Adventures of Toto – Ruskin Bond


Ruskin Bond, a legacy that the British Empire in India has left behind as a gift for India, amuses us with his accounts of Toto the monkey. Read the summary, questions and answers. Read about the narrator’s grandfather who was so fond of animals.

Toto is Brought Home
  1. Why did the grandfather buy Toto from the tonga-driver? How much did he pay?
    1. The narrator’s grandfather bought Toto from a tonga-driver for the sum of five rupees.
    2. The tonga-driver used to keep the little red monkey tied to a feeding-trough, and the monkey looked so out of place there that Grandfather decided he would add the little fellow to his private zoo.
  2. How does the narrator describe Toto?
    1. Toto was a pretty monkey.
    2. Bright eyes sparkled with mischief beneath deep-set eyebrows.
    3. Teeth, which were a pearly white, were very often displayed in a smile that frightened the life out of elderly Anglo-lndian ladies.
    4. But his hands looked dried-up as though they had been pickled in the sun for many years.
    5. Yet his fingers were quick and wicked;
    6. Its tail, while adding to his good looks.
    7. Also served as a third hand.
    8. Toto could use it to hang from a branch; and it was capable of scooping up any delicacy that might be out of reach of his hands.
  3. How was grandmother different from grandfather in the matter of pet animals? 
    1. Grandmother always fussed when Grandfather brought home some new bird or animal.
  4. What precautions did the grandfather and the narrator take to keep Toto out of the reach of the grandmother?
    1. It was decided that Toto’s presence should be kept a secret from her until she was in a particularly good mood.
    2. Grandfather and I put him away in a little closet opening into my bedroom wall, where he was tied securely — or so we thought — to a peg fastened into the wall
  5. What did grandfather think about tails?
    1. Grandfather believed a tail would add to anyone’s good looks.
  6. What was Toto’s first act of nuisance after it was brought home?
    1. A few hours later, when Grandfather and I came back to release Toto, we found that the walls, which had been covered with some ornamental paper chosen by Grandfather, now stood out as naked brick and plaster.
    2. The peg in the wall had been wrenched from its socket, and my school blazer, which had been hanging there, was in shreds. I wondered what Grandmother would say. But Grandfather didn’t worry; he seemed pleased with Toto’s performance.
  7. Why did grandfather assume that Toto was clever?
    1. “He’s clever,” said Grandfather. “Given time, I’m sure he could have tied the torn pieces of your blazer into a rope, and made his escape from the window!”
  8. What was grandfather’s collection of animals?
    1. A number of Grandfather’s pets lived very sociably together — a tortoise, a pair of rabbits, a tame squirrel and, for a while, my pet goat.
Toto Travels to Shahranpur
  1. Why did grandfather decide to take Toto along when he went to Dehradun?
    1. But the monkey wouldn’t allow any of his companions to sleep at night;
    2. so Grandfather, who had to leave Dehra Dun next day to collect his pension in Shaharanpur,
    3. decided to take him along.
  2. What preparations were made to take Toto along with grandfather to Dehradun?
    1. A big black canvas kit-bag was provided for Toto. This, with some straw at the bottom, became his new abode. When the bag was closed, there was no escape.
  3. What amused a crowd of onlookers at the Dehradun railway station?
    1. Toto could not get his hands through the opening,
    2. and the canvas was too strong for him to bite his way through.
    3. His efforts to get out only had the effect of making the bag roll about on the floor
    4. or occasionally jump into the air —
    5. an exhibition that attracted a curious crowd of onlookers on the Dehra Dun railway platform.
  4. How did Toto bring trouble to the grandfather at the Shahranpur Station?
    1. Toto remained in the bag as far as Saharanpur.
    2. While Grandfather was producing his ticket at the railway turnstile, Toto suddenly poked his head out of the bag.
    3. This gave the ticket collector a wide grin.
    4. The poor man was taken aback;
    5. “Sir, you have a dog with you. You’ll have to pay for it accordingly.”
  5. What did grandfather do to prove that Toto was not a dog? Could he prove it? Why?
    1. In vain did Grandfather take Toto out of the bag;
    2. In vain did he try to prove that a monkey did not qualify as a dog,
    3. Not even as a quadruped.
  6. Why did the ticket collector charge a fare for Toto?
    1. Toto was classified a dog by the ticket-collector; and three rupees was the sum handed over as his fare.
  7. Why did the grandfather show the ticket collector his tortoise?
    1. Then Grandfather, just to get his own back, took from his pocket our pet tortoise,
    2. and said, “What must I pay for this, since you charge for all animals?”
  8. Why did the ticket-collector refuse to charge a ticket for grandfather’s tortoise?
    1. The ticket-collector looked closely at the tortoise, prodded it with his forefinger, gave Grandfather a pleased and triumphant look, and said, “No charge. It is not a dog.”
Toto and Nana
  1. When did Toto move to the stable? Who was its companion?
    Toto was allowed to move to the stable when it was accepted by the narrator’s grandmother. In the stable Toto’s companion was Nana, the family donkey.
  2. What did grandfather see when he visited the stable the night Toto was moved to it?
    1. Words to use
      1. Halter – gave a slap across – haunches – bundle of hay – jerked back – fastened on to her long ears – sharp little teeth
    2. Answer
      1. On Toto’s first night in the stable, Grandfather paid him a visit to see if he was comfortable.
      2. To his surprise he found Nana pulling at her halter and trying to keep her head as far as possible from a bundle of hay.
      3. Grandfather gave Nana a slap across her haunches, and she jerked back, dragging Toto with her.
      4. He had fastened on to her long ears with his sharp little teeth.
      5. Toto and Nana never became friends.
Toto the Intelligent Monkey
  1. How did Toto enjoy a warm bath in the winters?
    1. A great treat for Toto during cold winter evenings was the large bowl of warm water given him by Grandmother for his bath.
    2. He would cunningly test the temperature with his hand,
    3. Then gradually step into the bath, first one foot, then the other until he was into the water up to his neck.
    4. Once comfortable, he would take the soap in his hands or feet, and rub himself all over.
    5. When the water became cold, he would get out and run as quickly as he could to the kitchen-fire in order to dry himself.
  2. What did Toto dislike while taking a bath?
    Toto felt hurt if anyone laughed at him while taking a warm bath. He would refuse to go on with his bath.
  3. How did Toto nearly boil itself one day?
    1. One day Toto nearly succeeded in boiling himself alive.
    2. A large kitchen kettle had been left on the fire to boil for tea.
    3. Finding himself with nothing better to do, decided to remove the lid.
    4. Finding the water just warm enough for a bath, he got in, with his head sticking out from the open kettle.
    5. This was just fine for a while, until the water began to boil.
    6. Toto then raised himself a little; but, finding it cold outside, sat down again.
    7. He continued hopping up and down for some time, until Grandmother arrived and hauled him, half-boiled, out of the kettle.
  4. If there is a part of the brain especially devoted to mischief, that part was largely developed in Toto. He was always tearing things to pieces. Whenever one of my aunts came near him, he made every effort to get hold of her dress and tear a hole in it.
  5. One day, at lunch-time, a large dish of pullao stood in the centre of the dining-table. We entered the room to find Toto stuffing himself with rice. My grandmother screamed — and Toto threw a plate at her. One of my aunts rushed forward — and received a glass of water in the face. When Grandfather arrived, Toto picked up the dish of pullao and made his exit through a window. We found him in the branches of the jackfruit tree, the dish still in his arms. He remained there all afternoon, eating slowly through the rice, determined on finishing every grain. And then, in order to spite Grandmother, who had screamed at him, he threw the dish down from the tree, and chattered with delight when it broke into a hundred pieces.
  6. Obviously Toto was not the sort of pet we could keep for long. Even Grandfather realised that. We were not well-to-do, and could not afford the frequent loss of dishes, clothes, curtains and wallpaper. So Grandfather found the tonga-driver, and sold Toto back to him — for only three rupees.

Biju John is an educational writer, educator and the author of OM - The Otherwise Men. He gives live classes on Skype and Facebook. You can attend his 3 Day Classes (English & Business Studies) in Delhi, Bangalore, Qatar and Dubai. His Contact number is 91 9810740061.

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