The Adventures of Toto

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Summary of the text:

Grandfather bought Toto, a mischievous little red monkey, from a tonga-driver for five rupees. The tonga-driver had kept Toto tied to a feeding-trough, but Grandfather decided to add him to his private zoo at home. Toto had bright eyes, a white smile, and quick fingers. His tail served as a third hand, which he could use to scoop up delicacies or hang from branches.

Grandfather decided to keep Toto a secret from Grandmother, who often fussed when new animals were brought home. Grandfather and the narrator placed Toto in a closet, tying him to a peg. However, when they returned later, they discovered Toto had torn the ornamental paper off the walls and ripped the narrator’s school blazer to shreds. Grandfather seemed pleased with Toto’s intelligence and wit, despite the destruction.

To prevent further chaos, Toto was moved to a big cage in the servants’ quarters, where other pets, including a tortoise, rabbits, and a squirrel, lived. Toto, however, was a noisy neighbor, so Grandfather decided to take him along on a trip to collect his pension. For the journey, Toto was placed in a big black canvas kit-bag with a straw bottom, designed to be secure and escape-proof. On the train platform, Toto’s antics in the bag attracted a curious crowd. At a ticket check during the journey, Toto poked his head out, startling the ticket-collector, who insisted that Grandfather must pay a fare for Toto, classifying him as a dog. Grandfather argued, but ended up paying three rupees for Toto.

After some time, Grandmother finally accepted Toto, and he was moved to the stable with the family donkey, Nana. Their relationship, however, was rocky—on the first night, Grandfather found Toto biting Nana’s ears. Toto enjoyed warm baths, given by Grandmother during winter evenings. He mimicked human bathing behaviors, but was sensitive to laughter during his bath. One day, he almost boiled himself alive by climbing into a kettle of warming water, and had to be rescued by Grandmother as the water began to boil.

Toto was perpetually mischievous. He tore things apart, from clothes to curtains. During one lunch, Toto was found gorging on a dish of pullao (rice) in the dining room. The situation escalated, with Toto throwing a plate at Grandmother and water at an aunt. When Grandfather arrived, Toto grabbed the entire dish of pullao and escaped through a window to a tree, where he ate the rice and later broke the dish deliberately, seemingly to spite Grandmother.

Eventually, even Grandfather came to the conclusion that Toto was too much to handle for the family, who weren’t wealthy and couldn’t afford the constant damages. In a pragmatic decision, Grandfather sold Toto back to the tonga-driver, but this time for only three rupees, symbolizing the costs and chaos that this lively monkey had brought into their lives.

In this delightful story, Toto is portrayed as an intelligent, playful, but highly mischievous character whose antics, while endearing, lead to significant disruption in the household. Grandfather, as a character, is painted as a patient and animal-loving figure, willing to tolerate a great deal of mischief. Grandmother’s eventual acceptance of Toto highlights her tolerant nature, despite her initial hesitations. The story is filled with vivid scenes of Toto’s mischiefs, bringing him to life as a central figure who is both charming and exasperating.

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