The Triumph of Surgery – Notes Class 10 NCERT English

‘The Triumph of Surgery’ Notes: James Herriot, a veterinarian doctor, narrates the story of Tricki the dog, particularly about his treatment. Through the story, the author brings out the moral message that the children’s caretakers should not be over-indulgent as that may harm the child, or in this case, pets.

Summary: A Triumph of Surgery

Broadly, A Triumph of Surgery can be divided into:

  • Tricki’s Illness
  • Reason Behind Tricki’s Illness
  • Herriot’s Warning To Mrs Pumphrey
  • Tricki To Be In James’ Clinic
  • Tricki’s Treatment
  • Tricki’s Improvement
  • Tricki Becomes All Right
  • Mrs. Pumphrey Comes To Take Tricki Home
  • Tricki’s Cure — A Triumph Of Surgery

Tricki’s Illness

  • James Herriot was shocked to see Tricki’s appearance on spotting him with his owner, Mrs. Pumphrey.
  • He was seriously overweight and had bloodshot eyes.
  • Mrs. Pumphrey quickly explained that she thought Tricki was suffering from malnutrition, so she fed him some malt, cod-liver oil and a bowl of Horlicks.

Reason Behind Tricki’s Illness

  • Mrs. Pumphrey confessed that she fed Tricki some cream cakes and chocolate.
  • James realised the situation was bad. He knew Tricki could never say no to food.

Herriot’s Warning to Mrs. Pumphrey

  • James gave the Mrs. Pumphrey some stern advice.
  • Mrs Pumphrey called a few days later. It seemed Tricki was refusing food and was suffering from bouts of vomiting.

Tricki to be in James’ Clinic

  • James had already made a plan by then of getting Tricki away from the house and into his clinic to cure him.
  • Mrs. Pumphrey almost fainted at the suggestion. But the narrator was firm.
  • Grabbing hold of Tricki, James carried him down to his car.
  • The whole household was in an uproar. The staff rushed about getting blankets, bowls, clothes and toys for Tricki. The narrator, realising the items would not fit in his car, quickly drove away.

Tricki’s Treatment

  • At his clinic, all the other dogs came rushing to James. Tricki, in contrast, just stared at them with dull eyes.
  • For the next two days, Tricki was given only water and no food. At the end of the second day, Tricki started showing some interest in his surroundings.

Tricki’s Improvement

  • On the third day, the narrator led Tricki to the dogs playing in the yard. Tricki slowly followed the dogs around as they played.
  • Later, after the dogs were fed, Tricki sniffed their bowls – licking them casually.
  • The next day, when a bowl was set from him, Tricki joined the other dogs for his meal.

Tricki Becomes All Right

  • Tricki, then, made rapid progress. He ran around with the dogs, fighting them for food and hunting rats at night.
  • On hearing that, Mrs. Pumphrey started bringing around baskets of eggs.
  • Then, she started sending wine. Lunch became a fun affair with glasses of wine before and during the meal.
  • Finally, she sent a bottle of brandy. James and his partner reverently enjoyed this drink at dinner.
  • James was tempted to keep Tricki permanently – if only for the fine spirits and the eggs. But he knew that Mrs Pumphrey was suffering.

Mrs. Pumphrey Comes to Take Tricki Home

  • James called Mrs Pumphrey and gave her the good news. Within minutes, she arrived at the clinic.
  • There was a marked change in Tricki now. No longer was he a fat, bloated animal. Now, he was agile and well-muscled and kept up well with James’ dogs.
  • James carried Tricki back to Mrs. Pumphrey’s car.

Tricki’s Cure — A Triumph of Surgery

  • The minute Tricki saw his owner, he jumped out of James’ arms and rushed at Mrs Pumphrey. She tried to defend herself as Tricki barked and licked her face.
  • Mrs Pumphrey, with tearful eyes, thanked James. She believed it was a triumph of surgery.


The major theme of the chapter is Care vs Over-indulgence:

  • Mrs Pumphrey loved Tricki. Under the influence of her blind love for her pet, she overfed him.
  • Mrs Pumphrey gave him malt, cod-liver oil and a bowl of Horlicks, which she believed would help Tricki regain his strength.
  • This made Tricki overweight and lethargic. Mrs Pumphrey’s over-indulgence in Tricki’s care had in fact harmed him.
  • After Tricki’s treatment, Mrs Pumphrey was elated to see her dog active and playful again.

Character Sketch

The main characters in the story are:

  • Mrs. Pumphrey
  • James Herriot
  • Tricki

Mrs. Pumphrey

Affectionate: Mrs Pumphrey was very attached to Tricki. She fed him everything and was concerned about his deteriorating health.

Impractical: Although her intentions were pure, Mrs Pumphrey over-pampered Tricki to a point that Tricki’s condition worsened.

Ignorant: Although Mrs Pumphrey was extremely affectionate towards Tricki, she was blissfully unaware of his food requirements and therefore his deteriorating health.

James Herriot

Competent: Knowing that it will be difficult to treat Tricki while being spoilt at home, he chose an alternate method of treating Tricki in his clinic.

Practical: James does not give any medicines to Tricki and treats him right. He performs surgery without actually performing it.

Compassionate: James is a compassionate doctor and uses his kindness in abundance in treating Tricki. Tricki was a spoilt dog, but with compassion and kindness, James cures Tricki.


Greedy: Tricky is a small dog who is greedy for food and was indulged in eating more than he needed.

Adaptive: Tricki did play with the other dogs and helped himself recover faster by following James’ advice. He responded well to the treatment and became an active dog.

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