‘The Adventures of Toto’ Notes contains Meanings, Summary, Themes, Character Sketch etc. ‘The Adventures of Toto’ story is about the adventures of Toto, the monkey as indicated by the title itself. The experience of an animal lover is depicted in this story. The narrator’s grandfather brought home a monkey called Toto, as he felt pity for the monkey. But the monkey created a lot of trouble for its owner and finally, he had to get rid of him. But we should respect animals and keep them in comfort.
Notes: The Adventures of Toto
Sparkled—shone brightly; Beneath—below; Elderly—old aged person; Wicked— naughty; Scoop up—lift quickly; Delicacy—a tasty food item; Fussed—showed annoyance; Secret—something kept or meant to be kept unknown; Particular—special; Closet—a cupboard; Wrenched—pulled; Socket—hole to fit in; Shred—torn pieces; Blazer—jacket; Sociably—amiably; Tame—pet; Unfortunately—unluckily; Exhibition—public show; Occasionally—not frequently; Attract—to charm; Suddenly—abruptly; Poked—pushed; Grin—showed teeth; Qualify—gain ability; Quadruped—four legged; Prodded—pushed; Pleased—felt happy; Triumphant—rejoicing; Comfortable—relaxed; Stable—cattle shed; Apparent—visible; Halter—rope; Slap—quick hit with palm; Haunch—hind part of an animal with four legs; Jerked—moved suddenly; Fastened—fixed together at a place; Treat—special experience; Cunningly—cleverly; Gradually—slowly; Performance—act; Kettle—a container; Lid—cover; Hopping—jumping across; Hauled—pulled; Dish—a flat shallow container for cooking food; Stuffing—eating a lot; Screamed—cried; Jackfruit tree—a fruit tree; Spite—hurt; Realised—felt.
Summary: The Adventures of Toto
Ruskin Bond comically recounts the events following the arrival of a monkey Toto at their home. Toto is energetic and naughty and always up to tricks. He gets into several scrapes damaging their possessions and the house. The narrator’s indulgent Grandfather is ultimately forced to return the mischievous monkey.
Broadly, ‘The Adventures of Toto’ can be divided into:
- Toto comes Home
- Toto is a Secret
- Toto Takes a Trip
- Toto At Home
- A Mischief Maker
Toto Comes Home
- The narrator’s grandfather bought Toto for five rupees from a tonga-driver.
- Toto was a pretty, little red monkey with bright, lively eyes brimming with mischief.
- With deep set eyebrows coupled with a pearly smile, he could easily scare elderly women.
- His hands wore a deceptively shriveled look, but his movements were nimble and quick.
- His tail served as a ‘third hand’ for him to hang from branches and steal food.
Toto is a Secret
- He was initially kept a secret from the narrator’s grandmother. She tended to become fussy when Grandfather brought home a new pet.
- He was tied up in a closet in the narrator’s bedroom.
- Toto however managed to scrape and destroy the wallpaper.
- The peg he was tied to had been pulled out and the narrator’s school blazer was all torn up.
- Grandfather approved of the little red monkey, saying he was clever.
- After this incident, Toto was moved to a cage in the servants’ quarters, where quite a few of Grandfather’s pets lived together.
- Toto, however, would still not settle down and kept all the animals up at night.
Toto Takes a Trip
- Grandfather had to travel to Dehra Dun to collect his pension at Saharanpur.
- He decided to take Toto with him in a canvas bag as the monkey’s presence was still a secret at home.
- Toto’s attempts to escape the closed bag only led to the bag jumping about, attracting a curious crowd at the Dehra Dun platform.
- At Saharanpur, Toto managed to push his head out, much to the ticket collector’s surprise.
- Seeing this, the collector charged Grandfather an extra fee of three rupees meant for a pet dog aboard a train.
Toto At Home
- Once Grandmother came to know of Toto, he was moved to a cozier place in the stable.
- His companion was a donkey named Nana, however, they never got along as Toto was extremely mischievous.
- In winters, Toto loved a warm bath.
- Grandmother put out a bowl of warm water and he would slowly get into it and wash himself.
- Once the water turned cold, he would jump out and run to the kitchen fire, drying himself.
- Once, Toto jumped into a large kettle of water left to boil on the fire.
- Grandmother found him and pulled a half-boiled Toto out just in time.
A Mischief Maker
- Toto’s primary objective was to shred everything into tiny pieces.
- When the narrator’s aunt approached him, he would make a hole in her dress.
- Another time, the narrator’s grandmother found him polishing off a large serving of pullao meant for lunch.
- When Grandmother screamed, Toto hurled a plate at her.
- Another aunt received water, flung from a glass, in her face.
- Upon Grandfather’s arrival, Toto promptly fled up into a nearby tree with the pullao.
- He ate it all afternoon and then tossed the dish down from the tree, shattering it.
- The narrator’s family realised that they couldn’t handle Toto’s mischievous behaviour as he kept damaging their belongings.
- Grandfather sold Toto back to the tonga-driver for only three rupees.
The major themes of the chapter are:
- Caring for Pets
- Man-Animal Interaction
Caring for Pets
- The story conveys an important message about the responsibility and effort that goes into caring for pets.
- Grandfather did his best to accommodate Toto even shifting him frequently.
- However, a naughty Toto couldn’t adjust with the other animals or the family donkey.
- Grandfather also took Toto with him on a trip. However, he had to pay a fine at the Sahranpur station when Toto popped out of the bag in front of the ticket collector.
- His unruly behaviour caused damage to many things in the house – the narrator’s blazer, plates of food and even ladies’ dresses.
- It became difficult for the family to discipline and control Toto.
- Toto was also mischievous and needed constant supervision. This is seen especially in the incident where he jumped into a large kettle of water being heated on the fire.
- The story relays a deeper message about how sometimes wild animals cannot be tamed.
- Despite Grandfather’s consistent and patient efforts to domesticate Toto, he wasn’t successful.
- The little monkey ended up destroying not only the cutlery and clothes, but also damaging their house.
- In the end, Grandfather had to return him to the tonga-driver.
- The story goes to show that sometimes it is best to leave nature and wildlife alone and not interfere with their intended natural mannerisms.
The story conveys the message that we should love animals. We should also treat them with respect. Grandfather sees the monkey with a tonga-driver. He wants to keep the monkey in his zoo in comfort. So he buys the monkey and keeps it as his pet. But being a wild animal, the monkey creates a lot of trouble and grandfather decided that the monkey would be happier with the tonga-driver. Grandfather treats Toto with love and concern. So, this lesson gives a message about animal rights and animal welfare.
The story has four main characters.
Nimble: Toto’s movements are nimble with fingers that moved ‘quick and wicked’. Even when he dashed off with the pullao, he was quick to climb up the tree before anyone could catch him.
Mischievous: Toto was always up to tricks and causing mischief with his antics. He tore through dresses, troubled the other animals and devoured food generally kept for meals.
Comical: Toto’s humorous ‘process’ when it came to his bath provides a comic element to the story.
Compassionate towards Animals: The narrator’s grandfather was compassionate towards animals and had his own menagerie.
Kind: He was kind as he did all he could to ensure Toto was comfortable wherever he stayed.
Indulgent: At the start, Grandfather is indulgent towards Toto’s antics, even approving of them as he thinks it’s a sign of the monkey’s intelligence.
Fussy: Grandfather kept Toto a secret from Grandmother as she was quite fussy about bringing new animals home.
Caring: Despite being fussy about new animals, Grandmother eventually accepted Toto. She was quick to rescue him from the boiling kettle.
A Curious Onlooker: The young narrator is a curious onlooker to Toto’s antics.
An accomplice: He is an accomplice and happily participates in all his grandfather’s adventures.
Humorous: He views Toto’s antics through a lens of humour. His narration of Toto’s capers brings out the comic elements of the story. Some examples we see are; Toto chomping on Nana’s ears, Toto escaping with a plate of pullao from the window, Toto popping his head out of the bag and smiling widely at the ticket collector.
The chapter has the following literary devices.
- Point of View
Point of View
- The story is recounted in the first person with the narrator telling the story.
- The story provides incidents from the narrator’s childhood with glimpses of characters as perceived by the narrator.
- The narrative style is anecdotal and textured in humour.
- The narrator’s account of Toto’s escapades is layered in humour.
- He has efficiently depicted Toto as a goofy and loveable monkey who gets into all kinds of scrapes.
- By humanising him, Bond makes him more relatable to the reader, despite the monkey’s untamed and mischievous behaviour.
- An instance can be seen in the line ‘If anyone laughed at him during this performance, Toto’s feelings would be hurt…’