センター本試験 １９９５年度 第６問 問題
My son and I were trying to sell the house we had restored but in the barn attached to it there were bats and they wouldn’t leave. The barn was their home. They told us so in their own way. They hung there in the barn and seemed determined to stay for the season.
If we knocked lightly on the outside, muttering sounds would follow, as if the bats were angry. They seemed to be asking us to stop bothering them and not to replace that pane in the window through which they flew in and out.
“Don’t worry about it, Dad,” Patrick said. “They keep down the mosquitoes.”
Unfortunately they also kept the buyers away. When we had asked a person to sell the house for us he had refused to show it because of the bats. In truth, I sympathized. Who would want to share space with the cousins of Dracula?
“Bats are popular,” Patrick assured me. “They’re ecological.”
“Isn’t there a machine you can buy that produces high-frequency sounds to keep bats away?”
“I don’t know,” said Patrick. “But I like bats, and whoever buys this house will probably like them too.”
“Probably?” I hated that word. “How many bats are there, anyway?”
“I counted about 90 last night,” said Patrick. “They were dropping out from under the edge of the roof.”
“You mean there are more － outside?”
“They’re everywhere, Dad. But look at it this way. When the cold weather comes, they’ll be off to Mexico. Maybe in the spring we can seal them out. Don’t worry about it,” he said for the hundredth time. “It’s not a problem.”
The bat expert I called was even more enthusiastic than Patrick. “I think you’ve got a large number there,” he said in wonder. “I’ve been trying to attract bats to our house for 25 years! A single bat eats up his weight in mosquitoes and black flies three times every night. He flies in and out, eats, digests, and goes out for more. You’re a very lucky man.”
I offered to share my luck with him. He could take them away.
“Bats have a remarkable homing instinct,” he said. “They’d fly straight back even if I transported them 100 miles. Once they have settled, you can’t stop them from coming back.” I was silent. As if to reassure me, he continued, “You may have one of the few groups of bats left around here. They’re in danger of dying out.” Once more he said, “You’re a lucky man.”
I was not sure whether to take pride in my good fortune. If a possible buyer, noticing the barn floor dirty with bat droppings, said, “Oh, I see you have mice,” I would just smile and nod my head. I might have said, “Actually, those are from the bats. We’re lucky, you know. We’ve got a large group of bats. Right here. Thousands of them. More every year, and they keep coming back. They are of great value. Each one eats about a thousand insects a night. I’ll show you some. The babies are really cute.” I might have said all that, but who would be listening?
Finally we managed to rent the house to a young family, who were also interested in buying it.
“What about the bats?” I said to Patrick.
“Oh, they love the bats,” he said. “No mosquitoes. No black flies. It’s one of the things that attracted them.”
“Do you think they will really buy the house?”
“Probably? Well, if they do, I suppose I’ll have to admit that I was wrong.”
“You mean you’re going to eat your words?”
“Yes, I am.”
問１ What was the problem the author had with his house?
① Bats were living in the barn and wouldn’t go away.
② The author and his son couldn’t sleep well because of the muttering sounds.
③ The author and his son might not to be able to stay for the season.
④ The house was still badly in need of repair.
問２ What did Patrick suggest the author should do to stop the bats living in the barn?
① He should buy a high-frequency machine.
② He should move them one hundred miles away.
③ He should reduce the number of mosquitoes.
④ He should seal the barn in the spring.
問３ Why did the author fall silent when he talked with the bat specialist?
① He felt reassured about the situation.
② He found out that it would be impossible to remove the bats.
③ He learned that he would be able to share his luck with the expert.
④ He liked the advice given by the expert.
問４ What happened regarding the house in the end?
① Some people agreed to rent the house.
② The author failed to find anybody who wanted to live in the house.
③ The bat expert made the decision to buy the house.
④ The bats left the house for Mexico in the spring.
問５ Why did the author think he might have to “eat his words”?
① He felt sorry for the bats.
② He might be mistaken about being unable to sell the house.
③ He realized he might be wrong about the bats’ behavior.
④ He was happy about selling the house.
① Most of the bats were living inside the author’s house.
② The muttering sounds showed that the bats were fighting each other.
③ It seemed that the bats were asking to be left alone.
④ The person asked by the author to sell the house wouldn’t invite anyone to see it.
⑤ The author hated the word “probably” because it might mean that no one would buy the house.
⑥ Patrick managed to figure out the exact number of bats.
⑦ The bat expert was disappointed when he saw the house.
⑧ The author was worried about the mouse droppings.
⑨ A retired couple were going to move in soon.
⓪ Patrick and the bat expert had similar attitudes toward the bats.
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