If ever you should go by chance To jungles in the east;
And if there should to you advance A large and tawny beast,
If he roars at you as you’re dyin’ You’ll know it is the Asian Lion…
Or if some time when roaming round,
A noble wild beast greets you,
With black stripes on a yellow ground, Just notice if he eats you.
This simple rule may help you learn The Bengal Tiger to discern.
If strolling forth, a beast you view, Whose hide with spots is peppered, As soon as he has lept on you, You’ll knowit is the Leopard.
‘Twill do no good to roar with pain, He’ll only lep and lep again.
If when you’re walking round your yard You meet a creature there,
Who hugs you very. very hard, Be sure it is a Bear.
If you have any doubts, Iguess
He’ll give you just one more caress.
Though to distinguish beasts of prey
A novice might nonplus,
The Crocodile you always may Tell from the Hyena thus: Hyenas come with merry smiles;
But if they weep they’re Crocodiles.
The true Chameleon is small.
A lizard sort of thing; He hasn’t any ears at all,
And not a single wing.
If there is nothing on the tree, Tis the chameleon you see.
by Carolyn Wells
How to Tell Wild Animals: Summary
In the first stanza, the poet warns readers about the dangers of encountering wild animals in the jungle. She describes a large, fearsome creature with tawny fur and a loud roar that can strike fear into the hearts of even the bravest adventurers. This encounter, she suggests, indicates the presence of an Asian lion.
In the second stanza, the poet shifts to the image of a majestic wild beast with bright yellow fur and striking black stripes. This noble creature, she explains, is a Bengal tiger, and if one were to encounter such an animal, it would be an unforgettable experience.
The third stanza introduces the leopard, a creature with black spots on its body. The poet warns that if one were to encounter a leopard, it would likely attack and tear them apart, leaving no room for doubt about the animal’s identity.
The fourth stanza brings to light the friendly, albeit dangerous, nature of bears. The poet describes bears as creatures that hug their prey tightly, often to the point of death. This unique behavior serves as a clear identifier of bears.
In the fifth stanza, the poet distinguishes between two often confused animals: crocodiles and hyenas. She explains that hyenas have a distinctive laugh when they consume their prey, while crocodiles shed tears during feeding. These contrasting behaviors provide a clear way to differentiate between the two species.
The final stanza focuses on the chameleon, a small lizard with the remarkable ability to change its color to match its surroundings. This camouflage technique makes it difficult to spot, hence the poet’s observation that if one cannot see anything on a tree, there’s a good chance a chameleon is hiding there.
Throughout the poem, the poet employs a humorous and lighthearted tone, using vivid imagery and descriptive language to paint a picture of the diverse and fascinating world of wild animals. While highlighting the dangers of encountering these creatures, she also conveys a sense of wonder and admiration for their unique characteristics and behaviors.
- The poem’s original author is Carolyn Wells.
- The poem is known for its playful and humorous style.
- The poem serves as a reminder of the power and beauty of nature.
- The poem encourages readers to be cautious and respectful when interacting with wild animals.
- The poem highlights the importance of understanding and appreciating the natural world.
How to tell wild animals questions and answers
Question 1:How does the poet suggest identifying the lion and the tiger?
Answer:The poet suggests that a large, tawny beast in the jungle that roars at you is an Asian lion. A noble wild beast with black stripes on a yellow coat is a Bengal tiger.
Question 2:How is the Bengal tiger different from other animals?
Answer:The poet calls the tiger a noble animal because of its impressive size and quiet roar.
Question 3:What is the correct order of the sentence “a novice might be nonplussed”
Answer:The correct order is “a novice might be nonplussed”. The poet wrote it to rhyme with “thus”.
Question 4: Is there a way to make the words “dying” and “lion” rhyme?
Answer: Yes, if you pronounce “lion” with a long “i” sound, like “lying,” it can rhyme with “dying.” This is an example of slant rhyme, where the words don’t have a perfect match but still create a sense of consonance.
Question 5: How does the poem help us distinguish between lions and tigers?
Answer: The poem provides several clues for identifying lions and tigers. Lions are described as large, tawny beasts, while Bengal tigers have black stripes on their yellow coats. Additionally, lions are said to roar when they attack, while tigers attack silently. These characteristics can help us identify these two majestic creatures in their natural habitats.
Question 6: Are the words “lept” and “lep” in the third stanza spelled correctly? Why does the poet choose this spelling?
Answer: No, the words “lept” and “lep” are not spelled correctly. The correct spellings are “leapt” and “leap,” respectively. The poet intentionally misspells these words to maintain the poem’s rhythm and create a humorous effect.
Question 7: What does the term “bearhug” mean? It’s a friendly but forceful hug, similar to what bears might give when they attack their prey. Similarly, hyenas are thought to laugh and crocodiles to cry (“crocodile tears”) while devouring their victims. Are there any similar expressions or popular beliefs about wild animals in your own language?
Answer: A bearhug is a tight embrace where a bear constricts its prey with both arms, causing suffocation and death.
Indeed, similar expressions and popular beliefs about wild animals exist in various languages. For instance, in Hindi, we have phrases like:
- “Magarmach ke aansu aaana” (Crocodile tears) – To feign sadness or remorse for deceitful purposes
- “Haathi ke daant dikhane ke aur, khane ke aur” (An elephant’s tusks are for display, its teeth are for eating) – To appear formidable but lack the courage to act
- “Ab pachtaye hot kya jab chidiya chug gai khet” (What’s the use of regretting after the sparrow has eaten the field?) – It’s too late to cry over spilled milk
- “Girgit ke tarah rang badalna” (To change colors like a chameleon) – To be fickle or indecisive
Question 8: In the line “A novice might nonplus,” how would you write this “correctly”? Why is the poet’s “incorrect” line better in the poem?
Answer: The grammatically correct form of the line is “A novice might be nonplussed.” However, the poet’s unconventional phrasing “A novice might nonplus” serves a specific purpose within the poem’s structure. By omitting the auxiliary verb “be,” the poet maintains the rhyme scheme and rhythm of the stanza. This creative liberty, known as poetic license, allows the poet to prioritize the poem’s overall flow and impact over strict grammatical adherence.
Question 9: Can you provide examples of poets taking liberties with language, either in English or in your own language? Can you share examples of humorous poems in your own language?
Answer: Numerous examples exist in poetry where poets intentionally bend grammatical rules or employ unconventional language choices to achieve specific effects. This practice, known as poetic license, is a common tool used by poets to enhance the rhythm, rhyme, imagery, or emotional impact of their works.
In English, a well-known instance of poetic license is the use of archaic or dialect words to create a specific atmosphere or historical context. For example, in Shakespeare’s plays, characters often employ Elizabethan English, which differs from modern English in grammar, vocabulary, and pronunciation. This linguistic choice contributes to the authenticity and historical setting of the plays.
Another example of poetic license is the intentional misspelling of words, which can be used to create a sense of humor or playfulness. For instance, in Lewis Carroll’s poem “Jabberwocky,” the nonsensical words and phrases, such as “vorpal blade,” “bandersnatch,” and “chortling chums,” add to the poem’s fantastical and whimsical atmosphere.
Poets in various languages have also employed poetic license to achieve their artistic goals. For example, in Hindi poetry, poets often use wordplay, metaphors, and similes to create vivid imagery and convey complex emotions. Additionally, some Hindi poets have adopted unconventional rhyme schemes and meter patterns to break away from traditional forms and explore new creative avenues.
Humorous poems, in particular, often rely on poetic license to create their comic effect. By exaggerating, twisting language, or employing unexpected juxtapositions, poets can elicit laughter and amusement in their readers. For instance, Ogden Nash, an American poet known for his lighthearted verse, frequently used wordplay, puns, and humorous similes to poke fun at everyday situations and human foibles.
Question 10: Much of the humor in the poem stems from the poet’s unconventional use of language. While the ideas themselves are amusing, the language choices further enhance the poem’s comedic effect. Share specific lines from the poem that you find humorous and explain the elements that contribute to their comedic impact.
Answer: The poem’s humor is indeed derived from the poet’s playful manipulation of language. The lines “A noble wild beast greets you” and “He’ll only lep and lep again” are particularly humorous due to their unexpected juxtaposition of concepts and unconventional word choices.
The phrase “A noble wild beast greets you” subverts the typical image of a wild beast as a ferocious or dangerous creature. Instead, it presents the wild beast as a welcoming and friendly entity, creating a sense of incongruity and humor.
The repetition of the word “lep” in the line “He’ll only lep and lep again” adds to the poem’s comedic effect. The use of this non-standard verb form, derived from the word “leopard,” creates a sense of childlike playfulness and silliness, further emphasizing the poem’s lighthearted tone.
Overall, the poet’s unconventional use of language, including the use of unexpected words, phrases, and grammatical structures, plays a significant role in creating the poem’s humorous atmosphere. These linguistic choices add to the poem’s overall charm and appeal, making it a delightful example of the power of language in creating amusement and entertainment.