The Banyan Tree, NCERT Class 6 English Chapter 10 Explanation, Question Answer

The Banyan Tree, NCERT Class 6 English Chapter 10 Explanation

By Jyoti Verma

The Banyan Tree Class 6 English Honeysuckle book chapter 10 Summary, Video Explanation, and Question Answer

The Banyan Tree Class 6 English Honeysuckle Book Lesson 10 – Detailed explanation of the lesson along with the meanings of difficult words. Also, the explanation is followed by a Summary of the lesson. All the exercises and Question and Answers given at the back of the lesson has been covered.

Class 6 English (Honeysuckle Book) Chapter 10 – The Banyan Tree

By Ruskin Bond [slightly abridged]

Introduction to The Banyan Tree

The author narrates an incident of a fight between a mongoose and a cobra that he witnessed as a young boy while sitting under a banyan tree at his grandparents’ house.

Summary of The Banyan Tree

Part I

the banyan tree

A boy who came to live with his grandparents became the owner of a large old banyan tree that housed squirrels, snails and butterflies. A squirrel became his friend on the tree. They became so friendly that the squirrel started taking tit bits of food from his hand. In spring, the tree was the noisiest place in the garden with a variety of birds chirruping on it.  The boy made a rough platform on which he used to sit and read adventurous books during hot summers. From here, he also watched the world under the tree. One day he watched a fight between a mongoose and a cobra while sitting on the tree.

The Banyan Tree – Part II

Because of the hot summer  everyone was indoors. The boy was thinking of going to the pond and have a swim with the buffaloes and Ramu. Suddenly,  a huge black cobra and a mongoose came out. The cobra was aware of the superb fighting skills of the mongoose. However, the cobra was no less. He was also fast and had sharp fangs of deadly poison. None of them knew that the boy was watching them. Other than the boy, two other spectators, a myna and a crow were also watching them from the clump of cactus. The mongoose opened the attack. The crow and the myna also joined them in the fight and attacked at each other in the air but returned safely to the cactus twice. The third time, the myna returned safely but the crow was hit  by the cobra. The injured crow fell on the ground. The fight between the mongoose and the snake was still continued. Finally,  the mongoose defeated the snake. The snake resigned and stopped struggling. The mongoose dragged and pushed it  inside the bushes. The myna was watching all this. It gave a congratulatory shrill and flew away.

Also See: A House, A Home Class 6 CBSE English Poem Summary, Explanation

Lesson Explanation of The Banyan Tree

The fight of the cobra and the mongoose is a classic drama often seen in India, and the outcome is largely the same. The mongoose is not immune to the venomous bite, but is faster and quicker in motion than the snake. The cobra assumes a posture of defence and attempts to reach the animal by a sweeping strike, but the quick-moving mongoose jumps out of reach and comes at the snake from another direction, before the snake can get into striking position again. This constant movement tires and discourages the snake, and the mongoose is finally able to leap in close and bury its teeth in the snake’s neck, usually severing the joints of its vertebrae.

Part I

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.

Magnificent:  Marvellous, wonderful

The author was at his grandparents’ house and he claimed that the banyan tree belonged to him though the house owner were his grandparents.He said so because his grandfather was 65 years old and was unable to climb the tree.

Its spreading branches, which hung to the ground and took root again, forming a number of twisting passages, gave me endless pleasure. Among them were squirrels and snails and butterflies. The tree was older than the house, older than Grandfather, as old as DehraDun itself. I could hide myself in its branches, behind thick green leaves, and spy on the world below.

Spy: secret agent
Twisting : twiddle, turn

 

Chapter 1 A tale of two birds Chapter 2 The Friendly Mongoose Chapter 3 The Shepherd’s Treasure
Chapter 4 The Old Clock Shop Chapter 5 Tansen Chapter 6 The Monkey and the Crocodile

 

The author felt very happy and joyful to see the opened out branches of the tree which used to hang from the tree in bunches  to the ground. These roots had formed loops.Various animals like squirrels,snails and butterflies  were living living in the turns of those loops.The tree was very old, older than the house and  Grandfather. It was as old as the city Dehradun. 

 

the banyan tree

 

My first friend was a small grey squirrel. Arching his back and sniffing into the air, he seemed at first to resent my invasion of his privacy. 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 biscuit he grew quite bold and was soon taking morsels from hand. Before long, he was delving into my pockets and helping himself to whatever he could find. He was a very young squirrel, and his friends and relatives probably thought him foolish and headstrong for trusting a human.

catapult : a forked stick with an elastic band fastened to the two prongs, used by children for shooting small stones.
Invasion : invading a country or region with an armed force
spy: watch secretly
resent: dislike; feel  angry about
morsels: small bits of food

 

the banyan tree

 

pieces of food delving: going deep into

First of all, the author became friends with a small squirrel.He arched his back and smelt into the air. In the beginning he did not like the authors invasion into his privacy. But when realized that the author was not armed with anything to offend him, he became friendly. Soon the author started bringing him tidbits of food like cakes and biscuits. The squirrel started eating small morsels from his hands. Very soon the squirrel started digging into the authors pockets for whatever he could find. He was young squirrel and his kin must have thought him to be a fool for trusting a human.

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. During the fig season, the banyan tree was the noisiest place in the garden.

squabbling : fighting over small things
during the fig season: the time when figs appeared

In the spring season, the Banyan tree used to be in full bloom. It used to be full of small red figs (a fruit). Different birds like bulbul, parrots, myna and crows used to fight  with each other over small things. Their voices together used to make the place noisy in the garden in the fig season.

Halfway up the tree I had built a crude platform where I would spend the afternoons when it was not too hot. I could read there propping myself up against the tree with a cushion from the living room. Treasure Island, Huckleberry Finn and The Story of Dr. Dolittle were some of the books that made up my banyan tree library.

Crude : primitive, raw
propping myself up: leaning against

On the tree the author had made a platform of primitive style. In the afternoon, when it was not very hot, he used to spend his time here. He had put a cushion there which he had picked from the drawing room and was able to read at this place, while leaning against the tree. He had set up a small tree library and the books that he read there were: Treasure Island, Huckleberry Finn and The story of Dr. Dolittle.

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

grandstand view : a clear view from the best position (a grandstand is a large covered space with rows of seats for people to watch sports)

See: Beauty Class 6 CBSE English Poem Summary, Explanation

Part II

The warm breezes of approaching summer had sent everyone, including the gardener, into the house. 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. At the same time a mongoose emerged from the bushes and went straight for the cobra.

Gliding : sliding, moving smoothly
Clump : bunch

Because of the hot summer everyone was inside the house.The author was also feeling sleepy and lazy. Rather, he was deciding to visit the pond to swim with Ramu and the buffaloes when he noticed a cobra coming out of a clump of cactus and a mongoose from the bushes.The mongoose came out of the bushes and went straight to the Cobra.

In a clearing beneath the banyan tree, in bright sunshine, they came face to face. The cobra knew only too well that the grey mongoose, three feet long, was a superb fighter, clever and aggressive. But the cobra, too, was a skilful and experienced fighter. He could move swiftly and strike with the speed of light; and the sacs behind his long sharp fangs were full of deadly poison. It was to be a battle of champions.

gliding: moving smoothly clump: group (of bushes or trees)
emerged: came out
clearing: an open space in a forest where there are no trees
sacs: a part (of an animal or plant) shaped like a bag
fangs: long sharp teeth (of a snake or dog)
grandstand view: a clear view from the best position (a grandstand is a large covered space with rows of seats for people to watch sports)

 

the banyan tree

 

Both the Cobra and the mongoose came before each other under the Banyan tree. The Cobra was well aware that the mongoose had superb fighting skills.But he himself was also an experienced fighter and had deadly poisonous long sharp teeth. Thus, it was a battle between two champs.

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. The mongoose bushed his tail. The long hair on his spine stood up.

defiance: rebellion; resistance
dart: move quickly, suddenly

Creating a hissing sound in its defiance, moving his tongue quickly in and out, the cobra raised itself from the ground and spread his hood to fight and attack. The mongoose also showed his readiness to fight by brushing his tail and raising his hair.

Though the combatants were unaware of my presence in the tree, they were soon made aware of the arrival of two other spectators. One was a myna, the other was a  junglee crow. They had seen these preparations for battle, and had settled on the cactus to watch the outcome. Had they been content only to watch, all would have been well with both of them.

combatants: participants in a fight
spectators: those who watch a show, games, etc.
outcome: result

The participants in the fight were not aware of the author’s presence in the tree but two spectators a myna and a crow  were noticing clearly. They witnessed everything and were settled on the cactus to watch the result.But they were not satisfied with just watching rather they participated in the fight.

The cobra stood on the defensive, swaying slowly from side to side, trying to mesmerise the mongoose into making a false move. But the mongoose knew the power of his opponent’s glassy, unwinking eyes, and refused to meet them. Instead he fixed his gaze at a point just below the cobra’s hood, and opened the attack.

Defensive: defending, protective

The cobra was trying to spellbind the mongoose with his movements but the mongoose was well aware of the power of its opponents.So he fixed his focus on attacking the cobra at a point just below the cobra’s hood and started the attack.

Moving forward quickly until he was just within the cobra’s reach, the mongoose made a pretended move to one side. Immediately the cobra struck. His great hood came down so swiftly that I thought nothing could save the mongoose. 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.

Pretended: acted

The mongoose made false quick movements very close to the cobra. The Cobra attacked and moved its hood down so quickly that it seemed the mongoose would not be saved. But this small creature was quick to jump and move on one side.It also bit the snake on its back and again moved away out of its reach.

At the same moment that the cobra struck, the crow and the myna hurled themselves at him, only to collide heavily in mid-air. Shrieking insults at each other they returned to the cactus plant. A few drops of blood glistened on the cobra’s back.

 

Chapter 7 The Wonder Called Sleep Chapter 8 A Pact with the Sun Chapter 9 What Happened to the Reptiles
Chapter 10 A Strange Wrestling Match    

 

Collide: come into conflict
glistened: shone

The moment the cobra attacked, the crow and myna threw themselves at him to come into conflict.After making loud short noises of attack they came back to the cactus plant. Drops of blood were shining on the cobra’s back.  

The cobra struck and missed. Again the mongoose sprang aside, jumped in and bit. Again the birds dived at the snake, bumped into each other instead, and returned shrieking to the safety of the cactus.
mesmerize: here, magically persuade a false move: an unwise action

The cobra attacked but missed it.The mongoose again jumped aside.The birds again tried to attack the cobra but were collided with each other.So they came back to the cactus crying.

The third round followed the same course as the first but with one dramatic difference. 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. The myna flew on and reached its perch, but the crow tried to pull up in mid-air and turn back. 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.

Perch : repose, settle
whipped…back: moved…back suddenly
pull up: here, stop
snout: the nose and mouth of an animal

Third time again the birds tried to attack the cobra in the same manner but this time there was a change. They didn’t collide with each other. The myna flew back to its shelter but the crow tried to continue the fight in the air and come back. In the second trial , the cobra also moved suddenly and attacked the crow with full force.

I saw the bird flung nearly twenty feet across the garden. It fluttered about for a while, then lay still. 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! 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. The cobra writhed and lashed about in a frightening manner, and even coiled itself about the mongoose, but to no avail. The little fellow hung grimly on, until the snake had ceased to struggle. He then smelt along its quivering length, gripped it round the hood, and dragged it into the bushes.

to no avail: with no success
grimly : in a very serious manner

The author noticed the bird falling twenty feet away. It kept shaking its body for sometime but then it became still and died. The myna was on the cactus plant and she didn’t interfere in the fight after this.The cobra was weakened and defeated. The mongoose attacked fearlessly. It exhausted the cobra with its shrewd and fast attack moves and finally killed it. It caught the cobra from its hood and dragging it, pushed it into the bushes.

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.

Shrill : high pitched

The myna fell down to the ground and hopping about she reached the bushes. Giving a congratulatory high pitched sound, she flew away.

Also See: Vocation Class 6 CBSE English Poem Summary, Explanation

The Banyan Tree Class 6 Question and Answers

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 —————————
3. When the boy started to bring him pieces of cake and biscuit, the squirrel ———————————
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 ————————— ————–——————

Answers:
1. The oldman was unable to climb the tree due to his age and it was a place used by the boy alone.
2. It noticed that the boy did not have any air gun in his hand.
3. became friendly and started taking the food from his hand.
4. was full of small red figs, all kinds of birds
5. reading room
6. lying on it and reading the books

B. Answer the following questions.
1. “It was to be a battle of champions.”
(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.
Mongoose Cobra
(a) ________________ (a) ________________
(b) ________________ (b) ________________
(c) ________________ (c) ________________

Answers:

Mongoose Cobra
Champion Fighter Broad hood
Clever and aggressive Poisonous teeth
Swift and flexible Swift in attack

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

Answers:

Mongoose Cobra
Raised his feet off the ground Produced hissing sound
Brushed its tail Spread broad hood
Raised long hair on its back Turn around

 

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

Answer:
The other two spectators were the Myna and a wild crow.
They watched the fight and even participated in it. Crow was bitten and died. Myna flew away in the end.

 

3. Read the descriptions below of what the snake did and what the mongoose did. Arrange their actions in the proper order.
(i) ceased to struggle  grabbed the snake by the snout
(ii) tried to mesmerise  dragged the snake into the mongoose the bushes
(iii) coiled itself around  darted away and bit the the mongoose cobra on the back
(iv) struck the crow  pretended to attack the cobra on one side
(v) struck again and  refused to look into the missed snake’s eyes
(vi) struck on the side  sprang aside, jumped in that the mongoose and bit pretended to attack

Answers:

Cobra Mongoose
tried to mesmerise the mongoose refused to  snake’s eyes
Coiled itself around the mongoose Pretended to attack the cobra on one side
Struck the crow Sprang aside, jumped in and bit
Struck again and missed Darted away, bit and grabbed the snake by the snout
ceased to struggle dragged the snake into the bushes

 

What happened to the crow in the end?

Answer
It was bitten by the  snake and died.

(ii) What did the myna do finally?

Answer
It gave a shrill cry and  flew away.

The word ‘round’ usually means a kind of shape. What is its meaning in the story?

Answer
The sequence of events of fight between Cobra and Mongoose

2. Find five words in the following paragraph, which are generally associated with trees. But here, they have been used differently. Underline the words.
Hari leaves for work at nine every morning. He works in the local branch of the firm of which his uncle is the owner. Hari’s success is really the fruit of his own labour. He is happy, but he has a small problem. The root cause of his problem is a stray dog near his office. The dog welcomes Hari with a loud bark every day.

Answer
Hari leaves for work at nine every morning. He works in the local branch of the firm of which his uncle is the owner. Hari’s success is really the fruit of his own labour. He is happy, but he has a small problem. 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.

Dived      gliding     sprang      darting      whipped…back delving

 

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

Answers
1.Diving
2. Gliding
3.darting in and out
4.sprang
5. Whipped…back
6. dived

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.
2. The crow and the myna c — ll — — — — in mid-air.
3. The birds dived at the snake, but b — — — — d into each other instead.

Answers

  1. Thudding
  2. Collided
  3. bumped

See: Class 6 CBSE English Lessons