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Invention of Shoes – Rabindranath Tagore

Lines 1 – 11

Said Hobu, “Do you hear, you Gobu,
I have thought throughout last night
Why should my feet become dirty with dust
As soon as I put my feet on the earth?
You only draw your salaries
Without caring about your duties to the king.
I am the owner of the earth
Yet it will make me dirty
What nonsense is this!
I want you soon to find its remedy
Otherwise I shall spare you none.”

What was the king’s order to minister Gobu?
King Hobu considered himself as the owner of the earth but he hated when his feet got covered with the dust of the same earth. So, the king ordered the minister to find a solution for this.

Why did the king think that Gobu and the other courtiers were plotting against him?
In king Hobu’s opinion, Gobu and the rest of the ministers were not honest to him even though they are paid by him.If a group of officials do not care about the king, it is dishonesty and plotting.

Lines 12 – 17

The terrified minister
At these words sinister
Broke into cold sweat with fright;
The pandits grew pale
And the courtiers once hale,
Lay sleeplessly tossing all night.

What was the impact of the king’s order upon the courtiers?
The courtiers got panicky when the king proclaimed such a terrible order. They broke into cold sweat with fear. Even the highly respected priests grew pale and the other courtiers lost their sleep after this order of the king.

Why are the king’s words said to be sinister?
Anything that evokes extreme fear is said to be ‘sinister.’ The king’s order appeared to be an impossible task for the courtiers, priests and ministers that they were filled with extreme fear.

Lines 18 – 20

In the minister’s home,
There was weeping and gloom,
The fires in the kitchen grew cold;

  1. Why was there weeping in the minister’s home? (1 mark)
  2. Bring out the underlying meaning of the last line. (1 mark)

Lines 21 – 22

What do you think?

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