The Man Who Knew Too Much Summary by Alexander Baron

The Professor

Private Quelch is an arrogant man who likes to boast off his knowledge and humiliate his mates. He was really intelligent and worked extremely hard to reach the position of honour in the army. But his biggest flaw was his own pride.

Due to his obnoxious nature, he is called Professor. He thought that by being assertive and boastful he could gain promotions and rise up the military ranks. He challenged his peers to physical contests like long walks and runs etc and beat them too.

On another occasion, the Professor tried to show his superior knowledge by predicting the name of an aircraft just by its noise. Similarly, he interrupted a teacher when he was discussing the velocity of a tracer bullet.

Pride Leads to Fall

However, often pride leads to the final fall. That is true even in the case of Quelch who brought his own downfall by overestimating his own abilities and knowledge. His irritating behavior led one of his superiors to relegate him permanently to kitchen duty.

One of the teachers, Cor. Turnbull did not appreciate Professor’s haughty nature and punished him. While he was giving a lecture on grenades he was constantly badgered by the Professor.

A Reward

Disgruntled at his constant interruptions, Turnbull asked the professor to take the class in his place which he gladly accepted and did with aplomb. After the professor finished, Turnbull said he was going to reward the professor the most important of appointments – the permanent cook in the army kitchen. It was fitting punishment to the Professor who did not know when to keep his mouth shut.

But even in the kitchen, Professor Quelch continued his lessons, this time on how to get the maximum vitamins and mineral value out of vegetables. Some people do not change even when it is for their own benefit!

Moral of the Story

The story teaches the importance of humility and respect. Knowledge, power and ability should make one more humble and respectful of others who may not know as much. The true intelligence lies in not just learning but helping others with the knowledge you gain. Pride and arrogance can devalue and destroy the true rewards of knowledge and intelligence.

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