INTER UNIVERSITY PRESS Solutions for Class 9 English Chapter 9 - The Tiger in the Tunnel
Chapter 9 - The Tiger in the Tunnel Exercise Passage 1
Tembu's father went out every night to check if the lamp was burning and to manually signal the upland mail and ensure that it had passed through the tunnel safely.
It was a moonless night when Baldeo got ready to leave on his errand. There was deathly stillness around the jungle except for the occasional cry of the cicada, or a grunt of a wild boar, or the hammering of the woodpecker. It was close to midnight and the chilling air made Baldeo shiver.
The station was said to be in name only because trains only stopped there if at all for a few seconds before entering the deep cutting that led to the tunnel. Most trains only slowed down before taking the sharp curve before the cutting.
Tembu was a 12 year-old tribal boy who lived in a tribal village with his mother and little sister on the outskirts of the forest. He would usually stay at home to help his mother and be with her as the village was three miles away from the station. They had a small rice felid which barely provided them with a living. Baldeo took up the job of a khalasi at the station to help the family financially.
Chapter 9 - The Tiger in the Tunnel Exercise Passage 2
Tembu might have wanted to accompany his father to the signal post to avoid being left alone in the hut. It is also possible that Tembu wanted to give his father some company and help him at the signal post.
Baldeo carried with him a steel axe to protect himself from the wild animals lurking around in the dark near the tunnel.
It was very cold outside and Baldeo wrapped himself in his shawl to feel warm.
It was close to midnight and Baldeo had forcefully woken up from his sleep to attend the signal post. He had joined as a khalasi just a month ago to earn more money for his family. During the daytime, he would work on his rice field. Baldeo was feeling tried and needed some sleep, but his work as a khalasi demanded that he remained awake throughout the night to guard the signal post. Tired and sleep deprived, Baldeo struggled about in his hut before leaving for the signal post.
Chapter 9 - The Tiger in the Tunnel Exercise Passage 3
The tiger is referred to as the tunnel tiger as it would often enter the tunnel from the jungle and wreak havoc in the lives of the people.
Baldeo did not believe in the stories about the tiger in the tunnel because it had been a month since he had joined as the khalasi but had not once seen or even heard a tiger.
The village had been attacked by a panther a few days ago. The villagers killed the panther with their spears and axes.
The villagers had many stories about the tiger. Most of them called the animal the tunnel tiger because he would come towards the village through the tunnel. The tiger was also called the maneater as he would attack and kill people from the village.
Chapter 9 - The Tiger in the Tunnel Exercise Passage 4
There was a thump and a rattle of small stones in the tunnel indicating that the tiger had entered the cutting.
Baldeo was intently listening to the sounds coming from the cutting in order to find out where the tiger was coming from. He also tried to figure out whether the tiger was making for the tunnel or the opposite direction, where the hut was in which his boy lay unprotected.
The tiger would spot Baldeo sooner in the dark if he attempted to run away as animals can see in the dark better than humans. The tiger's eyes shone brilliantly in the light from the signal lamp. Also a tiger is faster than a man therefore Baldeo concluded that there was no point in running.
Chapter 9 - The Tiger in the Tunnel Exercise Passage 5
Baldeo stood with his back to the signal post, aware that the tiger was trotting in his direction. The beast was fearless, as it had been killing humans for a long time and knew the ways of men.
The faint rumble was that of the arriving upland train which would soon enter the cutting and pass through the tunnel.
It would have been very easy for Baldeo to run away from the scene. However, he chose to fight the tiger so as to stop him from moving towards the hut where his son Tembu was sleeping unprotected.
Baldeo was ready for the tiger. He was a tribal man and knew the ways of the jungle. When the tiger struck out at Baldeo with its right paw, Baldeo avoided the attack with his agile leap and brought his axe down on the tiger's shoulder. He attacked the tiger fiercely with his steel axe and almost got the beast's leg. The axe remained stuck in the bone, wounding the beast grievously.
Chapter 9 - The Tiger in the Tunnel Exercise Passage 6
Although Baldeo injured the tiger, the beast sprang on him, tearing down his broken body. Baldeo was killed by the tiger's attack.
Although Baldeo succumbed to his injuries after the tiger attacked him, he had brought down his axe on the tiger injuring him badly. As the tiger sat licking his wound inside the tunnel, he heard the engine of the upland mail train approaching the tunnel. The wounded leg limited the animal's ability to run, and therefore, the tiger felt as if it were trapped like a man in the tunnel.
When the engine driver got down at the next station to stretch his legs, he decided to examine the head-lamps of the train. To his surprise, he saw the major portion of the tiger just above the cow-catcher, cut in half by the engine.
Baldeo avoided the paw of the tiger with his marvellously agile leap when the tiger struck him. He brought his axe down on the animal's shoulder twice and on the second strike the axe got stuck to tiger's shoulder bone, almost severing its limb. Baldeo was left without a weapon with the axe stuck in the animal's shoulder. Taking advantage of this, the tiger sprang on Baldeo bringing him down and tearing his body. It was over in a few minutes and the night closed in on Baldeo forever.
Chapter 9 - The Tiger in the Tunnel Exercise Passage 7
Baldeo was the only earning member of his family. After his death, Tembu, his mother, and his sister were plunged in grief for two whole days.
There was considerable excitement and conjecture at the station, as the driver had spotted a major portion of the tiger cut in half by the engine. However, back at the cutting there was no sound except for the sobs of Tembu who sat beside the body of his father. He sat there a long time guarding his father's body from jackals and hyenas until the first faint light of dawn brought with it the arrival of the relief-watchman.
Baldeo's family was plunged into grief for two whole days after Baldeo died in the tiger attack. However, life had to go on and the entire responsibility of supporting the family now fell on Tembu. Three nights later, he was at the cutting, lighting the signal-lamp for the overland mail. He sat down in the darkness to wait for the train, and sang softly to himself. He was not afraid of anything, for his father had killed the tiger, and he had his father's axe with him which he knew how to use.
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