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The Signal – Vsevolod Mikhailovich Garshin

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The Signal – Vsevolod Mikhailovich Garshin

Summary & Notes


This is the story of two track walkers, Seymon and Vasily, written by Russian author Vsevolod Mikhailovich Garshin. Seymon was an ex soldier. He has been retired from army in a poor health and lived with his wife at Kursk. Once he rode on an engine at one of the station he met the station master. The station master recognized Semyon because the two were in the same regiment. Seymon asked for a job so the station master appointed him as a track-walker. But that was not the end of Semyon’s struggles.

Questions & Answers
  1. What are the responsibilities of a track-walker? (2 marks)
  2. Why was Vasily fined? (2 marks)
  3. Why do you like the character of Semyon? (2 marks)
  4. How was Semyon different from his neighbour Vasily Stepanych? (2 marks)
Vasily Does a very Bad thing
  1. Why was Vasily beaten by the chief?
  2. Why did Vasily loosen the rails?
  3. How did Semyon save the lives of the passengers?
  4. How does Vasily become a changed man at the end?
  5. What was the cause of Vasily’s bad behavior?
    The cause of Vasily’s
  6. Why is the story titled ‘The Signal?’ What are the two signals in the story?
  7. How did Semyon make flutes? How did he make money out of his flutes?
  8. Why did Semyon hurt himself to color the flag?
  9. What did Semyon notice while he was collecting reeds for making flutes?
  10. Why did Vasily run away when he saw Semyon running to him?
  11. Why did Semyon ask Vasily to save his soul from Sin?
  12. Whom do you like at the end of the story – Vasily or Semyon? Give reasons?
Story Writing
  1. Write a story about a boy who wished he could fly like a bird.
  2. More

Write a story with the following starting – “The problem was, the king had no friend in his kingdom. Everyone wanted him die.”

The King to Die

The problem was, the king had no friend in his kingdom. Everyone wanted him die. One night, one of his ministers, Rahguveer, told him that his ministers and villagers were planning to kill him. He therefore took his family members and started going to his friend’s kingdom of Hastinapur.

Unfortunately, a villager saw them going. He ran to the village and informed everyone about the king’s flight. Thereafter, more than three hundred villagers and many soldiers and ministers of the king ran and overtook the king.

Reported Speech – 90%
  1. Ramu said, “Ruskin, I will teach you how to swim.”
    Ramu told Ruskin that he would teach him how to swim.
  2. Ruskin said, “Ramu, my grandma will be angry if she knew I took swimming training.
    Ruskin said Ramu that my grandma would be angry if she knew I took swimming training.
  3. Semyon said, “Vasily, this is not a good thing to do.”
  4. Vasily said, “I do not care if it is good or bad.”
  5. Semyon said, “Are you going to kill people?” (if)
  6. The younger child said, “father, we are getting late for our prayers.”
  7. At last the crow said, “I was just fooling you, Mr. Bull.”
  8. “Madam,” said the customer, “haven’t you offered me a 50% discount on this shirt?” (if)
    The customer asked the lady if she hadn’t offered him a 50% discount on this shirt.
  9. “Anil Kapoor,” said Salman Khan, “Hasn’t Amir Khan invited you to his son’s wedding?”
    Salman Khan asked Anil Kapoor if Amir Khan hadn’t invited him to his son’s wedding.
Reading Comprehension – 70%

In the past, the deaf, the blind and the lame were called disabled. If one is born blind or deaf or lost sight in an accident and lost a leg in a blast or war, people called them disabled because it was believed that such people were not able to do anything. It was in 1990s that the world gave these people a different name. Differently abled! Differently abled doesn’t mean that a blind, lame, deaf person is useless. It tries to see the positive side of the disabled man or woman. Why should we consider them disabled when they are able to do something? Helen Keller was deaf and blind but she rewrote history by doing what ordinary people with sight and speech could not do. She defied her deformity so much that she wrote books, gave speeches and became a world leader!


  1. Why did people of the past consider the blind, the deaf and the lame as ‘disabled?’ (1 mark)
  2. What new name did the world give the disabled people in the 1990s? Why? (2 marks)
  3. Who was Helen Keller? How did she defy her disabilities? (2 marks)
A Little World of Mud – 75%

‘I hesitated, knowing that Grandmother held strict and rather old fashioned views about my mixing with village children; but deciding that Grandfather – who sometimes smoked a hookah on the sly – would get me out of any trouble that might arise, I took the bold step of accepting the boy’s offer. 

  1. What was the boy’s offer?
  2. Why did the narrator hesitate to accept the boy’s offer?
  3. What were the Grandmother’s old fashioned views?
    The Grandmother believed that they were rather upper class people so they should not mix with the local people like Ramu.
  4. Why did the narrator think that his Grandfather would help him if he was caught mixing with Ramu?
  5. What did the Grandfather do on the sly?

He dived off the back of his buffalo and swam across to me. I, having removed my shirt and shorts, followed his instructions until I was floundering about among the water lilies. His name was Ramu, and he promised to give me swimming lessons every afternoon. So it was during the afternoons, especially summer afternoons when everyone was asleep, that we met.

  1. What for did Ramu swim across to the narrator?
  2. What did the narrator do before following Ramu to the water?
  3. What promise did Ramu give to the narrator?
  4. Why did the narrator go for swimming lessons in the afternoons?
The Signal – 80%

Then an idea came into his head. Pulling off his cap, he took out of it a cotton scarf and drew his knife out of the upper part of his boot. Muttering, “God, bless me,” he made a cut in his left arm above the elbow. He soaked his scarf in the blood, tied it to the stick and stood waving his blood-stained flag.

  1. Why did Semyon think of stopping the train? (1 marks)
  2. How did Semyon prepare himself to stop the train? (2 marks)
  3. Why did Semyon mutter “God, bless me” before making a cut in his arm? (1 marks)
  4. What quality of Semyon do you like the most in the above paragraph? Why? (2 marks)

“Vasily Stepanych! My dear friend. Come back! Give me the crowbar. We will put the rail back; no one will know. Come back! Save your soul from sin!”

  1. Name the speaker? Who is he shouting at?
  2. Why was Vasily running away?
  3. What for did Semyon want the crowbar?
  4. What sin had Vasily committed?
Story Writing – 75%
  1. Write a story with the following hints: A boy – rich family – Christmas came around – father gifted shoe – shoe was old fashioned – refused to accept – angry with everyone – went to the church for midnight prayers – all happy but the boy unhappy – saw a child seated next – very cheerful – no legs – the boy realized his mistake.
Autobiography – 75%
  1. Write an autobiography of your grandfather’s walking stick.
  2. Write the autobiography of a tree that is a thousand years old.
  3. Write the autobiography of the main entrance of the Taj Mahal, Agra, India.
  1. Write a description of a movie you recently watched.
    The last film I watched was ….. I think it was the best film I have so far watched. Not only the story, its cast, settings, songs and lyrics, choreography and, most strikingly, acting, was amazing. (Continue)
Simple or Compound? 95%
  1. Ishan lives with his younger sister.
  2. He lived with his brother for seven months and then moved to his sister’s house.
  3. I can ask him to come and stay with me but I have a small house.
  4. I think he will make a house for him next year.
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Questions & Answers


How did Semyon get the work of a track-walker? (2 marks)

Biju John

Biju John is an educational writer, educator and the author of OM - The Otherwise Men.

B Wordsworth – V S Naipaul
Tensation – Past Present Future
B Wordsworth – V S Naipaul
Tensation – Past Present Future

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