CBSE 7th English Honeycomb Book

Gopal and the Hilsa Fish

Working with the Text

Answer the following questions.

Question 1:

Why did the king want no more talk about the hilsa-fish?


The king did not want any more talk about the hilsa-fish because it was the season for hilsa-fish and no one

could stop talking about it for even five minutes. He was getting annoyed with all the talk about hilsa-fish.

Question 2:

What did the king ask Gopal to do to prove that he was clever?


In order to prove that he was clever, Gopal was asked to buy a huge hilsa-fish and bring it to the palace without

anyone asking anything about the fish.

Question 3:

What three things did Gopal do before he went to buy his hilsa-fish?


Before he went to buy hilsa-fish, Gopal half-shaved his face, smeared himself with ash, and wore disgraceful rags.

Question 4:

How did Gopal get inside the palace to see the king after he had bought the fish?


After he had bought the fish, Gopal reached the palace

and told the guards that he wanted to see the king. When the guards did not let him in,

he began to dance and sing loudly.

When the king heard this, and also the comments of the people watching the man sing and dance, he asked for the man to be brought before him.

Question 5:

Explain why no one seemed to be interested in talking about the hilsa-fish which Gopal had bought.


No one seemed to be interested in talking about the hilsa-fish which Gopal had bought because of Gopal’s ridiculous appearance. Some people found him comical, others thought he was a madman, still others thought he was a mystic. They were so engrossed in discussing his appearance that the hilsa-fish went unnoticed.

Question 6:

Write ‘True’ or ‘False’ against each of the following sentences.

(i) The king lost his temper easily.___________

(ii) Gopal was a madman. ____________

(iii) Gopal was a clever man. _____________

(iv) Gopal was too poor to afford decent clothes. ____________

(v) The king got angry when he was shown to be wrong. _______________


(i) True

(ii) False

He was just acting as a madman so that people’s attention would be diverted from the hilsa-fish he was carrying.

(iii) True

(iv) False

He wore rags so that people would notice them, and not talk about the hilsa-fish.

(v) False

The king laughed and congratulated Gopal for achieving the impossible yet again.

Working with Language

Question 1: Change the following sentences in the story to reported speech. The first one has been done for you.

  1. How much did you pay for that Hilsa?
  2. Why is your face half-shaven? Gopal’s wife asked him……………….
  3.  I accept the challenge, Your Majesty. Gopal told the king ………………..
  4. I want to see the king. Gopal told the guards ………………….
  5. Bring the man to me at once. The king ordered the guard ………………….


  1. The woman asked the man how much did he pay for that Hilsa.
  2. Gopal’s wife asked him why his face was half-shaven.
  3. Gopal told the king that he accepted the challenge.
  4. Gopal told the guards that he wanted to see the king.
  5. The king ordered the guard to bring the man to him at once.


Question 2:

Find out the meaning of the following words by looking them up in the dictionary. Then use them in sentences of your own.







(i) Challenge

Every difficult situation should be taken up as a challenge and not be run away from.

(ii) Mystic

The mystic from the Himalayas had great words of wisdom to share with the villagers.

(iii) Comical

Everyone appreciates the comical side of a man.

(iv) Courtier

Birbal was Akbar’s most trusted courtier.

(v) Smearing

Smearing the forehead with tilak is one of the traditions of the South Indians.




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