Gavin Maxwell lived in a cottage in Camusfearna, in the West Highlands in Scotland. He was fond of keeping pets. After the death of his pet dog Jennie, he was too sad to think of a dog again. The author was in Basra city of Iraq on a visit. There, one of his friends presented him an otter. He took his otter to England where he had a flat of his own. He had some interesting experiences during his air journey from Basra to Paris and London.
Important Question and Answers
Q. What happened when Maxwell took Mijbil to the bathroom? What did Mijbil do two days after that?
Ans. In the bathroom, Mijbil fumbled with the taps and went mad with joy on seeing full flow of water. He played, splashed and thoroughly enjoyed like a hippo in water. Aloof at first, he started answering to his name, played for hours with rubber ball and juggled with small objects, after two days.
Q. What special characteristic of Mijbil did Maxwell learn after he took him to the bathroom?
Ans. After taking Mijbil to the bathroom, Maxwell witnessed Mijbil being almost mad with excitement, plunging and rolling in water, splashing water all around. It shows his love for water as marshes and wetlands are their natural habitat.
Q. What is the most common characteristic of an otter?
Ans. The otter, which looked more like a dragon, loved to plunge and roll in water. He played in water like a hippo. Aloof at first, he started taking an interest in its surroundings, started responding to his name and loved playing games for hours with toys like ping-pong balls, marbles, rubber fruit etc.
Q. What guesses did the Londoners make about Mijbil?
Ans. The Londoners made a variety of guesses as to what kind of creature Mijbil was, i.e., a baby seal, a squirrel, walrus, a hippo, a beaver, a bear cub, a leopard or a brontosaurus.
Q. 5. Give an example from the text to show that Mijbil is an intelligent animal.
Ans. Mijbil’s behaviour and reactions to the circumstances throw light on the trait of intelligence in the otters in general. They have basic congeniality. And it is portrayed in his behaviour that it took him mere a day to shed his inhibitions and familiarize himself with the new surroundings. Mijbil’s intelligence and sense of logic is reflected in his turning on the tap to get a flow of water.
Q. 6. What game had Mijbil invented?
Ans. Mijbil enjoyed playing with marbles while lying on its back. He would lie and roll two or more of them up and down his wide, flat belly.
Q. 7. Why did Maxwell put the otter back in the box? What do you think how he felt when he did this?
Ans. Maxwell put the otter in the box because he was shifting from Basra to England and he wanted the otter to get used to it. He felt sad on putting it back because the otter did not like it and so, he was trying to get out of it. He had torn the lining of the box to shreds.
Q. The way Maxwell was worried about Mijbil when he had to take him to London shows that he was very concerned about him. Do you think, owning a pet is a life-time commitment? Elucidate.
Ans. Maxwell was very concerned about his pet. The British airline refused to fly the animal. So he booked a flight to Paris on another airline, and from there to London. The airline insisted that Mijbil should be packed into a box not more than eighteen inches square, to be carried on the floor at his feet. He got the box made. He put Mijbil into the box so that he would become accustomed to the box, in which it had to travel. When Mijbil was injured in his attempt to come out of the box, the author was really concerned about his well being. He carried a parcel of fish for Mijbil on the flight. He carried Mijbil on his knee. The lesson definitely conveys the fact that when we decide to keep a pet, it is a commitment of lifetime. This is so because we are responsible for the well-being of that life and infact, keeping a pet at home is like bringing up and nurturing a child.