fly because it was his first flight and he feared of falling and hurting himself. He thought would not support him while flying.

Yes, it is natural that doing something for the first time is a bit challenging and fearful. Similarly, a human baby is also afraid of taking the first step and finds it challenging when he learns to crawl or stand up without support.

Question 2 : “The sight of the food maddened him.” What does this suggest? What compelled the young seagull to finally fly?

Answer : The young seagull was very hungry. It was his hunger that ultimately compelled him to fly. His hunger intensified when he saw his mother tearing at a piece of fish that lay at her feet. He cried to her, begging her to get some food. When his mother came towards him with food in her beak, he screamed with joy and anticipation. However, she stopped mid-way. He wondered why she did not come nearer. Not being able to resist or control his hunger any longer, he dived at the food in his mother’s beak. At that moment, his hunger overpowered his fear of the great expanse of sea beneath the cliff. Finally, this plunge was followed by the natural reaction of his body, i.e. to fly.

Question 3 : “They were beckoning to him, calling shrilly.” Why did the seagull’s father and mother threaten him and cajole him to fly?

Answer : Seagull’s parents had tried everything but he was reluctant to fly due to fear of falling down. He looked at his brothers and sister but wouldn’t make any efforts. That’s why the whole family had left him alone and threatened and cajoled him to come but every effort went in vain.

Question 4 : Have you ever had a similar experience, where you parents encouraged you to do something that you were too scared to try? Discuss this in pairs or groups.

Answer : Yes, I had a similar experience while leaning to ride a bicycle in class VI. In my initial attempts, I fell down every time and developed a fear of cycling which was difficult to overcome.

No amount of provoking and cajoling could let me try it again, but my father encouraged me to overcome the fear and helped me as he was adamant on my learning cycling. He took me on a mound near village and made me sit and asked me to put my hands on the handle and feet on the paddle. It sped down and I enjoyed it without fear which developed my confidence. This, I overcame my fear of cycling and started riding a cycle after a few practice sessions.

Question 5 : In the case of a bird flying, it seems a natural act and a foregone conclusion that it should succeed. In the examples you have given in answer to the previous question, was your success guaranteed, or was it important for you to try, regardless of a possibility of failure?

Answer : We face some problems in the initial stage while learning new skills. Due to the fear of failure, we hesitate to perform a task or to do something new. In case of the seagull, his parents cajoled him to fly. In the example, I have given in the answer of previous question, I was cajoled by my father to learn cycling. So, at that stage, I was to learn cycling as it was very important for me to overcome my fear. Yes, my success was guaranteed because if someone is determined to do something then success is assured. Moreover as said, practice makes a man perfect.

The Black Aeroplane : NCERT Solutions

Thinking about the Text (Page 40)

Question 1 : “I’ll take the risk”. What is the risk? Why does the narrator take it?

Answer : A huge storm was brewing up and the narrator was keen to reach his home to spend his holiday with his family. So, he decided to fly through the storm as he did not want to miss the chance to meet his family at breakfast. Thus, he took the risk even when the visibility was almost zero in the storm.

Question 2 : Describe the narrator’s experience as he flew the aeroplane into the storm.

Answer : As the pilot (narrator) entered the storm, his plane started jumping and twisting. He could not see anything outside the plane as it was black. When he looked at compass and other instruments, they had stopped to function due to storm. This fuel tank was almost empty and he could not fly more than ten minutes.

Then he saw another black aeroplane by his side and the pilot of the plane signalled him to follow. It was a surprise for the narrator as the other black plane was having no light. He followed him without any choice and landed safely on the runway.

Question 3 : Why does the narrator say, “I landed and was not sorry to walk away from the old Dakota….”?

Answer : The narrator describes his experience of flying in the storm as it was old Dakota which was not very big and sophisticated plane and he had very horrific experience flying it. So, he was very happy rather than being sorry after coming out of the plane and took a sigh of relief when it landed safely.

Question 4 : What made the woman in the control centre look the narrator strangely?

Answer : The woman in the control centre looked at the narrator strangely because the narrator asked her about the black aeroplane and she saw no one except the narrator’s in the sky during the storm. Even the radar showed only the narrator’s plane that night in the sky.

Question 5 : Who do you think helped the narrator to reach safely? Discuss this among yourselves and give reasons for your answer.

Answer : It is very difficult to say about the unknown pilot who helped the narrator. But probably it was the narrator himself that helped himself to overcome the fear in the storm as no other plane was seen in the radar except the narrator’s Dakota plane. In that fearsome situation, he might have been hallucinating. He himself was a good pilot and brave enough who helped himself land safely.

Thinking about Language (Page 40)

I. Study the sentences given below.

a) They looked like black mountains.

b) Inside the clouds, everything was suddenly black.

c) In the black clouds near me, I saw another aeroplane.

d) The strange black aeroplane was there.

‘Black’ has a variety of meanings in different contexts. For example:

a) ‘I prefer black tea’ means ‘I prefer tea without milk’.

b) ‘With increasing pollution the future of the world is black‘ means ‘with increasing pollution the future of the world is very depressing/without hope’.

Now try to guess the meanings of the word ‘black’ in the sentences given below. Check the meanings in the dictionary and find out whether you have guessed right.

Question 1 : Go and have a bath, your hands and face are absolutely black………

Answer : The meaning of ‘black’ in this sentence is that the face and hands are dark because of dust and dirt.

Question 2 : The taxi-driver gave Rohan a black look a he crossed the road when the traffic light was green…..

Answer : Here, ‘black’ refers to an angry look.

Question 3 : The bombardment of Hiroshima is on the blackest crimes against humanity……..

Answer : Here, ‘blackest’ refers to the darkest and cruellest crime against humanity.

Question 4 : Very few people enjoy Harold Pinter’s black comdey……..

Answer : Here, ‘black’ refers to dark and gloomy comedy.

Question 5 : Sometimes shopkeepers store essential goods to create false scarcity and then sell these in black……

Answer : The meaning of ‘black’ in this sentence is that the shopkeepers sell the described goods ‘at a higher price’.

Question 6 : Villagers had beaten the criminal black and blue……

Answer : Here, ‘black’ means that the criminal suffered excessive beating at the hands of the villagers.

II. Look at these sentences taken from the lesson you have just read:

a) I was flying my old Dakota aeroplane.

b) The young seagull had been afraid to fly with them.

In the first sentence, the narrator was controlling an aircraft in the air. In the second sentence, the seagull was afraid to move through the air, using its wings.

Match the phrases given under Column A with their meanings given under Column B.

1. Fly a flag a) More quickly/suddenly
2. Fly into rage b) Be successful
3. Fly along c) Display a flag on a long pole
4. Fly high d) Escape from a place
Fly the coop e) Become suddenly very angry

Answer : 1 – c , 2 – e , 3 – a , 4 – b , 5 – d



How to Tell Wild Animals (Poem)

How to Tell Wild Animals Poem Introduction

In the poem, the poet has explained the characteristics of various wild animals in a very funny way. She has used language in a way that it generates humour. She is introducing the reader to various kinds of wild animals like Asian lion, Bengal tiger, bear, etc.explaining each of the animals in a very humorous way.

How to Tell Wild Animals Summary of the poem

The poet is describing the various wild animals. These animals are very dangerous and she has introduced them one by one in a very funny way. First of all she tells us about an Asian lion. She says that if you are visiting the jungles of the east and there you see an animal which has tawny skin and he roars so loudly that you will die out of fear. This means that you have seen an Asian lion. Next in the line is the Bengal tiger that she has explained to be a royal animal that at once attacks and kills a man. She says by adding humour that if this beautiful black striped animal kills you and eats you, then you have surely met a Bengal tiger. After this, she says that if the reader met an animal that has black spotted skin and it at once jumps on him, then it means that the reader has met a leopard. Moreover, she says that if one will cry out in pain, it maybe of no use as the leopard will not stop attacking him. Then she moves on to the bear that she says will hug very tightly. This is the way to recognize a bear as it kills a person by hugging him very tightly. So, she says that the bear will continue to hug us tightly and that is the only way to recognize him. After this, she asks a question to the readers that do they know how to recognize beasts that hunt their prey. Here she explains about hyenas which she thinks have a smiling face and the crocodiles that have tears in their eyes. This can be seen when they are killing their prey. The last one in the list is the Chameleon. She says that it is a lizard – like creature which doesn’t have ears and wings just like a lizard. Only this can help you differentiate between a lizard and chameleon. She further says that the chameleon has a quality of changing its color according to the colour of the surface. So, to explain this she says that if the reader looks at the tree and if he can only see the tree, this means that there is a chameleon sitting on it which has already turned its color to brown just like the branch of the tree.

How to Tell Wild Animals Question and Answers

Questions and Answers

NCERT Solutions

Thinking about the Poem (Page 45)

Question 1 : Does ‘Dyin’ really rhyme with ‘lion’? Can you say it in such a way that it does?

Answer : No, ‘Dyin’ does not rhyme with ‘lion’. If we change the pronunciation of lion by speaking it as ‘lying’ then it may rhyme with the word ‘Dyin’.

Question 2 : How does the poet suggest that you identify the lion and the tiger? When can you do so according to him?

Answer : A lion is a large and tawny beast. A Bengal Tiger has black stripes on its yellow coat. A lion roars when it falls upon its prey, while a tiger attacks silently. We can identify the two while roaming in the jungle.

Question 3 : Do you think the words ‘lept’ and ‘lep’ in the third stanza are spelt correctly? Why does the poet spell them like this?

Answer : the words ‘lept’ and ‘lep’ are not spelt correctly. The poet has spelt them like this in order to maintain the rhythm of the poem. The correct spelling of the words, ‘lept’ is leapt and ‘lep’ is leap. The poet has intentionally spelt them incorrectly to create a sense of humour.

Question 4 : Do you know what is ‘bear hug’ is? It is a friendly and strong hug-such as Bears are thought to give, as they attack you! Again, hyenas are thought to laugh and crocodiles to weep (‘crocodile tears’) as they swallow their victims. Are there similar expressions and popular ideas about wild animals in your own language(s)?

Answer : A bear hug is when the bear hugs his prey tightly with both hands and presses him to death.

There are indeed similar expressions and popular ideas about wild animals in every language. For example, in Hindi, we say ‘Magarmach ke aansu aana’ (crocodile tears), ‘Haathi ke daant dikhane ke aur, khane ke aur’, ‘Ab pachtaye hot kya job chidiya chug gai khet’, ‘Girgit ke tarah rang badalna’.

Question 5 : Look at the line “A novice might nonplus.” How would you write this ‘correctly’? Why is the poet’s ‘incorrect’ line better in the poem?

Answer : The line “A novice might nonplus” can be written correctly as “A novice might be nonplussed”. However, the poet’s incorrect line is better in the poem as it maintains the rhyme scheme of the poem. By writing it incorrectly, ‘nonplus’ rhymes with ‘thus’.

Question 6 : Can you find other examples of poets taking liberties with language, either in English or in your own language? Can you find examples of humorous poems in your own language(s)?

Answer : One can find plenty of examples in poetry where poets take liberties with language. This is called ‘poetic licence’. Poets take such liberties in order to create proper rhyming and rhythm. For example, in the following lines the word ‘prest’ is used instead of ‘pressed’ so that it may rhyme with ‘breast’.

A tree whose hungry mouth is prest

Against the earth’s sweat flowing breast

Question 7 : Much of the humour in the poem arises from the way language is used. Although the ideas are funny as well. If there are particular lines in the poem that you especially like, share these lines with the class, speaking briefly about what it is about the ideas or the language that you like or find funny.

Answer : The way the poet has used language and ideas in the poem is indeed humorous. The lines from the poem that appears to be funny are “A noble wild beast greets you”. The idea that a wild beast is going to welcome you is quite funny. The language in the line, “He’ll only lep and lep again” is also very humorous. The concept of ‘lep’ from the word ‘leopard’ generated humour.

Extra Questions

Extract Based Questions

Read the following extracts carefully and choose the correct option.

Question 1 : 

If ever you should go by chance

To jungles in the east;

And if there should to you advance

A large and tawny beast,

If he roars at you as yo’re dyin’

You’ll know it is the Asian Lion…

i) What does the poem mean by ‘Jungles in the East’?

a) Forests in East direction

b) Forests of India

c) Forests in Asian countries

d) Forests in the East of London

ii) What are the main features of Asian Lion?

a) Huge in size

b) Brownish in colour

c) Roars

d) All of these

iii) What word is synonym of ‘to move forward to attack’?

a) Tawny

b) Roars

c) Advance

d) Go

iv) What happens when the lion roars?

a) Animals run away

b) Heart starts beating fast

c) It is very scary

d) Both (b) and (c)

Answer : i) c) Forests in Asian countries

ii) d) All of these

iii) c) Advance

iv) d) Both (b) and (c)

Question 2 : 

Or if some time when roaming round,

A noble wild beast greets you,

With black stripes on a yellow ground,

Just notice if he eats you.

This simple rule may help you learn

The Bengal Tiger to discern

i) How can we recognise a Bengal tiger?

a) It is majestic

b) Does not roar

c) Has black stripes with yellow skin

d) All of the above

ii) How is Bengal Tiger different from Aisan Lions?

a) Has black stripes

b) Very huge in size

c) Quiet but dangerous

d) All of the above

iii) What does the word ‘discern’ mean in these lines?

a) Confuse

b) Recognise and understand

c) Remark

d) Ignore

iv) Which figure of speech is used in the phrase ‘Nobel Wild Beast’.

a) Metaphor

b) Paradox

c) Alliteration

d) Personification

Answer : i) d) All of the above

ii) d) All of the above

iii) b) Recognise and understand

iv) b) Paradox

Short Questions and Answers

Question 1 : How can you identify the Asian Lion and the Bengal Tiger?

Answer : The Asian Lion has a large body and a brownish-yellow colour. It roars loudly when it attacks its prey. On the other hand, the Bengal Tiger has black stripes on the yellow background of its body. It silently attacks its prey.

Question 2 : Write the sum and substance of the poem, ‘How to Tell Wild Animals’.

Answer : The poet, Carolyn Wells, in the poem suggests some of the dangerous ways to identify the wild animals. The poem is full of humorous examples when the poet tries to distinguish one animal from the other. Moreover, the poem educates us by describing the various features of wild animals.

Question 3 : How can you distinguish between a tiger and a leopard?

Answer :  A tiger has black stripes on its yellow coat. A leopard on the other hand, does not have any stripes. It has spots peppered on its body. Moreover, a tiger kills only when it is hungry, while a leopard can kill for the pleasure of killing by pouncing continuously on its prey.

Question 4 : How can you distinguish between a hyena and a crocodile?

Answer : A hyena and a crocodile both behave differently. Their distinct behaviour helps us to distinguish between them. A hyena comes to its victims with a merry smile while a crocodile sheds tears.

Question 5 : What are the distinctive features of the Asian Lion as given in the poem?

Answer : The Asian Lion is large in stature. It is brownish-yellow in colour. It roars very loudly. The sound of its roar is so terrible to hear that it can make one almost die due to fear. The Asian Lion is found in the forests of East Asian countries.

Question 6 : What does the Bengal Tiger look like? What is so distinct about him?

Answer : The Bengal Tiger roams freely in the forest. It is noble and majestic in stature. It wears black stripes on a yellow hide. When it notices someone it tries to eat him. The Bengal Tiger attacks its prey very silently and grasps it with its terrifying teeth.

Question 7 : How does a leopard behave when he sees someone?

Answer :  A leopard has black spots all over its body. As soon as it sees someone, it leaps over him at once. It keeps on pouncing continuously on its victim, attacks him and starts eating him.

Question 8 : How does the poet describe the bear?

Answer : The poet describes the bear in a humorous way. He says that as soon as a bear sees a human being, it hugs him tightly. It clasps its prey tightly with both its hands and squeezes him to death. If he is still alive, it gives him another tight hug to kill him.

Question 9 : What is so weird about the hyena and the crocodile?

Answer : Some animals such as the hyena and the crocodile are famous for their weird behaviour. FOr example, a laughing hyena’s voice resembles human’s laughing sound. Moreover, a Hyena laughs while swallowing its prey, while a crocodile shed tears.

Question 10 : Describe a few characteristics of a chameleon.

Answer : A chameleon is a garden lizard and is an expert at camouflage. It changes its colour as per its surroundings. This ability of camouflage helps it in saving it from the hunters. A chameleon does not have any ears or wings.

Long Questions and Answers

Question 1 : ‘Humour is the best medicine for every ailment in life’. Comment.

Answer : Humour is infectious. When humour is shared, it binds people together and increases happiness. Humour strengthens our immune system, boosts our energy, diminishes pain and protects us from the damaging effects of stress. It is the priceless medicine for every ailment in life. The poet, in the poem ‘How to Tell Wild Animals’ creates humour by describing various beast of prey. The way the poet explains things is very funny yet interesting. The poet has depicted the wildlife very vividly and in a lively manner. While reading the poem, the readers enjoy the poet’s work and it leaves them refreshed and happy.

The Ball Poem (Poem)

Introduction to the lesson

Ogden Nash has written a poem about a little girl Belinda who owns many pets, namely, a black kitten named ink, grey mouse named blink, yellow dog named mustard and a coward dragon named custard. The poet has described every character to be brave except the dragon who is a coward. But the whole situation changes when a pirate attacked Belinda’s house. No one else had the guts to face him, it was the dragon that killed the pirate. All the characters are happy because they are saved by the dragon but quickly change their thoughts and describe themselves to be more powerful had the situation not been so confusing for all of them. 

Summary of the poem

The tale of custard the dragon is a ballad. It is a humorous poem about a cowardly dragon named custard. Custard is a pet of Belinda, a little girl who lives in a little white house with her pets. She had a black kitten named ink, a grey mouse named blink, a yellow dog mustard and a cowardly dragon custard. The poet says that all of them are very brave except the dragon. Others were described as brave and are compared with animals like bear, tiger or lion but the dragon is very timid. He always demands a safe place for himself. All the other characters make fun of him. But one night they are surprised by the entry of a pirate in the house. All of them get frightened and start hiding here and there. But to everyone’s surprise, the dragon not only tackles him but also eats him up. As all of them are saved by custard, they thank him. But at the end, they realize that they used to make fun of the dragon because of his being timid. So, all of them suddenly start saying that they are more brave and could have handled the situation in a much better way. Here the poet has tried to say that sometimes a timid person is the actual hero in the toughest situations of life.

Question and Answers

Q1- Who are the characters in this poem? List them with their pet names.

A1 Following are the characters of the poem:

  1. A little girl named Belinda. 
  2. A little black kitten whose name is ink. 
  3. A little gray mouse named blink. 
  4. A dog named mustard because he is yellow in colour. 
  5. A coward dragon whose name is Custard. 

Q2- Why did Custard cry for a nice safe cage? Why is the dragon called “cowardly dragon”?

A2- Custard cries for a safe cage because he is A coward. He is called cowardly dragon because other characters are defined to be very brave in the following manner:

  1. Belinda is described to be as brave as a barrel full of bears
  2. Ink and blink can chase lions down the stairs
  3. Mustard was as brave as a tiger in rage.

Q3- “Belinda tickled him, she tickled him unmerciful…” Why?

A3- Belinda tickled him unmerciful because custard the dragon was a coward. He always demanded a safe cage. That is why all of them made fun of him.

Q4- The poet has employed many poetic devices in the poem. For example: “Clashed his tail like iron in a dungeon” — the poetic device here is a simile. Can you, with your partner, list some more such poetic devices used in the poem?

A4- The poet has used many poetic devices to enhance the beauty of the poem. Like, to create rhyme with ‘Belinda’, he used the word ‘winda’ instead of ‘window’. Other such rhyming words are ‘household’ used with ‘mouseholed’ and ‘wagon’ with ‘dragon’. Not only this, he also uses poetic device of repetition for example the word ‘little’ is used many times to describe her house and her pets. There is also the use of poetic device of refrain because we can see the repetition of line “And her realio, trulio little pet dragon” in many stanzas.

Q5- Read stanza three again to know how the poet describes the appearance of the dragon?

A5- The looks of the dragon are explained in a way that it has big sharp teeth and spikes on top. This means its skin is pointed on the top. On the lower part it has scales which are bony plates meant to protect the skin. His mouth has been compared to a fireplace because it is assumed that the dragons can release fire from the mouth. Even his nose is compared to a chimney which is used to pass out the smoke. His feet are like a sharp knife i.e. a dagger.

Q6- Can you find out the rhyme scheme of two or three stanzas of the poem?

A6- Rhyme scheme of the second and third stanza is aabb.  

Q7– Writers use words to give us a picture or image without actually saying what they mean. Can you trace some images used in the poem?

A7- Following are the words used to give us picture or image:

  1. Mouth like a fireplace 
  2. Chimney for nose 
  3. Barrel full of bears 
  4. Brave as a tiger in the rage 
  5. He went at the pirate like a robin at a worm 

Q8- Do you find The Tale of Custard the Dragon to be a serious or a light-hearted poem? Give reasons to support your answer.

A8- The Tale of Custard the Dragon is a light hearted poem. All the characters have names which are rhyming with each other. They all are defined to be very brave except the dragon. But in reality the dragon proves to be the real hero. When they are attacked by the pirate, the dragon gulps him. Though all the other characters were not brave enough to handle the pirate but still they define themselves as more powerful than the dragon after the incident is handled by the dragon alone. Though, the dragon was defined as a coward by the poet right from the beginning of the poem.

Questions and Answers

NCERT Solutions

Thinking about the Poem (Page 132)

Question 1 : Who are the characters in this poem? List them with their pet names.

Answers : The characters in this poem are Belinda, a little girl, and her pets: a little black kitten, a little grey mouse, a little yellow dog, a little pet dragon and a pirate.

Characters : Pet name

Kitten : Ink

Mouse : Blink

Dog : Mustard

Dragon : Custard

Question 2 : Why did Custard cry for a nice safe cage? Why is the dragon called ‘cowardly dragon’?

Answer : Custard cried for a nice safe cage because it was coward and was scared very easily.

It is called ‘cowardly dragon’ because everyone else in the house is very brave while the dragon is the only one, who fears a lot and looks for a nice safe cafe for himself. Belinda is as brave as a barrel full of bears, Ink and Blink can chase lions and Mustard is as brave as an angry tiger.

Question 3 : “Belinda tickled him, she tickled him unmerciful….” Why?

Answer :  Tickling also works on people, who are a little softer. So, Belinda tickled the dragon unmerciful as it worked a lot on him. Despite being a dragon, a tickling could disturb him and this showed his cowardice on which everyone laughed.

Question 4 : The poet has employed many poetic devices in the poem. For example “Clashed his tail like iron in a dungeon” – the poetic device here is a simile. Can you, with your partner, list some more such poetic devices used in the poem?

Answer : In the poem, “The Tale of Custard, the Dragon”, the poet has used a lot of poetic devices. Following are the devices used.

i) Simile : mouth like a fireplace.

ii) Repetition : the repetitive use of the world ‘little’ in stanza 1.

Question 5 : Read stanza three again to know how the poet describes the appearance of the dragon.

Answer : Do it yourself.

Question 6 : Can you find out the rhyme scheme of two or three stanzas of the poem?

Answer : They rhyme scheme of the poem is ‘aabb’.

Question 7 : Writers use words to give us a picture or image without actually saying what they mean. Can you trace some images used in the poem?

Answer : Writers always use such phrases and words that do not tell us directly about what they mean but always give us an indication of the meaning. Such words or phrases are used to trigger our own imagination in painting the picture that they mean. Use of such images in the poem are: ‘mouth like a fireplace’, ‘chimney for a nose’, ‘brave as a barrel full of bears’, ‘brave as a tiger in a rage’, ‘went at the pirate like a robin at a worm’, etc.

Question 8 : Do you find ‘The Tale of Custard the Dragon’ to be a serious or a light-hearted poem? Give reasons to support your answer.

Answer : ‘The Tale of Custard the Dragon’ is a very light and funny poem meant to be enjoyed by everyone. The way the poem has been written with a fix rhyme scheme, makes it very easy and enjoyable to read. The poet has even used wrong spelling to maintain the rhyme scheme. The features of Belinda and her pets described in the poem make it quite funny. Belinda’s bravery has been compared to a barrel full of bears, a liquid substance. All the tiny creatures such as the kitten and the mouse have been shown so brave that they can scare a lion and the dog’s bravery is like a tiger’s rage. The biggest of them all, the dragon is the only one, who has been shown as a coward and soft being, who looks for a cage for himself, which is very ironic, hence making the poem funny.

Question 9 : This poem, in ballad form, tells a story. Have you come across any such modern song or lyric that tells a story? If you know one tell it to the class. Collect such songs as a project.

Answer : Do it yourself.

Extra Questions

Extract Based Questions

Read the following extracts carefully and choose the correct option.

Question 1 : 

Belinda lived in a little white house,

With a little black kitten and a little gray mouse,

And a little yellow dog and a little red wagon,

And a realio, trulio, little pet dragon.

i) Where did Belinda live?

a) In a red house

b) In a mud house

c) In a big house

d) In a white house

ii) Who lived with Belinda in White house?

a) Her parents

b) Her grandmother

c) Her four pets

d) All of those

iii) What was the colour of the wagon?

a) White

b) Red

c) Black

d) Green

iv) What is the rhyming scheme of this stanza?

a) abab

b) aaab

c) aabb

d) No rhyme

Answer : i) d) In a white house

ii) c) Her four pets

iii) b) Red

iv) c) aabb

Question 2 : 

Now the name of the little black kitten was Ink,

And the little gray mouse mouse, she called her Blink,

And the little yellow dog was sharp as Mustard,

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

i) What is the name of Belinda’s cat?

a) Black

b) Grey

c) White

d) Red

ii) What was kitten and mouse called by Belinda?

a) Wink and Twink

b) Ink and Blink

c) Chink, Blink

d) Ink and Don

iii) Which word in the stanza means ‘Scared easily’?

a) Little

b) Dragon

c) Coward

d) Sharp

iv) With what name does Belinda call her dog?

a) Custard

b) Blink

c) Yellow

d) Mustard

Answer : i) a) Black

ii) b) Ink and blink

iii) c) Coward

iv) d) Mustard

Short Questions and Answers

Question 1 : Where did Belinda live and with whom?

Answer : Belinda lived in a little white house with her four pets and a wagon. She had a black kitten named Ink, a grey mouse named Blink, a yellow dog named Mustard and a coward dragon named Custard.

Question 2 : What did Custard look like?

Answer : Custard the dragon had big sharp teeth. Custard looked really dangerous with spikes on his top and scales underneath. His mouth was like a fireplace and nose like a chimney. His toes looked like daggers. Such a creature is supposed to be very strong and ferocious.

Question 3 : Did Custard match his physical appearance?

Answer : No, Custard barely matched his appearance as he looked ferocious but he actually was a coward. He always cried for a nice and safe cage and everyone laughed at him for his cowardice.

Question 4 : Describe the bravery of everyone in the house.

Answer : Belinda was as brave as a barrel full of bears. Ink and Blink were brave enough to chase lions away. Mustard’s bravery was like a tiger’s rage. It was only Custard, who was a coward, everyone else was very brave.

Question 5 : Was everyone really as brave as they claimed?

Answer : Belinda and her three pets, excluding Custard, were very proud of their bravery but they were not really brave. It was only Custard, who had the courage to face the pirate as he was the real brave.

Question 6 : What did everyone do when the pirate came?

Answer : When the pirate came, Belinda cried for help and became pale with fear. Mustard ran away with a terrified cry and Ink trickled to the bottom of the house while Blink disappeared in his mouse hole. Custard jumped in front of the pirate to fight him and showed how brave it was.

Question 7 : How did Custard face the pirate?

Answer : Custard jumped in front of the pirate to fight him. He clashed his tail. The pirate fired two bullets at him but missed both of them. Then Custard gobbled whole of the pirate and left no trace of him. Custard proved that he was quite brave at this point.

Question 8 : ‘But Custard cried for a nice safe cage.’ Who is Custard? Why did he cry for a ‘nice safe cage’?

Answer : Custard is Belinda’s pet dragon. He cried for a nice safe cage because he was a coward, who feared easily and looked for comfort and safety of himself.

But at the same time he proved to be brave when he faced the pirate whose entry had made the so called brave people hide in fear.

Question 9 : How did everyone react after  Custard ate the pirate?

Answer : Belinda embraced Custard because he had saved everyone by killing the pirate. Mustard licked him to show his affection while Ink and Blink started dancing around Custard out of happiness.

Question 10 : How did the other three pet boast of their bravery?

Answer : After Mustard, Ink and Blink fled on seeing the pirate, it was Custard, who fought him and killed him. The other pets soon made excuses for their cowardice and said that they would have been twice and thrice as brave as Custard.

Question 11 : Did Custard accept his cowardice and their bravery?

Answer : Yes, Custard seemed like a really humble animal as even after killing the pirate he accepted that he is a coward and everyone else is braver than him.

Long Questions and Answers

Question 1 : The dragon, Custard was considered a coward. The humble dragon proved his bravery in adversity. Analyse that certain qualities like bravery and courage are situational and spontaneous. Express your views with reference to the poem.

Answer : It is true that bravery and courage are situational and spontaneous. Custard the dragon, does not boast of his bravery as other pets of Belinda do. They boasted of their bravery and made fun of the dragon’s cowardice. But when real danger came, none of them could face the danger and hid themselves in some corner of the house.

It was only the dragon who dared to face the frightening pirate who appeared really threatening with pistols and knife. Custard, the dragon rose to the situation, showed his real bravery and gobbled up the pirate.

It was a dangerous situation and Custard behaved bravely in this situation. So we can say that qualities like bravery and courage can only be tested when someone is actually put in a dangerous situation.

Question 2 : Do you think that one should be made fun of because of their preferences and choices in life? Explain in the context of Custard, the dragon.

Answer : It is not right to make fun of anyone on the basis of their lifestyle and their choices. Custard, the dragon, always wanted comfort and safety for himself and therefore always cried for a nice safe cage. Belinda and other pets of the house made fun of him because they thought that he was a coward. Custard proved that just because he likes comfort, he is not a coward. In fact, he was the only one, who had the courage to face the pirate and gobble him up. Others were only boastful of their bravery as they all disappeared when real need arose. So no one should make fun of others without realising their strength.

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