Class 12th Free Reading Comprehension
1-The Nervous Lawyer
A French lawyer had been hastily summoned to the bedside of an old friend in order to draw up his last will and testament. After a three-mile journey, the lawyer, a very nervous and excitable man, arrived just in time; the will was duly signed, and a little later the patient passed away.
Meanwhile the lawyer sat cowering over the fire, aghast at the scene that was passing before him and striving now and then to keep up his false courage by a glass of wine. Already his fears were on the alert and the idea of contagion flitted to and fro through his mind. In order to quiet these thoughts, he lit his pipe and began to prepare for returning home. At that moment the doctor in attendance turned round to him and said: “Dreadful time, this! The trouble seems to be spreading.”
“What trouble?” exclaimed the lawyer, with a movement of surprise. “Two died yesterday and three today,” continued the doctor without answering the question. “Very serious epidemic, sir – very.” “But what trouble is it? What disease has carried off my friend so suddenly?”
“What disease? Why, scarlet fever, to be sure.”
“And is it infectious?”
“Unfortunately, very much so.”
“Then I am a dead man!” exclaimed the agitated lawyer, putting his pipe in his waistcoat pocket, and beginning to walk up and down the room in despair. “I am a dead man! Now, doctor, don’t deceive me – don’t, will you? What – what are the symptoms of scarlet fever?”
“High temperature and a sharp burning pain in the side,” answered the doctor.
“Oh! What a fool I was to come here!” shouted the now trembling lawyer. In vain did the housekeeper and the doctor strive to soothe and pacify him – he was not a man to be reasoned with; he answered that he knew the state of his own health better than they did, and insisted upon going home without delay. That was easier said than done, as the carriage in which he had come had returned to the city. At this late hour it would be difficult to hire a vehicle of any description because the whole neighborhood was abed and asleep. What was to be done? There was no other way out of the situation but to take the doctor’s horse, which stood at the door patiently waiting for his master. Well, as there was no other remedy, our lawyer mounted this raw-boned steed and set forth upon his homeward journey. The night was cold and gusty and the wind blew right in his teeth. Overhead, the leaden clouds were beaten to and fro and through them the newly risen moon seemed to be tossing and drifting along like a tiny boat in the surf, now swallowed up in a huge billow of cloud, and again lifted upon its bosom and dashed with silvery spray. The trees by the roadside groaned with a sound of evil omen; and before him lay three dreary miles, beset with a thousand imaginary perils. Obedient to the whip and spur, the steed leaped forward by fits and starts – now dashing away in a tremendous gallop and now relaxing into a long, hard trot; while the rider, filled with dread of the disease and fear of impending death, urged on the animal as if he were being pursued by the Evil Spirit himself.
In this way, by dint of whistling and shouting and beating the horse right and left, one mile of the fatal three was safely passed. The scared lawyer had so far subsided that he suffered the poor animal to walk uphill; but suddenly his fears were revived with tenfold violence by a sharp pain in the right side, which seemed to pierce him like a needle. “It is upon me at last!” groaned the fear-stricken man.
“Must I die in a ditch after all?” Then he yelled to the horse,
“Hi! get up-get up!”
Away went the horse and rider at full speed – hurry scurry – uphill and down – panting and blowing like a whirlwind. At every leap the pain in the rider’s side seemed to increase. At first it was a pin-point then it spread to the size of a sixpence – then it covered a place as large as the palm of your hand. The disease was gaining upon him fast. The poor man groaned aloud in agony; faster and faster sped the horse over the frozen ground – farther and farther spread the pain over his side. To complete the dismal picture,
the storm commenced – snow mingled with rain. But so and rain and the cold were naught arms and legs were frozen to icicles, he felt it not; the fat symptom was upon him; he knew that he was doomed to die – not of cold, but of scarlet fever!
At length, he knew not how, more dead than alive, h eventually reached the gates of the city. A band of stray dogs that were howling at a street corner, seeing the lawyer das by, joined in the hue and cry, and the mongrels ran barking and yelping at the animal’s heels. It was now late at night and only here and there a solitary lamp twinkled from an upper story window. But on went the lawyer, up this street and down that, till at last he reached his own door. There was a light in his wife’s bedroom. The good woman came to the window, alarmed at such a knocking and howling and clattering at her door so late at night.
“Let me in! Let me in! Quick! Quick!” he exclaimed, almost breathless from terror and fatigue.
“Who are you, that come to disturb a lone woman at this hour of the night?” cried a sharp voice from above. “Begone about your business at once and let quiet people sleep.”
“Oh, hurry, hurry! Come down and let me in! I am your husband. Don’t you know my voice? Quick, I beseech you – or I will die here in the street.”
After a few moments of explanation and delay, the door was opened and the lawyer stalked into his own house, pale and haggard in aspect and as stiff and as straight as a ghost. Cased from head to foot in an armor of ice, as the glare of the lamp fell upon him he looked like a mailed knight of bygone days. But in one place his armor was broken. On his right side was a circular spot, as large as the crown of a hat and about as black!
“My dear wife!” he exclaimed, with more tenderness than he had shown for years, “reach me a chair. My hours are numbered. I am a dying man!”
Alarmed at these exclamations, his wife quickly stripped off his overcoat. Something fell from beneath it, and was dashed to pieces on the hearth. It was the lawyer’s pipe! He placed his hand upon his side, and lo! it was bare to the skin! Coat, waistcoat and linen were burnt through and through, and there was a huge blister on his side.
The mystery was soon explained, symptom and all. The lawyer, in his excitement, had put his pipe into his pocket without knocking out the red hot ashes.
Adapted from Outre-Mer: A Pilgrimage Beyond the Sea by H.W. Longfellow
Questions on the Story
- Why was the French lawyer summoned to his friend’s bedside?
- What was the lawyer’s fear after his friend’s death?
- What was the disease that took the lawyer’s friend’s life?
- (a) Why did the lawyer ask the doctor about the symptoms of the disease?
(b) What were the symptoms?
(c) How did the lawyer feel after hearing the symptoms?
- Why did the lawyer regret the visit to his friend’s place?
- Why did the lawyer insist on returning home without any delay?
- (a) Why was it difficult for the lawyer to find transport to return home?
(b) How did he finally solve this problem?
- Describe the weather during the night of the lawyer’s journey.
- What sounded like an evil omen?
- Was the journey home comfortable for the lawyer? Why?
- What felt like a prick of the needle to the lawyer?
- “It is say t this upon me at last!” Why did the lawyer?
- What is the meaning of “whirlwind”?
- Describe the way the disease spread in the lawyer’s body.
- Why didn’t the lawyer feel cold in the rainy and snowy weather?
- What was the lawyer’s condition when he reached the gates of the city?
- How did the dogs scare him when he reached the city gates?
- Why was the lawyer’s wife alarmed at the knock on the door?
- (a) Did the lawyer’s wife recognize him first?
(b) What did she tell him?
- How did the lawyer finally manage to enter his house?
- Describe how the lawyer looked when the light of the lamp fell on him.
- What was there on the right side of his coat?
- Do you think the lawyer’s wife was brave? How did she deal with the emergency?
- What was the mystery behind the lawyer’s disease?
- How would you judge the character of the lawyer?
2-A Boaster Beaten
Away in the far and frozen north, amid the ice and snow of Greenland, there lived a sturdy little Eskimo boy named Katerparsuk. Unfortunately, he had lost both his father and mother and the members of his tribe paid little attention to him. Knowing that he was dependent on his relatives, the lad tried to make himself as useful as possible and so pay back what kindness was shown to him.
It was Katerparsuk’s secret ambition to become the best and bravest hunter of the tribe. This was going to prove a struggle against great odds, for none of the men would bother to teach or help him in any way. Thus, while other boys of his own age were being taught by their to hunt and slay the various animals to be found in that desolate region, the lonely boy was forced to loiter about the parents how village, doing odd jobs of no real service to the tribe.
But Katerparsuk was not to be beaten and, by being observant and listening attentively to the hunters recounting their adventures, he picked up a great deal of valuable information about tracking, trapping and killing such animals as the seal, walrus and polar bear.
One day he decided to build himself a kayak, or skin canoe, for, having a boat of his own, he could become more or less independent of the others. This, however, was easier said than done, and for a long time he was disheartened, because he could not obtain a skin with which to make his little craft. Then, when he least expected it, good fortune smiled on him.
While wandering along the seashore some distance from the village he found the body of a dead seal. Great was his joy and pulling out his crude homemade knife, he quickly set to work and stripped off the skin, which he then hung in a secret place. As soon as the boy had finished this task, he hastened to the village and obtaining the loan of a sled, returned to take home the carcass of the seal and share it among his tribesmen. In exchange for some of the meat, he was given several wooden spars, for which he had begged so often and which had always been refused.
When Katerparsuk had all he needed to build his craft, he immediately started to cut the shape and framework of his kayak. Once this was ready, the boy went to the spot where he had hidden the sealskin and returned with it to complete his boat. First he soaked the skin in sea-water; then he stretched it tightly over the framework and carefully sewed it in place, at the same time taking great pains to keep the skin as watertight as possible. No one offered to help him and as everything was done without assistance, Katerparsuk took great pride in his little kayak.
There was one lad, however, who did his utmost to hinder and annoy the orphan boy while at his work. This big bully, Tutiak by name, was very unpopular with all the members of the tribe, as he was nothing more than a boaster and a coward. Quite often he tried to spoil Katerparsuk’s kayak, but despite his unwelcome attentions, the boy carried on as best he could.
On the day that he was putting the finishing touches to the boat, the sly Tutiak dressed himself in a polar bear’s skin and, with a loud grunt, rushed at the unsuspecting boy. As soon as Katerparsuk saw the supposed bear close beside him, he threw down his tools and without once looking back, fled to the shelter of the nearest igloo. Later he discovered that it was Tutiak in disguise, and the big bully did his best to make him the laughing-stock of the village, by joking to everyone about the incident, mocking his fear, poking fun at his little boat, and behaving as only a coward can to one smaller and weaker than himself.
At last the kayak was made seaworthy and having passed inspection by his elders, the boy was able to go out hunting every day that weather permitted. On quite a number of occasions Katerparsuk managed to kill a seal or a walrus and his return was always eagerly awaited by the old people of the tribe, for after taking his own small share, he would distribute the rest of his catch amongst them. Thus the once despised boy became a general favorite and was acclaimed a most promising hunter.
Years passed and Katerparsuk grew to be an athletic young man, and was regarded as a brave and fearless slayer of wild animals. The only snag was that Tutiak persisted in relating the incident of the “bear” on every possible occasion, and thus branded him as lacking in courage. Naturally, this caused bitter rivalry between the two hunters and each tried to outdo the other in feats of daring and skill.
On one very dangerous expedition, Katerparsuk killed a huge walrus, the largest ever caught by any member of the tribe and while taking his prize home by sled, he thought of a plan to pay back his old enemy Tutorial. On arrival at the village he skinned the walrus, soaked the pelt in seawater and left it to dry. Two days later the skin had become so hard and so stiff that, if it were struck by a harpoon, the weapon would merely glance off without doing any harm. The hunter then sewed the skin into the shape of a walrus, leaving an opening so that he could crawl inside it.
Katerparsuk waited until he knew his rival was out hunting seal and walrus. The chief weapon used in this type of hunting was a harpoon to which there was attached a long line with an air bladder at the end. If the harpoon was thrown and missed its intended victim, the air bladder floated, thus indicating the position of the weapon and making its recovery much easier. If the harpoon was thrown and struck its objective, the air bladder retarded the progress of the wounded creature trying to escape.
Katerparsuk, after seeing that no one was about, took out the walrus skin and his fishing lines and departed for the hunting grounds. When he noticed Tutiak entering the bay in which he had just started to fish, he quickly donned the walrus skin, dived into the icy-cold water and swam towards the kayak. The hunter saw what appeared to be a fine specimen of a walrus swimming out of the bay and he immediately gave chase. Once within striking distance, Tutiak hurled his harpoon at the walrus, and to his amazement saw his weapon hit the animal with a resounding whack and bounce harmlessly into the sea. What astonished him most of all was that the creature turned, grabbed his harpoon, line and air bladder and made off as fast as it could swim.
It is considered a great disgrace for an Eskimo to lose his harpoon, and the hunter was at his wit’s end as to how he could explain the loss of his weapon. On his way home he invented a story, and told his kinsfolk at the village that he had encountered a huge walrus, much bigger than that slain by Katerparsuk. After a fierce struggle (so he said), the monster had seized his harpoon and made off.
The natives listened to his tale with great interest and at once he saw a fine opportunity to command their admiration. He added many graphic details to his account of the desperate fight, until his listeners began to think that only a hero could have escaped from such a terrible foe. Katerparsuk said nothing, but listened intently to every telling of the story by Tutiak, who was considered, as a result of this encounter, to be the most daring and courageous hunter of the tribe.
Several days later, Katerparsuk had the good fortune to slay half-a-dozen large seals and to celebrate the event, he invited the men of the village to a feast in his igloo. Naturally everyone accepted the invitation, as seal-meat is the favorite food of the Eskimo. Among those present was the braggart Tutiak and it was not long until he began to re-tell the story of his terrible encounter with the gigantic walrus and as usual, he added incidents to illustrate his own bravery. While the company listened to the oft-repeated story, Katerparsuk rose quietly and going over to a recess in the wall of the igloo, took out the walrus skin and the missing harpoon, line and air bladder.
Returning to the circle of his guests, he stood facing Tutiak and said, “Here is your long-lost weapon: and, as you can easily see, your mark is upon the air bladder. On the day of which you speak I disguised myself in this walrus skin and swam towards your kayak. After you had thrown your harpoon, you were afraid to follow me any further and so I obtained it without the slightest trouble. I am tired of your story, for every time you tell it, the walrus becomes bigger and bigger until soon you will make me the size of a whale.”
For a few moments there was silence, as the tribesmen gazed first at Katerparsuk, then at the skin and lastly at the harpoon, line and air bladder. They were astonished, but none so surprised and amazed as the storyteller himself. Then, with one accord, they laughed aloud at the boaster who had told such a wonderful tale of his own who was now proved to have been the victim of a clever prank. The baffled and crestfallen hunter hung his head in shame and slunk away to his own igloo, fearing the further taunts and jeers of his kinsmen.
As for Katerparsuk, he was congratulated on his artful and cunning revenge and the elders of the tribe admitted him to membership of their council.
Interesting Facts about the Eskimos
- The Eskimos are the native people of Greenland and the most northerly parts of Canada and Alaska. Both men and women allow their hair to grow, as they consider it unlucky to be shorn of their locks.
- These hardy people are generally coast dwellers and thus they rely on the sea for their food. They live almost entirely on fish, seal meat, whale-blubber and the flesh of seabirds.
- Their garments consist of hooded coats, trousers, leggings and shoes, all made of sealskin and so thickly are they clad, that they look almost as broad as they are tall. At one time, the Eskimos showed their affection for each other by rubbing noses, but now this practice is seen only when parents caress their children.
- The Eskimos are clever hunters and during the summer months their chief occupation is the slaying of such animals as seals, foxes, caribou and bears. When tracking these creatures, they hide behind white screens, and crawl up close to their quarry. As it is so difficult to spot the much-prized polar bear, a special share is given to the hunter who first sees it. The flesh of these animals is dried, frozen and stored for use in winter, while the skins which are not needed for domestic purposes, are exchanged for purchases at the trading stations.
- They are also very skillful fishermen and venture out on daring expeditions in their frail skin canoes called kayaks. The fish are caught by means of lines and hooks and quite often they manage to kill seals by using spears. When little settlements travel by seat better hunting grounds they use bigger boats called umiaks.
- In summer the natives live in skin tents called tupiks A thick curtain is hung over the doorway to keep out the cold. In winter they live in igloos, which are made of blocks of frozen snow and shaped like beehives Both summer and winter homes are heated and lit by means of oil lamps.
- Even before Columbus reached America, the fierce Norse Vikings had voyaged to Greenland. For most of the year this huge island of the far North is covered with snow and ice. In the southern part, plants can grow during the very short summer.
- A most unusual happening takes place each year in this polar region. For a period of about three months in summer, the sun does not set, and for the same length of time in winter, it does not rise.
- The protective color of all creatures in the Frozen North is white. Amidst snow and ice, a white covering helps the smaller animals to escape the notice of their enemies, while it also enables the larger animals to approach their prey without being detected.
- From early childhood, the Eskimo children imitate the occupations and pastimes of the grown-ups A dog-whip is the little boy’s first plaything, and training puppy dogs to draw sleds is a very popular pastime with the young folk. To prevent children from straying too far from home, the to them many frightful stories of the fierce, vicious polar bear.
Questions on the Story
- Where did the story take place?
- Why was Katerparsuk unhappy as a boy?
- What was the lad’s secret ambition?
- How did he learn about hunting wild animals?
- What did Katerparsuk decide to make?
- What good fortune came his way when he least expected it?
- What kind of person was Tutiak?
- How did he frighten the orphan boy?
- Why did Katerparsuk become a general favorite with the old people of the tribe?
- What did he catch on one very dangerous expedition?
- How did Katerparsuk make the animal’s skin stiff and hard?
- Name the chief weapon used in hunting seal and walrus.
- What was attached to the weapon to make its recovery much easier?
- Describe how Katerparsuk tricked his rival.
- How did the braggart explain the loss of his weapon?
- Why did Katerparsuk invite the men of the village to a feast in his igloo?
- Why was everyone delighted to accept the invitation?
- Describe how Katerparsuk had his revenge.
- What did Tutiak do when he learned how he had been deceived?
- How was Katerparsuk rewarded for his artful cunning?
Questions on the Interesting Facts
- Where do the Eskimos live?
- What do these hardy people eat?
- What type of garments do they usually wear? Why?
- Describe an animal hunt.
- How do they generally fish?
- Describe two types of Eskimo dwellings.
- Who were the earliest outsiders to reach Greenland?
- What unusual sight may be seen in the polar region?
- (a) What is the protective color of all creatures in the Frozen North?
(b) How does this color protect and help them?
- (a) Give any popular pastime of the young folk.
(b) Stories about which creature are used by parents to scare young children?
- Point out on the map the lands inhabited by the Eskimos.
- Where do you think the Eskimos came from originally?
- Owing to the very cold climate the Eskimos must wear fur clothes. Can you name some other tribes who wear fur clothing?
- The Eskimos hunt and slay animals in summer and store the meat for use in winter. How it is possible for them to do so? In what ways are meat and other foods preserved in other places?
- The Eskimos live almost entirely on fish, seal meat, and whale-blubber. Why is their diet different from that of people in other parts of the world?
- Why do the Eskimos build their igloos near the shore? What double purpose does the oil lamp serve? When the inside of a snow hut is heated, why does it not melt?
- The boy in the story built a kayak. How many different kinds of small boats can you name? Who use them?
- The modern Eskimos regularly visit the Canadian trading stations. What goods do you think they request in exchange for their furs? Give reasons why they ask for these goods.
3-An Exciting Adventure
Rip, a healthy, strapping boy of fourteen, lived with his father in the northern wilds of Canada, not far from the shores of Hudson Bay. Their home, a low-built log cabin, lay in a forest clearing and the surrounding trees afforded protection from the snowstorms and the icy blasts of the wind. Rip’s father had come to this cold, lonely part of the country to earn his livelihood by hunting and trapping wild animals for their furs.
It was certainly a fine, free, open-air life and Rip thorough enjoyed exploring the ravines, streams and immense forests of red pine, ash, poplar, spruce, oak and birch trees. He and his father were usually too busy and too interested in their work to feel lonely in this out-of-the-way place. Rip was familiar with the habits of all the wild creatures, and his father often complimented him on setting the traps so cunningly that the victims did not notice them until too late In the neighboring forests lived such wild animals as t bear, beaver, stoat, fox, marten, otter and last but not least, the wolf.
Winter had set in, and this was their busiest season, as the coats of the animals became specially thick to withstand the extreme cold. The fur trapper and his son had already caught and carefully skinned several stoats and foxes and their valuable pelts were stored in the cabin until they collected sufficient furs to take to the nearest trading station some fifteen miles away.
One day Rip and his father went out on their usual morning round of the traps. To save time, they separated and each trudged through the snow noting carefully any fresh footprints. Suddenly Rip heard a shout and he quickly retraced his steps to the spot where he had left his father. Imagine his horror when he found him lying groaning on the ground, having been badly mauled by a bear.
The boy, with great difficulty, carried his father back to the cabin and did what he could to relieve the pain of his wounds. He was quick to realize that he must obtain help as soon as he possibly could. The shortcut to the trading post lay by way of the Great Fish River, which, fortunately, was frozen over. Seizing his skates, he made his way to the river bank and was soon gliding swiftly over the ice in the direction of the station.
From the forest that lined the shores of the river along, eerie howl rang out on the frosty air. It was a sound that made Rip’s heart quail within him, for it was the dreaded cry of the most cruel and cunning creature in the North the wolf. Rip knew too, that like all the other creatures of the wild, the wolves were experiencing the famine of winter and were becoming bold with hunger. They formed into packs and roamed the country, heedless of danger in their desperation to obtain food.
With beating heart Rip glanced from side to side as he skated down the river. He saw the grey, gaunt shapes of several wolves slinking among the trees. Out of the woods they came and onto the ice. One, bolder than the others, suddenly leaped from among the rest and shot across in front of him, its jaws snapping wickedly as it narrowly missed him. This incident seemed to give him added strength and he flung every ounce of energy into his effort to escape. From either side the wolves closed in behind him, howling and yelling with excitement as they raced after their quarry. With gasping breath and pounding heart the boy skated as he had never skated before. There was no escape for him if he tried to gain either bank and having no weapon of any kind, he could use nothing but his skill as a skater against the attack of the merciless pack.
After some considerable distance, with the wolves still in close pursuit, the boy felt that he was beginning to tire. It was the first time that year that he had used skates, and his muscles were aching with the unaccustomed exercise. His pace became a trifle slower, but still he managed to keep slightly ahead of the snarling wolves. As the boy raced over the ice he thought to himself that it was just a matter of time until the pursuing pack overtook him.
All at once he heard a sound which caused him to gasp – the thunder of falling water. Rip then realized that he was nearing the high river falls. Over a sheer cliff of nearly a hundred feet they fell and apparently the frost had not been severe enough to freeze them. Suddenly an idea struck him and he purposely slackened speed until the howling brutes were only a yard or two away. Straight for the falls he headed, with the wind singing in his ears and the cold spray dashing into his face. The animals followed, intent on their prey and quite oblivious of approaching danger.
The boy could discern the edge of the falls through the mist of water vapor ahead and he allowed the pack to come closer until they were practically at his heels. Onwards he sped and when only a few feet from the brink, he wheeled sharply to the left and dashed towards the bank. The wolves, just behind him and confident of overtaking their quarry, tried to pull up but in vain. They clawed frantically at the ice but owing to their speed and the slippery foothold, they were unable to stop and shot over the precipice.
Scarcely believing that he had escaped, the boy staggered to the bank and sat down, trembling in every limb. When he had recovered a little, Rip resumed his journey across rough country and was almost exhausted by the time he reached his destination. On arrival at the trading post, he told of his father’s plight and an urgent message for medical aid was sent by wireless to the nearest town, some two hundred miles away.
After a well-earned rest, Rip, accompanied by two trapper friends of his father, set out on the homeward journey. They traveled by sleigh, drawn by hardy Alsatian huskies and a few hours later they arrived at the little, lonely cabin in the clearing. Immediately, the men, in their rough and ready fashion, did what they could to relieve the suffering of the injured man.
Before long they heard the drone of the airplane, which was bringing a doctor in answer to their summons. A signal fire was lit and the smoke guided the pilot to a safe landing. The doctor alighted from the plane and at once gave Rip’s father skilled medical treatment. After an operation, which proved very successful, he stated that there was no doubt that the boy, by his gallant action, had saved his father’s life. The story of Rip’s heroism quickly spread throughout the trading posts and his exciting adventure was often recounted.
Adapted from Let Her Rip by Arthur Minter
Interesting Facts about Canada
- Leaving out of account that in early times the Vikings crossed the Atlantic Ocean and visited many parts of North America, it may be said that John and Sebastian Cabot “discovered” Canada in 1497. The French were the first settlers in this country and the word Canada comes from a Native American word kanata, meaning “a number of huts”.
- Canada, known as the “Land of the Maple Leaf” or the “Land of Promise”, is a member of the
British Commonwealth of Nations. It was added to the British Empire as a result of General Wolfe’s victory over the French forces at The country is divided into provinces, each having its own capital and laws. These provinces send a number of members to the Dominion Parliament in Ottawa, the capital of Canada. There are many fine cities such as Toronto, Winnipeg, Montreal, Quebec, Halifax and Vancouver.
- As the country extends for thousands of miles from the Arctic Ocean to the United States and from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean, all kinds of weather conditions are to be found there. One part of the border with the United States is along a line of latitude known as the “49th Parallel”, and most of the other part is formed by the Lakes Superior, Huron, Erie, Michigan and Ontario, which are popularly known as “The Great Lakes”. Time, according to the sun, changes by one hour every fifteen degrees of longitude so that it is necessary in Canada to have six standard time zones -Pacific Time Zone, Mountain Time Zone, Central Time Zone, Eastern Time Zone, Atlantic Time Zone and Newfoundland Time Zone.
- Various methods of transport, from the sled drawn by huskies to the modern airliner, are to be seen in this huge country. The most important link across Canada is the famous Canadian Pacific Railway, better known by its initials C.P.R. A journey across Canada takes several days. The trains have day cars, observation cars, dining cars and sleeping cars, and there are many attendants to look after the comfort of the passengers.
- Lumbering is the name given to the work of cutting down trees and sawmilling them into logs. In winter, the lumberjacks fell the trees, lop off the branches and place the trunks on sleds to be dragged to the nearest suitable river. When spring comes, the tree trunks are formed into huge rafts and floated down the river to the sawmills. Not only planks and boards are made from the timber, much of it is used in producing wood pulp for paper-making.
- Fishing is a very important industry. In the western rivers of Canada, immense quantities of salmon are caught and sent, in tins, to all parts of the world. It is said, “They eat all they can, and they can all they can’t.” On the Atlantic seaboard, the island of Newfoundland (adjacent to and now a part of Canada) was Canada’s first colony and is famous for its cod and herring fishing. This great fishing ground is often covered with heavy fog, due to the meeting of the cold currents from Greenland with the warm currents from the south.
- In central Canada there is a vast plain known as the Prairie, which is a major wheat-producing region. This is also a major source of petroleum, potash and natural gas.
- Before Europeans came to North America, trapping was an integral part of the Aboriginal way of life. It provided food, clothing and shelter. The development of the fur trade, however, altered the native economy greatly. Trapping began to endanger The decline in the fur industry over the last century and the focus on animal suffering have caused some economic and social hardships among native groups. some species.
- Law and order is maintained in the prairies and barren lands by a fine body of men in scarlet and blue uniform, who are known to everyone as the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (R.C.M.P.) or “Mounties”. These “Watchdogs of the Prairies”, as they are sometimes called, have earned a splendid reputation for bravery and devotion to duty, and criminals seldom escape them.
- The grandeur of Canada’s scenery is well-known, especially of such places as the Niagara Falls, the Rocky Mountains and the Canadian National Parks. The people take full advantage of their surroundings to enjoy sport and recreation – camping and canoeing in the summer, and sledding, skiing and skating in the winter. Ice hockey is widely considered to be the national sport of Canada.
Questions on the Story
- Where is the story set?
- What age was Rip?
- How did his father earn his living?
- Name some of the trees which grew in the forests.
- Name some of the animals which lived in the neighborhood.
- Why was winter the busiest season?
- How far away was the trading station?
- How did Rip’s father receive his serious injuries?
- After taking his father home, what did the boy decide to do?
- As it was winter, what was the shortcut to the trading post?
- How did Rip hope to get there quickly?
- While the boy was on his way for help, what did he hear?
- What did the hungry animals do?
- Describe how Rip outwitted the pack of wolves.
- What did they do at the station when he arrived?
- By what means did he travel back to the cabin?
- Who accompanied him?
- How did help arrive?
- How was the pilot guided to a safe landing?
- What did the doctor say?
Questions on the Interesting Facts
- (a) Who are credited with the “discovery” of Canada?
(b) What is said to be the origin of the word “Canada”?
- (a) Give a popular name for Canada.
(b) Where was the final battle between the British and French fought?
(c) Name the leader of the British forces.
- How is the country divided and governed?
- (a) What is the name given to the land borderline between Canada and the United States?
(b) Name various methods of transport to be seen in this huge country.
(c) What is the most important link across Canada?
- Describe the lumber industry.
- Name the most important fisheries.
- What is the Prairie?
- What was the original purpose of trapping?
- Who are the Mounties? What do they do?
- (a) Name two places of outstanding natural beauty.
(b) How do the people enjoy themselves
(i) in summer? (ii) in winter?
(c) Name the national sport of Canada.
- Point out on the map
(a) the northern wilds of Canada.
(b) the prairie land of Canada.
(c) Hudson Bay.
- In the extreme northwest there is a state which does not belong to Canada. What is its name? To whom does it belong?
- The trappers sell their furs at the trading stations, and from there, the pelts are sent to be sold in the markets of the big cities. To what uses are furs put?
- The poet Rudyard Kipling referred to Canada as “Our Lady of the Snows”. Do you think this is a good title? State why.
- What qualities of character and physique do you think are needed to become a “Mountie”?
- Name the tree whose leaf has become an emblem of the country Canada.
- What season in Canada is known as “the fall”? Can you tell why it is given the name?
- If you study a map of Canada, you will find a great number of names of British people and places. How do you explain this?