1. Once upon a time, there lived a poor farmer with his wife and son in a small village. He toiled a lot in his field but the fruits of his labour were meagre. One day, exhausted by the heat, he laid down under the shadow of a tree to take a nap. All of a sudden, he saw a giant cobra crawling out of an ant–hill.
2. The farmer thought to himself, “Sure, this snake must be a deity guarding my field. So far I have not noticed it and that is why all my farming is in vain. Let me pay my respects to it now and worship it hereafter.” He then made up his mind, brought some milk in a bowl and placed it before the ant–hill. He said aloud,“ O! Lord! Guardian of my field! I did not know that you dwell here. Please forgive me for not paying respects to you.” He left the milk bowl there and went back to his house. The next morning, he was surprised to see a gold coin in the bowl.
3. Since then, the farmer placed a bowl of milk every day and got back a gold coin the next morning. Soon the farmer became rich and happy. This continued for sometime. One day, the farmer had. to go to a nearby city for a few days and so he directed his son to place the milk bowl near the ant–hill every day. The son kept the milk bowl and left, only to find a gold coin next day. He then thought to himself, “This ant–hill must be full of gold coins; I’ll kill the serpent and take all of them”.
4. The next day, while placing the bowl of milk, the farmer’s son struck the snake with a club. But the serpent escaped and bit him with his sharp fangs instead. He was dead at once. When the farmer returned, he learnt about his son’s fate and grieved. The next morning, he took the bowl of milk and went to the ant–hill.
5. The snake came out and said, “Your greed made you overlook even the loss of your son. Your son struck me in ignorance and I had bitten him to death. I cannot forget the blow on my head and you cannot forget the loss of your son. Hereafter, the friendship between us is not possible.” So saying, the snake gave a costly coin and disappeared. The farmer returned home cursing the foolishness of his son.
14.1. On the basis of your reading of the passage, answer the following questions in 30–40 words each:
(a) Why did the farmer think of the snake as a deity?
The farmer had been toiling hard but had not received the fruits of his labour. The day he saw the giant cobra he thought that it must be a deity and since he had not offered his respects to the creature, he had not been able to flourish in life.
(b) Was it right on the part of the farmer to presume that the snake was guarding the field?
In my opinion the farmer should not have presumed this way. That was probably the place where the cobra anyway lived. These are the places where creatures such as snake live. It was a mere co–incidence that the snake came out at that time. People have lot of superstitions and beliefs that have no basis and this is one such thing.
(c) Did the farmer’s son get all the gold coins? Why?
No, the farmer’s son instead of feeding milk to the snake tried to kill it but it managed to escape and bit him with its sharp fangs instead. He was dead at once.
(d) Why did the farmer give milk to the snake even after his son’s death? How did the snake react to the farmer?
This goes to show that the farmer was a greedy person. Even his son’s death did not deter him from going for the gold coin. On seeing him the snake came out and told him that their friendship was not possible, gave a gold coin and disappeared.
14.2. On the basis of your reading of the passage, answer of the following:
(a) In para 2, the antonym of ‘neglecting’ is __________.
Correct Option is (i) guarding
(b) In para 1, the synonym of ‘abundant is __________.
Correct Option is (iii) meagre
(c) Farmer’s son also placed a bowl of milk for snake and got back a gold coin the next morning (True/False)
(d) The farmer was a greedy person because even his son’s death did not deter him
from giving milk to the snake for the gold coin.