Chapter 2.2 – Three Questions Maharashtra Board Textbook Solutions for Standard Ten

Chapter 2.2 – Three Questions

In the story Three Questions, written by Russian writer Leo Tolstoy, a certain king desperately seeks answers to three questions, namely:

1) When is the right time to begin everything?

2) Who are the right people to listen to? 

3) What is the most important thing to do? 


The King wants to be a perfect person and ruler, so he tries to gather the correct answers from the learned people in his kingdom. But none of them comes up with any satisfactory and convincing answers to his questions. The King dresses up as a commoner and visits a hermit who lives in the forest and is renowned for his wisdom. The hermit greets the king but continues his digging. The King poses his three questions to the hermit, who keeps digging and is helped by the King too. At sunset, a bearded man comes running to them, bleeding profusely. The King tends to him and saves the man from the jaws of death. The king, being very tired, falls asleep. He later comes to know from the bearded man that he had come to kill the king who had executed his brother. But after what the king did for him, he is indebted to him. The king forgives him and arranges for his own servants and physician to attend to him. The hermit interprets these events and answers the king thus:

(1) The most important time is ‘now, the present moment.

(2) The most necessary person is the one with whom you are.

(3) The most important thing is to do good for the person you are with. This is the reason we are given the life of a human being.

proclamation : an official announcement  in public

frail : delicate

resumed : continued after a pause

intently : very attentively, eagerly.

ambush : place of hiding before attack

crouching : bending

Warming up!

1. Expressions in English classified under different heads. Pair up with your partner, guess and match the columns. (Use a dictionary.)

IMG 20230924 235228 Chapter 2.2 – Three Questions

Ans: (1) – (h); (2) – (f); (3) – (g): (4) – (e); (5) – (b): (6) – (c): (7) – (d); (8) – (a).

2. Read the polite requests/suggestions and complete the gaps in the responses. Make sure they are polite and not repeated.

IMG 20230924 235255 Chapter 2.2 – Three Questions


(1) Yes, here it is


(2) I’m sorry, I can’t. I am using it now

IMG 20230924 235307 Chapter 2.2 – Three Questions


(1) Sure!


(2) Here you are

IMG 20230924 235330 Chapter 2.2 – Three Questions


(1) Right now it is exactly ten to six


(2) It’s 10 minutes past 5

IMG 20230924 235355 Chapter 2.2 – Three Questions


(1) Yes, let’s!


(2) Not now; I’m going to my native place for a month

IMG 20230924 235409 Chapter 2.2 – Three Questions


(1) Yes, please


(2) It’s all right, thank you. I can manage

IMG 20230924 235422 Chapter 2.2 – Three Questions


(1) Yes, I can spare it for an hour


(2) Well… could you wait some time? I have some things I need to complete

3. Let’s see if you remember a nursery rhyme you must have sung, as a kid :

Fill in the missing words :

‘The time to be happy is ______
The ______ to be happy is here. 
And the way to be ______, is to ______ someone happy 
And have a little ______ right here !’
(happy, make, heaven, now, place)
(You can listen to this song on the internet.)


Fill in the missing words :

‘The time to be happy is now. 

The place to be happy is here.

And the way to be happy, is to make someone happy 

And have a little heaven right here !’


Q1. What is the right time according to you?

Ans: The right time according to me is the present moment. Yesterday cannot be undone. Tomorrow cannot be predicted. Therefore, the only right time is today, i.e. the present. It is what we do ‘now’ that makes or mars our future.


Q2. What final suggestion did the last group of learned men offer, regarding the best time?

Ans: The final suggestion given by the last group of learned men was that it was impossible for one man to correctly decide the right time for every action and so the king should appoint a council of wise men to fix the proper time for everything.


Q3. Why did the king go to the hermit in disguise?

Ans: The king went in disguise to the hermit because the hermit spoke only to the common people.


Q4. How did the hermit respond to the king’s questions?

Ans: The hermit responded to the king by listening to him silently and then continuing with the work that he was doing, without saying anything.


Q5. In what state was the bearded man, when he arrived?

Ans: The bearded man came running out of the forest bleeding profusely because of a wound in his stomach. Although he had pressed his hand against the wound, the bleeding continued. As he reached the king, he fainted and fell to the ground, moaning feebly.


Q6. Why had the wounded man asked for the king’s pardon?

Ans: The wounded man was the brother of a man whom the king had executed and seized the property of. He had sworn to take revenge on the king. He was recognized and wounded by the king’s bodyguards from whom he escaped and if it were not for the king he wouldn’t have been alive. This was the reason the wounded man asked for the king’s pardon.


Q7. What qualities of the king stand out as he forgave his enemy?

Ans: The king’s caring nature, compassion and a sense of righteousness stood out as he forgave his enemy.


Q8. How did the hermit finally point out the answers to the king’s questions?

Ans: The hermit pointed out that the most important time is – now, because it’s the only time when we have any power. The most necessary person is the one with whom you are and the most important thing (occupation) is to do good to the person who is with you.


1. Read the story and answer whether the following statements are true or false.

(a) The people convinced the King to make a proclamation.

Ans: False


(b) The hermit spoke usually to everyone.

Ans: False


(c) The King received all answers from the hermit.

Ans: True


(d) The person the King saved and helped was his enemy.

Ans: True


(e) To do good to people is the purpose of our life.

Ans: True

2. Match the titles with the contents of the proper paragraph.

IMG 20230924 235444 Chapter 2.2 – Three Questions

Ans: (1) – (i), (2) – (h), (3) – (g), (4) – (j), (5) – (c), (6) – (b), (7) – (d), (8) – (f), (9) – (a), (10) – (e).

3. The character traits of the king and hermit are mixed up. Sort them out in the right box.

IMG 20230924 235504 Chapter 2.2 – Three Questions
IMG 20230924 235951 Chapter 2.2 – Three Questions


IMG 20230925 001332 Chapter 2.2 – Three Questions

4. Complete the Tree diagrams associated with the happenings in the story.


IMG 20230924 235521 Chapter 2.2 – Three Questions


IMG 20230925 001543 Chapter 2.2 – Three Questions


IMG 20230924 235534 Chapter 2.2 – Three Questions


IMG 20230925 001631 Chapter 2.2 – Three Questions


IMG 20230924 235554 Chapter 2.2 – Three Questions


IMG 20230925 001718 Chapter 2.2 – Three Questions


IMG 20230924 235609 Chapter 2.2 – Three Questions


IMG 20230925 001755 Chapter 2.2 – Three Questions

5. Write down in your notebook two points for each of the following. How do you know…

(a) the learned advisers who came to the court confused the king.

Ans: None of the learned advisers could give satisfactory answers to the king’s three questions, all of them had conflicting answers as they were not sure.


(b) the king was humble.

Ans: The king dressed as a simple man to meet the hermit. He told his bodyguards not to accompany him. He felt pity for the hermit and took the spade from his hand and started digging the ground. He helped the wounded man without thinking twice.


(c) the king’s enemy was repentant.

Ans: The care and love shown to the wounded man by the king, was the reason he was alive. This brought about a change of heart in the wounded man and he was ready to serve the king all his life.


(d) the hermit was truly wise.

Ans: The hermit’s actions and wisdom gave convincing answers to the king’s three questions. Though there was less talking, the experience which he got when he was with the hermit provided him all his answers.

6. Choose the correct answer and fill in the blanks.

(a) “Varied” (Paragraph-3) means ______ 

(i) different 

(ii) unnecessary 

(iii) unequal 

(iv) unimportant


Ans: (i) different 


(b) Many learned people came to the court and gave ______

(i) The same answers 

(ii) correct answers 

(iii) different answers 

(iv) wrong answers


Ans: (iii) different answers


(c) The synonym of ‘convinced’ is ______

(i) persuaded 

(ii) happy

(iii) unhappy 

(iv) angry


Ans: (i) persuaded


(d) The King wanted to know the time to begin everything ______ 

(i) right 

(ii) exact 

(iii) proper 

(iv) good


Ans: (i) right 


(e) ‘‘I pray you to answer my question.’’ Here ‘pray’ means ______

(i) plead to God 

(ii) request 

(iii) order 

(iv) suggest


Ans: (ii) request 


(f) Choose an adverb that collocates with “breathed ______

(i) hurriedly 

(ii) heavily 

(iii) hardly 

(iv) calmly


Ans: (vi) heavily

7. Answer the following questions.

(a) The learned people were sometimes divided in their opinions, different persons giving quite different answers; at other times, none of them gave an answer. They all suggested ways to look for an answer. Point out one example of each.

Ans: Examples of the different opinions and answers given by the people are:

(a) “Some people said that it was impossible for one man to decide the right time and so a council of wise people should be appointed for the same”.

(b) ‘Some people said that the warriors were the people most needed by the king.’

(c) ‘Some people said that religious worship was the most important thing to do.’


(b) Though the hermit did not say anything to the king for some time, he did not ignore the king or treat him rudely in any way. Do you agree? What evidence of his politeness can you point out? What shows that he listened and responded to the king’s words?

Ans: Yes, I agree that the hermit did not treat the king rudely or ignore him.

The hermit greeted the king, though he continued doing his work. This shows the hermit’s politeness. When the king told the hermit that he looked tired and suggested to the hermit that he should take the spade and work a while for the hermit, the hermit silently handed over the spade to the king and sat down on the ground. This incident shows that the hermit listened and responded to the king’s words.


(c) The hermit ‘spoke only to common people’; so the king ‘put on simple clothes’. Do you think the king hoped to be mistaken for a common man, or was he just showing that he was a humble person? What shows that the hermit knew him to be the king?

Ans: I think that the king wanted to show his humility by accepting the fact that the hermit would not speak to anyone except a common man. The king could have demanded an answer from the hermit, but he did not do so. Instead, he disguised himself as a common man to keep up with the principles of the hermit.

When the king arrived at the hermit’s place, the hermit greeted him but continued to do his work. This shows us that he knew that the person who came to him was ‘the king’. He knew that the king did not want anything other than the answers to his questions, as he must have heard the proclamation.


(d) Did the king behave as an ordinary person, rather than as a ruler, at the hermit’s hut? What shows it? Did he also act as a good, kind person? When did he do so?

Ans: Yes, the king not only disguised himself as a common man but also behaved like one. He saw that the hermit was tired from digging, took the spade from the hermit, and began to dig the ground himself. Yes, the king was a good and kind person because he helped to revive the wounded man. He not only made peace with the wounded man who had come to kill him but also promised to send his own men and physicians to attend to him.


(e) Do you think the hermit knew, beforehand, not only about the king’s arrival but about the ambush by his enemy? Think a little about this and say what you really feel.

Ans: I think that the hermit must have known before hand not only about the king’s arrival but also about the ambush. He just acknowledged the king with a greeting and continued doing his work without answering the questions asked by the king which was a little weird. According to me he may have been buying time so as to save the king’s life.

8. Consider this list of the different things that happened and rearrange them in the order of time, that is, what happened first, what happened next and so on. Read the related paragraph again if you are uncertain.

(a) The bearded man resolved to kill the king.

(b) The king went alone to see the hermit.

(c) The king executed the bearded man’s brother.

(d) The king spent the night at the hermit’s hut.

(e) The bearded man laid an ambush to kill the king.

(f) The king’s bodyguards recognised and wounded the bearded man.

(g) The bearded man came out of the ambush.


(i) The king executed the bearded man’s brother.

(ii) The king went alone to see the hermit.

(iii) The bearded man resolved to kill the king. 

(iv) The bearded man laid an ambush to kill the king.

(v) The bearded man came out of the ambush. 

(vi) The king’s bodyguards recognised and wounded the bearded man.

(vii) The king spent the night at the hermit’s hut.

9. Read the story in your own language, summarize the following aspects of the story in 4 to 5 lines each in your own language. Write it in your notebook.

(a) King’s problem :

Ans: The king felt that if he knew the right time to begin anything, the right people to listen to or avoid, and the right occupation to take up, he would be able to rule his kingdom well.


(b) Attempts made to find a solution :

Ans: The king made a proclamation of rewarding handsomely those who could answer his questions. He was unsatisfied by the answers he had received, so he visited a renowned wise hermit as he was convinced he would get his answers from him.


(c) Climax :

Ans: The king finally goes out to meet the hermit one last time after making peace with his enemy who had come there with the intention of killing him. This is when the hermit speaks to the king and points out that the king already had the answers to his questions. He proceeds to explain what he means thereafter.


(d) Solution :

Ans: The king got his answers through all that he experienced throughout the day with the hermit. The actions and wisdom of the hermit gave the answers to the king’s questions. The most important time is ‘now’, the most important person is the one you are with at that point of time and doing good for the person who is with you is the most important work. These, were the answers that he found with the hermit’s help.


(e) Message :

Ans: The present is the most important time. You have been sent into this world to do good deeds so do all the good you can to everyone around you. Love others as you would expect others to love you because love is the base of human existence. One must always remember what goes round comes round.

10. (A) The following compound words from the story are spelt in a jumbled order. Rearrange the letters to make them meaningful. 

(1) a r e e t u k d n  

Ans: undertake     


(2) y o n n a e  

Ans: anyone


(3) s t a p s i e m 

Ans: pastimes


(4) d u b g y r o a d 

Ans: bodyguard


(5) f r a w e r a 

Ans: warfare


(6) h e e d a r f o n b

Ans: beforehand


(7) h e i l n e w a m 

Ans: meanwhile


(8) n e v h i g r e t y 

Ans: everything

(B) From the story, find the collocations of the following.

(1) ______ important. 

Ans: most


(2) ______ intently

Ans: gazing


(3) frail and ______

Ans: weak


(4) widely ______

Ans: renowned


(5) ______ time 

Ans: right


(6) ______ blood 

Ans: warm


(7) simple ______

Ans: clothes


(8) ______ closed

Ans: eyes


(9) ______ asleep 

Ans: fell


(10) ______ peace

Ans: made

11. Say whether the Verbs underlined in the sentences are finite (limited by the number or person of the subject) or non-finite (not governed by the subject, number or person).

(1) He decides to go to a hermit.


decides – finite verb

to go – infinite verb


(2) I have come to you, wise hermit.

Ans: come – infinite verb


(3) He gave the reward to none.

Ans: gave – finite verb


(4) The hermit was digging the ground.

Ans: digging –  infinite verb


(5) I pray you to answer my questions.


pray – finite verb

to answer –  infinite verb


(6) ‘‘Forgive me.’’

Ans: forgive – finite verb


(7) The sun began to sink.


began – finite verb

to sink – infinite verb

12. Narrate an experience of your own that has helped you to realise that ‘Patience is bitter, but its fruit is sweet.’ Write it in your notebook, in about 20 lines.

Ans: I had been helping a dyslexic child cope with the English language. I tried every method I could think of to pique the child’s interest in language. This child would go into his dream world many times. At the beginning, I used to coax him out of his dreams by peeping into them and asking about them. As time passed, I felt I was not making any substantial improvements in the child. The child was very intelligent but had a very limited span of attention. The year went by, and his final exams were over. Although I did my best, I was unsure of the result, and this hurt me a lot. His mother wanted me to help him the next year as well. I was a little dejected because I felt my hard work was wasted. I told his mother to give me some time to decide. In the meantime, his results were out, and his class teacher praised him for doing exceptionally well in English. When I got to hear about this, I was extremely elated, and then and there I decided to help him until the time he needed me.

13. After reading this story, develop a dialogue with 2 of your classmates about the characters in the story. Besides the tactful introduction to the conversation and write 8 to 10 sets of dialogues.


(Roma is walking back home with her classmate Prachi after an English lecture in which they read ‘The Three Questions’.)

Prachi: I am really anxious about our exams next month. I get so anxious that I don’t get proper sleep. I don’t know what to do?

Roma: Don’t stress yourself. It won’t help. Just give your best. I guess the story that we just read today is what you need to practise in your life. Don’t live in the future, but concentrate on the present.

Prachi: Yes, it was indeed a wonderful story. Such a deep message. The hermit in the story was so wise.

Roma: Yes, I wish we had at least some of his wisdom.

Prachi: Yes, if not be like him, at least have someone like him in our lives. How I wish we were as lucky as the king!

Roma: I know. It’s always good to have such a mentor. But I feel even the king was inspiring. Most people become arrogant and pompous when in power. Yet the king in the story was so humble and thoughtful.

Prachi: Yes, he forgave a man who came to kill him. That is indeed great! To forgive is one of the most difficult tasks. I can’t forgive someone even for a small mistake.

Roma: Yes, it is indeed an act of a kind person. I wish we could become like that. The world would be so much better if all of us were more considerate towards each other.

Prachi: Definitely! I would like to have the calm and patient nature that both the hermit and the king showed.

Roma: Yes, indeed! We are so impatient and intolerant. We want everything quick and ready- made. I get frustrated even if the search result takes a few minutes to load. We really have become restless in this fast-paced life.

Prachi: Both the characters in the story are idols we should follow. Let’s at least put in a sincere effort to change a little.

Roma: I will definitely try. Correct me when you feel I am doing otherwise. In this way we can help each other change.

Prachi: Certainly!

(They reach Prachi’s home.)

Prachi: Bye. See you tomorrow!

Roma: See you!

14. From the library or Internet, read the story ‘How much land does a man need?’ by Leo Tolstoy and write a review of the same, covering the following points.

Background of the story






Background of the story – Leo Tolstoy wrote “How much land does a man need?” against the backdrop of massive changes in the 19th century in Russia. Until the emancipation of Russian Serfs by Czar Alexander II, the peasants were virtual slaves of landowners and aristocrats. Tolstoy wrote this story after the Serfs had already got their freedom for 25 years. They now had rights and their own land. There was progress among the peasants but Tolstoy was apprehensive whether the peasants’ progress brought changes they would regret. This story brings a harsh warning of unchecked materialism which is clearly established through the fate of Pahom, the protagonist of the story and his sad, untimely death.

Characters – Pahom (the protagonist), his wife, his sister-in-law, the Bashkirs and the Devil. 


Plot/Theme – Pahom, a Russian peasant, overhears his wife and her sister having an argument over whether it is better to live in the country or the city. This lands Pahom to make the dangerous declaration that if he had just enough land, he would not even fear the Devil. The Devil hears this boast and decides to put this to the test and exploits the greed of Pahom. The story relates Pahom’s success in buying land, yet also his dissatisfaction.


Climax – Pahom comes to know about the Bashkir region where very fertile land can be purchased very cheaply. The Bashkirs agree to sell him for a 1000 roubles, as much land as he can pace off in a day as long as he returns before the end of the day to the starting point. Pahom walks far, trying to get as much as land as possible, but when he sees more fertile land ahead of him, greed overtakes his senses and he keeps walking further and further away without realizing it would be difficult for him to return to the starting point. In his rush to get back to the starting point which he succeeds in, he collapses and dies. When he dies the Baskhirs ask Pahom’s servant to bury him on the same land and he ends up with six feet of land, enough to bury him instead of all the land that he had acquired.


Message or Moral – The story tells us about the destructive consequences of human ambition and greed. The message is clear, a warning against biting off more than you can chew. The story shows us how human nature pushes us to want more and more. We are never content, no matter how well off we may be. While trying to improve our standard of living, we put ourselves in danger of ending up with nothing. It gives us the message, how greed and excessive desire for earthly desires can destroy a person.

Posted By Amin to OMTEX CLASSES at Feb 6, 2024, 9:58 PM















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