Unseen Passage: Even a Dead Snake Can Be of Use

One day Gandhiji and Vallabhbhai Patel were talking in the Yeravda jail when Gandhiji remarked, “At times even a dead snake can be of use.” And he related the following story to illustrate his point: Once a snake entered the house of an old woman. The old woman was frightened and cried out for help. Hearing her, the neighbours rushed up and killed the snake. Then they returned to their homes. Instead of throwing the dead snake far away, the old woman flung it onto her roof.

Sometime later a kite flying overhead spotted the dead snake. In its beak, the kite had a pearl necklace which it had picked up from somewhere. It dropped the necklace and flew away with the dead snake. When the old woman saw a bright, shining object on her roof she pulled it down with a pole. Finding that it was a pearl necklace she danced with joy!

One day a bania found a snake in his house. He could not find anyone to kill it for him and had not the courage to kill it himself. Besides, he hated killing any living creature. So, he covered the snake with a pot and let it there.

As luck would have it, that night some thieves broke into the bania’s house. They entered the kitchen and saw the overturned pot. “Ah”, they thought, “the bania has hidden something valuable here.” As they lifted the pot, the snake struck. Having come with the object of stealing, they barely left with their lives.

Once he came out of jail, Gandhiji went from city to city, village to village collecting funds for the Charkha Sangh. During one of his tours, he addressed a meeting in Orissa.

After his speech a poor old woman got up. She was bent with age, her hair was grey and her clothes were in tatters. The volunteers tried to stop her, but she fought her way to the place where Gandhiji was sitting. “I must see him,” she insisted and going up to Gandhiji touched his feet.

Then from the folds of her sari, she brought out a copper coin and placed it at his feet. Gandhiji picked up the copper coin and put it away carefully.

The Charkha Sangh funds were under the charge of Jamnalal Bajaj. He asked Gandhi for the coin but Gandhi refused.

Q. On the basis of your reading of the passage given above, answer the following questions:

  1. On seeing the _________ the thieves ran for their life from the bania’s house.
    1. necklace
    2. dead snake
    3. woman
    4. snake
  2. Gandhiji went to Orissa for
    1. a meeting
    2. collecting funds
    3. the old woman
    4. volunteer.
  3. _____________ was incharge of the Charkha Sangh funds.
    1. Jamnalal Bajaj
    2. Gandhiji
    3. Vallabhbhai Patel
    4. Volunteers
  4. The kite dropped:
    1. a snake
    2. a pot
    3. a pearl necklace
    4. a copper coin
  5. The bania could not kill the snake because:
    1. he was kind to living creature
    2. he could not find anyone
    3. he had no courage to kill it himself
    4. all of these
  6. The thieves thought the bania had hidden something valuable:
    1. under a stone
    2. in a box
    3. under a pot
    4. in a hole
  7. The volunteers tried to stop the poor woman from going to ___________.
  8. When the poor woman came to Gandhiji, Gandhiji touched her feet. (True/False)


  1. Snake
  2. collection found
  3. Jamnalal Bajaj
  4. a pearl necklace
  5. all of these
  6. under a pot
  7. Gandhiji
  8. False

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