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Mihan looked towards the fast disappearing speck. Her heart felt heavier every minute. Her younger brother was on his motorcycle and riding at a very high speed away from the house without looking back once. It was the usual scene. A quarrel had broken out a moment ago. Both father and son never saw eye to eye. Mihan wondered how long he would be gone this time. There was a strange look in his eyes that she could not explain for sure.

Mihan wondered how Josa would take care of himself. She was sure he took little money with him. They had no relatives staying nearby and the next town was very far away. She also wondered why Josa and their father had to quarrel so often over trivial matters.

Mihan looked at the calendar. It had been three months since Josa left. She finally confirmed the look she had seen in his eyes before he left. She knew he was determined to leave and support himself. He had tolerated his father's constant scolding for far too long.

Many years passed and Mihan's parents became too feeble to run the stall so they decided to close it down. The burden of providing for the family fell on Mihan's shoulders. Mihan spent a long time seeking a job and she finally found one as a maidservant in a rich man's house.

Mihan did all her chores properly. She did not laze around. Whenever she met any of her employers, she greeted them. The other servants in the house liked her very much because she cared for them and helped them when she was free. They sympathised with her as she was the poorest of them all and was constantly in need of money to make ends meet.

One fateful day, the mistress of the house found her most expensive necklace missing. She called for all her servants and questioned them. None of them admitted to have stolen it. She was furious and adamant that one of them was the culprit. She singled out Mihan and insisted that she was the one who stole it and sold it off for money. Taking the word of the rich woman, the police put Mihan behind bars.

Mihan was sitting all alone wondering how fate could be so cruel to her. She looked at the other prison cells and saw other prison mates. She looked at every one of them but her eyes finally rested on one particular person. Mihan felt a lump in her throat. That person had a birthmark on his right cheek. His hair showed some grey strands. Suddenly, he got up and walked with the same limp that she recognised so well. He was a grown man. At that moment, the man looked in Mihan's direction. There was a startled look on his face.

"Mihan! Sis!" the man cried out.

Tears started to well up in Mihan's eyes. Josa was alive and well! Maybe it was a blessing in disguise that she was put in prison.

   
Answer the following questions using complete sentences
  1. What was the 'speck' (paragraph 1) that Mihan was looking at ?
  2. Father and son never saw eye to eye. What does this sentence mean ?
  3. Give evidence from paragraph 2 which showed that Mihan was worried about Josa.
  4. According to the passage, what were Josa's two main reasons for leaving home ?
  5. Why did Mihan have to look for a job ?
  6. Name two character traits Mihan exhibited while working as a maidservant. (Give one word to describe each character trait.)
  7. Why do you think the mistress singled out Mihan ?
  8. Which word in paragraph 6 has the same meaning as 'unwilling to change an opinion' ?
  9. Why did Mihan suspect the man she saw in prison was her brother ?
  10. Why did Mihan feel that it was 'a blessing in disguise' (last paragraph) that she was put in prison ?
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Answers
 

1.

It was Josa on his motorcycle riding at a high speed away from their home.
 

2.

It means that both of them never agreed with each other.
 

3.

She knew that he took little money with him and there were no relatives staying nearby for him to turn to for help.
 

4.

Firstly, he wanted to be independent. Secondly, he did not want to stay at home and put up with his father's scolding.
 

5.

Her parents closed down their shop as they were too old and weak to run it, so Mihan had to look for a job to provide for herself and her parents.
  6. She was diligent / conscientious / courteous /caring / considerate.
  7. She was the poorest of all the maidservants and she was always in need of money to provide for her family (to run the household / to support her parents).
  8. The word is 'adamant'.
  9. He had a birthmark on his right cheek and he walked with a limp.
  10. Although she was put in prison for a crime she had not committed, she was reunited with her brother whom she had not seen for many years there.
 
 
 
 
 

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Comprehension 1

 

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