Mrs Packletide was proud and jealous in her nature. When she came to know that her friend, Loona Bimberton was given a surprise gift by taking her eleven miles in an aeroplane by an Algerian Aviator she could not control her passion. She wanted to be more famous than Loona Bimbertan. She decided to hunt a tiger to meet the challenge. Mrs Packletide announced the reward of Rs. 1000 against the hunting the tiger. The villagers were greedy in nature. They made a platform for hunting. The children were instructed to watch that old tiger. The women were also suggested not to sing so that the tiger would get disturbed. Mrs Packletide had hired a companion, Miss Mebbin. They tied the goat under the tree. Mrs Packletide carried fully loaded rifle for her protection. She fired a shot but instead of the tiger the goat was killed. Miss Mebbin black mailed Mrs Packletide. She had called to witness the tiger killing but she cheated her and demanded a cottage against Mrs Packletide secrete. If the secrete was revealed she would have lost her reputation. So she had to pay the cash to the villagers as well as a cottage to her paid companion. She had also organised a party in which she invited her arch-enemy Loona Bimberton but she did not attain the party.
(A) ANSWER THE FOLLOWING QUESTION (from book )
1.Why did Mrs. Packletide wish to kill a tiger?
Answer ; Mrs. Packletide wished to kill a tiger so that she could counter to Loona Bimberton’s claim who had been carried eleven miles in an Algerian aviator.
2. What made her decide to give a party in Loona Bimberton’s honour? What did she intend to give Loona on her birthday?
Answer : Mrs.Packletide decided that once she shot a tiger, she would invite Loona Bimberton for a luncheon party. At the party she would display the newly-acquired tiger skin. The party would be an appropriate time to show off the tiger skin and talk about her tiger-shooting experience to Loona Bimberton. She intended to give a tiger-claw brooch to Loona Bimberton on her birthday.
3. How was the tiger shooting arranged? What kind of a tiger was chosen for the purpose?
Answer : The tiger shooting was arranged in neigbouring village. The villagers had seen an old tiger who used to hunt domestic animals on the outskirts of the local jungle. A platform or Machaan was built in a comfortable and conviniently placed tree for Mrs. Packletide and her paid companion Miss Louisa Mebbin. A noisy goat was tethered at the correct distance to attract the tiger.
The tiger chosen for this purpose was weak, diseased tiger who could not hunt wild animals due to old age.
4. In what way did the villagers help Mrs. Packletide shoot the tiger?
Answer : The villagers made many arrangements for the hunting game.Children were posted night and day on the outskirts so that the tiger would not leave his domain. Goats were left in the forest in order to satisfy the animal. Women took care not to make noise while passing by, so that the tiger would not be disturbed. Last but not the least, the villagers offered support and assistance at night of hunt. A platform had been constructed on a comfortable and convenient place on a tree for Mrs. Packletide and her paid companion. They remained there throughout the night.
5. Who was Miss Mebbin? Was she really devoted to Mrs. Packletide? How did she behave during the tiger shooting?
Answer : Miss Mebbin was a paid companion. Mrs. Packletide had acquired her so that she could witness the shooting of the tiger. She was very materialistic. She didn’t want to do more than she was paid for. In fact she also instigated Mrs. Packletide not to pay for the goat if the tiger did not eat it. She was not at all devoted to Mrs. Packletide. She was there only for the money.
6. Mrs. Packletide was a good shot. Discuss.
Answer : Mrs. Packletide was daring and bold enough to go for hunting a tiger which was old and weak. She was not a good shot at all. In spite of all the arrangements, she was not able to shoot the old tiger who was walking slowly. Instead, she shot the goat as she had missed her aim.
7. What comment did Miss Mebbin make after Mrs Packletide had fired the shot? Why did Miss Mebbin make this comment? How did Mrs Packletide react to this comment?
Answer : Miss Mebbin commented that the bullet had shot the goat not the tiger. The tiger had succumbed to heart failure caused by the sound of firing accelerated by senile decay.
She made this comment to take advantage of the fact that the tiger was not killed by Mrs. Packletide. In fact, she wanted to exploit the situation. Mrs. Packletide was annoyed at the discovery.
8. How did the villagers react to the tiger’s death?
Answer : The villagers were anxious for their thousand rupees.ÿThey did not pay any heed to Miss Mebbin’s revelation that Mrs. Packletide had not killed a tiger but a goat. They readily believed that Mrs. Packletide had shot the beast lest they lose their money.
9. Do you think Mrs. Packletide was able to achieve her heart’s desire? Give reasons for your answer.
Answer : Yes, I think Mrs. Packletide was able to achieve her heart’s desire of killing a tiger and to show off that she was the possessor of a dead tiger. She wanted her photographs to be published in the newspapers. Her desire was accomplished positively. She was able to outdo Loona Bimberton and she sent her a gift of a tiger-claw brooch.
10. How did Miss Mebbin manage to get her week-end cottage? Why did she plant so many tiger lilies in her garden?
Answer : Louisa Mebbin blackmailed Mrs. Packletide into buying her the weekend cottage or else she would have told Loona Bimberton that it was not the tiger but a mere goat that Mrs. Packletide had shot. The tiger lilies would always remind of how she had procured the cottage.
11. “The incidental expenses are so heavy,” she confides to inquiring friends. Who is the speaker? What is she referring to here?
Answer : Mrs. Packletide is the speaker. The lines are said in response to questions regarding why she did not hunt anymore. Mrs. Packletide is referred to the expenses that she incurred when she hunted for the first time, she paid the villagers, she paid Louisa Mebbin and even had to buy her a cottage
(B) Discuss the following questions in detail :
12. Do you think the tiger shooting organized by the villagers was a serious affair? Give reasons for your answer.
Answer: The tiger shooting organised by the villagers was not a serious affair at all. They knew it was an old senile tiger. It could not run or escape due to its weakness. So, it would be easy to kill it instantaneously. They posted their children to keep the tiger in the outskirts of the jungle so that it might not roam away to fresh hunting grounds. They left cheap goats to keep him satisfied with the present quarters lest he should die of old age before the appointed lady. In this way, they provided the favourable opportunity of shooting a tiger without over-much risk.
13. Do you think the writer is trying to make fun of the main characters in the story i.e. Mrs. Packletide, Miss Mebbin and Loona Bimberton? Pick out instances from the story that point to this fact.
Answer: Yes, the writer is trying to make fun of the main characters in the story. Mrs. Packletide wanted to kill a tiger because of her jealousy and a desire to outshine Loona. Loona was a lady of boastful nature. She also grew jealous when she saw Mrs. Packletide’s photo in the newspaper. She refused to attend the lunch party arranged in her honour by Mrs. Packletide. Miss Mebbin was very manipulative, shrewd and materialistic lady. She adopted a protective elder-sister attitude towards money. Moreover, the shooting of an old and weak tiger, who has lost his strength and ferociousness is also very humourous. Its death due to heart failure instead of a bullet arouses laughter.
14. A person who is vain is full of self importance and can only think of himself/herself and can go to great lengths to prove his/her superiority. Do you think Mrs Packletide is vain? Give reasons in support of your answer.
Answer: The story begins with Mrs. Packletide’s obsession to procure a tiger skin so that she can show it off to Loona Bimberton. To obtain the tiger skin Mrs.Packletide goes to extreme lengths; she offers a thousand rupees to the villagers to shoot a tiger without much risk or exertion. She acquires a paid companion, Louisa Mebbin, a witness to her extraordinary feat. She makes sure her pictures appear in international newspapers. Finally, she buys a weekend cottage for Louisa Mebbin to prevent her from telling anybody that it was not the tiger but a goat she had shot because the tiger merely died of a heart attack. All this proves that Mrs. Packletide was a vain woman.
15. Sometimes writers highlight certain negative aspects in society or human beings by making fun of it. This is called satire. In your groups discuss whether you would classify this story as a satire. Give reasons to support your answer
Answer: The story is excellent example of satire. The writer, Saki, has satrized the jealousy and vanity of the fair sex. They want to to show off their self importance and think of themselves only. To prove their supriority, they can go to any length. The author not only makes fun of the situation but also of the characters. Mrs. Packeltide’s actions were largely directed by dislike of Loona Bimberton. The motive behind tiger hunt was to show off to her. Loona Bimberton did not look at Mrs. Packletide’s pictures in the newspapers. Her letter of thanks for the tiger-claw brooch was a model of repressed emotions. She declined to attend the luncheon party because she wouldn’t be able to see people praising Mrs. Packletide. Both Louisa Mebbin and the villagers are only concerned about their remuneration. Louisa Mebbin even blackmailed Mrs. Packletide into buying her a cottage. The villagers happily believed that Mrs. Packletide had shot the tiger and not the goat lest they lose their fee. The whole situation of the tiger hunt is also laced with satire. An old tiger who had given up hunting was chosen for the purpose. The tiger dies of a heart-failure than a gun shot. The author paints a picture of a society that is essentially governed by wealth and mutual dislike for each other.
16. How does the writer create humor in this story?
Answer: The author makes fun of each character and situation. The characters of Loona Bimberton, Mrs. Packletide, Louisa Mebbin and the villagers are all ridiculed for their peculiar character traits.The tiger hunt is mocked a; an old, infirm tiger is chosen for the hunt making it the least dangerous expedition. The power of money is so strong that the villagers agree that it was not a goat but a tiger that was shot. Louisa Mebbin agrees to keep this a secret in return of money. Thus the author creates humour in the story by highlighting the negative aspects in society or human beings.
(C) Read the following extracts and answer the questions.
17 . “In a world swayed by hunger and love, Mrs Packletide was an exception, her motives were largely governed by …”
(a) How was Mrs Packletide an `exception’?
Ans : Mrs. Packletide was obsessed by hatred of Loona, which was not normal.
(b) What were Mrs Packletide’s motives?
Ans : Mrs. Packletide’s motives were to hunt a tiger and more fame than loona Bimberton.
(c) What governed her `motives’?
Ans : Her motives were governed by extreme hatred of Loona.
18 . `Favoured rendezvous of an animal of respectable antecedents’.
(a) Explain `rendevous’.
Ans : It means `meeting place’.
(b) Point out the humour in the above statement.
Ans : Even the tiger to be shot had to be from the family of famous killers. No other tiger could prove useful.
(c) What were the qualifications of the animal mentioned?
Ans : The tiger selected for the hunt was old, sick, and was from a background of great killers..
19. Mothers carrying their babies home through the jungle after the day’s work in the fields hushed their singing
lest they might curtail the restful sleep of the venerable herd-robber.
(a) What were the steps taken by the mothers for the animal?
Ans : The mothers did not sing lullabies to their children, so as not to disturb the tiger’s sleep.
(b) Point out the literary device in `venerable herd robber’.
Ans : This is an oxymoron, when contradictory elements are brought together to prove something. On the one hand, the tiger is a robber and, on the other, he is respectable also.
(c) How did all this care benefit the animal?
Ans : The tiger had his full sleep, was not disturbed so that he is ready for the final day of shooting.
20. Louisa adopted a protective elder sister attitude towards money in general.
(a) Explain `protective’ elder sister attitude.
Ans :Lousia was so miserly and never allowed money to leave her as an elder sister would protect a younger sibling.
(b) What does the above reflect about Louisa’s character?
Ans : She was most greedy, miserly and a stingy person.
(c) How did she manipulate this quality of hers?
Ans : She derived maximum benefit from her manipulative and greedy nature by saving maximum money from being wasted in tips etc.
21. The luncheon party she declined, there are limits beyond which repressed emotions become dangerous.
(a) Explain `repressed emotions.’
Ans : This term refers to the emotions or feelings that have been hidden for a long time.
(b) Why did Loona decline the invitation?
Ans : Loona couldn’t tolerate Mrs Packletide’s fame after the tiger-hunt. So she declined to be a part of such
(c) How do such emotions become dangerous?
Ans : Many times emotions cannot be controlled and they may overflow, causing embarrassments or lead to
(D) SHORT ANSWER QUESTIONS
22. What was precisely the motive for Mrs Packletide to shoot a tiger?
Mrs. Packletide was not compelled by any adventurous feelings and she was least inclined towards any such kind of dangerous activities. Her sole aim was to counter Loona Bimberton’s fame, who had flown in an aircraft. So Mrs. Packletide wanted to hunt a tiger and get her photos in magazines, to make Loona jealous.
23. What was Loona’s adventure? How did Mrs Packletide react to it?
Ans : Loona had flown in an aircraft 11 miles with an Algerian pilot, so she had graced the cover pages of
some magazines. Mrs Packletide had been smitten by jealousy. So, to outshine Loona, she decided to do something
more adventurous like a tiger hunt.
24. How did circumstances prove favourable?
Ans :Circumstances were favourable because an old and sick tiger was reportedly inhabiting the neighbouring
village. He was of a royal background to suit Mrs. Packletides’s style. And the villagers also agreed to cooperate for the lure of a thousand rupees, as their earning.
25. Why is Mrs Packletide compared to `Nimrod’?
Ans : Nimrod was a legendary hunter. Mrs. Packletide was not at all adventurous and had no inclination towards
such a sport. The writer has used this comparison to create mockery and lash at such vain females.
26. How did Mrs Packletide plan to celebrate after hunting the tiger?
Ans : Mrs. Packletide had decided to throw a luncheon party at Curzon Street, with lot of media around. The tiger skin would be publically displayed and Loona would be the guest of honour. But all the talk would centre around
Mrs. Packletide’s tiger hunt. This would irritate and humiliate Loona.
27. What were the two reasons for which the villagers agreed to help Mrs Packletide?
Ans :The villages were ecstatic to earn a thousand rupees. Moreover, they were happy and excited at the
prospect of watching this tiger-hunt. This would provide them with the much needed thrill that was sadly lacking
in their lives.
28. Why was the tiger called `herd-robber’ and `venerable’?
Ans: The tiger would attack and eat the goats of the villagers. So they hated him and called him a herd robber.
The same tiger was old and that is why he is called venerable, in mock respect.
29. What was the greatest worry for the villagers?
Ans :The tiger selected for the hunt was so old and sick that the villagers were really worried that he should not die before the tiger-hunt. So they took all kinds of precautions to keep him healthy and fresh before the hunt.
30. “I suppose we are in some danger.” Why does Louisa make this remark and what does it reflect about her nature?
Ans :Louisa was very money-minded and she did not wish to perform even a tiny bit of extra work, over she was paid for. When both Louisa and Mrs. Packletide were seated on the platform, waiting for the tiger to arrive, then Louisa made the above remark. Basically she wished to ensure whether there was any danger to her life or not, from the tiger.
31. Louisa had a `protective elder-sister attitude’ towards money. How?
Ans :Louisa could never part with money, like an elder sister’s protective attitude. Whether it was tips, her salary, or her blackmail for money, everything was thoroughly planned and worked out. She loved to cling to money, whatever the denomination or currency.
32. Why did Loona avoid looking at the newspapers? How did she react to the tiger-claw brooch and the invitation to the luncheon party?
Ans :Loona also suffered a similar reaction at Mrs. Packletide’s achievement. She did not wish to see her photos in the newspapers. She was suffering extreme pangs of jealousy. Loona could not refuse the gift of the tiger-claw brooch and she boycotted the luncheon invitation by declining it.
33. Bring out the similarities in the characters of Mrs Packletide and Loona Bimberton.
Ans :Both the ladies are vain, jealous and dominated by superfluous desires. They are social butterflies who spare
no thought to civility or grace. Both of them could go to any limits to humiliate, embarrass or degrade each other. They are publicity-crazy and pretentious females who derive sadistic pleasure in hurting each other.
34. How much money did Mrs. Packletide pay to the villagers and why?
Ans :Mrs. Packletide was very jealous of her friend, Loona Biberton. Loona’s adventure of flying an aeroplane,
made her feel belittle. In order to outdo Loona, she decides to shoot a tiger and obtain a tiger skin. She offered a
thousand rupees to anyone who would help her in hunting a tiger.
35. How did Miss Mebbin blackmail Mrs. Packletide into gifting her a cottage?
Ans :Miss Mebbin was very selfish and moneyminded. She knew the fact that Mrs. Packletide had shot a goat and the tiger had succumbed due to heart failure, caused by the loud noise of the bullet. She threatend Mrs. Packletide with revealing the same secret to Loona. Thus she blackmailed her employer and got hush money to buy the weak-end cottage.
36. Depict the instances of humour in the chapter, Mrs. Packletide’s tiger?
Ans :The writer uses various instances to create loads of humour throughout the story. The bare idea of tiger
hunting on the part of a rich socialite, just to outshine her friend, is quite funny. The selection of tiger with royal
past, the behaviour of the tiger at the sight of the goat, killing of the goat instead of the tiger, Miss Mebbin’s money
mindedness, etc., are instances of the humour created by the writer.