The Season of Hilsa Fish and a Challenge to Gopal
It was a season for Hilsa fish and it was Hilsa that everyone was talking about. In the market fishmongers were selling only Hilsa fish luring customers to buy it. Even in the royal court, courtiers were talking about Hilsa.
This made the king lose his temper. He believed that no one could stop the people from talking about Hilsa fish not even Gopal who was the wisest man in his court. The king challenged Gopal to buy a huge Hilsa fish and bring it to the palace without anyone asking him about it. Gopal accepted the challenge.
Handing for the Challenge
After a few days, Gopal shaved beard from half of his face and smeared ash on himself. He wore rags and looked disgraceful. His wife was shocked and asked him not to leave home like this, but Gopal kept on telling her that he was going to buy a huge Hilsa fish. She thought Gopal had gone mad. At the market Gopal bought a huge Hilsa fish and started walking towards the palace. No one noticed the fish, but everyone was looking at Gopal walking strangely with his shabby cloths. People called him mystic and mad.
Gopal Won the Challenge
He went to meet the king but was stopped by the guards. He started dancing and singing loudly in front of the royal palace. The king questioned Gopal about the reason for his weird attire. Gopal reminded the king about the challenge and told him that from the market to the royal palace, no one had asked him a single word about the Hilsa fish. The king burst into laughter and accepted that Gopal had done the impossible once more.
Word Meaning in English
Fishmonger a person that store sells fish for food
Courtiers a person who attends a royal court as a companion or advisor to the king or queen.
Downcast looking downward
To lose temper getting angry
Yours majesty used as a reverie
Smear coat or mark carelessly with grease or oil
Rags a piece of old cloth
Half shaven having beard on half of face
Dress up to wear cloths
Comical amusing funny
Madman a man who is mentally ill
Mystic strange, spiritual
Get away to go away
Hush to keep quiet
Crazy foolish, mentally unstable
Lost his mind to become mad
At once at that instant
Ridiculous absurd, deserving or inviting mockery
Working with the Text
(NCERT Page 42)
Answer the following questions.
- Why did the king want no more talk about the Hilsa fish?
Ans. Everyone around the king was talking about Hilsa fish. This had infuriated the king so he didn’t want anyone to talk about the Hilsa fish.
- What did the king ask Gopal to do to prove that he was clever?
Ans. The king asked Gopal to buy a huge Hilsa fish from the market and to ensure that no one should talk to him about the fish on the entire way from the market to the palace.
- What three things did Gopal do before he went to buy his Hilsa fish?
Ans. Gopal half-shaved his face. Smeared ash on his body himself and wore rugs before going out to buy Hilsa fish.
- How did Gopal get inside the palace to see the king after he had bought the fish?
Ans. Gopal started singing and dancing in front of the palace at a loud voice. The king heard the noise and asked the man to be brought inside.
- Explain why no one seemed to be interested in talking about the Hilsa fish which Gopal had bought.
Ans. No one was interested about the Hilsa fish Gopal had bought because of Gopal’s condition. He was wearing rugs, his face was half-shaven and ash was smeared over his body. People were more interested in his appearance than the fish.
- Write True or False against each of the following sentences.
(i) The king lost his temper easily. …………….
(ii) Gopal was a madman. …………
(iii) Gopal was a clever man. ………..
(iv) Gopal was too poor to afford decent clothes. ……….
(v) The king got angry when he was shown to be wrong. ……….
(i) True (ii) False (iii) True (iv) False (v) False
Working with Language
(NCERT Pages 42 and 43)
- Notice how in a comic book, there are no speech marks when characters talk. Instead what they say is put in a speech ‘bubble’. However, if we wish to repeat or report what they say, we must put it into reported speech.
Change the following sentences in the story to reported speech. The first one has been done for you.
(i) How much did you pay for that Hilsa?
Ans. The woman asked the man how much did he pay for that Hilsa.
(ii) Why is your face half-shaven? Gopal’s wife asked him ………………………..
Ans. Gopal’s wife asked him why his face was half-shaven.
(iii) I accept the challenge, Your Majesty. Gopal told the king …………………..
Ans. Gopal told the king that he accepted the challenge.
(iv) I want to see the king. Gopal told the guards ……………………………………..
Ans. Gopal told the guards that he wanted to see the king.
(v) Bring the man to me at once. The king ordered the guard ………………..
Ans. The king ordered the guard to bring the man to him at once.
- Find out the meaning of the following words by looking them up in dictionary. Then use them in sentences of your own.
challenge, mystic, comical, courtier, smearing
Challenge A call to take part in a contest or competition.
Vikram accepted the challenge of his teacher and won prize in the annual day celebrations.
Mystic Spiritual, occult
The sufi saints like Salim Chishti were mystic.
Mr Bean is one of the most famous comical characters on television.
Courtier A person, who attends a royal court as a companion or advisor to the king or queen.
Birbal was one of the most important courtiers in Akbar’s court.
Smearing Coat or mark carelessly with grease or oil.
Before the game, Rakesh smeared his body with oil.
Picture Reading (NCERT Page 44-45)
- Look at the picture and read the text aloud
(i) Now ask your partner questions about each picture.
(a) Where is the stag?
(b) What is he doing?
(c) Does he like his antlers (horns)?
(d) Does he like his legs?
(e) Why is the stag running?
(f) Is he able to hide in the bushes?
(g) Where are the hunters now?
(h) Are they closing in on the stag?
(i) Is the stag free?
(j) What does the stag say about his horns and his legs?
(a) The stag is standing by the side of a pond.
(b) The stag is about to drink water when he saw his reflection in the pond.
(c) Yes, he finds them beautiful.
(d) No, the stag finds his legs to be thin and ugly.
(e) The stag is running because he has been chased by the hunters.
(f) No, he is not able to hide in the bushes because his horns got stuck in them.
(g) The hunters are just behind the stag.
(h) Yes, they are closing in on the stag.
(i) The stag was able to run fast because of his legs and is free now.
(j) The stag says that he was proud of his horns, but he would have been killed because of them. He was ashamed of his legs, but they saved his life.
(ii) Now write the story in your own words. Give it a title.
Ans. There was a stag, he lived in a jungle. One day he went to drink water in a pond. He saw his reflection in the pond. He felt proud of his beautiful antlers. Then he saw his legs, he was upset because they were thin and ugly. Suddenly, there were hunters behind him. The stag ran to save his life. He wanted to hide in the bushes, but couldn’t as his antlers were stuck in them. He found the hunters just behind him. He ran for his life and was finally saved.
At the end he realised that he was feeling proud of his antlers, but he would have been killed because of them. He felt ashamed of his legs, but was able to save his life ultimately because of them. The title is ‘The Stag and his Beautiful Horns’.
- Complete the following word ladder with the help of the clues given below.
Mother will be very ……………….. If you don’t go to school.
As soon as he caught ………………. of the teacher, Mohan started writing.
How do you like my ………………….. Kitchen garden? Big enough for you, is it?
My youngest sister is now a …… old.
Standing on the ………………………… he saw children playing on the road.
Don’t make such a ……………………… Nothing, will happen.
Don’t cross the …………. till the green light comes on.
cross 2. sight 3. tiny 4. year 5. Roof 6. fuss 7. street
Questions and Answers
Very Short Answer Type Questions
How did the fishmongers lure the customers to buy Hilsa?
Ans. The fishmongers lured the customers by saying that the price had been down that day.
Who was Gopal?
Ans. Gopal was a courtier in the king’s court known for his wisdom and presence of mind.
What did Gopal’s wife think about him?
Ans. Gopal’s wife thought that her husband had gone mad.
What were the remarks of two men on seeing Gopal in the market?
Ans. On seeing Gopal a man said that he must be a madman while the other called him a mystic.
What was the king’s reaction when he came to know that he had lost the challenge?
Ans. The king was happy about it and congratulated Gopal for winning the challenge.
Short Answer Type Questions
What happened when the king hear his courtiers talking about Hilsa fish?
Ans. When the king heard his courtiers talking about Hilsa fish, he lost his temper and warned them that they were courtiers and not fishermen. But the king soon felt guilty, looking at his nervous and humble courtier when he had rebuked. His tone changed and he said that it was the season of Hilsa and nobody could be stopped from talking about it.
Why did Gopal’s wife find his activities strange?
Ans. Gopal had half-shaven his face. Smeared ash over himself. Had put on rags and was looking disgraceful. She asked Gopal the reason for such weird acts. She stopped him from going out like that but Gopal told her that he was going to buy Hilsa fish. At last she concluded that Gopal had gone mad.
Long Answer Type Questions
Who was Gopal? What was the challenge given to him by the king? How he won it?
Ans. Gopal was one of the wise men in the king’s court. When the king was fed up with ongoing talks about Hilsa fish he challenged Gopal.
Gopal happily accepted the challenge of buying a huge Hilsa fish from the market and to ensure on the way from the market to the palace no one should talk to him about the fish. He was an intelligent man. He dressed up like a mad man and his appearance caught everyone’s attention. He reached the court without anyone talking about the fish as everyone was drawn towards his appearance.
Why was Gopal barred entry to the palace? How did Gopal manage to get in? What was the king’s reaction to Gopal’s deed?
Ans. Gopal looked suspicious or rather mystic since he had dressed himself filthly. Moreover his beared was half-shaved and ash was smeared on it. Therefore the guards barred his entry to the palace. He started dancing and singing loudly so that the king might hear him and call him inside. The king ordered him to be taken inside but he could not recognise him.
When Gopal reminded him of his challenge and proved that he had fulfilled it the king was surprised and burst into laughter.
Value Based Question
We should not give up in any situation. If we try hard we can definitely find a solution. Why do you think so?
Ans. Yes, we should not give up in any situation. We should find out a solution to come out of it. Sometimes, it might be tough to find the solution, but if we try hard, nothing is impossible. We learn from the efforts we make in life. If we won’t make efforts then our learning will stop.
It is OK to commit mistake but we should learn our lesson from them and must not repeat them again. The world remember the great people because they did things differently and took up those risks in life.
Extra Questions and Answers
Directions (Q. Nos. 1-6) Read the extract given below and answer the following questions.
Listen to me! Please, you can’t possibly go out in those disgraceful rags! What are you upto? How
many times I must tell you, woman? I am out to buy a huge Hilsa fish.
Listen to me! Please, you’ ………….. Name the speaker of these lines.
Ans. Gopal’s wife is speaking in these lines.
Who is going to buy Hilsa fish?
Ans. Gopal is going to buy Hilsa fish.
Why the man is dressed up like that?
Ans. Gopal dressed up like that to catch everyone’s attention so that people will talk about him and not about the Hilsa fish.
What does the woman think about the man finally?
(a) He is an intelligent man
(b) He has gone mad
(c) She doesn’t think anything
(d) None of the above
Ans. (b) He has gone mad
Why does the man want to buy Hilsa fish?
(a) To win the challenge
(b) Because everyone was talking about the fish
(c) Price of the Hilsa fish has gone down
(d) Because to please his wife
Ans. (a) To win the challenge
Find out one word from the above lines that means ‘shameful.
(d) None of these
Ans. (c) Disgraceful
Directions (Q. Nos. 1-6) Read the extract given below and answer the following questions.
Are you a courtier or a fisherman? I am sorry I lost my temper, it’s the season for Hilsa fish and no one …………………
Who is the speaker of the above lines?
Ans. The king is the speaker of the above lines.
Why is he feeling sorry?
Ans. He is feeling sorry for being rude to his courtier.
What is the speaker asking to be stopped?
Ans. He wants the talks about the Hilsa fish to be stopped for a while as everyone wanted to speak about ‘Hilsa fish’ only.
What did the speaker want?
(a) To eat Hilsa fish
(b) Someone to stop the talks about Hilsa fish for a while
(c) The season for the Hilsa fish to go
(d) He himself was not clear ert 2ew ted
Ans. (b) Someone to stop the talks about Hilsa fish for a while.
What made the speaker upset?
(a) A fisherman entered his court.
(b) Gopal was not present in the court.
(c) Everyone including the courtiers were talking about Hilsa fish.
(d) He wanted to discuss serious matter.
Ans. (c) Everyone including the countiers were talking about Hilsa fish.
Find a word from the above lines is synonym of ‘anger’.
Ans. (a) Rage