It had no eyes, ears, nose or mouth

Collection of Short Stories (10)

Read the extract given below and answer the questions that follow:

It had no eyes, ears, nose or mouth. It was just a round smooth head - with a school cap on top of it! And that’s where the story should end. But for Mr. Oliver it did not end here.

The torch fell from his trembling hand. He turned and scrambled down the path, running blindly through the trees and calling for help. He was still running towards the school buildings when he saw a lantern swinging in the middle of the path.

(i) Who was Mr. Oliver?

(Anglo-Indian) teacher

Where did he encounter ‘It’?

On his way home/ back (from the Simla Bazaar)

In the pine forest

‘It’ was sitting on a rock

(ii) Where did Mr. Oliver work?

In a school

Why did Life magazine describe this place as the ‘Eton of the East’?

School was run like an English Public School

Attended mostly by boys from wealthy Indian families

Boys wore blazers, caps and ties.

(iii) Why had Mr. Oliver approached ‘It’ in the first place?

Oliver spotted the figure of a boy sitting alone on a rock/ boys were not supposed to be out at night/ sensed something was wrong/ boy appeared to be crying / a strange, soundless weeping that make Oliver uneasy.

What had he mistaken it for?

A school boy/ miscreant

(iv) What is a lantern?

Lamp with a transparent case (usually made of glass) to protect the flame or bulb - carried by long handle by which it can be hung

Who was holding the lantern?

A man / figure who Mr. Oliver mistook for the watchman.

Why did Mr. Oliver feel relieved at the sight of the lantern?

He was afraid/ lantern / light meant hope in the dark / horror-filled night after his strange encounter/ relief from darkness/ calmness and safety - lantern in the hands of a watchman meant safety and help.

(v) Briefly describe the meeting between the lantern-bearer and Mr. Oliver.

Mr. Oliver fled from the strange apparition - he was lost and terrified without his torch to guide him.

Relieved and filled with hope he stumbled upto the watchman and described his recent terrifying encounter with the creature with no eyes, ears, nose and mouth.

The watchman lifted the lantern to his face and asked ‘Do you mean it was like this, Sahib? He too had no eyes, ears, no features at all - not even an eyebrow. At that moment the wind blew out the lamp.

State one reason why ‘A Face in the Dark’ could be considered a horror story.

The setting / darkness / strange encounter/ faceless boy/ man/ story is open ended - reader does not know how the story ends.