Get here the summary, questions, answers, textbook solutions, extras, and pdf of the lesson A Legend of Northland of Assam Board (SEBA) and Tripura Board (TBSE) Class 9 English textbook (Beehive). However, the given notes/solutions should only be used for references and should be modified/changed according to needs.
Summary: Phoebe Cary’s poem “A legend of Northland,” tells the story of a popular Northern European folklore in the style of a ballad. It recounts how a miserly woman irritated Saint Peter with her behaviour and was scolded and punished as a result.
The poet begins by noting that a familiar legend has been passed down through the generations in the Northland. Despite his doubts about the story’s veracity, the poet tells it anyway because he believes it will teach the reader something. The story takes place during the time when the good Saint Peter was teaching the Holy Word on the terrestrial route. He came to the door of a cottage where a woman lived during one of his travels, fatigued and hungry. He arrived as she was preparing cakes.
Saint Peter, exhausted from his travels and fasting, appealed to her goodness, asking for a single cake from her shop. The thrifty woman cooked him a small cake, but when it was almost done, it looked too big to give him. So she kneaded another, each one smaller than the previous, but she couldn’t stomach the idea of throwing them away. She next produced a wafer-thin miniature cake, but she was unable to distribute it. She realises the cakes are too little for her after eating them, but even the tiniest appears to be too huge to give away. Saint Peter was taken aback by the woman’s frugal nature. His patience and hunger gave way to fury.
He felt obligated to curse the miserly person. He denounced her conduct, claiming that she was too self-centred to be a human with easy access to food, housing, and clothing. Instead, he advised her to live like a bird, scavenging the woods for the tiniest scraps of food all day. The woman went up the chimney, transformed into a woodpecker, and flew away as soon as he said this curse.
The woman, now converted into a woodpecker, can still be seen in the forest, drilling into the wood of the trees, according to the poet. The folklore serves as a caution to everyone not to be miserly with their money.
Textual questions and answers
I . 1. Which country or countries do you think “the Northland” refers to?
Answer: The term “Northland” can refer to any country in the Earth’s north polar area that is exceedingly frigid. However, as the poet is an American, she may be referring to Alaska.
2. What did Saint Peter ask the old lady for? What was the lady’s reaction?
Answer: Saint Peter requested that the old lady give him a single cake from her cake store. In response to this request, the old lady proceeded to bake a tiny cake for him.
3. How did he punish her?
Answer: Saint Peter punished the miserly lady by transforming her into a woodpecker bird, which would have to forage for food by boring into the trees all day.
4. How does the woodpecker get its food?
Answer: The woodpecker, as the name implies, pecks into the wood of trees, boring in and out until it catches an insect living inside the tree.
8. Write the story of ‘A legend of the Northland’ in about ten sentences.
Answer: Saint Peter travelled from place to place spreading the word of the Lord when he lived on earth. During one of these journeys, he came to the door of a woman who was baking cakes. He asked for a single cake, exhausted and hungry from fasting. The miserly woman made him a small cake because she did not want to part with her large cakes. She thought it was too big to give away, so she made a smaller one. This continued until she made a wafer-thin cake. Her greed prevented her from giving him this as well, and she told herself that cakes that seemed too small when she ate them seemed too large for giving away, and she placed all the cakes on the shelf. Saint Peter was enraged by the woman’s stinginess and declared that she did not deserve to be a human and enjoy life’s comforts. He decided that she would have to bore through the wood to get even the tiniest amount of food. She was converted into a woodpecker as a result of his comments, and she continues to peck wood in the forest for food to this day.
Additional/questions and answers/solutions
1. Describe ‘Northland’ as done by the poet in his poem “A Legend of the Northland”
Answer: The poet’s description of Northland is of a distant land where the nights are longer than the days, lasting so long in winter that people are unable to sleep all night. It is the land where people harness fast reindeer to their sledges and use them to travel through the snow. To keep out the cold, the children wear furry clothing, which, according to the poet, makes them look like bear cubs.
2. Who was the person the lady angered? How?
Answer: The old lady angered Saint Peter. Her selfishness enraged Saint Peter. Saint Peter, tired and hungry, had asked her to give him a single cake from her store of cakes, but the miserly woman could not bring herself to do so. She could not bear sharing even the smallest of her cakes and continued to bake smaller and smaller ones while keeping Saint Peter waiting, a wait that proved futile as she eventually refused to give him any cake. Saint Peter was enraged by her behaviour and cursed her, turning her into a woodpecker.
3. The lady did not bring any cakes to Saint Peter. Why?
Answer: The lady was self-centred and stingy, and she couldn’t bear the thought of parting with even the smallest of her cakes, all of which appeared to her to be too large to share. As a result, she did not comply with Saint Peter’s request to bring him a cake.
4. What does the poem teach us?
Answer: This poem teaches us that we should not live solely for ourselves, only considering our losses and gains. Because, while we are preoccupied with trivial matters, there are many people who are less fortunate than us, and it is them that we should be thinking about and sharing our good fortune. We should be considerate and kind to all of our fellow humans. If we do not, we might not be transformed into birds, but we will definitely become mean-spirited, selfish people who everyone despises.
5. What country does this story belong to?
Answer: The legend is from the “Northland,” which could allude to any of the extremely cold countries in the Earth’s north polar region, including Greenland, Russia’s northern parts (Siberia), or the Scandinavian countries. It’s a frigid place with short days and long nights.
6. ‘And the children look like bear’s cubs.’ To whom have the children been compared? Why?
Answer: Because Northland is a frigid place, the children must wear weird hairy gowns to keep warm. They look like bear cubs in these outfits.
11. Why was the tiny woman cursed to be a woodpecker rather than another type of bird? How did she manage to get her meagre meal?
Answer: A holy man was enraged at the small woman. The saint spent the majority of his time preaching and travelling. He was hungry and weak as a result of his constant fasting. When Saint Peter noticed a little woman preparing cakes, he asked for a small bit. The greedy woman might have easily handed the saint a piece of cake. However, the greedy woman believed that even a small piece was too enormous to be given to him. Even this small gift was rejected. She was cursed to be a woodpecker by the saint. Even a small amount of food requires a long bore for a woodpecker. Because she had made the saint wait so long for such a small slice of cake, she was condemned to work hard by digging into the tree to receive even her meagre sustenance.
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