The Adventures of Toto Class 9 English Explanation, Summary, Question Answers
By Ruchika Gupta
The Adventures of Toto - CBSE Class 9 English Moments Lesson 2 Explanation Notes
The Adventures of Toto Class 9 English Moments Lesson - Detailed explanation Notes of the lesson along with meanings of the 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 have been covered.
CBSE Class 9 Moments Lesson 2 - The Adventures of Toto
By Ruskin Bond
Introduction to the lesson
This is a humorous and adventurous story of a naughty monkey named ‘Toto’. The writer’s grandfather bought the monkey from a tonga driver. The pranks played by Toto have been narrated in an interesting way and make the story a must read for us.
See Video for Explanation and Summary of the Lesson
Lesson and Explanation
GRANDFATHER bought Toto from a tonga-driver for the sum of five rupees. The tonga-driver used to keep the little red monkey tied to a feeding-trough, and the monkey looked so out of place there that Grandfather decided he would add the little fellow to his private zoo.
Feeding-trough: a large container for feeding animals
Tonga: horse cart
The writer’s grandfather purchased a monkey named Toto from a tonga driver by paying five rupees to him. The tonga driver had tied the little red - coloured monkey to a feeding trough, so that he could not run away. When the writer’s grandfather saw the monkey, he had a desire to add him to the collection of animals which he had in his zoo at home.
Toto was a pretty monkey. His bright eyes sparkled with mischief beneath deep-set eyebrows, and his teeth, which were a pearly white, were very often displayed in a smile that frightened the life out of elderly Anglo-lndian ladies. But his hands looked dried-up as though they had been pickled in the sun for many years. Yet his fingers were quick and wicked; and his tail, while adding to his good looks (Grandfather believed a tail would add to anyone’s good looks), also served as a third hand. He could use it to hang from a branch; and it was capable of scooping up any delicacy that might be out of reach of his hands.
Anglo-lndian: a person relating to both britain and india
Pickled: food that is preserved in vinegar
scooping up: lifting
The writer gives a description of Toto. He had bright, shiny eyes which were full of mischief. The eyebrows were deeply set on his face. His teeth were like pearls. Many ladies belonging to the Anglo - Indian community got scared when they saw his teeth which were displayed when he smiled. Toto’s hands were dry and wrinkled as if they had been dried in the sun like pickled vegetables. He had a long tail. The writer’s grandfather thought that the tail added to the good looks of an animal. Toto’s tail was like a third hand for him. It helped him hang from the branch of a tree. He also used it to lift objects which were beyond his hand’s reach.
Grandmother always fussed when Grandfather brought home some new bird or animal. So it was decided that Toto’s presence should be kept a secret from her until she was in a particularly good mood. Grandfather and I put him away in a little closet opening into my bedroom wall, where he was tied securely — or so we thought — to a peg fastened into the wall.
Peg: a hook
The writer’s grandmother was against the grandfather's attitude of bringing new pets - birds and animals. So, the grandfather thought that they would conceal this fact from her until she was in a good mood. At that time, they would disclose this to her. The writer and his grandfather secured Toto in a little cupboard in the writer’s room. In order to be sure that Toto did not escape, they tied him to a hook in the wall.
A few hours later, when Grandfather and I came back to release Toto, we found that the walls, which had been covered with some ornamental paper chosen by Grandfather, now stood out as naked brick and plaster. The peg in the wall had been
wrenched from its socket, and my school blazer, which had been hanging there, was in shreds. I wondered what Grandmother would say. But Grandfather didn’t worry; he seemed pleased with Toto’s performance.
Shreds: cut into thin slices
The writer and his grandfather went to Toto after a few hours. The sight was shocking. Toto had torn the decorative wallpaper. He had broken the hook and had escaped from his binding. Also, he tore the writer’s balzer into thin pieces.
“He’s clever,” said Grandfather. “Given time, I’m sure he could have tied the torn pieces of your blazer into a rope, and made his escape from the window!”
The grandfather was quite delighted to see Toto's adventure. He felt that Toto was very clever. He said that if they would have given him more time, he would have tied the thin pieces of the writer’s torn blazer into a rope and would have escaped out of the window.
His presence in the house still a secret, Toto was now transferred to a big cage in the servants’ quarters where a number of Grandfather’s pets lived very sociably together — a tortoise, a pair of rabbits, a tame squirrel and, for a while, my pet goat. But the monkey wouldn’t allow any of his companions to sleep at night; so Grandfather, who had to leave Dehradun next day to collect his pension in Saharanpur, decided to take him along.
Sociably: in a friendly manner
Toto was shifted to the servant quarter. He was put in a cage. He would live with the other pets in grandfather's zoo. The zoo comprised of a tortoise, a pair of rabbits, a squirrel and the writer’s pet goat. Toto was very mischievous. He did not let the animals sleep at night. The writer’s grandfather had to leave for Saharanpur the next day. He decided to take Toto along as he was unmanageable.
Unfortunately I could not accompany Grandfather on that trip, but he told me about it afterwards. A big black canvas kit-bag was provided for Toto. This, with some straw at the bottom, became his new abode. When the bag was closed, there was no escape. Toto could not get his hands through the opening, and the canvas was too strong for him to bite his way through. His efforts to get out only had the effect of making the bag roll about on the floor or occasionally jump into the air — an exhibition that attracted a curious crowd of onlookers on the Dehra Dun railway platform.
The writer was disappointed as he could not accompany his grandfather and Toto on the trip. His grandfather narrated the happenings of the trip to him later. He had got a special bag for Toto. It was made of a strong material - canvas. He placed some dry grass at the bottom of the bag. On the trip, the bag would be Toto’s home as he would live in it. The bag had a zipper on top of it. The writer’s grandfather ensured that when the bag was closed, Toto would not be able to escape out of it. Neither could he come out of the opening as it was closed with a zipper, nor could it bite the strong canvas material in order to run away. Still, Toto made unsuccessful attempts to come out of the bag. Due to this, many times the bag would roll on the floor or it would certainly jump in the air. These movements were noticed by the people on the railway platform and made them curious to know what was inside the bag.
Toto remained in the bag as far as Saharanpur, but while Grandfather was producing his ticket at the railway turnstile, Toto suddenly poked his head out of the bag and gave the ticket collector a wide grin.
Turnstile: a mechanical gate consisting of revolving horizontal arms fixed to a vertical post, allowing only one person at a time to pass through
Toto remained secured in grandfather's bag till Saharanpur. At the Saharanpur railway station, the writer’s grandfather was taking out his ticket to cross the turnstile. At that time, Toto peeked out of the bag and smiled at the ticket collector.
The poor man was taken aback; but, with great presence of mind and much to Grandfather’s annoyance, he said, “Sir, you have a dog with you. You’ll have to pay for it accordingly.”
Annoyance: to anger someone
The ticket collector was astonished to see a monkey in grandfather's back. He recovered quickly and asked grandfather to pay the ticket money for travelling with a dog.
In vain did Grandfather take Toto out of the bag; in vain did he try to prove that a monkey did not qualify as a dog, or even as a quadruped. Toto was classified a dog by the ticket-collector; and three rupees was the sum handed over as his fare.
Vain: an unsuccessful attempt
Quadruped: an animal which has 4 feet
Fare: ticket price
Grandfather was unsuccessful in explaining to the ticket collector that Toto was a monkey and not a dog. He insisted that Toto was not even an animal with four feet. But the ticket collector was firm that Toto fell in the category of dogs. Grandfather had to pay 3 rupees for Toto’s ticket.
Then Grandfather, just to get his own back, took from his pocket our pet tortoise, and said, “What must I pay for this, since you charge for all animals?”
To get his own back (idiom): to take revenge
Grandfather was disappointed and in order to take revenge from the ticket collector, he took out his pet tortoise from his pocket. He asked if he was supposed to buy a ticket for it too.
The ticket-collector looked closely at the tortoise, prodded it with his forefinger, gave Grandfather a pleased and triumphant look, and said, “No charge. It is not a dog.”
The ticket collector took a close look at the tortoise, pushed it slightly and announced that grandfather was not required to buy a ticket for it as it did not fall in the category of a dog.
When Toto was finally accepted by Grandmother he was given a comfortable home in the stable, where he had for a companion the family donkey, Nana. On Toto’s first night in the stable, Grandfather paid him a visit to see if he was comfortable. To his surprise he found Nana, without apparent cause, pulling at her halter and trying to keep her head as far as possible from a bundle of hay.
Stable: building set apart and adapted for keeping horses
Halter: a strap or loop placed around the head of a horse or other animal, used for leading or tethering it
The writer’s grandmother finally came to know of Toto’s presence in the house. She allotted him space in the stable along with the family donkey Nana. On the first night in the stable, grandfather visited Toto. He found Nana restless, pulling its rope in order to stay away from the heap of hay.
Grandfather gave Nana a slap across her haunches, and she jerked back, dragging Toto with her. He had fastened on to her long ears with his sharp little teeth.
Toto and Nana never became friends.
Grandfather hit Nana on the back in order to stop it. Nana jumped back with a jerk and Toto was dragged along with her
A great treat for Toto during cold winter evenings was the large bowl of warm water given him by Grandmother for his bath. He would cunningly test the temperature with his hand, then gradually step into the bath, first one foot, then the other (as he had seen me doing), until he was into the water up to his neck. Once comfortable, he would take the soap in his hands or feet, and rub himself all over. When the water became cold, he would get out and run as quickly as he could to the kitchen-fire in order to dry himself. If anyone laughed at him during this performance, Toto’s feelings would be hurt and he would refuse to go on with his bath. One day Toto nearly succeeded in boiling himself alive.
In the winter season, Toto enjoyed having a warm bath. He would pretend to be selfish and before starting his bath, he would check the temperature of the water. He would copy the writer and stepped into the tub,one foot at a time. Finally, he would would sit in the water with his face out of it. Then he would rub himself with soap. When the water became cold, he would run out of it to the stove in the kitchen in order to dry himself. Toto got annoyed if he was laughed upon, he would get hurt and then, refused to take bath. The writer recollects an incident when Toto had almost boiled himself.
A large kitchen kettle had been left on the fire to boil for tea and Toto, finding himself with nothing better to do, decided to remove the lid. Finding the water just warm enough for a bath, he got in, with his head sticking out from the open kettle. This was just fine for a while, until the water began to boil. Toto then raised himself a little; but, finding it cold outside, sat down again. He continued hopping up and down for some time, until Grandmother arrived and hauled him, half-boiled, out of the kettle.
Hauled him: pulled him out
In a large kettle, water was boiling on the stove. Toto climbed up to the stove and removed the lid from it. He felt that the water was warm enough for him to take a bath. He entered the kettle with his head out of it. When the water started boiling, it became hot for Toto. He thought of coming out of the kettle but as the temperature outside was cold for him, he stayed in it. Toto kept on jumping in the cattle for a while. It was when the writer’s grandmother arrived that she took the half boiled monkey out of the kettle.
If there is a part of the brain especially devoted to mischief, that part was largely developed in Toto. He was always tearing things to pieces. Whenever one of my aunts came near him, he made every effort to get hold of her dress and tear a hole in it.
If there is a part in our brain that governs our ability to create mischief, then that part in Toto’s brain was highly developed as he had great capacity to do mischief. He was always busy doing mischief. Whenever the writer’s aunts passed him, he tried to tear their dresses.
One day, at lunchtime, a large dish of pullao stood in the centre of the dining-table. We entered the room to find Toto stuffing himself with rice. My grandmother screamed — and Toto threw a plate at her. One of my aunts rushed forward — and received a glass of water in the face. When Grandfather arrived, Toto picked up the dish of pullao and made his exit through a window. We found him in the branches of the jackfruit tree, the dish still in his arms. He remained there all afternoon, eating slowly through the rice, determined on finishing every grain. And then, in order to spite Grandmother, who had screamed at him, he threw the dish down from the tree, and chattered with delight when it broke into a hundred pieces.
Spite: a desire to hurt, annoy or offend someone
Chattered: the sound made by the monkey
The writer recollects another incident when Toto created a lot of mischief. At lunchtime, a dish of rice was placed on the dining table. When the family reached to eat, they found Toto eating it. The writer’s grandmother screamed at Toto and In response, he threw a plate at her. When the aunts tried to catch Toto, he threw a glass of water in their face. When the grandfather arrived, Toto left the place through a window with the dish of rice along with him. Toto remained out the entire afternoon. He sat on a branch of the Jackfruit tree, determined to eat all the rice. As the grandmother had screamed on him, he wanted to annoy her further and so, after eating the rice, he threw the dish. It broke into several pieces.
Obviously Toto was not the sort of pet we could keep for long. Even Grandfather realised that. We were not well-to-do, and could not afford the frequent loss of dishes, clothes, curtains and wallpaper. So Grandfather found the tonga-driver, and sold Toto back to him — for only three rupees.
Finally, grandfather realised that Toto was not suitable to be kept at home. They could not afford the frequent losses that he gave them. He tore clothes, curtains, wallpapers and broke dishes. So, the grandfather sold Toto back to the same tonga driver for a sum of three rupees.
The writer’s grandfather liked to collect animals and had a zoo at home. Once he bought a monkey named Toto from a tonga driver for a sum of five rupees.
Toto was kept secretly as the grandmother disliked animals. Toto was very mischievous. When the writer and his grandfather hid Toto in a cupboard, and tied him to a hook, he broke the hook and caused havoc in the room. The next day, when he was kept in the servants room along with other animals, he did not let them sleep all night.
As grandfather had to go to Saharanpur for work, he decided to take the monkey along with him. He carried Toto in a strong bag made of canvas and closed the zip nicely so that Toto could not escape. Toto made unsuccessful attempts to get out of the bag, which made the back jump and roll. This aroused the curiosity of fellow passengers at the railway station. At the Saharanpur railway station, when grandfather was getting his ticket checked, Toto peeked out of the bag and smiled at the ticket collector. As the ticket collector declared that it was a dog, grandfather had to buy a ticket for 3 rupees, much to his annoyance.
When toto was accepted by grandmother, it was given a place in the stable along with the donkey- Nana. Toto did not get along with nana as well.
Toto enjoyed taking bath in warm water during the winter season. One day, he almost boiled himself when he jumped into a kettle of boiling water.
One afternoon, Toto ate the family meal of pulao. He threw the empty dish from the tree and it broke it into several pieces.
Toto’s mischiefs grew by the day and grandfather realized that they could not keep him at home. Finally, he found the same tonga driver and sold Toto back to him for a sum of three rupees.
Question and Answers
1. How does Toto come to grandfather’s private zoo?
A. The writer’s grandfather liked to collect animals and had made a zoo at home. One day, he saw a red - coloured monkey tied to a trough with a tonga driver. He liked the monkey and wanted to add it to his collection. He bought Toto from the tonga driver for a sum of five rupees.
2. “Toto was a pretty monkey.” In what sense is Toto pretty?
A. The writer says that Toto was pretty. He had bright, shining eyes which were full of mischief. His teeth were like pearls. He had a long tail which was like a third hand for him. The writer’s grandfather felt that a tail added to the beauty of an animal. So, Toto was thought to be a pretty animal.
3. Why does grandfather take Toto to Saharanpur and how? Why does the ticket collector insist on calling Toto a dog?
A. Grandfather took Toto along with himself to Saharanpur because as he was mischievous, it was not safe to leave him alone at home. A bag made of strong canvas material was arranged. Some straw was placed in it. Toto was placed inside the bag and the bag was sealed with the zipper.
The ticket collector did not accept grandfather’s claim that Toto was not a dog. He called it a dog and charged a ticket fee for it because only dogs were allowed to travel on trains. If Toto had to travel by train, then, he would have to be termed a dog.
4. How does Toto take a bath? Where has he learnt to do this? How does Toto almost boil himself alive?
A. Toto would check the temperature of the water by inserting his hand in it. Then he would step into the tub, one foot at a time. Finally, he would sit in it, with his face out. Then he would rub soap on his body. When the water became cold, he would jump out and run to the stove in the kitchen to dry himself.
He had learnt this way of bathing from the writer.
On day, Toto jumped into a kettle of water kept on the stove for boiling as he found it warm enough for a bath. As the water grew hotter, he thought of ascending but the cold weather made him go back into the kettle. Toto kept on doing this for a while till he was spotted by the grandmother. She pulled him out of the kettle in time or else he would have boiled himself that day.
5. Why does the author say, “Toto was not the sort of pet we could keep for long”?
A. The author says that Toto was not the kind of pet that they could keep for long because he was extremely mischievous. He destroyed many things - he tore the wallpapers, clothes and curtains. He broke dishes too. The family could not afford all this and so, decided to get rid of Toto.