SUMMARY IN ENGLISH
It was a Saturday evening. Every evening Jack told his daughter Jo a story out of his head. This custom began when she was two. Now he had been telling her bedtime stories for almost two years. His story had a central character named Roger—a small creature. It could be Roger Fish, Roger Squirrel or Roger Chipmunk. Today it was Roger Skunk.
This Roger Skunk smelled so bad that none of the other woodland creatures would play with him. They called him Stinky Skunk and then they would run away. Roger Skunk would stand there all alone. Tears would fall from his eyes. Jo asked if he would not see the owl. Jack said that Roger Skunk walked along very sadly to a very big tree. There was a huge, wise, old owl on the topmost pointed end of the tree.
Roger Skunk told the owl that all the other animals ran away from him because he smelled very bad. The owl admitted that he did so. Roger Skunk cried very hard. He wanted to know what he could do. The owl suggested going to the wizard
The owl advised Roger Skunk to go through the dark woods, under the apple trees, into the swamp and there would be the ‘wizard’s house’ over a crick (little river). On reaching the little white house, Roger Skunk rapped on the door. A tiny little old man came out, with a long white beard and a pointed blue hat. He observed that the creature smelled awful.
Roger Skunk said the huge, wise, owl had told him that he could help him. The wizard found his magic wand and asked Roger Skunk what he wanted to smell like. Roger thought and said, “Roses.” He chanted a magic spell. All of a sudden, the whole inside of the wizard’s house was full of the smell of roses. The wizard asked seven pennies for the work. Roger Skunk had only four pennies and he began to cry.
The wizard directed him to go to the end of the lane and turn around three times and look down the magic well. Roger Skunk did so and found three pennies in the magic well. He took them to the wizard. He was now very happy. He ran out into the woods. The other creatures gathered round him because he smelled very good. They played various games the children play. They played and laughed all afternoon. Then it began to get dark. They all ran to their mummies.
Jo thought that the story was all over. Jack didn’t like that she should take anything for granted. He continued the story further. Roger Skunk’s mother asked him about ‘that awful smell’. He was surprised and added that he smelt like roses. She then asked who had made him smell like that. He said that it was the wizard. Mummy asked him to come with her and they were going right back to that awful wizard.
Skunk protested that all other animals would run away. She said that he used to smell the way a little skunk should have. She took an umbrella and went back with Roger Skunk. She hit the wizard right over the head. The wizard said “OK”. Roger Skunk smelled very bad again. He no longer smelled of roses.
Jo put her hand out to touch his lips and said, “Then the wizard hit her on the head and did not change that little skunk back”. Her father continued the story in his own fashion. Skunk and his mother went home. They heard the sound of the train. When Daddy arrived home, they had their supper. Jack described the various items of their supper and the story was over.
Little Jo was not satisfied with the way her father had ended the story. She asked whether the other little animals did not run away. Jack told her that in a little while they got used to the way he was and did not mind it all.
Jo said that that was a stupid mummy. Jack said she wasn’t so. Jo felt he was defending his own mother to her, or something as odd. Jack asked her to put her head in the pillow and have a good long nap. Jo asked her father to tell her the story the next day that that wizard took that magic wand and hit that mummy right over the head.
Jack said that that was not the story. He stressed the point. Little skunk loved his mummy more than he loved all the other little animals and she knew what was right.
Jo again asked her father to say the next day that the wizard hit that mummy. She insisted that he should say so. Jack promised to see to it. He asked her to have a rest and stay on the bed. He praised her as a good girl.
Jack closed the door and went downstairs. His wife, Clare, had spread the newspapers and opened the paint can. She was wearing an old shirt of his on top of her maternity smock. She was stroking the chair rail with a dipped brush. He heard footsteps upstairs. He shouted to beat Joanne on the buttocks. Then the footsteps wavered.
Clare observed that it was a long story. He simply said “The poor kid”. He watched his wife working hard on the wood-work. It included a cage of moldings and rails and base boards all around them. He felt caught in an ugly middle position. He also felt his wife’s presence in the cage with him. But he did not want to speak with her, work with her, touch her, anything. He watched everything with utter weariness.
- NCERT Revision Notes for Class 12 (All Subjects)
- CBSE Class 12 English Core Notes
- NCERT Solutions for class 12th English Chapter 3 Should Wizard Hit Mommy?