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Book Review: Grandpa Fights an Ostrich by Ruskin Bond

Grandpa Fights an Ostrich by Ruskin Bond is a short story about his grandfather’s fight with an Ostrich in East Africa. Before joining the Indian Railways, he had worked for East African Railway. It was a long ago. Ruskin’s grandfather was living in a small town. However, his work was related to laying railway tracks and it was twelve miles away from the town. He would go and come back every day on a horseback.

One day his horse meets with a slight accident. Thus, he decides to continue his journey on foot. He knows the short route through mountains which can save him about six miles. Well, this short cut passes through an ostrich farm or camp. It is the breeding season. He is fairly familiar with the ways of ostriches; especially male birds are over-the-top aggressive and are always ready to attack. But he has a dog with him who can scare away any bird that may try to attack him. Soon, the dog starts chasing a hare. Grandpa shouts out to call back the dog. Meanwhile one male ostrich being disturbed by the dog’s barking and man’s shout, comes running to him. Grandpa – alone and without any weapon – feels frightened and begins running towards the fence. He finds a thicket of thorn bushes and then begins running around it. He is tired of running and is about to fall of exhaustion. He stops and when the ostrich charges at him in full speed, he jumps to one side, but instead of landing safe on the ground he finds himself clinging to its flap of the wing.

The ostrich retreats frighteningly. It loses its attacking stance and goes round and round the bush to throw him away from its body. Grandpa dares not leaving it, but due to exhaustion he loses the grip and falls on the ground. Soon, the ostrich comes upon him with one leg ready to press him. But soon his dog comes running and scares the ostrich. Finally, he is saved by the dog.

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