Mijbil the Otter – NCERT Solutions

Q. What ‘experiment’ did Maxwell think Comusfearna would be suitable for?

Ans. Maxwell had settled in Comusfearna. He thought that he should like to keep an otter instead of a dog. Comusfearna was ringed by water. So it would be a very suitable spot for this experiment keeping an otter. An otter liked water.

Q. Why does he go to Basra? How long does he wait there and why?

Ans. He goes to Basra to collect and answer his mail from Europe. At the Consulate General, he found that his mail had not arrived. He had to wait there for five days. He had to wait there because his mail arrived five days later because of some problems.

Q. How does he get the otter? Does he like it? Pick out the words that tell you this.

Ans. Maxwell had told his friend about his desire to keep on otter as a pet. The friend sent two Arabs with an otter. They had carried it in a bag with a note from his friend: “Here your otter.” He liked the otter. The words that tell us this are: “It is, in effect, a thraldom to otters, an otter fixation, that I have since found to be shared by most people, who have ever owned one.”

Q. Why was the otter named “Maxwell’s Otter”?

Ans. Mijbil was, in fact, of a race previously unknown to science. So it was named ‘Maxwell’s Otter’.

Q. Tick the right answer. In the beginning, the otter was

  • aloof and indifferent
  • friendly
  • hostile

Ans. aloof and indifferent.

Q. What happened when Maxwell took Mijbil to the bathroom? What did it do two days after that?

Ans. For half an hour Mijbil went wild with joy in the water, plunging and rolling in it. It shot up and down the length of the bathtub underwater. It made enough slosh and splash. Two days later, Mijbil escaped from Maxwell’s bedroom. He saw its tail disappearing round the bend of the corridor that led to the bathroom. He struggled with the taps until there was a full flow.

Q. How was Mij to be transported to England?

Ans. The British Airline to England would not fly animals. So Maxwell booked a flight to Paris on another airline, and from there to London. The airline insisted that Mij should be packed into a box not more than eighteen inches square. Thus Mij was transported to England in that box, which was kept on the floor at his feet.

Q. What did Mij do to the box?

Ans. Mij had torn the lining of the box to pieces.

Q. Why did Maxwell put the otter back in the box? How do you think he felt when he did this?

Ans. Maxwell put the otter back in the box. This was because the airline would not have flown it without doing so. Perhaps the writer felt bad about it because the otter didn’t like to be put in the box. But the writer had no choice.

Q. Why does Maxwell say the airhostess was “the very queen of her kind”?

Ans. The airhostess appreciated the problem of the writer. She was very cooperative. He had great admiration for her. According to the author, she was one of the finest airhostesses. That is why he called her “the very queen of her kind”.

Q. What happened when the box was opened?

Ans. When the box was opened, Mij went out of the box. He disappeared at a high speed down the aircraft. There were cries all around. A woman stood up on her seat crying, “A rat!”

Q. What game had Mijbil invented?

Ans. Mijbil had invented a game of his own which he played with a ping-pong ball. The writer’s suitcase had got damaged on the journey home. There was a slope on one end of the suitcase. Mijbil would place the ball on the high end. The ball then would run down the length of the suitcase to the other end. He would run to the other end and throw the ball again to high end. This game continued for some time.

Q. What are ‘compulsive habits’? What does Maxwell say are the compulsive habits of (i) school children (ii) Mij?

Ans. ‘Compulsive habits’ are those habits which a man cannot control. School children on their way to school and back must place their feet on the centre of the each paving block. They must touch every seventh upright of the iron railings. Or they must pass to the outside of every second lamp post.

Mijbil would tug the author to the two feet high wall of a school when he walked him. On his way home, Mij would jump on to the wall and run the full length of its thirty yards.

Q. What group of animals do otters belong to?

Ans. Otters belong to a comparativley small group of animals called Mustellines. Other animals which belong to this group are badger, mongoose, weasel, stoat, mink, etc.

Q. What guesses did the Londoners make about what Mij was?

Ans. An ordinary Londoner could not recognise an otter. They made guesses about what this animal was. They thought it to be baby seal, a squirrel, a walrus, a hippo, a beaver, a bear cub, a leopard, brontosaur. Mij was anything but an otter.

Q. What things does Mij do which tell you that he is intelligent, friendly and fun-loving animal who needs love?

Ans. For the first twenty-four hours Mijbil was neither hostile nor friendly. He was simply aloof and indifferent. He chose to sleep on the floor as far from Maxwell’s bed as possible. The second night Mijbil came on to Maxwell’s bed shortly after midmight. It remainded asleep in the crook of the author’s knees until the servant brought the tea in the morning. During the day, it began to lose its apathy and took a very keen interest in his surroundings.

Q. What are some of the things we come to know about otters from this text?

Ans. We learn that otters are intelligent, friendly and fun-loving creatures. They like playing with water and other objects like marbles and ping-pong balls. They are fond of a free life without any captivity. 3. Why is Mij’s species now known to the world as Maxwell’s otter? Ans. This race of animals was unknown to scientists in the beginning. After it was discovered, zoologists called it Lutrogale perspicillata maxwelli or Maxwell’s otter.

Q. Maxwell in the story speaks for the otter, Mij. He tells us what the otter feels and thinks on different occasions. Given below are some things the otter does. Complete the column on the right to say what Maxwell says about what Mij feels and thinks.

What Mij does How Mij feels or thinks
Plunges, rolls in the water and makes the water splosh and splash _______________
Screws the tap in the wrong way _______________
Nuzzles Maxwell’s face and neck in the aeroplane _______________


What Mij does How Mij feels or thinks
plunges, rolls in the water and makes the water splosh and splash Mij was wild with joy
Screws the tap in the wrong way Mij feels irritated and disappointed
Nuzzles Maxwell’s face and neck in the aeroplane Expresses his love affection aeroplane

Q. Read the story and find the sentences where Maxwell describes his pet otter. Then choose and arrange your sentences to illustrate those statements below that you think are true. Maxwell description

  1. makes Mij seem almost human, like a small boy.
  2. shows that he is often irritated with what Mij does.
  3. shows that he is often surprised by what Mij does.
  4. of Mij’s antics is comical.
  5. shows that he observes the antics of Mij very carefully.
  6. shows that he thinks Mij is a very ordinary otter.
  7. shows that he thinks the otter is very unusual.


  1. True – He spent hours shuffling a rubber ball round the room like a four-footed soccer player using all four feet to dribble the ball, and he could also throw it, with a powerful flick of the neck, to a surprising height and distance.
  2. False
  3. True – watched, amazed; in less than a minute he had turned the tap far enough to produce a trickle of water, and after a moment or two achieved the full flow.
  4. True – But the real play of an otter is when he lies on his back and juggles with small objects between his paws.
  5. False
  6. False
  7. True – From the head to the tip of the tail he was coated with symmetrical pointed scales of mud armour, between whose tips was visible a soft velvet fur like that of a chocolate-brown mole.

Q. From the table below, make as many correct sentences as you can using would and or used to, as appropriate. (Hint: First decide whether the words in italics show an action, or a state or situation, in the past.) Then add two or three sentences of your own to it.

Emperor Akbar be found of musical evenings.
Every evening we would take long walks on the beach
Fifty years ago, very few people own cars.
Till the 1980s, Shanghai used to have very dirty streets.
My uncle spend his holidays by the sea.


  1. Emperor Akbar used to be fond of musical evenings.
  2. Every evening we would take long walks on the beach.
  3. Every evening we used to take long walks on the beach.
  4. Fifty years ago, very few people used to own cars.
  5. Till the 1980’s Shanghai used to have very dirty streets.
  6. My uncle used to spend his holidays by the sea.

Q. Look at these examples from the text, and say whether the modifier (in italics) are nouns, proper nouns, or adjective plus noun.

  1. An otter fixation
  2. The iron railings
  3. The Tigris marshes
  4. The London streets
  5. soft velvet fur
  6. A four-footed soccer player


  1. Noun
  2. Noun
  3. Proper noun
  4. Proper noun
  5. Adjective + Noun
  6. Adjective + Noun

Q. Given below are some nouns, and a set of modifiers (in the box). Combine the nouns and modifiers to make as many appropriate phrases as you can.

temple, three, girls, triangle, dresses, person, thoughts, boys, roar, gifts, scream, farewall, expression, time, subject, landscape, handkerchief, crossing, flight, chatterbox, profession, physique, coffee, view, celebration

college, rough, hundred, stone, ordinary, love, uncomfortable, white, slang, slack, bare, railroad, tremendous, family, marriage, plump, invigorating, panoramic, heartbreaking, birthday, incorrigible, ridiculous, loud, first


  1. Temple − stone temple
  2. Person − incorrigible person, ordinary person
  3. Gifts − birthday gifts
  4. Time − slack time
  5. Crossing − railroad crossing
  6. Physique − plump physique
  7. Three girls − three college girls
  8. Thoughts − bare thoughts
  9. Scream − loud scream
  10. Subject − ridiculous subject
  11. Flight − first flight
  12. Coffee − invigorating coffee
  13. Triangle − love triangle
  14. Boys − rough boys
  15. Farewell − heartbreaking farewell
  16. Landscape − panoramic landscape
  17. Chatterbox − incorrigible chatterbox
  18. View − panoramic view
  19. Dresses − hundred dresses
  20. Roar − loud roar
  21. Expression − slang expression
  22. Handkerchief − white handkerchief
  23. Profession − family profession
  24. Celebration − marriage celebration

Q. Match the words on the left with a word on the right. Some words on the left can go with more than one word on the right.

1. a portion of blood
2. a pool of cotton
3. flakes of stones
4. a huge heap of gold
5. a gust of fried fish
6. little drops of snow
7. a piece of water
8. a pot of wind


  1. a portion of fried fish
  2. a pool of blood
  3. flakes of snow
  4. a huge heap of stones
  5. a gust of wind
  6. little drops of water
  7. a piece of cotton
  8. a pot of gold

Q. Use a bit of/a piece of/a bunch of/a cloud of/a lump of with the italicised nouns in the following sentences. The first has been done for you as an example.

1. My teacher gave me some advice. My teacher gave me a bit of advice.
2. Can you give me some clay, please. ________
3. The information you gave was very useful. ________
4. Because of these factories, smoke hangs over the city. ________
5. Two stones rubbed together can produce sparks of fire. ________
6. He gave me some flowers on my birthday. ________


1. My teacher gave me some advice. My teacher gave me a bit of advice.
2. Can you give me some clay, please. Can you give me a lump of clay, please.
3. The information you gave was very useful. The piece of information you gave was very useful.
4. Because of these factories, smoke hangs over the city. Because of these factories, a cloud of smoke hangs over the city.
5. Two stones rubbed together can produce sparks of fire. Two pieces of stones rubbed together can produce sparks of fire.
6. He gave me some flowers on my birthday. He gave me a bunch of flowers on my birthday.

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