A Horse and Two Goats Questions and Answers ICSE Class 9 and Class 10

Extract Based Questions

Read the extracts given below and answer the questions that follow.

Extract – I

The village consisted of less than thirty houses, only one of them built with brick and cement. Painted a brilliant yellow and blue all over with gorgeous carvings of Gods and gargoyles on his balustrade, it was known as the Big House. The other houses, disturbed in four streets, were generally of bamboo thatch, straw, mud and other unspecified material. Muni’s was the last house in the fourth street, beyond which stretched the fields.

Question 1 : What was the name of the village being referred here? Who lived here?

Answer : The story starts with the mention of an Indian village named Kritam. It was a very small village of Tamil Nadu which hardly finds a place on the map or atlas. The protagonist of the story Muni lived in the village with his wife. His house was made of bamboo, thatch, straw and mud indicating that owner was poor.

Question 2 : How was Muni prosperous? How did he feed his sheep?

Answer : When Muni was prosperous, he was the proud owner of a flock of forty sheep and goats. He used to take them to the highway, a couple of mile away. He carried a crook at the end of a bamboo pole and snapped foliage from the avenue tree to feed his flock.

Question 3 : How did Muni’s wife carry out her daily household work?

Answer : Muni’s wife was a homely woman. In the morning, she prepared meals for her husband and herself and carried out various kinds of works at the Big House to run her home. As Muni was not earning, it was she who was managing the food for both of them by doing odd jobs.

Question 4 : What did Muni’s wife cook for him in the morning? How did she cook it?

Answer : In the morning Muni’s wife used to prepare balls of millet flour for him. She boiled water in a mud pot. Then, she threw a handful of millet flour into it and added salt in it. Then, she made balls of millet flour.

Question 5 : How was the Big House? What was the difference between the Big House and the other houses in the village?

Answer : The Big House was built with bricks and cement. It was painted beautifully with bright yellow and blue colour. There were carvings of Gods and gargoyles on several pillars. The other houses are made up of bamboo, thatch, straw and mud. The Big House indicates that its owner must be a wealthy man but rest of them were poor.

Extract – II

He flung himself down in a corner to recoup from the fatigue of his visit to the shop. His wife said, “You are getting no sauce today, nor anything else. I cannot find anything to give you to eat. Fast till the evening, it will do you good. Take the goats and be gone now”, she cried and added, “Don’t come back before the sun is down.”

Question 1 : What was Muni craving for and why?

Answer : Muni was tired of eating boiled leaves everyday. He wanted the drumsticks to be cooked in a sauce. His wife angrily told him to bring all ingredients like dhall, chilly, curry leaves, mustard, gengelly oil and one large potato as in her house her store was empty. She told him to go to the shopkeeper and get all the stuff on credit.

Question 2 : What fatigue was referred here? Why did Muni experience it?

Answer : The insult faced by Muni is referred to as fatigue. Muni had gone to the shop to buy some articles for making sauce but the shopkeeper refused him to give any item on credit. In fact the shopkeeper insulted him.

Question 3 : Why was Muni’s wife upset and angry?

Answer : Muni’s wife was upset and angry due to poverty and absence of eatables in the house. She asked Muni to get the essential items from the shopkeeper on credit but the shopkeeper refused to give him any item on credit as he had already taken so much on credit.

Question 4 : How did she plan to earn enough money to buy food stuff for the evening meal?

Answer : She planned to work hard in the Big House by doing odd jobs such as grinding corn, sweeping, scrubbing for buying food stuff. She was ready to do as much work to buy the foodstuff and keep the dinner ready for her husband.

Question 5 : How did Muni’s wife show her annoyance over his husband’s failure of getting the ingredients?

Answer : Muni had gone to the shop to bring required ingredients to prepare drumsticks sauce, but the shopkeeper denied to give any item on credit. He had to come back home empty handed. When his wife found him returning empty handed form the shop, she became annoyed and refused to give him anything to eat. She told Muni to keep fast till evening and asked him to take the goats for grazing.

Extract – III

Unleashing the goats from the drumstick tree, Muni started out, driving them ahead and uttering weird cries from time to time in order to urge them on. He passed through the village with his head bowed in thought. He did not want to look at anyone to be accosted. A couple of cronies lounging in the temple corridor hailed him, but he ignored their call. The shopman had said that he was seventy. At seventy, one only waited to be summoned by God.

Question 1 : How was Muni driving the goats? Why was he using weird sounds?

Answer : Muni was left with only two goats. He was driving them to the highway for grazing. While doing this, he was using weird cries as the goats were used to them and understood when to move and when to stop.

Question 2 : Who all hailed Muni on his way? Why did he ignore their calls?

Answer : A couple of Muni’s companions lounging in the temple corridor hailed him, but he was lost in his thought and was walking with his head bowed. That’s why he ignored their calls and kept moving towards his destination.

Question 3 : What thought was disturbing Muni?

Answer : Muni was quite old, but was not sure about his exact age. When the shopman told him that he was not less than seventy years old, he felt bad and was not ready to accept this. Thus, he was continuously thinking about this.

Question 4 : What thought disturbed Muni while thinking about his age?

Answer : While thinking about his age, a thought came across his mind that being too old, he could be summoned by God and his wife would have to live alone with no one to look after because they had no child. He was worried about his wife.

Question 5 : What was his usual place for grazing of cattles?

Answer : There was a deserted area near the highway. It was visited by a few people. There was  a pedestal on which statues of a horse and warrior stood. There was a little grass on the field. So, Muni used to take his goats there for grazing. Muni sat near the horse statue for the whole day and the goats would graze in the meantime.

Extract – IV

The horse was nearly life-size , moulded out of clay, baked , burnt and brightly coloured, and reared its head proudly, prancing its forelegs in the air and flourishing its tail in a loop; beside the horse stood a warrior with scythe-like mustachios, bulging eyes, and aquiline nose. The horse itself was said to have been as white as a dhobi-washed sheet, and had on its back a cover of pure brocade of red and black lace, matching the multi-colored sash around the waist of the warrior. But none in the village remembered the splendour as no one noticed its existence.

Question 1 : Describe the statue of the horse. What was beside it?

Answer : The statue of the horse was nearly life size. It was made out of clay which was backed, burnt and brightly coloured. Beside, it there stood a warrior with scythe-like moustache, bulging eyes, and a curved nose like an eagle.

Question 2 : Describe the splendour of the horse.

Answer : The horse was as white as a washerman’s washed sheet and had on its back a cover of pure brocade of red and black lace matching the multi-colored waist band around the waist of the warrior.

Question 3 : How did Muni pass his time while sitting near the grazing place? What did he think?

Answer : Muni sat on the pedestal of the statue of warrior and horse. Muni watched the highway and saw lorries and buses passing through the hills. In this way, he passed his time throughout the day thinking that he also belonged to the outside world.

Question 4 : What did the statue makes believe in?

Answer : The statue makers believed in indicating the strength of a man by bulging out his eyes and sharpening his moustache tips and by decorating his chest with coloured beads.

Question 5 : Why no damage was made to the statue by the villagers?

Answer : The place where the statue was located, was far from the village so no one noticed the statue. Even it was not touched by the young boys of the village who preferred cutting tree trunks with knives and tried to topple luckily they had spared the statue and had not spoilt it off milestone and inscribed lewd design on the walls.

Extract – V

The foreigner faithfully looked in the direction indicated by Muni’s fingers, gazed for a while at the two goats and the rocks, and with a puzzled expression took out his silver cigarette case and lit a cigarette. Suddenly remembering the courtesies of the season, he asked, “Do you smoke?” Muni answered , “Yes, no.” Whereupon the red-faced man took a cigarette and gave it to Muni, who received it with surprise, having had no offer of a smoke from anyone from years now.

Question 1 : What strange thing did Muni notice while sitting idle near the statue?

Answer : While sitting near the statue the strange thing noticed by Muni was a new type of vehicle which looked like both a motor car and a bus. It was station wagon in reality. Though everyday he used to see passing buses and cars through the highway but this type of vehicle was new for him so it appeared strange for Muni.

Question 2 : Describe the physical appearance of foreigner. What did he ask Muni?

Answer : The foreigner was a red-faced man wearing khaki clothes and from his appearance he seemed to be a policeman. He came out from his yellow station wagon and asked Muni for a nearby gas station.

Question 3 : Explain the funny incident which happened when Muni met American for the first time?

Answer : The funny incident that took place when Muni and the American began to converse with each other. Both didn’t understand each other’s language. The American said “Namaste! How do you do?”. Muni responded with the only English words he knew: “Yes, No”.

Question 4 : What happened when the American offered cigarette to Muni?

Answer : When the American offered a cigarette to Muni, at first he was surprised but took it. He felt so confused about how to lit it. When he drew a deep puff he started coughing, but found the cigarette extremely pleasant.

Question 5 : What led to the confusion that occurred? How were Muni and the American talking?

Answer : Soon after a conversation stated between the two, it was clear that neither of them was understanding what the other spoke. Muni mistook him a policeman while the American mistook him the seller of the horse statue. Moreover, the inability to understand each other’s language led to the confusion. Both were expressing each others’ point but in vain. The American spoke in English whereas Muni spoke in Tamil.

Extract – VI

“I am sure you know when this horse was made,” said the red man and smiled ingratiatingly. Muni reacted to the relaxed atmosphere by smiling himself, and pleaded, “Please go away, sir, I known nothing, I promise we will hold him for you if we see any bad character around, and we will bury him up to his neck in a coconut pit if he tries to escape ; but our village has always had a clean record. Must definitely be the other village.”

Question 1 : Where are Muni and the American businessman when this conversation is taking place?

Answer : Muni was setting on the pedestal of the statue of a horse and warrior. The statue is situated on the outskirt of his village near the highway where he had taken his goats for grazing. The American businessman had also stopped there for asking near by gas station and got enchanted by the horse’s statue.

Question 2 : What was the visitor actually interested in? How did his dress confuse Muni?

Answer : The visitor was actually interested in the clay horse statue. He wanted to buy it and take it as a show piece for his home. The visitor was wearing Khaki uniform which misguided Muni. He thought that the person was a police inspector who had come to investigate a case of murder which had taken place in the village some days ago.

Question 3 : Why was Muni not able to understand what visitor was asking him?

Answer : Muni was not able to understand the English language being spoken by the visitor . He knew only Tamil and he could neither speak nor understand any other language. Moreover, the visitor could not comprehend the Tamil language.

Question 4 : What did Muni request the visitor? What was the assumption that was being explained by Muni to him?

Answer : As Muni could not understand the English language spoken by the visitor, he could not understand the question being asked by the visitor. Muni assumed that the visitor was a policeman and was investigating the case of murder. So, he requested him to go away and promised to handover any bad character if he finds or bury him if he tried to escape. He gave a long explanation of his innocence.

Question 5 : The American seemed to be a bit annoyed by Muni’s conversation. Why?

Answer : The American with a red faced was somewhat irritated as he was not getting a proper answer from Muni. Therefore, he talked very slowly and carefully. He was irritated at the fact that Muni was not able to understand even the little English words which he was speaking. In rest of the places in India he has met people who could interact with him in English. He also made a remark if he was against English language due to some religious or spiritual reasons.

Extract – VII

The old man now understood the references to the horse, thought for a second, and said in his own language, “I was an urchin this high when I heard my grandfather explain this horse and warrior and my grandfather himself was this high when he heard his grandfather, whose grandfather………”.
The man interrupted him, “I don’t want to seem to have stopped here for nothing. I will offer you a good price for this,” he said, indicating the horse.

Question 1 : How did the American businessman conclude that Muni was the owner of the statue of the horse?

Answer : The American had seen many Indian sellers sitting in front of their shops and goods. They were sitting just like Muni was sitting on the pedestal of the statue of the horse. So, the American businessman concluded that he was the owner of the statue of the horse.

Question 2 : What made Muni understand that American was asking about the horse statue?

Answer : As the American pointed towards the horse, Muni understood that he was inquiring about the statue. He asked Muni, “Isn’t this statue yours? Why don’t you sell it to me?”. Muni now perhaps understood that instead of murder case the visitor was enquiring about the horse statue.

Question 3 : Why did Muni begin to talk about the horse enthusiastically?

Answer : When the American started pointing his finger towards the statue of the horse, Muni felt relieved that the theme of the murder had been abandoned so he began to talk about the horse enthusiastically. But as he did not understand the exact question, he started relating the history of the statue.

Question 4 : What did the visitor tell Muni while interrupting him in between his description of the horse’s history?

Answer : As the visitor was very keen to buy that horse, he was really bored by the long explanation given by Muni about the horse’s statue. He interrupted in between and offered him to pay a good amount of money if Muni agreed to sell the horse to the visitor. The visitor was really fascinated by this statue of horse and wanted to buy it even at a high cost.

Question 5 : Why was the foreigner fascinated with Muni’s language? What did he understand?

Answer : Muni spoke Tamil in a stimulating manner and the foreigner listened to the sound of the language with fascination. He, loved the sound of the language very much .He mistook it as the description of the horse which he wanted to buy and according to him Muni was the seller of it.

Extract – VIII

In answer to these questions, the red man dashed his hand into his pocket and brought forth his wallet in order to take immediate advantage of the bearish trend in the market. He flourished a hundred-rupee currency note and said, “Well, this is what I meant.”
The old man now realised that some financial element was entering their talk. He peered closely at the currency note, the like of which he had never seen in his life; he knew the five and ten by their colours although always in other people’s hands, while his own earning of any time was in coppers and nickels.

Question 1 : Explain the misunderstanding which took place when the American gave him one hundred rupee note. 

Answer : The American put one hundred rupee note into Muni’s hands and considered that he had bought the statue as he thought that Muni was the owner of the statue. Muni thought that American had bought his goats.

Question 2 : How did the foreigner plan to carry away the horse statue to his home?

Answer : The foreigner knew that such a large piece of art as was the statue of horse could not be taken to his country, the USA by air in the plane so he decided to carry it away by sea in a ship so that he could get it in one piece at his home.

Question 3 : How did Muni describe the village headman? What could he do?

Answer : Seeing the note of hundred rupees, Muni thought that the American was in need of change money. He found it to be humorous and made mention of the headman of his village. Muni told the American businessman that the headman was a moneylender and he could change a lakh of rupees  in gold sovereigns.

Question 4 : What joke did Muni crack about his only treasure?

Answer : When the American businessman gave Muni a one hundred rupee note, he was assured that he was buying his goats. He felt extremely joyful and joked that it was the goats’ first ride in a motor car and they would follow him to the path of Yama Loka if not carried away from his sight.

Question 5 : How the American detach the horse statue? Who helped him?

Answer : When Muni had left the sight, the American thought that he had gone to bring some men to help him detach the statue. Meanwhile a truck come. He stopped it and pump out gas from the truck to start the engine of his wagon. A couple of men helped in detaching the statue from its pedestal and placed it in his station wagon.

Extract – IX

Muni was hurried homeward with the cash securely tucked away at his waist in his dhoti. He shut the street door and stope up softly to his wife as she squatted before the lit oven wondering if by a miracle, food would drop from the sky. Muni displayed his fortune for the day. She snatched the noted form him, counted them by the glow of the fire, and cried, “One hundred rupees! How did you come by it? Have you been stealing?”

Question 1 : Describe the conversation between Muni and his wife.

Answer : Muni believed that he had sold his goats, so he went home to give the money to his wife. Muni’s wife did not believe his story. Her suspicion was confirmed when the goats found their way home. She thought that Muni had stolen money from somewhere.

Question 2 : Why did Muni get irritated on seeing his goats back? What did he believe?

Answer : When the American businessman handed over a one hundred rupee note to Muni, he believed that he had sold his goats to him, but when they returned home and bleated outside Muni’s house, he got irritated. He cursed them and caught the goat by its ears screaming that where was their owner? Why have they come back?

Question 3 : How did Muni’s wife react after seeing the goats back home?

Answer : When Muni’s wife saw that the goats had returned home, she could not believe what the old Muni was telling her. She thought that he had stolen hundred rupees from somewhere. She shouted at him and told him if police came to catch him for stealing, and break his bones, he need not involve his wife. She further told Muni that she would abandon him and go to her parents’ home.

Question 4 : In the end, it appears that Muni’s financial troubles were over. Comment.

Answer : At the end, it appeared that Muni’s financial troubles were over because he had received one hundred rupees from the American, but his bad luck continued as his wife suspected him of theft and threatened to leave him and go away to her parents.

Question 5 : What can you say about Muni’s wife in the context of the story?

Answer : Muni’s wife has been depicted as a powerful character in the story. She represents rural woman of India. She scolds Muni for not being able to arrange necessary items to prepare food and asks him to do his daily business. She does care for her husband as she says that she will somehow arrange food. In the end, she demonstrates her honesty and determination when Muni gives her one hundred rupees and she doubts him rather than getting happy through this money could solve all their problems.

Short Questions

Question 1 : Why is Muni’s wife upset and angry?  Comment.

Answer : Muni and his wife lead a poor life. They don’t have anything to eat. When Muni askes her wife to cook drumsticks in a sauce she asked him to get the essential ingredients required for making sauce. Muni goes to the shop to get the essential items on credit, but the shop man refuses to give him any item on credit. When Muni’s wife sees him returning empty handed , she gets upset and angry.

Question 2 : Give character sketch of the American businessman.

Answer : The foreigner is a typical American, who can communicate only in English. He has been exploring India so when he sees the statue of horse, he forgets his trouble instead gets attracted towards it. He is a good judge of art as he find the statue very attracting which may enhance the decoration of his room. Unlike the other foreigners, he is not proud, he sits next to Muni, holds his shoulders and even offers him cigarette which shows his human side. Though, not knowing what is being spoken by Muni, he appreciates his gestures. Hence, we can say that the character of the American wins our favour and we feel connected to him.

Question 3 : Comment on the few words of appreciation spoken by the American for the statue. How did he describe it?

Answer : The American stoop up on the pedestal of the statue and ran his fingers along the curved decorations around the horse’s neck and appreciated it at length. He praised the vibrant colours of the statue although they were faded . The foreigner told Muni that the horse statue would find the best accommodation in the USA. He further told Muni that he would have to cancel his air ticket and would take a boat to home to carry the horse statue.

Question 4 : What case does Muni refer to? Why is he afraid to confront the American businessman?

Answer : Muni refers to the case of murder that had taken place few days ago. He tells the American businessman that he knows nothing of the case. But the murder will not be able to escape the Law. He swears by God and says that he knows nothing about the murder. He is afraid to confront the American businessman because he thinks the American businessman to be either a policeman or a soldier as he was wearing khaki coloured clothes.

Question 5 : What reason did Muni put forth for not going to school? What knowledge did he have?

Answer : Muni told the American that he had never been to school because in the earlier days they had to go out to work in the field since morning till night for sowing during harvest time. Muni did not have a formal education and had not travelled beyond his village. But he had a lot of knowledge of the Ramayana and the Mahabharat. He further concluded that he could not go to school because he belonged to lower case.

Question 6 : Comment on the theme of the story.

Answer : The story is about the obvious clash of cultures as exhibited by white American and Muni who is a poor uneducated Hindu. Muni speaks Tamil while the American businessman speaks English. The two are unable to communicate with each other. Muni speaks about his own life while the American speaks about his which leads to confusion . Both have different attitudes towards life and things.

Question 7 : Which part of RK Narayan’s story, ‘A Horse and Two Goats’ is more amusing according to you? Give reason for your answer.

Answer : According to me, the most amusing part of the story ‘A Horse and Two Goats’ is towards the end where Muni mistakenly thinks the American was offering him hundred rupee note to buy his two goats, though the money was meant to buy the clay horse statue. As both people are able to understand each other’s language, they are not able to communicate the real thoughts to each other. But this part is really amusing as the way Muni convinces himself that the visitor was offering him money to buy his two goats and he convinces himself that he has finally understood the matter.

Long Questions

Question 1 : Give a character sketch of Muni.

Answer : Muni is the protagonist of the story. The whole story revolves around him. We see different forms of his character in different situations. These are some points which gives the characteristics of Muni.

A Poor Typical Villager : Muni is a poor typical villager of a tiny village of Southern India. From a prosperous man, he has become a poor shepherd due to an unknown reason. He is not able to arrange square meal for him and his wife, the only family member after him.

An Unpleasant Fellow : His poverty has made him an unpleasant fellow as no one offers him tobacco and he has to roam alone, even the shopman does not want to acknowledge his presence due to his habit of borrowing on credit. To keep his body and soul together, he is totally dependent on his wife who arranges food for both of them by working in the Big House and doing some petty works in the fields. The result of this is that he dare not argue with her out of the fear that he might not get food if she gets irritated with his words.

Concerned for his Wife and Age : Though she is dominating , he loves her as he gets worried for her future by the thought that at the age of seventy he might be summoned by the Almighty , leaving her alone. He is concerned towards his age too because when the shop man told him that he must be around seventy, it hurts him and he starts thinking about his age and strength.

A Natural Believer : He is a natural believer as whatever is told he holds true. He has never gone to school yet he possess good knowledge of the Ramayana and the Mahabharata because he has heard them being cited by the priest of the temple and  has learnt them by heart. Thus, Muni’s character has many shades that enhance the charm of the story.

Question 2 : What message is conveyed through this story? Relate the story with its message.

Answer : In the story, the author conveys a message that each individual should follow his own culture. Muni, the poor South Indian Hindu follows his own Indian culture while the American businessman follows his own.

Miscommunication leads Confusion : As a good Hindu Muni accepts his fate.  Muni speaks Tamil while the American businessman speaks English. The two are unable to communicate with each other. Muni speaks about his own life while the American speaks about his own which leads to confusion. Both are intelligible to each other.

The American gives one hundred rupees to Muni and thinks that he has bought the statue, but Muni thinks that he has sold his goats. So, the story revolves around the horse and the goats and there is clearly a misunderstanding between Muni and the American businessman.

There is no Escape from Destiny : The other message that the story conveys is that no man can escape his destiny whether good or bad. Muni and the American are destined to meet at the same place owing to their circumstances. No matter how distinguished they are from each other, they try their utmost to understand each other regardless of their different languages. Muni has been dreaming of having a shop of his own, but is unable to cater money in any way possible whereas the American thousands of mile away from his country happens to stop near the pedestal and being attracted towards the horse statue, he misunderstands Muni to be its seller and hands him one hundred rupees in lieu of the horse statue. Finally, both have their wish fulfilled. Truely, a game of destiny for both of them.

Question 3 : The story deals with the best misunderstanding between an Indian and an American. Discuss.

Answer : The story deals with the misunderstanding that takes place between a South Indian Hindu named Muni and an American businessman. Muni lives with his wife in a small village.

Encounter of Muni and the American : One day, while he has taken his goats for grazing and he is sitting around a statue of a horse, a yellow station wagon comes and stops right in front of him. A red faced American dressed in khaki clothing comes out and enquires about the nearest gas station. There he notices the statue which he finds marvellous. He asks questions about the statue which he would like to buy.

Muni’s Misunderstanding : Muni does not understand his language and gets scared as he thinks that he must be a policeman. The American gives him his business card, but Muni thinks that it is a warrant of some kind.

Execution of the Deal : Finally, the American gives one hundred rupees to Muni and considers that he has bought the statue, as he thinks that Muni is the owner of the statue. Muni thinks that American has bought his goats. Muni goes home to give the money to his wife while the American flags down a truck, gets help to detach horse statue off its pedestal and drives away with the purchase.

Muni’s wife does not believe his story. Her suspicion is confirmed when the goats find their way home. She yells at him.

So, the whole story is full of misunderstanding and still we find that actions take place and poor Muni gets money which he could have never earned if he had not met this American or both had understood each other’s language. Even the American would not have acquired the horse statue if Muni had understood his language.

Question 4 : The story creates a series of humour in the form of conversation. Elaborate.

Answer : The story is filled with elements of humour. RK Narayan has artistically created the comic characters of Muni and the American and he laughs at them in a general and kind manner.

The funniest incidents from the text are

At Home : In the very beginning, when Muni shows his craving to chew the drumstick mixed with sauce, his wife replies ” you have only four teeth in your jaw, but your craving is for big things”.

At Shop : Next time when Muni went to the shop man to borrow items which his wife required to make drumstick sauce, to draw the shopkeepers attention, he kept clearing his throat, coughing and sneering until the shopkeeper could not tolerate it any more and said “What ails you? You will fly off that seat into the gutter if you sneeze so hard, young man”. Here we are entertained at two points first ‘sneezing calling Muni ‘young man’ despite he being around seventy.

Reply to American : When the American questions him whether he smokes or not, he only answers “yes, no” without understanding the real matter of conversation. The situation is really humorous.

Returning of the Goats : In the end, when Muni returns home with one hundred rupees and tells his wife that they were given by the American in lieu of goats and then only they hear the bleating of goats, he questions them, “Where is that man? Don’t you know you are his?”.