I sat in the back of the car with the box beside me as the driver tore through the streets of Basra like a ricochetting bullet. The aircraft was waiting to take off; I was rushed through to it by infuriated officials. Luckily, the seat booked for me was at the extreme front. I covered the floor around my feet with newspapers, rang for the air hostess, and gave her a parcel of fish (for Mij) to keep in a cool place. I took her into my confidence about the events of the last half hour. I have retained the most profound admiration for that air hostess; she was the very queen of her kind. She suggested that I might prefer to have my pet on my knee, and I could have kissed her hand in the depth of my gratitude. But, not knowing otters, I was quite unprepared for what followed.



After tidying up the debris, the storyteller hurried into a taxi. The cab travelled at a breakneck speed, navigating the twists like a ricocheting projectile. He arrived just in time for the aeroplane to take off, which annoyed the officials. He took a seat and handed the air hostess the fish food packet that Mijbil had packed. When he told her about the incident that had caused their delay, she cheerfully acknowledged it and then told him what to do next. The air hostess was quite helpful, and Gavin grew to adore her. She advised him to keep the box on his lap, so he did. He wanted to kiss her hand to express his gratitude for her assistance.


Meanings of difficult words:

Sl. No
ValleyA low area of land between hills or mountains, typically with a river or stream flowing through it
CrestThe top of a mountain or hill
RipeHaving arrived at the fitting stage or time for a particular action or purpose
DownpourA heavy fall of rain
ShowerA brief and usually light fall of rain, hail, sleet, or snow
IntimatelyIn a way that involves detailed knowledge

National Council of Educational Research and Training (2007). First Flight. Mijbil the Otter - Gavin Maxwell (pp. 102 - 110). Published at the Publication Division by the Secretary, National Council of Educational Research and Training, Sri Aurobindo Marg, New Delhi..