The Tiger in the Tunnel Questions and Answers
by Ruskin Bond

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In The Tiger in the Tunnel, by Ruskin Bond, who is Tembu? Where is he? Why does he wonder if his father is ready to leave the hut?

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Tembu is the twelve-year-old son of the night watchman, Baldeo. He's asleep in the little hut where Baldeo stays at night when he's working.

Some nights, he accompanies his father to his job at the railroad track, where Baldeo makes sure that the lamps stay lit and that the tunnel for the train is free of obstruction. One night, Tembu wakes up and asks if he should accompany his father to check the tunnel, but his father says no.

While his father is waiting for the train, the rumble of the approaching train wakes Tembu again. He realizes it's time for Baldeo to light the lamps but his father isn't there. He stays awake and listens for his return.

Unfortunately, he doesn't know that Baldeo is going to face a tiger. His father won't return, and Tembu will take up Baldeo's place as the night watchman—wilding his father's axe.

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Tembu is a twelve-year-old boy who lives in a tribal village on the outskirts of a jungle forest in India. He lives there together with his father Baldeo, mother and his young sister. They practiced subsistence rice farming. However, Tembu’s father was forced to work as a watchman for the railroad to supplement the family’s income. Baldeo’s duty was to keep the signal lamp burning and ensure the railroad tunnel was clear.

Tembu accompanied his father on his night duty at the railroad whenever he was not needed back home. He looked forward to the signal inspection, and the anxiety interfered with his sleep when they were out with his father. On that particular night, Tembu barely slept wondering if his father was ready to venture out so that he could join him on the routine inspection of the signal.

"Shall I come too, Father?" asked Tembu sleepily, still lying in a huddle in a corner of the hut. "No, it is cold tonight. Do not get up."

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