Class 6 The Banyan Tree

### 𝐏𝐚𝐫𝐭 - 𝐈

1. THOUGH the house and grounds belonged to my grandparents , the magnificent old banyan tree was mine - chiefly because Grandfather, at sixty - five , could no longer climb it.

2. Its spreading branches, which hung to the ground and took root again , forming a number of twisting passages , gave me endless pleasure.

color{green}(•) Among them were squirrels and snails and butterflies.

color{green}(•) The tree was older than the house , older than Grandfather , as old as Dehra Dun itself.

color{green}(•) I could hide myself in its branches , behind thick green leaves , and spy on the world below.

3. My first friend was a small grey squirrel.

color{green}(•) Arching his back and sniffing into the air , he seemed at first to resent my invasion of his privacy.

color{green}(•) But when he found that I did not arm myself with catapult or air gun, he became friendly and when I started bringing him pieces of cake and biscut he grew quite bold and was soon taking morsels from hand.

color{green}(•) Before long , he was delving into my pockets and helping himself to whatever he could find.

color{green}(•) He was a very young squirrel , and his friend and relatives probably thought him foolish and head strong for trusting a human.

4. In the spring , when the banyan tree was full of small red figs , birds of all kinds would flock into its branches ; the red- bottomed bulbul, cheerful and greedy parrots , myna and crows squabbling with one another.

color{green}(•) During the fig season, the banyan tree was the noisiest place in the garden.

5. Halfway up the tree I had built a crude platform where I would spend the afternoons when it was not too hot.

color{green}(•) I could read there propping myself up against the tree with a cushion from the living room.

color{green}(•) Treasure Island, Huckleberry Finn and The Story of Dr Dolittle were some of the books that made up my
banyan tree library.

6. When I did not feel like reading, I could look down through the leaves at the world below.

color{green}(•) And on one particular afternoon I had a grandstand view of that classic of the Indian wilds, a fight between a mongoose and a cobra.

### 𝐏𝐚𝐫𝐭 - 𝐈𝐈

7. The warm breezes of approaching summer had sent everyone, including the gardener, into the house.

color{green}(•) I was feeling drowsy myself, wondering if I should go to the pond and have a swim with Ramu and the buffaloes, when I saw a huge black cobra gliding out of a clump of cactus.

color{green}(•) At the same time a mongoose emerged from the bushes and went straight for the cobra.

8. In a clearing beneath the banyan tree, in bright sunshine, they came face to face .

color{green}(•) The cobra knew only too well that the grey mongoose, three feet long, was a superb fighter, clever and aggressive.

color{green}(•) But the cobra. too, was a skilful and experienced fighter.

color{green}(•) He could move swiftly and strike with the speed of light , and the sacs behind his long sharp fangs were full of deadly poison.

color{green}(•) It was to be a battle of champions.

9. Hissing defiance, his forked tongue darting in and out, the cobra raised three of his six feet off the ground, and spread his broad, spectacled hood.

color{green}(•) The mongoose bushed his tail. The long hair on his spine stood up.

10. Though the combatants were unaware of my presence in the tree , they were soon made aware of the arrival of two other unaware of my presence.

color{green}(•) One was a myna , the other a jungle crow.

color{green}(•) They had seen these preparations for battle , and had settled on the cactus to watch the outcome.

color{green}(•) Had they been content only to watch , all would have been well with both of them .

11. The cobra stood on the defensive, swaying slowly from side to side, trying to mesmerise the mongoose into making a false move.

color{green}(•) But the mongoose knew the power of his opponent's glassy, unwinking eyes, and refused to meet them.

color{green}(•) Instead he fixed his gaze at a point just below the cobra's hood and opened the attack.

12. Moving forward quickly until he was just within the cobra's reach , the mongoose made a pretended move to one side.

color{green}(•) Imrnediately the cobra struck.

color{green}(•) His great hood came down so swiftly that I thought nothing could save the mongoose.

color{green}(•) But the little fellow jumped neatly to one side , and darted in as swiftly as the cobra , biting the snake on the back and darting away again out of reach.

13. At the same moment that the cobra struck, the crow and the myna hurled themselves at him, only to collide heavily
in mid-air.

color{green}(•) Shrieking insults at each other they returned to the cactus plant.

color{green}(•) A few drops of blood glistened on the cobra’s back

14. The cobra struck and missed. Again the mongoose sprang aside, jumped in and bit.

color{green}(•) Again the birds dived at the snake, bumped into each other instead, and returned shrieking to the safety of
the cactus.

15. The third round followed the same course as the first but with one dramatic difference.

color{green}(•) The crow and the myna, still determined to take part in the proceedings, dived at the cobra; but this time they missed each other as well as their mark.

color{green}(•) The myna flew on and reached its perch, but the crow tried to pull up in mid-air and turn back.

color{green}(•) In the second that it took the bird to do this the cobra whipped his head back and struck with great force, his snout
thudding against the crow’s body.

16. I saw the bird flung nearly twenty feet across the garden.

color{green}(•) It fluttered about for a while, then lay still.

color{green}(•) The myna remained on the cactus plant, and when the snake and the mongoose returned to the fight, very wisely decided not to
interfere again!

color{green}(•) The cobra was weakening, and the mongoose, walking fearlessly up to it, raised himself on his short legs and with a lightning snap had the big snake by the snout.

color{green}(•) The cobra writhed and lashed about in a frightening manner, and even coiled itself about the mongoose, but to no
avail.

color{green}(•) The little fellow hung grimly on, until the snake had ceased to struggle.

color{green}(•) He then smelt along its quivering length, gripped it round the hood, and dragged it into the bushes.

17. The myna dropped cautiously to the ground, hopped about, peered into the bushes from a safe distance, and then, with a shrill cry of congratulation, flew away.

\ \ \ \ \ \ \ \ \ \ \ \ \ \ \ \ \ \ color{green}("RUSKIN BOND")

### 𝐖𝐎𝐑𝐊𝐈𝐍𝐆 𝐖𝐈𝐓𝐇 𝐓𝐇𝐄 𝐓𝐄𝐗𝐓

𝐀. 𝐂𝐨𝐦𝐩𝐥𝐞𝐭𝐞 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐟𝐨𝐥𝐥𝐨𝐰𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐬𝐞𝐧𝐭𝐞𝐧𝐜𝐞𝐬.

1. The old banyan tree “did not belong” to grandfather, but only to the boy, because
——————————————————————————
——————————————————————————

2. The small gray squirrel became friendly when

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3. When the boy started to bring him pieces of cake and biscuit, the squirrel ——————————————————————————
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4. In the spring, the banyan tree ______________________________ and _____________________ would come there.

5. The banyan tree served the boy as a ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

6. The young boy spent his afternoons in the tree __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

𝐁. 𝐀𝐧𝐬𝐰𝐞𝐫 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐟𝐨𝐥𝐥𝐨𝐰𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐪𝐮𝐞𝐬𝐭𝐢𝐨𝐧𝐬.

1. "It was to be a battle of champions. "(8)

(i) What qualities did the two champions have? Pick out words and phrases from the paragraph above this line in the text
and write them down.

(ii) What did the cobra and the mongoose do, to show their readiness for the fight?

2. Who were the other two spectators? What did they do? (Did they watch, or did they join in the fight?) ( 1 0)

3. Read the descriptions below of what the snake did and what the mongoose did. Arrange their actions in the proper order. ( 11, 16)

4. (i) What happened to the crow in the end? (16)

(ii) What did the myna do finally? ( 1 7)

### 𝐖𝐎𝐑𝐊𝐈𝐍𝐆 𝐖𝐈𝐓𝐇 𝐋𝐀𝐍𝐆𝐔𝐀𝐆𝐄

A. 1. The word 'round' usually means a kind of shape. What is its meaning in the story?

2. Find five words in the following paragraph, which are generally associated with trees.

color{green}(•) But here, they have been used differently. Underline the words.

color{green}(•) Hari leaves for work at nine every morning.

color{green}(•) He works in the local branch of the firm of which his uncle is the owner.

color{green}(•)Hari’s success is really the fruit of his own labour. He is happy, but he has a small problem.

color{green}(•) The root cause of his problem is a stray dog near his office. The dog welcomes Hari with a loud bark every day.

𝐁. 𝐓𝐡𝐞 𝐰𝐨𝐫𝐝𝐬 𝐢𝐧 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐛𝐨𝐱 𝐚𝐫𝐞 𝐚𝐥𝐥 𝐰𝐨𝐫𝐝𝐬 𝐭𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐝𝐞𝐬𝐜𝐫𝐢𝐛𝐞 𝐦𝐨𝐯𝐞𝐦𝐞𝐧𝐭. 𝐔𝐬𝐞 𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐦 𝐭𝐨 𝐟𝐢𝐥𝐥 𝐢𝐧 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐛𝐥𝐚𝐧𝐤𝐬 𝐢𝐧 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐬𝐞𝐧𝐭𝐞𝐧𝐜𝐞𝐬 𝐛𝐞𝐥𝐨𝐰.

1. When he began to trust me, the squirrel began ————————— into my pockets for morsels of cake.

2. I saw a cobra ———————————out of a clump of cactus.

3. The snake hissed, his forked tongue ———————————— in and out.

4. When the cobra tried to bite it, the mongoose —————————— a side.

5. The snake ——————————— his head ———————————to strike at the crow.

6. The birds ——————————— at the snake.

𝐂. 𝐅𝐢𝐧𝐝 𝐰𝐨𝐫𝐝𝐬 𝐢𝐧 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐬𝐭𝐨𝐫𝐲, 𝐰𝐡𝐢𝐜𝐡 𝐬𝐡𝐨𝐰 𝐭𝐡𝐢𝐧𝐠𝐬 𝐬𝐭𝐫𝐢𝐤𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐯𝐢𝐨𝐥𝐞𝐧𝐭𝐥𝐲 𝐚𝐠𝐚𝐢𝐧𝐬𝐭 𝐞𝐚𝐜𝐡 𝐨𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐫.

1. The cobra struck the crow, his snout th — — — ing against its
body. (15)

2. The crow and the myna c — ll — — — — in mid-air. (13)

3. The birds dived at the snake, but b — — — — d into each other instead. (14)

𝐃. 𝐋𝐨𝐨𝐤 𝐚𝐭 𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐬𝐞 𝐬𝐞𝐧𝐭𝐞𝐧𝐜𝐞𝐬.

color{green}(•) Choose would and could to replace the italicised words in the following sentences.

color{green}(•) Grandfather says, in the old days,

1. elephants were able to fly in the sky, like clouds.

color{green}(•) They were also able to change their shapes. They used to fly behind clouds and frighten them.

color{green}(•) People used to look up at the sky in wonder.

2. because there was no electricity, he used to get up with the sun, and he used to go to bed with the sun, like the birds.

3. like the owl, he was able to see quite well in the dark.

color{green}(•) He was able to tell who was coming by listening to their footsteps.

### 𝐒𝐏𝐄𝐀𝐊𝐈𝐍𝐆

𝐋𝐨𝐨𝐤 𝐚𝐭 𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐬𝐞 𝐬𝐞𝐧𝐭𝐞𝐧𝐜𝐞𝐬.

• The tree was older than Grandfather.

• Grandfather was sixty-five years old.

color{green}(•) How old was the tree? Can you guess?

color{green}(•) The tree was as old as Dehra Dun itself.

color{green}(•) Suppose Dehra Dun is 300 years old. How old is the tree?

color{green}(•) When two things are the same in some way, we use as...as.

color{green}(•) Here is another set of examples.

• Mr Sinha is 160 centimetres tall.

• Mr Gupta is 180 centimetres tall.

• Mrs Gupta is 160 centimetres tall

color{green}(•) Mrs Gupta is as tall as Mr Sinha.

Use the words in the box to speak about the people and the things below, using as...as or -er than

(Notice that in the word 'hot', the letter T is doubled when -er is added.)

𝟏. 𝐇𝐞𝐢𝐠𝐡𝐭𝐬

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𝟐. 𝐖𝐞𝐢𝐠𝐡𝐭 𝐋𝐢𝐟𝐭𝐞𝐫𝐬

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𝟑. 𝐂𝐢𝐭𝐲 𝐓𝐞𝐦𝐩𝐞𝐫𝐚𝐭𝐮𝐫𝐞𝐬

__________________________________________________

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𝟒. 𝐋𝐞𝐧𝐠𝐭𝐡𝐬

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𝟓. 𝐂𝐢𝐭𝐲 𝐓𝐞𝐦𝐩𝐞𝐫𝐚𝐭𝐮𝐫𝐞𝐬

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### Writing

'My Favourite Place'

Read again the paragraphs of the story in which the author describes the banyan tree, and what he used to do there. Is
there a place in your house, or in your grandparents' or uncles' or aunts' houses, that you specially like?

Write a short paragraph about it saying

• where it is

• what you do there

• why you like it

You may instead write about a place you dislike. or are afraid of.