Too Dear – Leo Tolstoy – English Notes for 2nd PUC and Diploma Students

Too Dear – Comprehension I

1. Why was ‘Monaco’ called a ‘Toy Kingdom’?

Because it was a tiny little kingdom with a population of only about seven thousand people.

2. Name the commodities taxed in Monaco.

Tobacco, wine and spirits and poll-tax. They also introduced a new gaming tax.

3. What was the source of the King’s special revenue? Who were its beneficiaries?

The source of the kings special revenue came from gambling called Roulette. The gaming house-keeper got a percentage on the turnover of which h paid large sums to the king as tax.

4. Why did the Germans stop gaming houses in their country and how did it benefit Monaco?

The Germans stopped gaming-houses because many people lost all their money, also took loans to gamble again to lose it. After risking all they had, they would drown or shoot themselves, in despair. The prince of Monaco profited because his was the only gambling house in the whole of Europe, where all would come to gamble.

5. What was the punishment given to the murderer?

The prisoner was sentenced to death by cutting – off his head.

6. The death sentence was converted into life imprisonment because

  • a. Monaco had abolished death penalty.
  • b. Carrying out death sentence was expensive.
  • c. Monaco wanted to show mercy on the criminal.

Ans: B. Carrying out death sentence was expensive.

7. How much did the king spend on the criminal, annually?

More than 600 Francs.

8. On what condition did the criminal agree to go away from the prison? Why was his demand fulfilled?

The prisoner agreed to go away if he were promised a sum of 600 Francs per year regularly.

Too Dear – Comprehension II

1. Though gambling is a dirty business, why does the king of Monaco resort to it?

As there was no other way to generate enough money to keep himself, his courtiers and officials; this was the only new source of revenue.

2. Why did the king of Monaco keep changing his mind in dealing with the criminal?

Because of the expenses involved in carrying out the death sentence or in his imprisonment.

3. Why was the criminal reluctant to go out of the prison?

The criminal was reluctant to go out of the prison because he thought it would have been better if his head was cut-off. Now, his character was ruined, the people will turn their backs on him and he, during his imprisonment was adjusted to the lazy life, free food etc.

4. How did the criminal lead his life after his release?

The criminal received one third of his pension in advance, and went to another country not far away and bought a small piece of land and started farming. He also drew his annual pension and lead a easy life. He also gambled a few Francs.

Too Dear – Comprehension III

1. ‘You can’t earn stone palaces by honest labor’ In what context in this statement made?

‘You can’t earn stone palaces by honest labor’. The king meant that if he does not tax people for drinking and smoking tobacco and also gambling even though it is dirty business he can’t live in a palace and pay his officials.

2. Though the trial and imprisonment of the criminal is depicted in a comic mode in this story, it does give rise to serious questions. What are they?

  • A. Can a criminal or murderer be released with pension if the government cannot bear the expense of his imprisonment?
  • B. Is it wise to promote, smoking, drinking and gambling just because it gives revenue to the government?

3. Were there other ways of dealing with crime and the criminal? Discuss in the light of the story.

Yes, crime can be kept under control if bad habits like drinking alcohol, smoking tobacco, gambling are restricted.

Your thoughts on this?