NCERT Solutions

Comprehension Check

CHECK (NCERT Pages 38 and 39)

  1. Write ‘True’ or ‘False’ against each of following statements.

(i) Mr Purcell sold birds, cats, dogs and monkeys …….

(ii) He was very concerned about the well-being of the birds and animals in his shop. …….

(iii) He was impressed by the customer who bought the two doves. …….

(iv) He was successful shopowner, though insensitive and cold as a person …….

Ans. (i) True       (ii) True                                (iii) False              (iv) True

  1. Why is Mr Purcell compared to an owl?

Ans. Mr Purcell was compared to an owl because of his large glasses that magnified his eyes.

  1. From the third paragraph pick out

(i) words associated with cries of birds,

(ii) words associated with noise,

(iii) words suggestive of confusion and fear.


(i) Twitters, squeals, squeaks and cheeps.

(ii) Scampered, twittered, rustling.

(iii) Frantic, frightened, bewildered.

  1. “…Mr Purcell heard it no more than he would have heard the monotonous ticking of a familiar clock.” (Read para beginning with “It was a rough day…”)

(i) What does ‘it’ refer to?

(ii) Why does Mr Purcell not hear ‘it’ clearly?


(i) ‘It’ refers to the noise created by various birds and animals, such as chirping, squeaking and mewing.

(ii) Mr Purcell did not hear ‘it’ clearly because he was now used to these sounds. These sounds for Mr Purcell, therefore, were no different from the monotonous ticking of a familiar clock.


(NCERT Page 42)

  1. Do you think the atmosphere of Mr Purcell’s shop was cheerful or depressing? Give reasons for your answer.

Ans. The atmosphere of Mr Purcell’s shop was quite depressing. Words such as ‘frantic’, ‘frightening’, ‘bewildered’ and so on are indications of something fearful.

Also, the narrator’s voice draws a contrast between the atmosphere of the shop and what the customers believed it to be.

  1. Describe the stranger who came to the pet shop. What did he want?

Ans. The stranger who came to the pet shop was a strange man who wore a new suit, but his suit was ill-fitted and cheap.

He was also impervious to the presence of the shop owner. He wanted to buy something small and something in a cage. Finally, he liked the pair of doves.

It seemed that this strange customer had just been released from the jail.

  1. (i) The man insisted on buying the doves because he was fond of birds. Do you agree?

(ii) How had he earned the five dollars he had?


(i) The man insisted on buying the doves because he wanted something small and something that was caged. The chapter however, does not showcase the man’s fondness of doves because he was unclear about what he wanted to buy.

(i) According to the man, he had earned the five dollars through a lot of hard labour done over ten years. It seemed that the man had earned this money in prison.

  1. Was the customer interested in the care and feeding of the doves he had bought? If not, why not?

Ans. No, the man was not interested in the care and feeding of the doves he had bought. When Mr Purcell offered to explain him what he should be feeding the doves, he dismissed his advice. Moreover, immediately after stepping out of the shop, he unlocked the doves from the cage and let them fly.

Exercises (NCERT Page 42)

Discuss the following topics in groups.

  1. Why, in your opinion, did the man set the doves free?

Ans. The man set the doves free probably because he did not wish to see them behind bars. It seemed that he himself was behind prison for ten years. Therefore, the idea of being free was very dear to him and this is how he wished to express his happiness after coming out of the prison; by letting free ‘something caged.’

  1. Why did it make Mr Purcell feel ‘vaguely insulted’?

Ans. Mr Purcell felt insulted because he had given the pair of doves to the man at a lower price. Since, the man had desperately desired the doves but did not have enough money to buy them, Mr Purcell had agreed to let him have them at a lower profit. Mr Purcell could not comprehend why he had bargained desperately if he had to let them go.