Class 10 English Chapter 2 Fable – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Fable – Ralph Waldo Emerson

About the Poet & the Poem:

Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882) — a New England preacher, essayist, lecturer, poet, and philosopher—was one of the most influential writers and thinkers of the 19th century in the United States. His famous poems include Concord Hymn, Brahma, etc.

The poem Fable is based on the conversation between the mountain and the squirrel with a moral lesson. Fable has 19 lines and has a rhyming scheme of “AABCBDDEEFFGHHIJKJK”. It is clear that not all of the lines of the poem rhyme with each other, also there is no consistent rhyming pattern.


Analysis of the Poem:

Lines 1-3 :

The mountain…the latter “Little Prig.”

The poem opens with a quarrel between the mountain and the squirrel. The mountain mocks the squirrel by calling it little prig as it is a tiny creature who always puts on an appearance of being morally correct.

[পর্বত আর কাঠবিড়ালির ঝগড়া দিয়ে শুরু হয় কবিতাটি।  পাহাড়টি কাঠবিড়ালিটিকে “ছোট প্রিগ” বলে উপহাস করে কারণ এটি একটি ক্ষুদ্র প্রাণী যেটি সর্বদা নৈতিকভাবে সঠিক হওয়ার ভান করে।]

Lines 5-9:

Bun replied…And a sphere.

In reply, the squirrel named Bun accepts that doubtlessly the mountain is gigantic. The squirrel continues its argument saying that all kinds of things, however small or big, stay together to make up the universe and similarly all the seasons stay together to form a year.

[উত্তরে, বান নামের কাঠবিড়ালিটি স্বীকার করে যে নিঃসন্দেহে পাহাড়টি বিশাল।  কাঠবিড়ালিটি তার যুক্তি দিয়ে বলে যে সমস্ত ধরণের জিনিস, তা ছোট বা বড় যাই হোক না কেন, মহাবিশ্ব গঠনের জন্য একসাথে থাকা দরকার এবং একইভাবে সমস্ত ঋতু একসাথে থাকা দরকার একটি বছর গঠন করার জন্য।]

Lines 10-14:

And I think…half so spry.

The squirrel has not any issue with its tiny size and it finds no disgrace or dishonour to occupy a small place on this universe as a little creature. The squirrel continues saying it may not be that much large as the mountain but the mountain is also not so small as it. Neither the mountain is half as lively as it.

[কাঠবিড়ালির তার ক্ষুদ্র আকার নিয়ে কোন সমস্যা নেই এবং এটি একটি ছোট প্রাণী হিসাবে এই মহাবিশ্বে একটি ছোট জায়গা দখল করার জন্য কোন অপমান বা অসম্মান খুঁজে পায় না।  কাঠবিড়ালিটি বলতে থাকে যে এটি পাহাড়ের মতো এত বড় নাও হতে পারে তবে পর্বতটিও তার মতো ছোট নয়। তার মতো পাহাড়টি অর্ধেকও প্রাণবন্ত নয়।]

Lines 15-19:

I’ll not deny…crack a nut.

The squirrel does not deny the fact that the mountain makes a pretty track for it. But every creature of this universe has differences in terms of ability and talent. And all – big & small things are useful and are nicely placed on earth. The squirrel concludes, just as like it cannot carry the forest on its back, the mountain cannot crack a nut.

[কাঠবিড়ালি এই সত্যটি অস্বীকার করে না যে পাহাড়টি তাদের জন্য সুন্দর পথ তৈরী করে। কিন্তু এই মহাবিশ্বের প্রতিটি প্রাণীরই যোগ্যতা ও প্রতিভার পার্থক্য রয়েছে। সমস্ত বড় এবং ছোট জিনিস দরকারী এবং পৃথিবীতে সুন্দরভাবে রয়েছে। কাঠবিড়ালি এই বলে শেষ করে, যেমন সে বনকে তার পিঠে নিয়ে যেতে পারে না, তেমনি পাহাড় একটি বাদামও ফাটাতে পারে না।]


The theme of the Poem:

The poet gives the message through the poem that “no one on this earth is flawless and everyone has their own role to play”. The universe is made up of diverse kind of elements – big, small, living, non-living. Irrespective of their size, each and every element has their own ability and talent. Every creature is significant in their place and never should be humiliated.


Word Notes:

Prig – একটি  প্রাণী যে সর্বদা নৈতিকভাবে সঠিক হওয়ার ভান করে
Spry – প্রাণবন্ত
Quarrel – ঝগড়া
Sphere – মহাবিশ্ব
Disgrace – অপমান
Doubtless – নিঃসন্দেহ
Wisely – বিবেচনার সঙ্গে
Track – পথ
Occupy – দখল করা
Deny – অস্বীকার করা


Comprehension Exercises

1. Choose the correct alternative to complete the following sentences:

(a) The quarrel was between the mountain and the
(i) rabbit (ii) rat (iii) cat (iv) squirrel

Ans: (iv) squirrel

(b) Bun has no doubt that the mountain is
(i) small (ii) big (iii) noble (iv) kind

Ans: (ii) big

(c) Unlike a mountain, a squirrel can crack a
(i) nut (ii) joke (iii) stone (iv) lock

Ans: (i) nut

2. State whether the following statements are True or False. Provide sentences/ phrases /words in support of your answer:

(a) The mountain called the squirrel “Little Bun”.    False

Supporting Statement: And the former called the latter ‘Little Prig’.

(b) The squirrel is sprier than the mountain.     True

Supporting Statement: You are not so small as I, / And not half so spry.

(c) The mountain can carry forests on its back.    True

Supporting Statement: If I cannot carry forests on my back.

3. Answer the following questions:

a) Who had a quarrel with the squirrel?

Ans. The mountain had a quarrel with the squirrel.

b) What is not a disgrace to the squirrel?

Ans. It is not a disgrace to the squirrel to occupy a small space unlike the mountain.

c) What is it that the squirrel doesn’t deny?

Ans. The squirrel doesn’t deny that the mountain makes ‘a very pretty squirrel track’.


Grammar in Use

4. Replace the underlined words with suitable phrasal verbs from the list given below. Change the form of verbs where necessary. There is one extra phrasal verb in the list.

List: turn down, come over, put up with, come across

a) Rabi met his friend in the park.

Ans. came across

b) Tanushree cannot tolerate cruel behaviour to animals.

Ans. put up with

c) His proposal was rejected.

Ans. turned down

5. Change the voice of the following sentences:

(a) Lock the door.

Ans: Let the door be locked.

(b) Ashim knows the solution to this problem.

Ans: The solution to this problem is known to Ashim.

(c) I had written a letter.

Ans: A letter had been written by me.


Writing Activities

6. Write a letter to your friend (within 100 words) advising her/him to visit the public library in her/his locality as frequently as possible.                                   


  • Sender’s address & date on the right side of letter.
  • Salutation
  • Body of the letter
  • Valediction
  • Recipient’s name & address address

12th Nov, 2021

 My dear Ahana,                                                                                             

                          Hey, how are you? Hope all is going well. You told me in the previous letter that you had started reading novels and stories. That’s very pleasing but I hope you are regular at the library.

Libraries are known as the storehouse of knowledge. Not only can you find many reference books in your syllabus there but also you can read many other things of your interest. It will give you a quiet environment which is very necessary for reading. So I strongly advise you to go to your nearest library as frequently as possible. It can be a great help for your upcoming exam and also for increasing your knowledge.

No more today. Stay safe and take love. Don’t forget to write to me about your experience of visiting a library.

                          Your loving friend,


Ahana Roy
C/O Akash Roy
S.P Road,
Murshidabad- 723705

(133 words in the body)

7. Write a paragraph (within 100 words) on the benefits of early morning exercises using the following points:

(good for health – fresh air – keeps one active throughout the day)


  • Give a title to the paragraph. Capitalize the first letter of all the words except article, preposition. And if the topic is given in second person it becomes first person (e.g. “Your School” will become “My School”).
  • Start the paragraph with a simple, short and effective introductory sentence.
  • Use the points given in the question for writing. Write one or two sentences on each point.
  • Conclude the paragraph with a suitable sentence.

Benefits of Early Morning Exercises

Our health is our wealth. And to maintain a healthy lifestyle waking up early morning is second to none.  It has its own benifits. Nature unfolds her beauty and purest form to the early riser. In the early morning, the air is fresh and pollution-free, light breeze blows, the first slanting rays of the sun fall on earth from the eastern sky. Moreover, early morning exercises gives one a perfect start for the day. It ensures physical fitness and makes us physically and mentally active. It also improves concentration and focus. So everyone should maintain a regular routine for early morning exercises for a healthier life.

(Words: 106)


Extra Comprehension Exercises

1. Choose the correct alternative to complete the following sentences:

(a) Who is “half not so spry”?
(i) Squirrel (ii) Mountain (iii) Forest (iv) None of these

Ans:  (ii) Mountain

(b) Pretty squirrel track is made by
(i) Squirrel (ii) Mountain (iii) Forest (iv) None of these

Ans:  (ii) Mountain

2. Answer the following questions :

a) What is the name of the squirrel?

Ans. The name of the squirrel is Bun.

b) What did the mountain call the squirrel?

Ans. The mountain called the squirrel ‘little prig’.

c) What the mountain cannot do?

Ans. The mountain cannot crack a nut.

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