Reading Comprehension Quiz

[A new interlinear poem will be available each Monday: Weekly Interlinear Poem .]

Use the dictionary, the acronym finder, and the word origins dictionary (links above) as needed. A new quiz is available each Monday through Thursday. This is the quiz for May 11.

From "In the Catskills" by John Burroughs (died 1921)

In coming off the mountain in the morning we ran upon a huge porcupine. . . The beast cantered along the path in my front, and I threw myself upon him, shielded by my roll of blankets. He submitted quietly to the indignity and lay very still under my blankets, with his broad tail pressed close to the ground. This I proceeded to investigate but had not fairly made a beginning when it went off like a trap, and my hand and wrist were full of quills. This caused me to let up on the creature, when it lumbered away till it tumbled down a precipice. The quills were quickly removed from my hand, and we gave chase. When we came up to him, he had wedged himself in between rocks so that he presented only a back bristling with quills, with the tail lying in ambush below. He had chosen his position well and seemed to defy us. After amusing ourselves by repeatedly springing his tail and receiving the quills in a rotten stick, we made a slip-noose out of a spruce root, and, after much maneuvering, got it over his head and led him forth. In what a peevish, injured tone the creature did complain of our unfair tactics! He protested and protested and whimpered and scolded like some infirm old man tormented by boys. His game after we led him forth was to keep himself as much as possible in the shape of a ball, but with two sticks and the cord we finally threw him over on his back and exposed his quill-less and vulnerable under side, when he fairly surrendered and seemed to say, "Now you may do with me as you like." His great chisel-like teeth, which are quite as formidable as those of the woodchuck, he does not appear to use at all in his defense but relies entirely upon his quills, and when those fail him he is done for.

After amusing ourselves with him awhile longer, we released him and went on our way.

1. For defense the porcupine relies upon
A. his quills.
B. sharp teeth.
C. speed of locomotion.
D. whimpering and scolding.
2. The quills in a person's hand
A. release a poison.
B. require medical treatment.
C. cause permanent injury.
D. can be quickly removed.
3. The porcupine surrendered
A. when he was injured.
B. when he was on his back.
C. when he shot quills from his tail.
D. when he was caught in a noose.
4. To be "done for" is
A. to die.
B. to protest.
C. to lose a contest.
D. to continue to fight.
A longer selection can be found at In the Catskills.

Write down your answers and then see Answer Key below.

Answer Key: 1-A..........2-D..........3-B..........4-C
Corrections? Questions? Comments? E-mail Robert Jackson at