Mijbil the Otter: Summary and Analysis

Mijbil the Otter is written by Gavin Maxwell. The poet talks about how his life changed when he kept an otter pet after losing his pet dog. He takes his readers through his journey of him playing and all of his experiences with his otter- Mijbil. His journey started from a flight from Iraq to London, where he developed a bond with the otter. The otter created havoc during the flight and a kind air-hostess helped the writer travel with Mijbil.

Mijbil the Otter Summary

At the start of the story, the poet travels to Basra with his friend. During their journey, the poet expresses his desire to domesticate an otter because he had lost his pet dog and felt lonely. His friend advised that he should get one from the Marshes along the Tigris river in Iraq. The two reached the destination, and they found only the friend’s mail. The friend left in some days ad the narrator was still waiting for his mail to arrive. After he received it, he went to his room and discovered an otter, which was accompanied by the Arabs and a message. The otter’s name was Mijbil, and in short, Mij.

Mij took a while to familiarize himself with the surroundings. Mij enjoyed playing with water and had even learned how to open the faucet himself. The time passed smoothly in Basra, but now it was time to fly back to London. British Airlines do not allow animals, which caused the poet to book some other flight that would allow Mij on a flight in a box. The narrator had to put Mij in a box an hour before the flight and left to get a meal. As he came back, he found that the box was still and Mij had made holes and ruined the internal lining. This resulted in blood coming out of the holes. He was scared and rushed to the airport because only ten minutes were left for the flight to take off.

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He cleaned the box and managed to reach the airport on time. He explained the entire incident to the air hostess to suggested that he keeps the contained on his lap. The poet was thankful for the kindness she showed him. As soon as the author opened the container, the otter leaped out and disappeared. This created chaos in the flight. Passengers got so scared. The air hostess took Mij to the poet, and they eventually reached London. Mij really liked ping-pong balls and marbles. He even developed recreation with the narrator’s broken suitcase.

The narrator took Mij for a walk, and the people in London made wild guesses about the animal. Some people thought he was an infant seal, squirrel, or maybe a hippo. The most shocking response was from a laborer who was digging a hole and asked the author, “what is that purported to be?”

Mijbil the Otter Analysis

Gavin Maxwell, the poet, used to live in a cottage in the West Highlands of Scotland. His dog passed away, and he became very sad. He was very lonely without a pet. He visited Southern Iraq in 1959 and saw some Arabs keeping otters as pets. He expressed how he’d like to have an otter for a pet to his friend, suggested getting one near the Tigris river. The otter was named Mijbil. He was very indifferent to the author earlier but then became quite intimate with him. The poet faced a lot of issues transporting the otter from Basra to England. The airlines did not allow animals, and the author had to book another flight. He had to confine Mij to a box which destroyed. There was blood coming out of the holes in the box. The air hostess let the author keep the box with Mij on his lap. Mijbil was in the box and disappeared in the airplane just as the author opened the box. The air hostess was very kind and helped the poet find Mij. In London, Mij was an absolute mystery, and people could not recognize the animal. Some called him a seal, other a squirrel, and some called him a beaver. The best question was from a laborer who asked what that was supposed to be.

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Mijbil the Otter Theme

From a travelogue to Iraq, the poet finds out how many Iraqi have otters as their pets. This made him decide to keep an otter as his pet. Since the death of his dog, the author was lonely. The theme of the story is the bond between the pet otter and the poet share. The story is about the experiences that the poet has with the otter. The poet talks about how the otter was quick to get used to his changed surroundings and how he loved the water. The otter enjoyed playing with water and really his baths. The story highlights how the otter was quick to fill the void left behind because of the death of the poet’s dog. It also humorously highlights how the people in London were so unfamiliar with the animal and made all kinds of assumptions about who he was. 

Mijbil the Otter Analysis Key Points

The story talks about how the otter changed the poet’s life. He takes the readers through the journey and his experiences with the otter. The journey begins from a flight to London, and the otter creates a problem and scares everyone. The generous air-hostess helps the poet. In London, people are clueless and try to guess the animal’s name. The story is a description of the bond between the poet and his otter. The story ends with the wild assumptions that the people in London make about who the animal really is. They make all kinds of guesses about who it is like a seal, a squirrel, and some called him a beaver. The best question was from a laborer who asked what that was supposed to be. The story about the bond is humorous and heartwarming.

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