Janko was a special character. He was not ready to share.
He loved being alone. He wanted to live undisturbed.
He used to feel irritated when his children – Anton and Iona – made noises while playing indoors.
He shouted at the children. Even when children stopped making noises, he still felt irritated.
His wife Monica advised him to share the space with others but he could not.
Questions & Answers
What made Janko develop a headache? Hints – Anton, Iona, beating the drum, clanging the tambourine, toys scattered over…
The author says that Anton and Iona were obedient children. Pick out an evidence/instance. Yes, Anton and Iona were obedient children. We can see instances in the story. When Janko orders the children to stop beating the drums, they instantly do that and later carried the toys off when they were asked to do so.
‘It felt as if the percussion section of a large orchestra still played at the loudest in his head.’
What is compared to the percussion section of a large orchestra?
The disturbance made by Anton and Iona are…
Why did Janko feel the sounds playing in his head even after they were stopped?
Janko felt the sounds being played in his head because he was an easily irritable man.
Was Janko suffering from any ear-related problem? Why do you think so?
“Where else are they to play?” Monica, Janko’s wife, challenged him. “Anywhere but in my ear!” replied Janko. “I have a headache.”
How was Monica different from her husband?
Monica was a good wife and a good mother. She was …
“We have to learn to share the space we have,” said Monica. “How do you think they feel when you keep them up all night with your snoring?” “I would not know about that,” said Janko. “I am asleep at night, so how would I know what my snoring sounds like?”
What do you understand by ‘the space we have’ in the context?
The space in the context is the limited space of their house with children howling and playing.
Apart from being selfish, Janko was a nuisance at night. How?
Janko snored in sleep. He snored like a bull and kept the children awake at night.
What was Janko explanation for his snoring? Do you agree with him?
Janko was not ready to admit that he snored in sleep. He denied the fact that he snored at night by saying that he never heard his snoring!
‘The giggling stopped abruptly, and then started again when their mother winked. She seemed to be on their side.’
Who giggled, on whom?
The children giggled on their father.
What made the children giggle?
The children giggled when their mother compared their father’s snoring to that of a buffalo running through the bedroom.
Why was Monica on the children’s side?
‘Janko ambled towards the village, muttering, massaging his temples and kicking stones as he went.’
Where was Janko ambling to?
Janko was ambling to Wise Eva’s house.
Choose the most appropriate muttering that Janko had made:
Hell with my children and their drums!
I will never go back to that place, the kennel!
How can a wife speak like that!
What makes you think that Janko was equally angry too?
While walking to Wise Eva’s house, Janko muttered curses and kicked stones on the way and this indicates his anger.
2. Going to Meet Eva
One morning he went to meet a wise woman – Eva – who had once helped him keep birds away from his garden.
At Eva’s place Janko complained about the lack of space in his house. He added that his children’s noise and his wife’s snoring made his life a hell. (He lied that his wife snored!!!)
He said that he wanted a mansion (huge house) as big as Mikhail’s (pronounced mi-kha-il).
Eva thought and thought and finally came up with a solution.
She instructed Janko to shift his animals – a cow, two goats, a goose and two chickens – to the house.
3. Janko Makes a New Move
At home, Janko did what Eva had instructed. He didn’t furnish any explanation for his senseless acts. His wife (Monica) and children stood aghast(shocked) and a little amused.
The following days were irritable for the family. They could not sleep all through the night. The beautiful house was just a messy place.
With all the animals and birds around, Janko realized that the noises made by his children were no trouble when compared with the noises made by the animals.
Having lost his peace and sleep, he went back to Eva and reported what was happening in his house.
4. Going Back to Eva Again
Eva advised him to take the animals and birds out. Neither did he ask why nor did Eva give any reason.
Reaching home, Janko drove all the animals out to the barn. He returned to his house and saw how SWEET his HOME was.
‘All she needed was a cloak and broom to complete the picture.’
Who is she here?
What for did she need a cloak and broom?
Why does the narrator think so?
“Did you sort out your problem with your vegetable patch?”
“Yes, yes,” replied Janko. “Thanks to your advice – the birds have stayed well clear of the garden ever since.”
What was Janko’s problem with birds?
What similarity do you notice between Janko’s present problem and the earlier one?
What was Janko’s basic character defect? Hints – Didn’t like sharing, selfish, didn’t mind how he snored, didn’t show the maturity of a father…
Which of the words describe Janko, Monica and the children?