The next day was as hot as the previous one. Ranji felt weak and lazy and not at all eager for a fight. His body was stiff and sore after the previous day’s encounter. But he could not refuse the challenge. Not to turn up at the pool would be an acknowledgement of defeat. From the way he felt just then he knew he would be beaten in another fight. But he could not acquiesce in his own defeat. He must defy his enemy to the last, or outwit him, for only then could he gain his respect. If he surrendered now, he would be beaten for all time; but to fight and be beaten today left him free to fight and be beaten again. As long as he fought, he had a right to the pool in the forest.
The narrator later stated that the weather on the very next day was the same as the previous day. Ranji became exhausted because he lacked the strength and willpower to fight against his enemy. His body felt aching and rigid because of the previous day’s confrontation. Despite how he felt, he couldn’t afford to back down from the challenge. It suggests that he couldn’t withdraw from the challenge. In addition, the narrator stated that if Ranji did not go to the pool that day, it would mean that he had accepted his defeat.
Ranji felt weak and tired

Furthermore, Ranji knew that he would lose in the violent fight if he fought in this situation. On the other hand, Ranji couldn’t sit quiet and watch himself failing in the battle. As a result, Ranji thought that he had to defeat his enemy to achieve his self-respect. It implies that Ranji knew clearly that if he fought with the youngster in such a situation, he would face his failure.

Moreover, Ranji knew that if he gave up in between, he would have admitted his defeat for the rest of his life. In addition, Ranji thought that if he tried to battle with the other boy, it would set him free, and he would be able to fight again. It implies that he would be given a chance to fight again if he never gave up. If he voluntarily quit the fight, it would be considered a failure. At last, he knew that if he won the fight, he reserved himself a right to swim in the pool in the forest; the fight decides whether Ranji had the right to swim in the pool. To get the rights of the pool, Ranji had to remain in the battle.
Meanings of the difficult words:
Lazy Unwilling to work or use energy
Acknowledgement Acceptance of the truth or existence of something
DefeatWin a victory over someone in a battle or other contest; overcome or beat
Acquiesce Accept something reluctantly but without protest
Defy Openly resist or refuse to obey
National Council of Educational Research and Training (2008). It so happened. The Fight- Ruskin Bond (pp. 45-54). Published at the Publication Division by the Secretary, National Council of Educational Research and Training, Sri Aurobindo Marg, New Delhi.