The Fight Between Leopards
James Edward Corbett
Questions and Answers (AECC BLOCK – 01)
1. How does the text open? Why was the woman waling?
Answer – The text opens with the narrator, on a visit to a village discovering that a child had been snatched by a leopard who had mutilated its body mercilessly. The mother, a widow, was in utter distress at the loss of her child.
2. What blame the woman had put on the villagers?
Answer – Gripped by despair and grief, the woman felt her child could have been saved if the villager would have chased the leopard and forced it to leave the child behind. The villagers didn’t do this. She bemoaned that had her husband been alive, he would have run after the leopard and forced it to abandon its prey (the child).
3. What was the prime goal of the narrator? Did he succeed in fulfilling his goal?
Answer – The leopard had remained elusive to the villagers even after killing so many preys. Even it had escaped the prying village dog. With no way to intercept the mystery leopard, the villagers lived under a cloud of ominous funk. The narrator wanted to unravel the mystery and kill the leopard, if possible. He did not succeed at the end as an intruder leopard spoiled the plot.
4. Where and how did the leopard keep its kill?
Answer – A certain distance away from the village, there was a thick hedge of rambler roses. The trees were four feet high. The leopard felt the spot safe enough to deposit the mutilated corpse of the boy. He opened his vice-like claws and released the dead body.
5. How did the narrator plan to catch hold of the leopard?
Answer – On coming back to the courtyard after assessing the terrain, the narrator asked the headman to give him a crowbar, a robust wooden peg, a hammer and a dog chain. He fixed the flagstone in the courtyard’s center, and tied one end of the chain to it. He had the dead body of the boy brought to the yard and tied the other end of chain to it. The mother and daughter of the victim were asked to move away from the spot.
He had some straw spread on the verandah. He sternly told the villagers to maintain absolute silence as the night fell.
He asked the villagers to return to their homes, and seated himself on the verandah at a spot from which he could get a clear view of the chain bait (corpse). The narrator was pretty certain that the leopard would return to reclaim its prey. If possible, the leopard could kill another person.
“The leopard loved human flesh and would surely come back to retrieve the dead boy’s body,” assumed the narrator. In a nutshell, the whole operation was a trap laid by the narrator.
6. What did the narrator feel and what did he think while he was sleeping? What was it actually?
Answer – The narrator felt a furry touch first around his knee and later towards his shoulder. He assumed it to be the leopard getting ready to bite his throat. However, it was a cat that had become wet in the rain.
7. What did the narrator finally witness? How was it?
Answer – The narrator finally got to see a vicious fight between two leopards, each trying to take away the corpse. The second leopard apparently was a trespasser to the first leopard’s area. It was younger and stronger than the first.
8. How many rounds were there in the fight of the leopards? Whom do you think won the fight at last?
Answer – There were three rounds in all that the narrator got to see. But, the war of attrition continued as the two rivals left the place to settle their scores further afield.
9. Why was the narrator disheartened?
Answer – The narrator had hoped to hunt the predator leopard and win accolades from the people and the authorities, but the duel between the trespasser leopard with the killer leopard changed the plot. It upended the narrator’s plans.
10. What happened after the long silence that took place in between the fight of the leopards?
Answer – The two rivals apparently paused to regain the stamina to re-start their fight. They resumed their fight after the long pause.