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The Adventures of Toto Summary in English by Ruskin Bond

The Adventures of Toto by Ruskin Bond About the Author

Mulk Raj Anand was one of the first Indian writers who wrote in English and gained popularity at an international scale. He produced a remarkable body of work that contains several short stories, novels and essays. Anand was bom in Peshawar and his father was a coppersmith. Anand was a highly educated man; he graduated with honors from Punjab University and then went to University College, London. While studying in England, he worked at a restaurant to finance his education. He went on to earn a PhD from Cambridge University.

This was also the time when he became involved in India’s struggle for independence. He first gained popularity for his novels, Untouchable and Coolie. Among his other notable works is a trilogy consisting of The Village, Across the Black Waters and The Sword and the Sickle. Anand wrote extensively about the lives of the poor, oppressed Indian people and about social evils like the caste system, untouchability and communalism. Through his empathetic portrayal of the lives of the common Indian people, he provided stark social commentaries on the structures of society. Anand is regarded as one of the founding figures of Indian English literature.

Poet Name Ruskin Bond
Born 19 May 1934 (age 85 years), Kasauli
Education Bishop Cotton School Shimla (1950)
Awards Padma Shri, Padma Bhushan
Parents Aubrey Bond, Edith Clarke
The Adventures of Toto Summary by Ruskin Bond
The Adventures of Toto Summary by Ruskin Bond

The Adventures of Toto Summary in English

This story is about Toto, a baby monkey. The author’s grandfather buys Toto from a tonga-driver for five rupees, to add to his private zoo. Toto has mischievous eyes and pearly white teeth. His smile frightens the elderly Anglo-Indian ladies. His fingers are quick and his tail acts like a third hand for him. He uses his tail to hang from branches, as well as to scoop up delicacies that are out of reach of his hands.

The author’s grandmother would get angry every time his grandfather would bring home a new pet. As such, the author and Grandfather decide to tell Grandmother about Toto only when she is in a particularly good mood. They hide Toto in a small closet in the author’s bedroom wall, tied to a peg on the wall.

After a few hours, the author and Grandfather return to release Toto and find that the ornamental wallpaper has been ripped off. The peg has been wrenched off the wall and the author’s school blazer has been tom to shreds. While the author is worried about Grandmother’s reaction, Grandfather is pleased with Toto’s antics. He says that Toto is clever enough to have made a rope out of the tom pieces of the author’s blazer to escape.

Toto is then moved to a big cage in the servants’ quarters. This cage already has a tortoise, a pair of rabbits, a tame squirrel and a pet goat, all of whom live together quite peacefully. But Toto does not let the other animals sleep. As Grandfather has to go to Saharanpur the next day to collect his pension, he decides to take Toto with him. Toto’s new home is a black canvas kit-bag that is too strong for him to bite through. He cannot get his hands out of the opening once it is closed. The author does not go with Grandfather, but is told all about the trip later.

The author leams that Toto remained in the bag as far as Saharanpur; but while Grandfather was giving his ticket at the ticket turnstile, Toto poked his head out of the bag and grinned at the ticket collector. The ticket collector was a little frightened, but told Grandfather that as he was carrying a dog; he would have to pay for it accordingly. Grandfather took Toto out of the bag to prove that he was a monkey and not a dog; but the ticket collector dismissed him and in the end, Grandfather had to pay three rupees as Toto’s fare. Then Grandfather showed the ticket collector his tortoise and asked how much he should pay for that. The ticket collector examined the tortoise and happily announced that as the tortoise was not a dog, he would not be charged any fare.

When Grandmother finally accepts Toto, he is given a comfortable home in the stable, which he shares with a family donkey called Nana. On the first night, Grandfather visits the stable and finds Nana pulling at her halter and trying to get away from a pile of hay. Grandfather finds that Toto had fastened his teeth onto Nana’s ears. Toto and Nana never became friends after that.

During winter evenings, Grandfather gives Toto a large bowl of warm water to bathe in, which Toto enjoys. Toto tests the water first with his hands, and then gradually steps into the water, one leg at a time — he has leamt how to do this by watching the author. Toto then mbs soap all over himself. When the water turns cold, Toto mns to dry himself by the kitchen fire. If anyone laughs during this time, Toto feels hurt and refuses to complete his ritual.

One day, water for tea is being boiled in a large kitchen kettle. Toto removes the kettle’s lid, and finding the water warm enough for a bath, lowers himself into the kettle. When the water beings to boil, Toto raises up a little, but finding it cold outside, sits down again. He continues to do this till Grandmother discovers him and takes him out of the kettle. This is how Toto almost boils himself.

The author says that if there is a part of the brain that specialises in making mischief, that part is very powerful in Toto’s brain. Toto loves tearing things to shreds. Whenever a particular aunt of the author’s approaches Toto, he tries to tear a hole into her dress.

One day, Toto is found eating pulao from a large dish on the dining table. When Grandmother screams, Toto throws a plate at her. Then an aunt rushes ahead, only to have a glass of water thrown at her face. Upon seeing Grandfather approach, Toto escapes through the window to a jackfruit tree, with the pulao dish in his arms. He sits there all afternoon, slowly eating the pulao. Then, to punish Grandmother for screaming at him, he throws the dish down and is delighted when it breaks.

Soon, everyone, including Grandfather, realise that they cannot afford to keep Toto as they are not rich enough to bear the regular loss of clothes, dishes, curtains and wallpaper. Eventually, Grandfather sells Toto back to the tonga-driver, for only three rupees.

The Adventures of Toto Title

The title expresses the events that will unfold in the story, which is a series of adventures that take place in the life of the narrator’s grandparents because of their pet monkey called Toto.

The Adventures of Toto Theme

The story revolves around the adventures of a family that decides to adopt a pet monkey. It is a humorous story which captures the antics of the monkey and its effect on the family that adopted it. The story is of an animal lover, the grandfather, and the effect his love for animals and in particular his attraction for a monkey has on the rest of the family members.

The Adventures of Toto Setting

The story is set around the time of the independence era in Dehra Dun. The story talks about the time when there were tonga-drivers and monkeys could be kept in the house, when animals were allowed to travel in the coach and ticket collectors could charge you money for a monkey travelling with you.

The Adventures of Toto Message

The story discusses both the fascination of some people for animals and the problems that can arise when one decides to keep an animal as a pet. This can be disadvantageous not only to the family keeping an animal but also to the animal as we see in the case of Toto, who almost boils himself before he is rescued by the family.

In fact it also raises questions about the necessity of taking animals away from their natural environment and domesticating them, thereby exposing them to the dangers that arise from human living.

The Adventures of Toto Characters

Grandfather – he was an animal lover who had a collection of animals in the house including a tortoise and a monkey. In fact he bought a monkey from the tonga-driver because he felt the monkey was not being taken care of properly by the man. He did not feel unhappy at the damage and destruction caused by the monkey but admired its intelligence at being able to escape from the peg he had been tied to. He was a little afraid of his wife’s reaction to his adopting animals and so would hide them till he could break the news gently to her. He understood animals and took Toto along with him to Saharanpur because he knew how destructive he could be and he did not want his wife to have to deal with his antics. He also had presence of mind as we see in his interaction with the ticket-collector who forced him to pay for the monkey but did not charge him for the tortoise. He was also a realist as he returned the monkey once he realised that he would not be able to manage him. He was not materialistic as we find that he bought Toto for five rupees but sold him back to the tonga-driver for three rupees without thinking about the loss that he had incurred.

Grandmother – She was not as ardent an animal lover as her husband. In fact she took time to get used to the animals that grandfather would bring home and he often hid them (as we see in the case of Toto) till he broke the news about the new addition to the zoo. However, she took good care of the animals as we see in the case of Toto who almost boiled himself in the kettle of hot water. In the end we see that her will prevailed as Grandfather was forced to return Toto because he realised that Toto was too mischievous to keep at home and would test Grandmother’s patience too much.

The Adventures of Toto Summary Questions and Answers

Question 1.
Where did Grandfather buy Toto from and why?
He bought Toto from a tonga-driver. The tonga-driver used to keep it tied to a feeding trough where the monkey looked highly out of place, so he decided to buy him to add to his private zoo.

Question 2.
Describe Toto the monkey that Grandfather bought from the tonga-driver.
Toto was a pretty monkey with bright eyes that sparkled with mischief under deep-set eyebrows. He had pearly white teeth which he bared in a smile that frightened old Anglo-Indian ladies. His skin was wrinkled, with his hands looking pickled in the sun. His finger was quick and wicked and his tail acted as a third hand for him.

Question 3.
Why did the narrator and his Grandfather hide Toto?
The narrator’s Grandmother was always upset whenever his Grandfather brought an animal home. So, they hid Toto in a closet till they could find Grandmother in a good mood before introducing her to Toto.

Question 4.
Do you think Grandmother was a keen lover like his Grandfather? Give reasons for your answer.
No, Grandmother was not so fond of animals as it is mentioned she used to fuss a lot whenever Grandfather got a new animal home. Also the fact that Grandfather had to return the monkey to the tonga-driver because of its mischief was because of his fear of Grandmother’s reactions to them.

Question 5.
Why was Grandfather pleased even though Toto had escaped from the closet? What does this tell us about his character?
He was pleased at Toto’s intelligence and how he had managed to get free from the peg he had been tied to. This reveals the fact that he was a true animal lover and enjoyed the antics of the monkey.

Question 6.
How did Toto manage to escape from the closet? What does this reveal about the monkey?
He pulled out the peg he had been tied to from the wall inside the closet and escaped from it. This reveals how intelligent, resourceful and mischievous the monkey was.

Question 7.
Where did Grandfather hide Toto after his escape from the closet?
He hid him in the servant’s quarters and transferred him to a big cage where a number of other pets had been housed.

Question 8.
Why did Grandfather decide to take Toto to Saharanpur?
Grandfather had to go to Saharanpur to get his pension and he felt that if he left Toto behind he would not allow any of the animals in the servant’s quarters to sleep all night. So, he decided to take him along.

Question 9.
How did Grandfather take Toto to Saharanpur?
He put the monkey in a big black canvas kit-bag with some straw at the bottom. When the bag was closed there was no place for the monkey to escape from as he could not get his hands out of the neck which was tied securely, and the canvas was too thick for him to bite his way out.

Question 10.
Why did Grandfather have to pay three rupees to the Ticket-Collector?
He had to pay the money as ticket money for the monkey. The Ticket-Collector insisted on calling the monkey a dog and charged the fare.