This is Jody’s Fawn
Jody’s father, Mr. Baxter, had been bitten by a rattle snake. He killed a doe and used its heart and liver to suck out the venom from his wound. The next morning he felt much better but his son, Jody, felt bad to have left the doe’s fawn all alone in the forest. He went to his father and reasoned with him the need to bring the fawn to the safety of their home. His father allowed him to go on a search for the fawn. Jody’s mother though gave her consent, feared for her son’s safety in the forest. Doc Wilson and Mill-wheel also approved considering that they had already left the fawn motherless.
Jody went with Mill-wheel on his horse assuring his mother to reach home by dinner. After sometime they reached closer to the place where his father was bitten. Jody wanted go on further all alone because he didn’t want Mill-wheel to see his disappointment if they failed in finding the fawn. Contrarily, if he found the fawn, he wanted to experience the joy of it all alone as he felt that their meeting would be intense, full of emotion and thus, personal. Thus, assuring Mill-wheel of his knowledge of directions and his ability to take care of himself, he move on.
When Jody reached the spot where his father was bitten, he found buzzards hovering over the carcass of the dead doe. He also found footprints of cats and for a moment he feared for the life of the fawn. After an intense search he finally found the fawn behind a bush. Jody noticed that the fawn was shivering and was distrustful. He tried to calm the fawn and tried to establish some kind of understanding with him.
However, though the fawn allowed the proximity of Jody, he did not move. Jody then decided to carry the fawn all the way home. He first patted the fawn and then lightly lifted him. He went around the area where his father was bitten and where lay the carcass of the fawn’s mother, fearing that the scent of his mother would make the fawn restless. He had to stop often for breaks as himself being little he was severely struggling with the weight of the fawn and the vines and bushes that lay on his path. Though, Jody’s arms had started hurting, he carried on his journey. He even managed to win the fawn’s trust, who gradually grew willing to follow him.
After a point, Jody felt such a grand connection with the fawn that all the struggle and pain he was going through no longer mattered. By and by they reached their destination. The fawn refused to go upstairs, probably sensing the presence of his mother’s killer, but Jody carried him to his father who expressed joy at seeing the fawn. Later, Jody lovingly fed him milk in the kitchen and enjoyed the fawn’s trust and love for him.
Texual Questions and Exercises
Q1. What had happened to Jody’s father?
Ans. Jody’s father had been bitten by a rattlesnake.
Q2. How did the doe save Penny’s life?
Ans. The doe’s liver and heart were used to draw out the poison from Penny.
Q3. Why does Jody want to bring the fawn home?
Ans. The fawn has become an orphan because its mother was killed by Jody. He wants to bring the fawn to return the obligation because he was the one who made the fawn an orphan.
Q4. How does Jody know that the fawn is a male?
Ans. Jody’s father told him that in a male fawn the spots are all in a line and in females they are randomly arranged. This knowledge helped him recognize it being a male fawn.
Q5. Jody didn’t want Mill-wheel with him for two reasons. What were they?
Ans. Jody did not want Mill-wheel with him for two reasons. First was that if fawn was dead then Jody didn’t want Mill-wheel to see the disappointment on his face. Second reason if the fawn was alive then Jody did not want to share his happiness with anybody else.
Q6. Why was Mill-wheel afraid to leave Jody alone?
Ans. Mill-wheel did not want to leave Jody alone as he was afraid that Jody could lose his way or get bitten by a snake.
Q7. How did Jody bring the fawn back home?
Ans. Jody did not want to scare the fawn away. That is why he first stroked its neck slowly, and then put his arms around it. Then, he picked it up and carried it through the thick bushes. He tried to shield its face from the sharp vines. He stopped to rest on his way home. On walking a little, he saw the fawn following him. After this, he would either carry the fawn, or put it down so that it would follow him by itself. When they reached home, it refused to climb the stairs. He then picked it up and took it inside the house.
Q8. Jody was filled with emotion after he found the fawn. Can you find at least three words or phrases which show how he felt?
Ans. Jody was filled with emotion after he found the fawn. When he stroked its neck, the touch made him ‘delirious’. When he realised that it was his fawn now, he was ‘lightheaded with his joy’. When he finally brought the fawn into the house, Penny thought that “the boy’s eyes were as bright as the fawn’s”.
Q9. How did the deer drink milk from the gourd?
Ans. The deer drank the milk from Jody’s hands. When Jody gave milk to the fawn in a gourd, it butted it suddenly, smelling the milk and not knowing what to do with the milk in the gourd. It was then that Jody dipped his fingers in the milk and pushed them into the fawn’s soft wet mouth so that it would drink the milk.
Q10. Why didn’t the fawn follow Jody up the steps as he had thought it would?
Ans. The deer is a wild animal. It is used to a life in the forest. When the fawn reached Jody’s home, it did not follow Jody up the steps because of the strangeness of the house and the steps and everything. This is similar to its reaction to the milk in the gourd. It simply did not know what to do.
Q11. Why did Penny Baxter allow Jody to go find the fawn and raise it?
Ans. Penny allowed Jody to go find the fawn and raise it because it seemed ungrateful to him to leave the fawn to starve. He agreed with Jody that they had killed the doe for their purpose and the fawn was orphaned for no fault of its own. They could not let the fawn starve. They felt a responsibility towards it.
Q12. What did Doc Wilson mean when he said, “Nothing in the world ever comes quite free”?
Ans. Penny had killed the doe to save his life. Therefore, in regard for what the doe had done, its fawn needed to be taken care of and saved from starvation. It would be ungrateful to leave it alone. This was what Doc Wilson meant when he said that nothing in the world came for free.
Q13. How did Jody look after the fawn, after he accepted the responsibility for doing this?
Ans. After Jody accepted the responsibility for looking after the fawn, he cared for it like its own mother would. When he first found it he reached out one hand and laid it on its soft neck. He then put both his arms around its body. While taking it home, he shielded its face from the sharp vines. He carried it in his arms most of the way even though he was tired. On reaching home, he gave it the milk that was meant for him. When he saw that the fawn did not drink the milk kept in the gourd, he fed it with his own hands. Hence, one can say that Jody carried out his responsibility quite well.
Q14. How does Jody’s mother react when she hears that he is going to bring the fawn home? Why does she react in this way?
Ans. When Jody’s mother heard that he was going to bring the fawn home, she was a little surprised and asked Jody what fawn he was talking about. He then told her that it was the fawn whose mother they had killed to save Penny. She gasped and was not to happy with the idea. She helplessly informed him that they had nothing else to feed it and so he would have to sacrifice the milk they gave him for the fawn. She reacted this way because she was not present at the site where Penny had been bitten, where they had killed the doe. She had not seen the fawn and therefore, was not as concerned as Penny and Jody. Besides they did not have too many things to feed the fawn on in their home and she may have been worried about how she would feed the fawn.
Working with Language
Q1. Here are some questions in direct speech. Put them into reported speech.
|1.||Direct Speech||Penny said, “Do you really want it son?”|
|Reported Speech||Penny asked his son if he really wanted it.|
|2.||Direct Speech||Mill-wheel said, “Will he ride back with me?”|
|Reported Speech||Mill-wheel asked if he would ride back with him.|
|3.||Direct Speech||He said to Mill-wheel, “Do you think the fawn is still there?|
|Reported Speech||He asked Mill-wheel if he thought the fawn was still there.|
|4.||Direct Speech||He asked Mill-wheel, “Will you help me find him?”|
|Reported Speech||He asked Mill-wheel if he would help him find him.|
|5.||Direct Speech||He said, “Was it up here that Pa got bitten by the snake?”|
|Reported Speech||He asked if it was up there that Pa had got bitten by the snake.|
Q2. Say whether the verb in each sentence below is transitive or intransitive. Ask yourself a ‘what’ question about the verb. (For some verbs, the object is a person, so ask the question ‘who’ instead of ‘what’).
|1. Jody then went to the kitchen.||Intransitive|
|2. The fawn wobbled after him||Intransitive|
|3.You found him.||Transitive|
|4.He picked it up.||Transitive|
|5.He dipped his fingers in the milk.||Transitive|
|6.It bleated frantically and butted him.||Intransitive, Transitive|
|7.The fawn sucked his fingers.||Transitive|
|8.He lowered his fingers slowly into the milk.||Transitive|
|9.It stamped its small hoofs impatiently.||Transitive|
|10.He held his fingers below the level of the milk.||Transitive|
|11.The fawn followed him.||Transitive|
|12.He walked all day.||Intransitive|
|13.He stroked its sides.||Transitive|
|14.The fawn lifted its nose.||Transitive|
|15.Its legs hung limply.||Intransitive|