NCERT Solutions for Class 9 English Poem Chapter 5 A Legend Of The Northland

NCERT Class 9 Beehive Page No. 67

Thinking about the Poem

I 1. Which country or countries do you think “the Northland” refers to?

Answer:

The Northland may refer to any extremely cold country in the Earth’s north polar region.

2. What did Saint Peter ask the old lady for? What was the lady’s reaction?

 

Answer:

Saint Peter asked the old lady for one of her baked cakes. The lady tried to bake a small cake for the saint. But as the cake was baking, she noticed that it seemed too big to give away, so she kneaded a smaller dough. She found that this one is as big as the first one so she took a really tiny piece of dough and rolled it thin as a wafer. But she couldn’t part with it and she put it on the shelf. Thus, at last, she did not give anything to Saint Peter.

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3. How did he punish her?

Answer:

He punished the lady by changing her into a woodpecker that would have to build a nest to live in and gather scanty food all day long by boring in the hard dry wood.

4. How does the woodpecker get her food?

Answer:

The woodpecker gets its food by boring holes into hard and dry woods of trees.

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, the old lady would not have been so ungenerous if she had known who Saint Peter really was. Instead, she would have welcomed him in her house happily and given him several large cakes to please him and get his blessings.

6. Is this a true story? Which part of this poem do you feel is the most important?

Answer:

No, this not a true story. It is a legend.
I think the most important part of this poem is the one in which Saint Peter turns the old lady into a woodpecker to teach her a lesson. In this part, we get to learn the very important values of life that are generosity and helping others. We should appreciate all the comforts and luxuries we enjoy as human beings. We should not be selfish.

7. What is a legend? Why is this poem called a legend?

Answer:

A legend is an old popular story which is believed by many but one cannot prove whether it is true or not. It usually contains a message or a moral and is narrated to children.

This poem is a traditional story narrated to the children of the Northland. As the story has a supernatural element in the end, its authenticity cannot be verified. The poet himself says that he doesn’t believe this tale to be true. Moreover, the poem gives a message of being generous towards fellow beings. That’s why it is called a legend.

8. Write the story of ‘A Legend of the Northland’ in about ten sentences.

Answer:

Once Saint Peter, who moved around preaching, stopped by an old lady’s cottage because he was feeling hungry and weak after fasting the whole day. The lady was baking cakes on the hearth. He asked her for a cake. The lady was quite ungenerous. She tried to make a tiny cake for him. But as it was baking, she found it too large to be given away. She tried to make smaller cakes two more times but each time the cakes seemed too large to her and in the end she did not give any cake to the Saint.

Saint Peter became very angry to see such greedy behaviour of the lady and called her too selfish to live as a human and have food, shelter and a fire to keep her warm. He punished her by changing her into a woodpecker that would have to build a nest to live in and get its food by boring the hard dry trunks of trees.  Her clothes were burned and she was left with her scarlet cap on her head as she flew out through the chimney. Even today the country school boys are said to have seen her in the woods, boring the trees for food.

A Legend of the Northland Extra Questions and Answers Class 9 English Beehive

A Legend of the Northland Extra Questions and Answers Short Answer Type

Question 1.
What is a legend? Why is this is called a legend?
Answer:
A legend is a very old story from ancient times, which may not always be true, and one that people tell about a famous event or person. A legend often teaches a lesson. This poem is called a legend because it tells an old story of Northland. This is the story of an old greedy woman who angered St. Peter and was turned into a woodpecker because of her greed, and the poet herself says, ‘I don’t believe it is true’.

Question 2.
Where does this legend belong to and what kind of country is it?
Answer:
The legend belongs to the “Northland”, an area that could refer to any of the extremely cold countries in the Earth’s north polar region, such as Greenland, the northern regions of Russia—Siberia, or the Scandinavian countries – Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Iceland and Finland. It is a cold place where days are short and the nights are long.

Question 3.
Why does the poet say that the hours of the day are few?
Answer:
In the poem, the poet says the legend is told Northland. The Northland is a cold snow-covered region near the North Pole. Here the days are shorter and the nights are longer. As a result there are very few hours in a day.

Question 4.
Why are the People unable to sleep through the night?
Answer:
The people are unable to sleep through the night because the nights are very long and very cold.

Question 5.
‘And the children look like bear’s cubs.’ What have the children been compared to? Why?
Answer:
Northland is a cold place so the children have to wear funny furry dresses to protect themselves from cold. These dresses make them look like bear cubs.

Question 6.
What does the poet tell us about the story she is about to narrate? Why does she want to tell the tale?
Answer:
The poet says that she is going to tell a strange tale told by the people of Northlands. She admits that thoughthe story may not be true, still she wants to tell the story because it contains an lesson in generosity and philanthropy. She wants the readers to learn a lesson from the poem.

Question 7.
Who came to the woman’s house and what did he ask for?
Answer:
Saint Peter, while preaching round the world, reached the woman’s door. He had been travelling the whole day and was tired and hungry. When Saint Peter saw the woman making cakes, he asked her for one of her large store of cakes.

Question 8.
Why was Saint Peter tired and hungry?
Answer:
Saint Peter was an apostle of Jesus Christ. He travelled around the land, preaching the message of Christ. During the course of his journey, sometimes, he did not get food and water. Besides, he had to observe fasts also. This often left him tired and hungry.

Question 9.
What did Saint Peter ask the woman for? What was the woman’s reaction?
Answer:
Saint Peter asked the old lady for a cake from her store of cakes. The woman, who was very greedy, did not wish to part with her cakes as she felt they were too large to be given away. So she made a small cake for him, but, that too, seemed to her too big to be given away. In the end, she made a very small and thin cake. But she did not give even that cake to St. Peter and she put it away on the shelf.

Question 10.
Why did the woman bake a little cake?
Answer:
The woman in the poem has been shown as being highly stingy, miserly, greedy and mean by nature. Whenever she picked up a cake to give it away, it appeared to be too large to give away. Hence, she baked a ‘ very small cake for Saint Peter that was as thin as a wafer.

Question 11.
What happened to the cakes the woman baked for Saint Peter?
Answer:
The woman was greedy. When Saint Peter, tired and hungry, after his travels arrived at her cottage and asked for a cake from her large store, she had no desire to share anything with him. The woman tried time and again to bake a smaller and smaller cake for Saint Peter. But even when the cake was as thin as water, the woman felt the cake was too big to be given away to Saint Peter and she put it on her shelf.

Question 12.
Explain: ‘And surely such a woman was enough to provoke a saint.’ Who was the lady and how did she provoke the saint?
Answer:
The woman, who was making cakes when the saint visited her was mean and greedy. Though she could see the visitor was tired and hungry, she did not give him anything to eat. She baked caks that were smaller and smaller, till she made one that was as thin as a wafer, but she could not bear to part even with that. The old lady did not help the hungry and tired saint. Saints are known for their patience, but her selfishness angered the saint, who cursed her.

Question 13.
Why did Saint Peter curse the woman? What did he turn her into?
Answer:
Saint Peter cursed the woman because she had been miserly and selfish. He felt she was not fit to live in a human form and enjoy food, shelter and warmth. He turned her into a woodpecker who has to build its nest “as birds do” and gather its scanty food by boring in the “hard, dry wood” all day long.

Question 14.
‘For she was changed to a bird.’ Who was she and why was she changed to a bird?
OR
‘You are too selfish to dwell in a human form.’ Who said this and to whom? Why did he say so?
Answer:
A woman of Northland, who was miserly and selfish was changed to a woodpecker by Saint Peter. She had refused to give even a cake as thin as a wafer to the tired and hungry saint. So, as a punishment, she was turned to a bird who would have to live in a nest and bore into wood for her food.

Question 15.
How is the woman seen by the people of Northland?
Answer:
Boys going to the forest have seen the woman, as a woodpecker in the wood. She lives in a nest in the tree and bores into the hard dry wood for her food.

Question 16.
Do you think that the woman 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 been so greedy and turned Saint Peter away. On the contrary, since she was a greedy woman, she would have wanted a reward from Saint Peter, and would likely have given him a large piece of cake to make him happy.

Question 17.
Describe the theme of the poem ‘A legend of the Northland ‘?
Answer:
Saint Peter once asked a woman baking cakes for something to eat. She was selfish and did not give any cake . to the hungry saint. It made the saint angry. He turned the lady into the bird. The bird keeps on searching for her food the whole day. We should not be greedy and always help the needy person.

Question 18.
What is a ballad? Is this poem a ballad?
Answer:
A ballad is a song narrating a story in short stanzas. Ballads are part of the folk culture and are passed on orally from one generation to another. The poem ‘A Legend of the Northland’ is also a ballad as it contains the story of an old selfish woman and has been passed on from generation to generation, “They tell them a curious story”.

Question 19.
What do you learn about the woman in the poem?
Answer:
The woman in the poem is greedy and selfish. She has a large store of cakes but refuses to give away even one that is as small as a wafer to a tired and hungry traveller.

Question 20.
What do you learn about Saint Peter in the poem?
Answer:
Saint Peter goes about the land preaching the message of God. As he goes on his journey, sometimes, he does not get food and water. Besides, he has to observe fasts also. This often leaves him tired and hungry. Despite being a saint, he is provoked to anger and he curses the woman, and she is turned into a woodpecker. Being a saint, he should have forgiven the woman and shown her some mercy.

A Legend of the Northland Extra Questions and Answers Long Answer Type

Question 1.
Describe Northland as done by the poet?
Answer:
The Northland is the area around the North pole, an area that includes any of the extremely cold countries in the Earth’s north polar region, such as Greenland, the northern regions of Russia—Siberia, or the Scandinavian countries Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Iceland and Finland. It is a cold, snow-covered place where days are short and the nights are long.

In this region, hours of the day are few and nights are so long and so cold in winter that people are unable to sleep through the whole night. When it snows people harness their reindeers to pull their sledges. Because of extreme cold children look like bear’s cubs in because of funny and furry clothes.

Question 2.
Briefly narrate the legend of the old woman and St Peter?
Answer:
Once Saint Peter stopped by an old lady’s cottage because he was feeling hungry and weak after the day’s fasting. The lady was baking cakes on the hearth. When Saint Peter asked her for one of cakes, she tried to make a tiny cake for him. But as it was baking, she found it too large to be given away.

She tried baking two more times but even the smallest of cakes seemed too large to her. Such greedy behaviour of the lady annoyed the hungry saint.He cursed her saying that she was far too selfish to be a human, to have food, shelter and fire to keep her warm. Thus, she was transformed into a woodpecker.

All her clothes except her scarlet cap were gone as she went up the chimney and flew out of the top. Every country schoolboy is said to have seen her in the forest, boring into the wood for food till date.

Question 3.
What is the message of the 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 little woman baking cakes was asked for something to eat by a tired and hungry traveller. The woman, who had a large store of cakes, was greedy and selfish.

She made smaller and smaller cakes, but in the end refused to part with any. Her greed and miserliness angered the weary traveller, Saint Peter, who told her that she was too selfish to dwell in human form, where she had food, warmth and shelter. He cursed her to become a bird and live in a nest and search for scanty food by digging all dry and hard wood.

A Legend of the Northland Extra Questions and Answers Reference to Context

Read the extracts given below and answer the questions that follow.

Question 1.
Away, away in the Northland,
Where the hours of the day are few,
And the nights are so long in winter
That they cannot sleep them through;

(a) Why is the word ‘away’ repeated twice?
Answer:
The word away has been repeated to create a sense of distance

(b) Which place is discussed in this stanza?
Answer:
Northland, or the cold polar region of the North, including Greenland, northern Europe and Siberia are being discussed here.

(c) What does “hours of the day are few” mean?
Answer:
The days are shorter than the nights

(d) Why can the people not sleep through the night?
Answer:
The winter nights are long and cold.

Question 2.
Where they harness the swift reindeer
To the sledges, when it snows;
And the children look like bear’s cubs
In their funny, furry clothes:

(a) What does ‘Where’ refer to?
Answer:
Where refers to Northland.

(b) Where are the reindeer harnessed? What does ‘swift reindeer’ convey?
Answer:
The reindeer are harnessed to the sledges. The phrase ‘swift reindeer’ conveys that the reindeer are very fast when they pull the sledges on the snow.

(c) Why do children look like bear cubs?
Answer:
Because of the cold, children are made to wear heavy woollen clothes that cover them up fully and make them look like bear cubs.

(d) Mention two characteristics of the place.
Answer:
The place is very cold; the days are shorter than the nights; people cannot sleep through the night.

Question 3.
They tell them a curious story—
I don’t believe ’tis true;
And yet you may learn a lesson
If I tell the tale to you.

(a) What is the ‘curious story’ that the people tell?
Answer:
The curious story is a legend of an old greedy lady who angered St. Peter and he cursed the lady for her greed.

(b) Who does not believe in the story?
Answer:
The poet does not believe the story to be true.

(c) Why does the poet narrate this tale?
Answer:
The poet narrates the story because it has a moral lesson.

(d) What lesson does it give?
Answer:
The tale teaches us a lesson that greed is a vice. One should not be greedy like the old lady who was cursed by St. Peter.

Question 4.
Once, when the good Saint Peter
Lived in the world below,
And walked about it, preaching,
Just as he did, you know

(a) Which line shows that St. Peter is not alive today?
Answer:
‘Once, when the good Saint Peter lived in the world below’ shows that St. Peter is not alive today

(b) Who was St. Peter?
Answer:
St. Peter was an apostle of Jesus Christ. His mission was to spread the teachings of Jesus Christ.

(c) What does the line “Lived in the world below,” mean?
Answer:
St Peter lived on earth

(d) What did St Peter do when he ‘Lived in the world below’?
Answer:
He went about the world preaching the message of God.

Question 5.
He came to the door of a cottage,
In travelling round the earth,
Where a little woman was making cakes,
And baking them on the hearth;

(a) Who does “he” refer to in the first line?
Answer:
He refers to Saint Peter.

(b) What was the little woman doing?
Answer:
The woman was baking cakes.

(c) What request did “he” make to the woman? Why?
Answer:
Saint Peter asked the woman for a cake because he was weak with hunger.

(d) Why did Saint Peter curse the woman?
Answer:
Saint Peter cursed the woman because she was highly stingy and mean and could not spare even a small cake from her large store for a weary traveller.

Question 6.
And being faint with fasting,
For the day was almost done,
He asked her, from her store of cakes,
To give him a single one.

(a) Why was St Peter about to faint?
Answer:
Saint Peter was tired and hungry, and so ready to faint.

(b) What had Saint Peter been doing?
Answer:
Saint Peter had been travelling, spreading the message of God.

(c) What time of the day was it?
Answer:
It was evening

(d) What did he ask the woman for?
Answer:
Saint Peter asked the woman for a cake from her large store.

Question 7.
So she made a very little cake,
But as it baking lay,
She looked at it, and thought it seemed
Too large to give away.

(a) Why did she bake a small cake?
Answer:
The woman baked a small cake for giving to the saint

(b) What did she think about it as she saw it being baked?
Answer:
She thought that the cake was too big to be given away in charity.

(c) What aspect of her character does this reveal?
Answer:
She is selfish and miserly.

(d) How was she punished for her greed?
Answer:
Saint Peter turned her into a woodpecker.

Question 8.
Therefore she kneaded another,
And still a smaller one;
But it looked, when she turned it over,
As large as the first had done.

(a) Who does ‘she’ refer to?
Answer:
‘She’ refers to the old little woman in the cottage.

(b) Who had come to her door? Why?
Answer:
Saint Peter had come to her door. He was hungry and wanted something to eat.

(c) Why was she kneading smaller and smaller cakes?
Answer:
She did not want to give away a large one to Saint Peter.

(d) What quality of the woman do her actions reveal?
Answer:
She is miserly and selfish.

Question 9.
Then she took a tiny scrap of dough,
And rolled and rolled it flat;
And baked it thin as a wafer —
But she couldn’t part with that.

(a) Who had asked the woman for a cake? Why?
Answer:
Saint Peter had asked the woman for a cake. He had been fasting the whole ay and was weak with hunger.

(b) Why did the old lady take a tiny scrap of dough?
Answer:
The old lady was a greedy woman. She wanted to give St. Peter, the smallest cake she could make.

(c) Why did she make the thin cake?
Answer:
She wanted to save her dough. She wanted to give him a very small cake. So, she made a cake as thin as a water.

(d) What did Saint Peter do?
Answer:
Saint Peter cursed the woman and turned her into a woodpecker.

Question 10.
For she said, “My cakes that seem too small
When I eat of them myself
Are yet too large to give away. ”
So she put them on the shelf.

(a) Who is the speaker in these lines?
Answer:
The woman is the speaker in these lines.

(b) When do the cakes seem too small?
Answer:
The cakes seemed too small foe eating them herself.

(c) What kind of cakes did the woman make?
Answer:
The woman made cakes that were smaller and smaller, till the last one was as thin as a wafer.

(d) What did the woman do with her cakes? Why?
Answer:
The woman put the cakes away because she felt that they were to big to be given away in charity.

Question 11.
Then good Saint Peter grew angry,
For he was hungry and faint;
And surely such a woman
Was enough to provoke a saint.

(a) Who was Saint Peter?
Answer:
Saint Peter was one of the apostles of Jesus Christ.

(b) Who was Saint Peter angry with? Why?
Answer:
Saint Peter was angry with the woman because of her greed and selfishness.

(c) How had the woman provoked the Saint?
Answer:
The woman had provoked Saint Peter by not giving him any cake from her plentiful store.

(d) What did Saint Peter do?
Answer:
Saint Peter cursed the woman and turned her into a woodpecker who would have to bore for her food.

Question 12.
And he said, “You are far too selfish
To dwell in a human form,
To have both food and shelter,
Andfire to keep you warm.

(a) Who is ‘he’? Who is he speaking to?
Answer:
He refers to Saint Peter. He is talking to the woman in the cottage.

(b) What did the saint say about the woman?
Answer:
He said she was too selfish to live in human form.

(c) Why was he angry with her?
Answer:
She had refused to give him anything to eat from her plentiful store, when he was faint with hunger.

(d) What benefits did he want her to forego?
Answer:
He wanted her to forego the basic benefits of food, shelter and a fire to keep her warm.

Question 13.
Now, you shall build as the birds do,
And shall get your scanty food
By boring, and boring, and boring,
All day in the hard, dry wood. ”

(a) What did St Peter turn the old woman into?
Answer:
Saint Peter turned the woman into a bird, a woodpecker.

(b) Why did he curse her?
Answer:
Saint Peter was angry with her because of her miserliness.

(c) What would she build?
Answer:
She would build a nest in the woods like other birds.

(d) How would she get her food?
Answer:
She would get her food by boring into the hard wood.

Question 14.
Then up she went through the chimney,
Never speaking a word,
And out of the top flew a woodpecker,
For she was changed to a bird.

(a) Who is ‘she’? How did she go up?
Answer:
“She’ refers to the woman. She went up through the chimney.

(b) Who changed her into a bird?
Answer:
Saint Peter had changed her into a bird by cursing her.

(c) Why did she change into a woodpecker?
Answer:
As the woman passed through the chimney and came out through the top, her clothes were burned and had become black but the scarlet cap on her head remained unchanged.

(d) Where did the woman live?
Answer:
She lived in a country in the Earth’s north polar region, such as Greenland, the northern regions of Russia, or the Scandinavian countries.

Question 15.
She had a scarlet cap on her head,
And that was left the same;
But all the rest of her clothes were burned
Black as a coal in the flame.

(a) What did Saint Peter ask the old lady for?
Answer:
Saint Peter asked the old lady for one of her baked cakes to satisfy his hunger.

(b) What was the lady’s reaction?
Answer:
The lady tried to bake a small cake for the Saint, but did not give him even that.

(c) Why did Saint Peter feel the woman should leave her human form?
Answer:
She was too selfish to live in human form and enjoy food, shelter and warmth.

(d) How does the woodpecker get its food?
Answer:
The woodpecker gets its food by boring holes into trees.

Question 16.
And every country schoolboy
Has seen her in the wood,
Where she lives in the trees till this very day,
Boring and boring for food.

(a) Where can the woman be seen now?
Answer:
She can be seen in the forest

(b) What is she doing?
Answer:
She can be seen boring into the trees for food

(c) What lesson do you learn from the poem?
Answer:
We should not be greedy and must always help the needy. ”

(d) Who was Saint Peter?
Answer:
Saint Peter was an apostle of Christ, who went about preaching the message of God.

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