The Cherry Tree – Ruskin Bond

Cherry

Summary

Rakesh sowed a cherry seed in his grandfather’s garden in Mussoorie. He was very curious about the growth of the plant. Although it was once eaten by a goat and cut by a woman while cutting grass, the cherry tree didn’t give up. After four years, the tree blossomed and bore fruits. Rakesh could always look at the tree in wide amazement – touching the bark and leaves, he asks his grandfather, “Is this what it feels to be God?”

Rakesh sows a cherry seed in his garden. Rakesh at the age of six

  • Rakesh lived with his grandfather on the outskirts (immediately outside) of Mussoorie (India).
  • One day he went to the bazaar and bought a packet of cherries. He ate them all the way and when he got home, only three cherries were left.
  • On reaching home, Rakesh gave one cherry (just one, lol!) to his grandfather and ate the remaining two (too greedy!). He ate the last one so slowly that he could taste it for long.
  • Thinking that cherry seeds were lucky, Rakesh decided to keep the last cherry’s seed but grandfather advised him to sow/bury it so that it could grow to a cherry tree.
  • Rakesh got his spade (a metallic tool with which we dig the earth to plant plants) and began to dig in the garden.
  • But that was the wrong place – grandfather had sowed mustard seeds there. Now Rakesh had to find another place for his cherry seed – the shady corner of the garden where wind and snow could not easily trouble the cherry.
  • Rakesh did not have to dig the earth in the corner of the garden because the soil was too soft. He pressed the seed down with his thumb and the cherry seed was sown/buried.
  • After a while both Rakesh and his grandfather forgot about the seed.
  • During winter, Rakesh listened to the wonderful tales/stories told by grandfather.
  • He had to read newspapers for grandfather because the old man had a weak eyesight.

Questions & Answers

  1. Where did Rakesh get the cherry seed? Why did he think of sowing it?
    Rakesh bought a packet of cherries from the bazaar. He ate them all the way and when he got home, only three cherries were left. On reaching home, Rakesh gave one cherry to his grandfather and ate the remaining two. He ate the last one so slowly that he could taste it for long. Thinking that cherry seeds were lucky, Rakesh decided to keep the last cherry’s seed but grandfather advised him to sow/bury it so that it could grow to a cherry tree.
  2. Why did grandfather ask Rakesh to sow the cherry seed in the corner of the garden?
    Grandfather asked Rakesh to sow the cherry seed in the corner of the garden because grandfather had already sowed mustard seeds in the place where Rakesh tried to sow his cherry. Besides, the corner of the garden was safer for the cherry because wind and snow could not easily trouble the cherry.

The seed germinates, grows up | Rakesh 7 years

  • Winter was over and spring season returned. While watching the migratory birds flying North to Siberia, Rakesh happened to notice a twig (small plant with one or two leaves) in the corner of the garden.
  • Immediately he knew it was the cherry that he had planted a year ago. Rakesh ran for his grandfather and showed him the cherry twig.
  • Grandfather instructed Rakesh to water the plant now and then and Rakesh sprinkled water and circled it with pebbles – ‘For Privacy!’
  • Rakesh’s curiosity was mounting. Every morning he ran out to see the cherry’s growth but was disappointed that it grew very slowly.
  • During the monsoon season, the cherry plant grew quicker and Rakesh was happier and more excited.

Questions & Answers

  1. How did Rakesh and grandfather spend the first winter of the cherry tree?
    During winter, Rakesh listened to the wonderful tales/stories told by grandfather. He had to read newspapers for grandfather because the old man had a weak eyesight.
  2. What was Rakesh’s reaction on discovering the cherry twig?
    When Rakesh discovered the twig of the cherry in the corner of the garden, he knew it was the cherry that he had planted. Rakesh ran for his grandfather and showed him the cherry twig. Grandfather instructed Rakesh to water the plant now and then and Rakesh sprinkled water and circled it with pebbles for the plant’s privacy.

A hungry goat and a careless woman

  • Unfortunately, a goat entered the garden and ate up all the leaves of the plant. It was a terrible incident. Rakesh was very sad.
  • The plant was almost recovering from the goat’s attack when a woman cutting grass cut the plant into two. The grandfather was so furious that he scolded the woman for her carelessness.
  • Rakesh began to feel that the cherry plant would die. Even the grandfather thought similarly.
  • However, the plant had no intention of dying.

Questions & Answers

  1. Mention the two incidents that almost destroyed the cherry plant.
    Once a goat entered the garden and ate up all the leaves of the plant. It was a terrible incident. Rakesh was very sad. The plant was almost recovering from the goat’s attack when a woman cutting grass cut the plant into two. The grandfather was so furious that he scolded the woman for her carelessness. Rakesh began to feel that the cherry plant would die. Even the grandfather thought similarly.

Mantis and Caterpillar| Rakesh 8 years

  • That summer Rakesh went home to help his parents in farming. He worked in his fields with his parents, ploughing, sowing and planting.
  • He came back to his grandfather’s (and his cherry’s) house by the end of the monsoon.
  • Rakesh had grown up (but he grew thin) by this time and his cherry tree had grown up to his chest.
  • Rakesh loved his cherry tree so much that he watered it even when it was raining!
  • Once he spotted a praying mantis (an insect) perched on the tree. Rakesh didn’t chase the insect away because he took the mantis for the tree’s first visitor.
  • Another day, a hairy caterpillar was found eating the leaves of the tree. Rakesh picked it away from the tree and placed it on a heap of dry leaves for the safety of the cherry leaves.

Winter, Spring then Blooming!

  • When winter came, the cherry bent low with the weight of the snow.
  • Field mice (plural of mouse) occupied the roof of grandfather’s cottage.
  • The road from the valley was blocked (may be due to snowfall?) for several days.
  • Grandfather was feeling miserable because there were no newspapers for him. Although he told stories, each story ended badly (because he was miserable)
  • February came and Rakesh turned nine years and the cherry tree was four years. It was as tall as Rakesh.
  • One morning, grandfather was walking in the garden when he saw pale, pink flowers on the cherry tree. He called for Rakesh. It was like a miracle!

Rakesh is 10 years and the cherry tree is five years

  • The following spring there were more flowers. Birds and bees came around to drink their nectar (honey inside flowers).
  • The tree was taller than Rakesh at first and then it kept on growing up.
  • Rakesh read books and still listened to grandfather’s stories.
  • More and more birds came and they broke the flowers but flowers were always more than birds.
  • During the summer, the tree bore cherry fruits for the first time and when Rakesh ate them, they tasted very sour. Grandfather said the cherries would be tastier the next year.
  • Rakesh waited for the next year to eat sweet cherries but the birds liked the sour cherries.
  • Lying down under the cherry tree one evening with grandfather by his side, Rakesh looked at the cherry tree and asked his father – What’s so special about this tree?
  • Grandfather said, “We planted it ourselves, that’s why it is special.”
  • Touching the bark and leaves of his dear cherry tree, Rakesh felt like what Gods feel for their creations!

More Questions

  1. Where did Rakesh get the cherry seeds? (1 mark)
  2. “Nothing is lucky if you put it away. If you want luck, you must put to some use.” What did grandfather want Rakesh do with the cherry seed? (1 mark)
  3. Why did grandfather ask Rakesh to sow the seed in the corner of the garden? (1 mark)
  4. How did Rakesh bury the seed in the corner of the garden? (1 mark)
  5. Why did Rakesh find newspaper reading rather dull? (1 mark)
  6. What did Rakesh do when he saw a strong, well-rooted twig in the garden? (1 mark)
  7. “But the cherry plant had no intention of dying.” Do you agree with it? Support your opinion with examples. (2 marks)
  8. Describe Rakesh’s love and care for the cherry tree. (4 marks)
  9. Why was the cherry tree very special for Rakesh and his grandfather? (1 mark)
  10. “Rakesh, come and look. Come quickly before it falls!” What was grandfather calling Rakesh for?

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.

Comments (16)

Leave a comment
    • Anonymous

    • April 27, 2017

    plz hindi mai btaye

    1. Sorry, but we do not have a Hindi version of the site. You can use google translation.

    • sreejal

    • May 25, 2017

    nice and superb

    • Meghna

    • May 31, 2017

    Can u plz give me the character sketch of rakesh

    • Sristi

    • June 2, 2017

    Thanks for this.It was very helpful. ?

    • Sristi

    • June 2, 2017

    It was very helpful

    • Anonymous

    • June 5, 2017

    This is cbse lesson

    • Niya

    • July 24, 2017

    Please give me question 8answer

    • Zahara

    • August 18, 2017

    Can you please tell the full story . This is just a part of it.

    1. Please mail the chapter. We will prepare the full content.

    • Shruti

    • October 8, 2017

    Can u plz give me the charter skach of raki…?

    • Alok Roy

    • October 16, 2017

    Sir… Can I have all the answers of this chapter

    • kishan kr

    • December 3, 2017

    plz provide very accurate criticals analysis of mutability by pb shelley.
    and above work is totally commendable>the cherry tree>

    1. Will try. Please mention the class and syllabus. Thanks.

    • trishala

    • January 1, 2018

    it was a very helpful story

  1. very helpful story .

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