Short Questions (2 Marks)

Question 1 : Describe the appearance of the beggar.

Answer : The beggar was old, had dull, drunken eyes and a red spot on his either cheek. He wore ragged clothes and one of his overshoes was higher than the other. He appeared to be in the utmost poverty and misery. His face was supportive of the misery he wanted to put on.

Question 2 : What plea did the beggar make before Sergei?

Answer : The beggar pleased Sergei to have pity on him as he was poor and hungry. He also said that he was jobless, had nothing to eat for three days and didn’t have money for lodging. He put on the expression of misery and depravity on his face so that someone could have pity on him and give him money.

Question 3 : Why did Sergei threaten to call the police?

Answer : Sergei threatened to call the police as the beggar , Lushkoff, was lying. He was posing as an expelled student and a jobless schoolteacher at different instances in order to get money from people. Since, he was cheating, so Sergei threatened him.

Question 4 : What job was given to Lushkoff? Why did he agree to do it?

Answer : Lushkoff was given the job of chopping wood by Sergei. He agreed to do it as he had lied that he had to beg as he did not have a job. But, now he had been offered work, he couldn’t deny it.

Question 5 : Describe the initial behaviour of Olga towards the beggar.

Answer : Olga glared angrily at the beggar and shoved him aside with her elbow. Then she flung down an axe his feet, spat angrily and scolded him. She kept on cursing him all the time for his drunkenness and scolded him.

Question 6 : What different kinds of did Lushkoff do at Sergei’s house?

Answer : Lushkoff chopped wood, shovelled snow, put the wood-shed in order, beat the dust out of rugs and mattresses and helped in the packing and moving of the furniture at Sergei’s house.

Question 7 : Why did Sergei send Lushkoff to his friend? What advice did he give to him?

Answer : Sergei sent Lushkoff to his friend so that he can get some cleaner employment and won’t have to do menial labour. He advised him to work hard and not to think. He wanted him to be successful at his work.

Question 8 : Who saved the beggar? How?

Answer : Olga, the cook of Sergei, saved the beggar.

She used to do all his work and criticised him severely. She also cried looking at his miserable condition. Seeing all this, the beggar mended his ways and stopped drinking.

Long Questions (8 Marks)

Question 1 : Describe Sergei’s meeting with the beggar.

Answer : Sergei met Lushkoff (the beggar) on a street. Lushkoff was posing as a village schoolteacher and pleaded him to show mercy on him. Sergei looked at him. When he saw his overshoes, one of which was high and the other low, he remembered that he had met him earlier.

He confronted Lushkoff and told him that when he had met him earlier, he was posing as a student.

Lushkoff was taken aback and said that it was not him.

Sergei called him a liar and a dishonest person and threatened to call the police. This made Lushkoff admit that he was lying. He told him that he is neither a schoolteacher nor a student. He said that he sang in a Russian choir and was expelled for drunkenness. He also explained that if he told the truth no one would give him anything.

When Lushkoff urged him to work he said that he cannot find any work. So, he offered him the work of chopping wood at his house. Although he did not want to work, he accepted his offer and went with him to his house.

Question 2 : Give a character sketch of Lushkoff.

Answer : Lushkoff was an old, drunkard beggar. He had dull drunken eyes and a red spot on either cheek. He used to tell lies so that people would take pity on him and give him money. He did not want to work and was thrown out of the Russian choir, where he sang earlier, for drunkenness.

Lushkoff accepted Sergei’s offer to work due to pride and shame. He hardly did any work at Sergei’s home and was greatly helped by Olga (Sergei’s cook) in completing his assigned tasks. He was moved by Olga’s concern for him and the unconditional help rendered by her to him. This made him change and he left drinking and started working hard. He was also a grateful person as he was indebted to Sergei and Olga for their help. He had a good willpower as changing one’s habits in old age is very difficult.

Question 3 : “You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink.”

Justify the above proverb with reference to the story “The Beggar”.

Answer : The story ‘The Beggar’ justifies the proverb “You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink.” Lushkoff, the beggar, is an old, drunkard man. He has taken to begging as he is not willing to work. Sergei helps him by giving him the job of chopping wood at his house and thinks that he would change his ways. However, Lushkoff has no intention to change and does not do any work. All his work is done by Olga, Sergei’s cook. He keeps on coming at Sergei’s house so that he can get money without doing any work and uses it for drinking.

It was only when he sees Olga’s concern for him and her unconditional help that moves something in him and makes him change his ways. He leaves drinking and starts working hard. It is due to his own willpower that he quits drinking and becomes a better person and not due to the request or forcing of someone else. Hence, the proverb is justified with reference to the story.