NCERT Solutions for Class 8 English Honeydew Chapter 1 The Best Christmas Present in the World

NCERT Solutions for Class 8 English Honeydew Chapter 1 The Best Christmas Present in the World

Comprehension Check (Page 10)


  1. What did the author find in a junk shop?
  2. What did he find in a secret drawer? Who do you think had put it in there?


  1. The author found a roll-top desk for sale in a junk shop. It was made of oak wood, but it was in a veiy bad condition.
  2. In the secret drawer of the desk, the author found a small tin box. It had a letter in it. I think the owner of the roll-top desk might have put it there.

Comprehension Check (Page 14)


  1. Who had written the letter, to whom, and when?
  2. Why was the letter written — what was the wonderful thing that had happened?
  3. What jobs did Hans Wolf and Jim Macpherson have when they were not soldiers?
  4. Had Hans Wolf ever been to Dorset? Why did he say he knew it?
  5. Do you think Jim Macpherson came back from the war? How do you know this?


  1. John Macpherson, a captain in the British army, had written that letter, dated Dec. 26, 1914, to his wife Connie.
  2. The letter described a wonderful event. The two armies-the British and the Ger­man—fighting against each other celebrated Christmas together.
  3. Before joining the army, Hans played the cello in the orchestra and Jim was a teacher.
  4. No, Hans had never been to Dorset. He had only read about Dorset in Hardy’s novel ‘Far from the Madding Crowd’.
  5. No, Jim Macpherson never came back home from the war. Perhaps therefore his wife Connie had preserved his letters.

Comprehension Check (Page 15)


  1. Why did the author go to Bridport?
  2. How old was Mrs Macpherson now? Where was she?


  1. The author went to Bridport to meet Mrs Jim Macpherson and deliver to her Jim’s letter.
  2. Macpherson was 101 years old. She was in a nursing home.

Comprehension Check (Page 16)


  1. Who did Connie Macpherson think her visitor was?
  2. Which sentence in the text shows that the visitor did not try to hide his identity?


  1. Connie thought that the visitor was her own husband, Jim Macpherson.
  2. That sentence is, “you told me you’d come home by Christmas, dearest,” she said, “And here you are, the best Christmas present in the world. Come closer, Jim dear, sit down.

Working with the Text (Page 16)

Question 1:
For how long do you think Connie had kept Jim’s letter? Give reasons for your answer.
Connie had kept Jim’s last letter till January 25, 1915. The letter was dated Dec. 26, 1914.

Question 2:
Why do you think the desk had been sold, and when?
The desk must have been sold when Connie’s house had burnt. The table had been damaged by fire as well as water.

Question 3:
Why do Jim and Hans think that games or sports are good ways of resolving conflicts? Do you agree?
Both Jim and Hans were soldiers. Both were warm hearted. They had seen the sufferings of war. So it was natural for them to hate war. They favoured a peaceful solution to settle disputes. Games or sports, they said, were good ways of resolving conflicts. I also quite agree with them.

Question 4:
Do you think the soldiers of the two armies are like each other, or different from each other? Find evidence from the story to support your answer.
All human beings are alike in many ways. They love peace and hate war. They want to live together. Examples from the story: “Then they were calling out to us from a cross no man’s land. “Happy Christmas, Tommy! Happy Christmas! “When we had got

Question 5:
Mention the various ways in which the British and the German soldiers become friends and find things in common at Christmas.
The British and the German soldiers belonged to different camps. They were enemies in war time. But after all they were human beings and therefore they had similar feelings. They shared the festive spirit of the Christmas. They got over hatred and played games, feasted and drank like good friends. Both hated war. Both were anxious to go back to their families at the end of war.

Question 6:
What is Connie’s Christmas present? Why is it the best Christmas present in the world?
Connie thought that Jim had come back home from war. She mistook the author for Jim. She had been waiting for her husband Jim. So the coming home of Jim was the best Christmas present in the world for her.

Question 7:
Do you think the title of the story is suitable for it? Can you think of any other title(s)?
Decidedly the title of the story is most suitable. For the old Connie, no other present could have given her such joy as the coming home of Jim, her husband. Her presumption might be wrong, but she got the greatest happiness of her life. Since the story revolves around Christmas, the alternate title of the story could be War and Peace’ or ‘Christmas Gift’. But neither can be a match to the present title.

Working with Language (Page 17)

Question 1:
Look at these sentences from the story.
I spotted it in a junk shop in Bridport… The man said it was made in the early nineteenth century… This one was in a bad condition…
The italicised verbs are in the past tense. They tell us what happened in the past, before now.

(i) Read the passage below and underline the verb in the past tense.
A man got on the train and sat down. The compartment was empty except for one lady. She took her gloves off. A few hours later the police arrested the man. They held him for 24 hours and then freed him.
A man got on the train and sat down. The compartment was empty except for one lady. She took her gloves off. A few hours later the police arrested the man. They held him for 24 hours and then freed him.

Now look at these sentences.
The veneer had lifted almost everywhere. Both fire and water had taken their toll on this desk.

Notice the verb forms had lifted, had taken (their toll).
The author found and bought the desk in the past. The desk was damaged before the author found it and bought it. Fire and water had damaged the desk before the author found it and bought it.

  • We use verb forms like had damaged for an event in the ‘earlier past’. If there are two events in the past, we used the ‘had ….’ form for the event that occurred first in the past.
  • We also use the past perfect tense to show that something was wished for, or expected before a particular time in the past. For example, I had always wanted one
  • Discuss with your partner the difference in meaning in the sentences below.
  • When I reached the station, the train left.
  • When I reached the station, the train had left.

(ii) Fill in the blanks using the correct form of the verbs in brackets.
My little sister is very naughty. When she———- (come) back from school yester­day, she had ———- (tear) her dress. We——————————————————— (ask) her how it had——– (happen). She—– (say) she——- (have, quarrel) with a boy. She———– (have, beat) him in a race and he——— (have, try) to push her. She——— (have, tell) the teacher and so he——- (have, chase) her and she———- (have, fall) down and——– (have, tear) her dress.
My little sister is very naughty. When she came back from school yesterday, she had torn her dress. We asked her how it had happened. She said she had quar­relled with a boy. She had beaten him in a race and he had tried to push her. She had told the teacher and so he had chased her and she had fallen down and had torn her dress.

(iii)Underline the verbs and arrange them in two columns, Past and Earlier

(a) My friends set out to see the caves in the next town, but I stayed at home, because I had seen them already.
(b) When they arrived at the station, their train had left. They came back home, but by that time I had gone out to see a movie!
(c) So they sat outside and ate the lunch I had packed for them.
(d) By the time I returned, they had fallen asleep!



Question 2:
Dictionary Work
By the end of the journey, we had run out of drinking water.
Look at the verb run out of in this sentence. It is a phrasal verb: it has two parts, a verb and a preposition or an adverb. Phrasal verbs often have meanings that are different from the meanings of their parts.

Find these phrasal verbs in the story.

Write down the sentences in which they occur. Consult a dictionary and write down the meaning that you think matches the meaning of the phrasal verb in the sentence.

  • “House number 12 turned out to be nothing but a burned-out shell …………….. (destroyed by fire).
  • That was the moment her eyes lit up with recognition, and her face……………… (brightened).
  • Hans Wolf and I looked on and cheered, clapping our hand……… : (considered somebody to be somebody)
  • The time came, and all too soon when the game was finished, the schnapps and the run and the sausage had long since run out, and we knew it was all over, (become used up, finished)
  • Hans Wolf and I looked on and cheered clapping our hands and stamping our feet, to keep out the cold as much as anything, (to avoid)

Question 3:
Noun Phrase

Read the following sentence.
I took out a small black tin box.

  • The phrase in italics is a noun phrase.
  • It has the noun—box—as the head word, and three adjectives preceding it.
  • Notice the order in which the adjectives occur—size (small), colour (black) and material (tin) of which it is made.

We rarely use more than four adjectives before a noun and there is no rigid order in which they are used, though there is a preferred order of modifires/adjectives in a noun phrase, as given below.

DeterminerModifier 1
(opinion,   feeling)
Modifier 2
(Size, shape, age)
Modifier 3
Modifier 4
Hard word
a/an/theNice/ lazy/ beautifultall / round/ old / youngred/ white/ light/darkSilk/cotton woollenWoman man/table/chair

Question 4:
The table below contains a list of nouns and some adjectives. Use as many adjectives as you can to describe each noun. You might come up with some funny descriptions!


 circular, striped, enormours,

multicoloured, round, cheerful,

wild,    blue, red, chubby,

large, medium-sized, cold



  1. elephant—enormous, striped, wild
  2. face—cheerful, round, chubby
  3. building—circular, large, multicoloured
  4. water—blue, cold.

Speaking (Page 19)

Question 1:
In groups discuss whether wars are a good way to end conflicts between countries. Then present your arguments to the whole class.
War means bloodshed, hate and destruction. It shows the animalism in man. Even the animals fight for some sound reason. But nations go to war to settle some petty dispute or in the name of religion. War solves no problem. Understanding alone can end differences. All religions condemn greed and bloody quarrels. Let us learn this great lesson from history.

Question 2:
What kind of presents do you like and why? What are the things you keep in mind when you buy presents for others? Discuss with your partner. (For ex­ample, you might buy a book because it can be read and re-read over a period of time.)
Personally I am against the practice of exchanging expensive gifts. A rose or a token of affection suits every person and every pocket. This is why some guests offer bouquets or greeting cards alone. In case the gift is essential, it should satisfy some need and1 have utility. When I go to buy a present, I first take into account the liking of my classmate, relative or girl/boy friend.

Writing (Page 20)

Question 1:
Imagine that you are Jim. You have returned to your town after the war. In your diary record how you feel about the changes you see and the events that occur in your town. You could begin like this
25 December,
1919 It’s Christmas today, but the town looks…..


Suppose you are the visitor. You are in a dilemma. You don’t know whether to disclose your identity and disappoint the old lady or let her believe that her dear Jim has come back. Write a letter to a friend highlighting your anxiety, fears and feelings.
25 December, 1919
It’s Christmas today, but the town looks very much different from what I had imagined. It has been ravaged by war. Buildings are in ruins and there is graveyard silence. My own house burnt when it was hit by a bombardment. The events of war have taken a toll of civilians as well as soldiers. I hate the fighting instinct in us and curse the war makers (monger). Can’t we live in peace like brothers?


12-A, Block 4,
August 10, 2009 Dear Smith,
I am in a dilemma. It seems to be insolvable. I, therefore, seek your help in making a decision.
You know I had purchased an old desk. Inside it I got a box containing an old letter. It was written by Jim, a British soldier, to his wife. I decided to deliver that letter to Mrs. Jim at Briport.
I reached her house. She was 101 years old. When I gave her the letter, her eyes lit up. She thought I was her long lost husband Jim, who had come home to keep his promise. She was excited and she kissed me. She didn’t listen to what I tried to tell her about my identity.
I don’t know whether or not I should tell who I am. I only walked away from her quickly.

Question 2:
Given below is the outline of a story. Construct the story using the outline.

A young, newly married doctor———- freedom fighter——– exited to the Andaman and Nicobar Islands by the British————– infamous cellular Jail———— prisoners tortured ——- revolt by inmates——— doctor hanged———- wife waits for his return —– becomes old——– continues to wait with hope and faith.
It was the year 1930. India was a British colony. But English education enlightened a section of people. They started fighting for freedom. A young, newly- married doctor was implicated in a conspiracy case. He was sent to Black Waters (Kalapani) It was a group of Islands in the Bay of Bengal. Many freedom fighters and revolutionaries were sent there for life. They were put in cellular Jail for a few years. They were subjected to torture. The doctor was hanged. But his wife kept waiting for the return of her husband. She grew old. However, her hope and faith did not fade.



Question 1:
How did the author find Jim’s letter? What did it contain?
The author found Jim’s letter in the small black tin box, put in the drawer of an old table. Jim’s letter was addressed to his wife. He was a British soldier but he was glad to have celebrated Christmas together with the German soldiers. He put it down in the letter and promised to come back home on Christmas.

Question 2:
Jim talks about an incident that had just happened at the front. What was it?
England and Germany were at war with each other. The British soldiers were waiting to shoot the German soldiers. But on Christmas, a strange development took place. The German soldiers came out of their hiding places and called out ‘Happy Christmas’. They were unarmed and they waved a white flag. The British soldiers led by captain Jim Macpherson agreed to celebrate the festival together.

Question 3:
Who are Fritz and Tommy in the story?
Fritz and Tommy are the names given to the German and the British soldiers respectively.


Question 1:
Describe in brief the author’s meeting with Connie.
Connie or Mrs Macpherson was 101 years old. When the author took Jim’s letter to her in a nursing home she became very excited. Her eyes lit up and she mistook the author for her husband. She kissed his cheek. She said that she had been reading his letter every day. But she wanted to hear his voice. She had made a Christmas cake also for him as he had promised to come home. She thought that he was back home. She called his presence at home as the best Christmas present for her in the world.

Question 2:
What had happened to Mrs. Macpherson? Describe her condition.
Mrs. Macpherson lived alone after her husband (Jim Macpherson) went to join the British army during the First World War. One day her house caught fire. But she was saved by the firemen. From then she had been in a nursing home for treatment. She had grown extremely old and couldn’t walk on herself. And her life got confined to a wheelchair.

MCQ Questions for Class 8 English Honeydew Chapter 1 The Best Christmas Present in the World with Answers

Question 1.
The narrator bought the desk from a junk shop because
(a) such a desk was not available anywhere else
(b) the author wanted an ancient roll-top desk
(c) its roll-top was in several pieces
(d) the narrator could not afford a new roll-top desk


Answer: (d) the narrator could not afford a new roll-top desk

Question 2.
“I began work on it on Christmas Eve”. In the above sentence ‘it’ stands for
(a) a junk shop
(b) the garage
(c) the roll-top desk
(d) the drawers


Answer: (c) the roll-top desk

Question 3.
The narrator found a shallow space below a secret drawer when he
(a) pulled out the first drawer
(b) began to mend the desk
(c) pulled out the last drawer
(d) had finished working


Answer: (c) pulled out the last drawer

Question 4.
January 25, 1915 was the date on which
(a) the narrator pulled out the drawers
(b) Jim’s letter came to Connie
(c) Jim wrote the letter
(d) Jim met Hans Wolf


Answer: (b) Jim’s letter came to Connie

Question 5.
According to Jim, a Christmas morning should be
(a) cold and frosty
(b) warm and comfortable
(c) beautiful with the sun-shining
(d) rainy


Answer: (a) cold and frosty

Question 6.
“But the truth, I am ashamed to say, is that Fritz began it.” In the above sentence ‘Fritz’ refers to
(a) the German soldier
(b) the German commander in the story
(c) the British soldier
(d) the British commander in the story


Answer: (a) the German soldier

Question 7.
The Christmas celebrations were initiated by
(a) the British
(b) the Germans
(c) both of the above
(d) chance


Answer: (b) the Germans

Question 8.
Jim’s first reaction to the ‘Happy Christmas’ by the Germans was one of
(a) suspicion
(b) surprise
(c) anger
(d) disgust


Answer: (b) surprise

Question 9.
Schnapps is
(a) a kind of meat
(b) a German wine
(c) a sauce
(d) a British dish


Answer: (b) a German wine

Question 10.
Sausage is
(a) a wine
(b) slice of meat and bread
(c) a sauce
(d) a British dish


Answer: (b) slice of meat and bread

Question 11.
What was the speaker’s reaction when he realizes
(a) He was ashamed.
(b) He gets very angry
(c) He was embarrassed
(d) He began to cry


Answer: (a) He was ashamed.

Question 12.
Why did she become happy?
(a) Because it was Christmas
(b) At the sight of the visitor
(c) Because the matron had served apple pie
(d) On seeing the decoration and the Christmas tree


Answer: (b) At the sight of the visitor

Question 13.
Who did she think had come?
(a) Jim
(b) Hans Wolf
(c) Her father
(d) Her brother


Answer: (a) Jim

Question 14.
On which date does Connie receive Jim’s letter?
(a) 4th July, 1776
(b) 16th December, 1914
(c) 6th August, 1945
(d) 30th January, 1948


Answer: (b) 16th December, 1914

Question 15.
What is the “best Christmas present in the world”?
(a) Jim’s letter
(b) Jim’s return
(c) Jim’s present
(d) Jim’s picture


Answer: (b) Jim’s return

Question 16.
By which Christmas did Jim promise to be back home?
(a) 1913
(b) 1914
(c) 1915
(d) 1916


Answer: (c) 1915

Question 17.
Does Connie’s wait for her husband come to an end?
(a) yes
(b) may be
(c) not sure
(d) None of these


Answer: (a) yes

Read the following extracts and answer the questions that follow choosing the correct options from among the given ones :


It was going for very little money. I thought I could restore it. It would be a risk a challenge, but I had to have it.

Question 1.
The speaker of these lines is
(a) the narrator
(b) the author
(c) Jim
(d) Connie.


Answer: (a) the narrator

Question 2.
The ‘it’ in the first sentence refers to
(a) a country
(b) a chair
(c) a desk
(d) a letter.


Answer: (c) a desk

Question 3.
The temptation to buy it was
(a) a risk
(b) a challenge
(c) the quality
(d) the cheap price.


Answer: (d) the cheap price.


When we had got over the surprise, some of us shouted back. “Same to you, Fritz ! Same to you !” I thought that would be that. We all did. But then one of them was up there in his grey greatcoat and waving a white flag.

Question 1.
‘We’ in the first line refers to
(a) French soldiers
(b) the british soldiers
(c) Jim and Connie
(d) the narrator and his friend


Answer: (b) the british soldiers

Question 2.
‘Same to you’ here means
(a) Happy Christmas
(b) good feelings
(c) we are same
(d) we are fine


Answer: (a) Happy Christmas


Question 3.
‘I thought that would be that’. It means that I thought that
(a) it was all
(b) it was a mistake
(c) it was a joy
(d) it was dangerous.


Answer: (a) it was all

Question 4.
The phrase ‘got over’ means
(a) passed
(b) overcame
(c) excited
(d) got out.


Answer: (b) overcame


Our boys gave them a rousing chorus of While Shepherds Watched. We exchanged carols for a while and then we all fell silent. We had had our time of peace and goodwill, a time I will treasure as long as I live.

Question 1.
The phrase ‘our boys’ refers to
(a) the students
(b) German soldiers
(c) some British soldiers
(d) the author’s sons


Answer: (c) some British soldiers

Question 2.
Who prompted these boys to sing ?
(a) their boss
(b) their commander
(c) their friends
(d) the German soldiers.


Answer: (d) the German soldiers.

Question 3.
Carols are sung on
(a) Christmas
(b) Good Friday
(c) Holi
(d) Diwali.


Answer: (a) Christmas


As I was speaking her eyes never left my face. I opened the tin box and gave it to her. That was the moment her eyes lit up with recognition and her face became suffused with a sudden glow of happiness. I explained about the desk, about how I had found it, but I don’t think she was listening.

Question 1.
The speaker of the above passage is
(a) the author
(b) the narrator
(c) Jim
(d) Hans Wolf.


Answer: (d) Hans Wolf.

Question 2.
The lady being talked to, is
(a) Connie
(b) the matron
(c) Hans Wolf’s wife
(d) none of the above three.


Answer: (a) Connie

Question 3.
The lady was not listening because
(a) she was sick
(b) she was deaf
(c) she was too happy
(d) she had recognised the speaker


Answer: (c) she was too happy


There was something in there. I reached in and took out a small black tin box. Sello- taped to the top of it was a piece of lined notepaper, and written on it in a shaky handwriting : “Jim’s last letter, received January 25, 1915.

Question 1.
What does the word ‘something’ refer to ?


Answer: ‘Something’ refers to the tin box.

Question 2.
What was the sello taped thing ?


Answer: The sello taped thing was the piece of a newspaper.

Question 3.
Where was the letter found ?


Answer: The letter was found in the tin box.

Question 4.
Whom was the letter addressed to ?


Answer: The letter was addressed to Jim’s wife.


Ah, Dorset,” he smiled. “I know this place. I know it very well.” We shared my rum ration and his excellent sausage. And we talked, Connie, how we talked. He spoke almost perfect English. But it turned out that he had never set foot in Dorset, never even been to England.

Question 1.
Who was it that smiled ?


Answer: It was Hans Wolf that smiled.

Question 2.
How did he know Dorset ?


Answer: He had read about Dorset in Hardy’s novels.

Question 3.
Who is Connie ?


Answer: Connie is Jim’s wife.

Question 4.
Find a phrase in the passage which means ‘so happened’.


Answer: turned out.


I folded the letter again and slipped it carefully back into its envelope. I kept awake all night. By morning I knew what I had to do. I drove into Bridport, just a few miles away. I asked a boy walking his dog where Copper Beeches was.

Question 1.
Who had written the letter ?


Answer: The letter was written by Jim.

Question 2.
Whom was the letter addressed to ?


Answer: The letter was addressed to Jim’s wife Connie.

Question 3.
Why did he drive to Bridport ?


Answer: He drove to Bridport because he wanted to give that letter to Connie.

Question 4.
Why did he keep awake all night ?


Answer: He kept awake all night thinking about the contents of the letter he had read.

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