Cabbage White – Class 10 Exercise

Cabbage White is a reading text of class 10 under unit-4 Work and Leisure. In this article we have highlighted the exercise of the text : Cabbage White; an species of butterfly.

Cabbage White

Sarah and Jamie stood on their tiptoe and gave the card from their school to the tall man behind the counter of a farm. The man frowned and made a face.

“So you’re looking for some work, And who are you?” “I’m Sarah. I’m twelve. This is my brother Jamie; he’s eleven.”

“Shouldn’t you be at school?”

“We are on holiday. And would like to earn some money and support our parents.” The man lifted his hat and scratched his head. “Working on the farm is quite a tough job for kids like you. I need somebody big and strong to work here,” he said.

“There must be some work for us in this big farm. Could you please find one?” Sarah pleaded.

“And right. Let’s see. Do you know what a Cabbage White is?” the man asked.

“Yes. It’s a beautiful white butterfly that lays its eggs on cabbages. And those eggs change into caterpillars.”, answered Sarah.

“And do you know what the caterpillars do?”

“They eat the cabbage leaves!” shouted Jamie.

“Aren’t you afraid of caterpillars?” asked the man.

“Not at all.” retorted Sarah.

“Alright. So, I think I have a job for you.”

“Oh! Thank you very much. And what is the work?”, they said.

“I want you to check every single cabbage in the garden and eliminate all the caterpillars,” replied the man.

“Er…how?” wondered Jamie.

“You pick them off and collect them.”

“Is it alright if we collect them in one of these pails?”


“How much will you pay us?” Sarah asked.

“Let me see how you get on, first. If I am happy with your work, I’ll not disappoint you with the pay. I’ll be in the greenhouse. Get started and I’ll see you later.”

Shortly, armed with a pail each, the children approached the cabbage patch. It was so enormous. “There must be a million cabbages here!” Jamie said.

“At least!” Sarah said. “And if there are ten caterpillars on each cabbage that makes there a billion caterpillars!”

Sarah stood open-mouthed. The job looked really tough. Jamie wondered about her arithmetic, but knew better than to dispute. They started on the first row of cabbages. It was really a hideous job. The caterpillars wriggled as they were picked up. It took the two children ages to finish the first row, and already they couldn’t see the bottom of their buckets for caterpillars. And all around them, the air was filled with Cabbage White butterflies. The insects seemed to be mocking them. They seemed to be saying: “We don’t care if you kill our caterpillars. We can lay millions of eggs.”

Sarah and Jamie were now very desperate.

Sarah struck out at a butterfly. She missed, of course. She watched it fly gaily away. Then she had an idea, as brilliant in its way as Einstein coming up with e=mc2.

“Jamie, caterpillars come from eggs, right?” He nodded at her remarks. “And where do eggs come from?” she inquired further.

“The Butterflies lay on them.” “Right. So”, she reasoned, “if we get rid of the butterflies, there won’t be any more eggs or caterpillars.” “Right.” Jamie agreed.

“So, why don’t we get rid of the butterflies!”

“How?” he asked.

Nearby, there were beans climbing up bamboo poles. Sarah removed two poles. Two bean plants died. She handed one of the poles to Jamie, and then rushed into the cabbage patch, swinging her pole round and round trying to hit the butterflies. This seemed to Jamie like a good game, so he followed her. It is not easy to hit flying butterflies, but it is not difficult to hit them when they settle on cabbages. Soon the ground was covered with dead butterflies. Sarah and Jamie fought on until they were completely exhausted. Then they stood back to admire their work. There were hardly any butterflies left. There were hardly any cabbages left, either. It is  difficult to hit a butterfly on a cabbage without hitting the cabbage too. The cabbage patch looked like a battle-field. Not a cabbage was left standing. The children looked at each other. Without a word, they put down the bamboo poles and tiptoed out of the garden.

“He knows our names,” Jamie said.

“But he does not know where we live,” Sarah said.

“Thank goodness,” they both said.

(Adapted from Happy Days and Short Stories by Jake Allsop)



tiptoe: walking quietly on the balls of one’s feet without the heels touching the ground.

frowned: furrowed one’s eyebrows in an expression of disapproval, displeasure, or concentration.

tough: strong and durable, difficult to cut, break, or chew.

pleaded: make an emotional appeal, make a sincere and earnest request.

eliminate: remove or get rid of completely, to exclude.

greenhouse: a building with glass walls and roof, used for growing plants that need warmth and protection.

open-mouthed: with one’s mouth wide open in amazement or surprise.

dispute: an argument or disagreement between two or more people.

hideous: ugly or disgusting to look at, extremely unpleasant.

wriggled: move in a twisting or contorted motion, make small twisting movements.

gaily: in a joyful or cheerful manner.

exhausted: extremely tired or fatigued.

admire: regard with respect, approval, and pleasure, to praise or appreciate.

A. Match the following meanings in the left column with the correct words in the right.


  1. to laugh at somebody in an unkind way
i. mock
  1. very unpleasant  
ii. ideous
  1. to twist and turn the body or part of it with quick,            short movements
iii. wriggle
  1. in a cheerful way
iv. gaily
  1. very surprised or shocked
v. open-mouthed
  1. to ask for something in a serious and emotional way
vi. plead
  1. to make a facial expression indicating disapproval
vii. frown
  1. to argue or disagree strongly with somebody
viii. dispute

B. The word tiptoe refers to the way of walking with one’s heels off the ground, in order to make them taller or to move very quietly. Consult a dictionary and find the meanings of the following words related to walking.

sneak      stroll        lurch        stagger            stride               stumble

Sneak      : to move quietly and carefully in order to avoid being seen or heard.

Stroll        : to walk in a slow, relaxed way, especially for pleasure.

Lurch       : to walk or move suddenly in an uncontrolled way, especially because you are surprised, in pain, or have lost your balance.

Stagger    : to walk or move unsteadily, as if about to fall, because you are weak, tired, or drunk.

Stride       : to walk with long steps in a particular direction, especially in a confident way.

Stumble   : to almost fall over something or to walk in a way that is not steady.

C. Answer these questions.

Why do you think the man frowned his face when Sarah and Jamie gave him their school card?

There are several possibilities for the man’s frown when Sarah and Jamie presented their school IDs. He might have been concerned about their age and believed they should be prioritizing their education.

Why were Sarah and Jamie looking for a job instead of going to school?

Sarah and Jamie’s decision to seek employment instead of attending school suggests potential financial hardship within their family. They likely felt a need to contribute financially.

Why was the man ready to give them work in his farm?

The man’s willingness to offer them work on his farm could be due to a combination of factors. He might have required assistance with farm tasks, and Sarah and Jamie’s initiative in seeking work demonstrated their willingness to contribute.

What work were they supposed to do at the man’s farm?

The specific task assigned to Sarah and Jamie involved removing caterpillars from the cabbage plants on the farm.

Were there really a million or billion caterpillars in the cabbage field? If not, what do Sarah and Jamie mean by a million or billion caterpillars?

The mention of “a million or billion caterpillars” is most likely an exaggeration on Sarah and Jamie’s part. This hyperbole emphasizes the overwhelming number of caterpillars and the difficulty of the task.

What were Sarah and Jamie desperate about?

Sarah and Jamie’s desperation arose from the unexpected difficulty and time-consuming nature of removing the caterpillars from the cabbages.

What was Sarah’s ‘brilliant’ idea?

Sarah’s “brilliant” idea aimed to address the root cause of the problem. She proposed eliminating the Cabbage White butterflies that laid eggs on the cabbages, preventing the development of future caterpillars.

Were the children happy with their work? Give reasons for your answer.

Several factors suggest that Sarah and Jamie were unhappy with their assigned work. The task of removing caterpillars proved tedious and unpleasant. Additionally, the sheer number of butterflies and caterpillars likely caused frustration, leading to their unsuccessful attempt to control the problem with bamboo poles.

Why did they run away from the farm secretly?

Sarah and Jamie’s decision to leave the farm secretly stemmed from the unintended consequences of their actions. Their attempt to eliminate the butterflies with bamboo poles resulted in the destruction of the cabbage patch. Fearing the man’s reaction, particularly potential punishment instead of payment, they chose to depart without informing him.

D. Read the story and write ‘True’ for true statements, and ‘False’ for false ones. If the information is not given in the text, write ‘Not Given’.

Sarah and Jamie’s parents were unable to work to support the family. Not Given

Sarah and Jamie have never been to school. False

The man decides to pay them upon the completion of their work. True

Sarah and Jamie had not expected to find so many caterpillars in the cabbage field. Not Given

Sarah’s idea finally worked to finish off their job. Ture

They were caught by the farm owner while running away. False

Grammar – I

A. Read the story below and tell what the underlined words are used for.

– All he could see on the clear water was a little fish. (could: indicating ability or possibility)

– This might be a good breakfast for me. (might: expressing possibility or uncertainty)

– Master Heron should not be happy with such a tiny fish. (should: expressing obligation, expectation or recommendation)

– I wouldn’t even trouble to open my beak for anything like that. (wouldn’t: expressing a negative conditional)

– while I may have a lovely dinner. (may: expressing possibility or permission)

– But I must play a trick on the octopus. (must: expressing obligation or necessity)

– The poor Heron had to be content for breakfast on a tiny Snail. (had to: expressing necessity or obligation)

This can’t be Safal’s coat. It is too small for him. (“Can’t” indicates something is not possible) 

Could you please tell me the way to the airport? (“Could” is used for polite requests) 

Would you like to stay with us at the weekend? (“Would” is used for invitations) 

Do you know where Jack is? He might be in his office. (“Might” indicates possibility) 

The sky is overcast. It may rain in the afternoon. (“May” indicates possibility) 

Sanam has been working in the field all day. She must be tired. (“Must” indicates a strong possibility based on evidence) 

The film is really wonderful. You should see it at least once. (“Should” is used to give advice)

B. Complete the sentences below with must or can’t in the blank spaces.

Must be lost – We use “must” here because the man’s action (looking around) strongly suggests he’s lost. 

Can’t be a doctor – We use “can’t be” here because the statement following it (not studied medicine) makes being a doctor impossible. 

Must not have prepared well – “Must not” indicates a strong possibility in the negative. Sushmita failing suggests she didn’t prepare well. 

Must have employed excellent chefs – “Must” indicates a strong possibility based on the consistently good food. 

Must be something wrong – Similar to sentence a, the unusual sound strongly suggests a problem. 

Must have had hard times – “Must have” indicates a strong possibility based on the situation (job loss and supporting parents). 

Can’t be Sumana’s book – The library stamp makes it very unlikely to be Sumana’s book. 

Must have had hard times – Similar to sentence f, the situation suggests he’s facing difficulties.

Writing I

Bhanu-10, Tanahun

18 August

The Headteacher,

Shree Janajagriti Secondary School,

Bhanu 10, Tanahun

Subject: Job application for the position of School Secretary

Dear Sir/Madam,

I am writing to apply for the position of School Secretary that was recently advertised on The Tanahun Post. I am a young girl of 20 and possess all the skills and qualifications that you are looking for. After my SLC, I worked as an office secretary for a year at Himalayan Investment Company Limited. Moreover, I possess good skills in handling a wide range of tasks at the institution.

As an experienced secretary, I have a proven record of successfully managing administrative and secretarial duties. I also possess sound skills of spoken and written English besides the Nepali language. I have enclosed the copies of my relevant credentials required for the position.

I have a keen interest to work with students and support their academics. If I am appointed as the secretary in your school, I will provide excellent customer service. I look forward to working with your team. I am confident that I can be a valuable asset to your school.


Pabitra Nepali


[Your Address]


The HR Manager

Kimatsu Electronics and Home Appliances Company

Kathmandu, Nepal

Subject: Job Application for Marketing Manager

Dear Sir/Madam,

I am writing to apply for the position of Marketing Manager advertised on your website. With my Bachelor’s degree in Management and 3 years of experience in the field of marketing, I believe that I possess the necessary skills and qualifications required for this position.

During my career, I have gained expertise in sales and marketing planning, projection report, and reporting. I have experience in handling various marketing campaigns and initiatives that helped the company to reach its sales goals. I have a good command of the Nepali and English language, and I am proficient in computer literacy with advanced skills in Microsoft Excel and Word.

I am highly motivated, result-oriented, and committed to achieving the objectives of the company. My strong leadership skills, ability to work in a team, and creativity in marketing strategies will be an asset to your company. I am confident that I can contribute to your company’s growth and success.

Please find attached my curriculum vitae (CV) and scanned copy of my citizenship for your consideration. I would appreciate the opportunity to discuss my application further at an interview. Thank you for considering my application.

Yours sincerely,


About the Story: Cabbage White

A. Setting

The narrative unfolds in a rural setting, specifically a working farm. During their vacation, Sarah and Jamie seek employment at this establishment. The key locations within the farm include the reception counter, where they initially inquire about work opportunities, and the expansive cabbage patch, where they ultimately perform their tasks.

This cabbage patch is characterized by its vastness, consisting of numerous rows of cabbages. The presence of a significant number of Cabbage White butterflies further emphasizes the agricultural nature of the environment. The majority of the children’s time is spent within this area, primarily focused on removing caterpillars from the cabbage plants. Later attempts are made to deter the butterflies themselves.

Additionally, a greenhouse is mentioned, which the farm manager (initially encountered at the counter) enters while the children are occupied with their tasks. This reinforces the rural and agricultural theme, highlighting the farm’s focus on crop production.

B. Characters


  • Age: 12 years old
  • Role: Sister to Jamie, vacationing with family
  • Personality Traits: Determined, resourceful, responsible


  • Age: 11 years old
  • Role: Brother to Sarah, accompanying her on vacation
  • Relationship: Accompanies Sarah on job search and work

Farm Manager: (replacing “tall man behind the counter”)

  • Role: Overseer of the farm’s operations
  • Initial Reservation: Doubts children’s ability to handle the workload (perceived difficulty)
  • Persuaded by: Sarah’s confidence and initiative

Cabbage White Butterfly:

  • Scientific Name: Pieris rapae (optional for academic text)
  • Description: White butterfly that lays eggs on cabbage plants
  • Detrimental Effect: Eggs hatch into caterpillars that consume cabbage leaves
  • Task: Sarah and Jamie are tasked with removing these caterpillars from the cabbages.


The narrative commences with siblings Sarah (aged 12) and Jamie (aged 11) on their school vacation, seeking employment to financially assist their parents. They approach a rural farm and present a card, presumably issued by their school’s work experience program, to the farm manager stationed at the reception counter.

Initially apprehensive, the farm manager expresses doubt regarding the children’s ability to handle the physical demands of farm work. However, Sarah and Jamie, exhibiting a strong sense of filial responsibility, reiterate their desire to contribute financially. After careful consideration, the farm manager assigns them the task of eradicating caterpillars from the extensive cabbage patch.

Equipped with pails, Sarah and Jamie embark on their first agricultural endeavor. The sheer size of the cabbage patch quickly reveals the arduous nature of their assigned task. Each cabbage requires meticulous inspection and manual removal of any present caterpillars. Their initial optimism wanes as they struggle to complete even the first row, overwhelmed by the sheer volume of the unwelcome pests. The situation is further compounded by the presence of a multitude of Cabbage White butterflies flitting around the patch, seemingly oblivious to the children’s mounting frustration.

Overcome by both fatigue and a sense of futility, Sarah, in a moment of desperation, attempts (and fails) to swat a butterfly. However, this event sparks an impulsive idea. Believing that eliminating the adult butterflies would prevent future egg-laying and subsequent caterpillar infestations, Sarah proposes a drastic course of action. Armed with bamboo poles, both children begin a frenzied pursuit of the butterflies. While initially successful in reducing the butterfly population, their aggressive approach results in the unintended destruction of the cabbage plants themselves. The previously flourishing patch is now a disheartening tableau of trampled vegetation, devoid of the intended harvest.

Confronted with the devastation they have wrought, Sarah and Jamie, fearing potential repercussions, make a hasty retreat from the ravaged cabbage patch. The story concludes with the siblings contemplating their actions, burdened by the worry of having inadvertently caused significant trouble for both themselves and their family.


Unforeseen Consequences: The story explores the theme of unintended consequences arising from impulsive actions. While Sarah and Jamie demonstrate determination by tackling the task and initiative by proposing a solution, their lack of foresight leads to the destruction of the crops.

The Limits of Initiative: While initiative is valuable, the story highlights the importance of planning and understanding the bigger picture before taking action. Sarah and Jamie’s well-meaning but poorly thought-out plan backfires.

The Importance of Experience: The narrative subtly suggests the value of experience. The farm manager’s initial hesitation reflects his understanding of the complexities of farm work, which Sarah and Jamie, due to their age and lack of experience, underestimate.

Here are some literary tools present in the story:

Dialogue: The story is mainly told through the conversations between the characters.

Imagery: The descriptions of the cabbage patch and the butterflies create vivid images in the reader’s mind.

Irony: The fact that the children end up destroying the entire cabbage patch instead of just removing the caterpillars is an example of irony.

Metaphor: The Cabbage White butterfly is a metaphor for the idea that small actions can have big consequences.

Foreshadowing: When the children first see the cabbage patch, they are overwhelmed by its size, which foreshadows the difficulty of the task they have been given.

Symbolism: The bamboo poles that the children use to swat the butterflies are symbolic of their resourcefulness and willingness to take action.

Allusion: The story alludes to the idea that nature can be both beautiful and destructive.

Hyperbole: Sarah’s statement that there are a billion caterpillars in the cabbage patch is an example of hyperbole.