Ruskin Bond

Start Free Trial

Why didn't the grandfather tame the mongoose in "Adventures in a Banyan Tree"?

Quick answer:

The grandfather has never tried to tame the mongoose in “Adventures in a Banyan Tree” because a wild mongoose is always more useful than a domesticated one. So long as the mongoose is wild, it will be more effective at keeping deadly snakes away from the house.

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

In “Adventures in a Banyan Tree,” the narrator looks on as his grandfather's mongoose engages in a fight to the death with a cobra. In this epic battle, there are many twists and turns, and for a while, it could go either way. But eventually, after a mammoth struggle, the mongoose prevails, and the narrator can safely descend from his vantage point in the banyan tree and tell his grandfather what's happened.

Grandfather is very pleased to hear that the mongoose has killed the cobra. He has always encouraged the little creature to stay in the garden by feeding him scraps from the kitchen. His presence there deters snakes from coming near the house.

At no point has the grandfather ever attempted to tame the mongoose. He knows that a wild mongoose is always more useful than a domesticated one when it comes to keeping snakes away from the house.

On the downside, this means that the mongoose often raids the poultry house for eggs. But for the narrator's grandparents, this is a very small price to pay, and besides, he doesn't harm the birds. In any case, Grandfather always forgives the mongoose for stealing as long as he keeps snakes away from the house.

See eNotes Ad-Free

Start your 48-hour free trial to get access to more than 30,000 additional guides and more than 350,000 Homework Help questions answered by our experts.

Get 48 Hours Free Access
Approved by eNotes Editorial