Class 9 English Chapter 5 A Legend Of The Northland

NCERT Solutions for Class 9 English Beehive Poem Chapter 5 A Legend Of The Northland.
(Page 67)

I.
Quiestion 1.
Which country or countries do you think “the Northland” refers to?
Answer:
It is a country in the north where days are short and nights are long.

Question 2.
What did Saint Peter ask the old lady for? What was the lady’s reaction?
Answer:
Saint Peter asked the old lady for a piece of cake. The lady behaved miserly and kept decreasing the size of the cake. At last she did not give him anything to eat.

Question 3.
How did he punish her?
Answer:
He cursed her and made her a woodpecker.

Question 4.
How does the woodpecker get her food?
Answer:
The woodpecker bores the hard and dry wood to get its food.

Question 5.
Do you think that the old lady would have been so ungenerous if she had known who Saint Peter really was? What would she have done then?
Answer:
No, she would not have done this. On the contrary, she would have given him a large piece of cake to make him happy with the greed to get a handsome return.

Question 6.
Is this a true story? Which part of this poem do you feel is the most important?
Answer:
No, it is an imaginative story. It is a legend. The third stanza of the poem is very important.

Question 7.
What is a legend? Why is this poem called a legend?
Answer:
A legend is a story from ancient times about people and events. The title of the poem tells that it is a legend. The poet himself says that ‘I don’t believe it is true’.

Question 8.
Write the story of ‘A Legend of the Northland’ in about ten sentences.
Answer:
The poem is a story of an old woman. She is asked by Saint Peter for alms who has become weak because of fasting and travelling. But her greed forces her not to give him anything. He becomes angry and makes her a woodpecker who bores hard, dry wood to get food. Her clothes are burnt to ashes and she is left with a cap on her head. She continues boring into hard wood for her little food.

II.
Question 1.
Let’s look at words at the end of the second and fourth lines, viz., ‘snows’ and ‘clothes’, ‘true’ and ‘you’, ‘below’ and ‘know’. We find that ‘snows’ rhymes with ‘clothes’, ‘true’ rhymes with ‘you’ and ‘below’ rhymes with ‘know’.
Find more such rhyming words.
Answer:
Earth-hearth, done-one, lay-away, another-over, flat-that, faint-saint, form- worm, food-wood, same-flame.
Additional Questions

Short answer type questions

Question 1.
Why was Saint Peter tired and hungry?
Answer:
Saint Peter was a holy man. He used to preach people. For his preaching he often made long journey. During the course of his journey, sometimes, he did not take food and water. Besides, he had to observe fasts also. Fasts and journey were the essential part of his life. Hence, he was tired and hungry.

Question 2.
What happened to the cake every time when the old lady tried to bake it?
Answer:
The old lady was a greedy woman. She had no desire to share her things with others. Once Saint Peter was tired and hungry. He arrived at her cottage to get something. The old lady tried again and again to bake a too small cake for Saint Peter. But the size of cake always appeared to her bigger and the lady was even unable to give this cake to the saint.

Question 3.
What happened to the old lady when Saint Peter cursed her?
Answer:
Saint Peter became angry at her greed because she did not give a piece of cake to Saint Peter to satiate his hunger. When he cursed the lady, she turned into a bird. She flew through the chimney. Finally, she became a woodpecker. She wore a red cap and her body was black. Besides, she was bound to live in the forest with scanty food.

Question 4.
Describe the landscape of the Northland as described in the poem.
Answer:
The Northland is far away in the north. In this land of snow and ice, the days are very short. The nights are too long. When it snows, they harness swift reindeer to the sledges. Children are packed with so many layers of clothes to protect from the cold. In their funny and furry clothes they look like cubs of bears.

Question 5.
Why does the poet tell a story which he does not believe to be true?
Answer:
The poet wants to tell a ‘curious’ story. It is the story of St. Peter and a greedy little woman. The poet himself doesn’t believe in the truth of the story. But still he is compelled to tell this story simply for one reason. The story gives a moral lesson. Greed is an evil trait in man. It is punished in the end. The greedy little woman who didn’t want to give a small piece of cake to hungry St. Peter was cursed to be a woodpecker. She had to live with little food. We should show human qualities in our behaviour.

Question 6.
Who was St. Peter and why did he come to the cottage of a little woman?
Answer:
St. Peter was a holy man and a Christian saint. He went around different places preaching the people. Too much travelling made him tired and hungry. He needed food and rest badly. Therefore, he came to the cottage of a little woman who was making cakes. He asked the woman to give one from her store of cakes to him.

Question 7.
Why did the little woman knead another and still a smaller cake?
Answer:
St. Peter asked the little woman to give one cake from her store of cakes. The little woman made a very little piece of cake to give it to the hungry Saint Peter. However, even that little piece seemed too large to be given away. Therefore, the greedy little woman kneaded another and still a smaller cake.

Question 8.
Why did the little old woman had to struggle for her scanty food after she was cursed to be a woodpecker?
Answer:
The greedy little woman denied hungry St Peter even a small piece of cake. She made a very small piece of cake but it seemed too large to her to be given away. She went on making it still small and smaller. She was cursed by St. Peter to be a woodpecker. She was made to struggle even for her scanty food. As a woodpecker, she went on boring to get a small morsel of food.

Long answer type questions
Question 1.
A holy man should not curse the lady. Justify this statement in the context of the poem ‘A Legend of the Northland’.
Answer:
A holy man is known for his wisdom. He teaches moral lessons to the people whether they are liberal or greedy. All are equal in his eyes. In the present story, Saint Peter is a holy man. He is also famous for his preaching. He has preached and travelled a lot. So, he is hungry. He asks the lady for some food but she does not share her food with him. Finally, the saint becomes angry and curses her. In fact, he should have shown some mercy and the example of his wisdom. Therefore, it is appropriate to say that a holy man should not curse the lady.

Question 2.
How can you say that the old lady was greedy?
Answer:
The old lady was running a bakery. Saint Peter was a wise saint. He had travelled and preached a lot so he was tired and hungry. He had arrived at her door for some food. Still the lady made him wait for the cake for a long time. Every time she tried to bake too small cake but unfortunately the cake often seemed to her of a bigger size. The old lady did not want to share the cake of this size with the saint. At last, the saint grew angry and cursed her. So, it can be said that her greed had no limit.

Question 3.
Why was St. Peter forced to curse the greedy little woman? Do you justify the action of St. Peter?
Answer:
St. Peter was a holy man. He was a Christian saint. He spent his time moving around places and preaching the people there. Saints generally bless the people. They don’t curse them. However, these holy men resort to cursing when people defy good sense and become evil. The little woman in the story was extremely selfish and greedy. After much travelling and preaching, St. Peter had become tired. He had become weak and hungry after the fast. He came to the cottage of the little woman for food. Seeing her baking cakes, St. Peter asked her to give one from her store of cakes. The greedy woman made a very little piece of cake for him. Even that small piece looked too large to be given away to the saint. Hence, she went on making it smaller and smaller. The hungry St. Peter cursed the selfish and greedy woman. She was cursed to be a woodpecker boring and struggling for her scanty food. St. Peter was justified in cursing her. She had deprived a tired and hungry saint even from a small piece of cake. She was rightly punished for her greed.

Question 4.
Why was the little woman cursed particularly to be a woodpecker and not another bird? How did she struggle to get her scanty food?
Answer:
The little woman aroused the anger of a holy man. The saint spend most of his time in travelling and preaching. Constant fasting had made him hungry and weak.

Saint Peter asked for a small piece of cake when he saw a little woman baking cakes. The greedy woman could have easily given a piece of cake to the saint. But the selfish woman thought that even a very little piece was too large to be given away to him. She denied even this little offering. The saint cursed her to be a woodpecker. A woodpecker has to bore for a long time to get even a scanty food. She was cursed to labour hard by boring into the tree to get even her scanty food as she had made the saint to wait so long for such a small piece of cake.

Value based questions

Question 1.
What moral lesson do you get from this poem?
Answer:
This poem teaches us that true happiness lies in sharing things with the persons who are in need. If we are greedy, we cannot have happiness in our life. On the other hand our charitable nature makes us think about pains and sorrows suffered by the other people. The charitable people have many friends and they are always connected with one another with a strong bond of sentiments. But the greedy people have hardly any friends and they often live alone in the world.

Question 2.
What quality do you find in saints?
Answer:
Saints are wise people. They have gained heavenly power. Riches make no sense for them, for which people often hanker. They need only food to survive in this world. They travel far off land and give people moral lessons.

Question 3.
How is true satisfaction spoiled by greed?
Answer:
True satisfaction lies in sharing things with others. Peace and satisfaction are the two sides of a coin. If there is satisfaction in our life, peace is bound to come in our life. However greed spoils both. If we are greedy, we cannot get satisfaction as well as peace in our life. In the poem, the old lady was greedy and she failed to give cake to the saint. If she had satisfaction, she would certainly have shown honour and regard to the saint. So, in the case of this little lady it can be said that her greed had spoiled her peace and satisfaction.

Actually, saints try to create such societies in which all the people shall be treated with equality and greed will have no room in them. With the help of teachings, they desire to bring down heaven on the earth.

NCERT Solutions for Class 9 English Beehive Poem Chapter 5 A Legend Of The Northland. Questions and answers of the book.

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