A legend of the Northland Class 9 English, Beehive Poem
Detailed summary and explanation of “A legend of the Northland” Poem along with meanings for difficult words is provided here. Also, NCERT Question and Answers are also provided to help students understand this Poem and do well in their exams.
The poem ‘A legend of the Northland’ is a folktale (ballad) that is passed from one generation to another in Northland, in the tale. Saint Peter, once reached the place after travelling the whole day. He was hungry and asked a woman who was baking cakes to give him a single piece. However, the woman did not gave him even the smallest and thinnest cake. Thus, the angry saint cursed her and changed her into a woodpecker, a bird who would have to work hard to get food. Through the story of the woman was punished for her greed and selfishness. The legend teaches us not to be greedy and that we should acquire the qualities of kindness and empathy.
Stanza 1 and 2
The poet describes the place from where the story had originated. The story originated in the cold region of Northland where the days are short and nights are very long in winter. The people of the Northland can’t sleep due to extreme cold conditions in the night at this place. When the snow falls in Northland, the people living there tie their reindeers to sledges to travel (reindeer pull the sledges). The children wear warm furry clothes that makes them look like bear cubs.
Stanza 3 and 4
They tell them a curious story-
Parents in the Northland tell their children a curious story. The poet does not think that the story is true but still tells the tale. The poet believes that it contains an important lesson which we all must learn. The poet, then, begins the tale. Once when the good Saint Peter lived on Earth as a human. He travelled the world teaching about God.
He came to the door of a cottage,
To give him a single one.
Stanza 7 and 8
So she made a very little cake,
So, the woman started baking a small cake for Saint Peter. But, before she could give it to him, she felt that it was too big to give away. So, the woman went to make another small cake, but when she turned it over, the cake looked as big as the first one.
Stanza 9 and 10
Then she took a tiny scrap of dough,
Then the woman took a small piece of dough and rolled it as thin as she could. The cake baked from it was as thin as wafer but the woman could not also give it to Saint Peter. She said that her cakes seemed too small when she would eat them. However, those cakes became too large to give away for free. Consequently, she put all the cakes on the shelf and did not give any cake to Saint Peter.
Stanza 11 and 12
Then good Saint Peter grew angry,
The selfish behaviour of the woman made Saint Peter angry. He was very weak and hungry. It is not easy for a compassionate and kind saint like Saint Peter to become angry but the actions of the woman had been able to do so. Hence, Saint Peter told her that she was very selfish. She did not deserve to be a human being and live a comfortable life with good food to eat, a house to live in with fire to keep her Warm.
Stanza 13 and 14
Now, you shall build as the birds do,
Saint Peter cursed the woman and transformed her into a bird. As a bird, the woman could now have to build her own nest and get her own food. To get food, she must dig holes in to the hard dry wood. As a result, the women went out through the chimney of her house without speaking a word. She has now changed into a woodpecker.
Stanza 15 and 16
She had a scarlet cap on her head,
As a human, the little woman wore a red cap. When she was converted into a woodpecker, only her red cap remained and all her clothes had burned. In other words, the woodpecker had a red head but the rest of its body was black. The poet then says that since then every school boy has seen the woodpecker (the little woman) in the forest. She still lives there digging into the dry and hard wood (bark of trees) to look for her food.
(1) Describe the Northland which is the place of this legend? (2) Why are the hours of the day few and night so long in the Northland? (3) Why can’t the people sleep through the long nights? (4) Why do the people of Northland harness the swift reindeer?
(5) What is a sledge and where it is generally used?
(6) How do the children of Northland look like and Why?
(7) Why does the poet call it a curious story? Do you believe that the story is true?
(8) What lesson does the tale give to you?
(9) Who was Saint Peter and what did he use to do?
(10) Why did Saint Peter travel round the Earth? Where did he come at the end of the day?
(11) What did Saint Peter see when he came to the door of a cottage?
(12) Describe the condition of Saint Peter when he arrived at the cottage?
(13) What did she made a very little cake?
(14) How did the little cake appear to her?
(15) Why didn’t the old lady give that little cake to Saint Peter?
(16) Why did she knead another flour?
(17) What was the size of second cake? Why didn’t she give the second cake to Saint Peter?
(18) Why did the old lady take a tiny scrap of dough? Why was the dough rolled flat?
(19) Why did she bake the cake thin as waffer?
(20) Why did the cakes look too small when she ate them herself and why did they look too large to give them away?
(21) Why does a good Saint like Saint Peter grew angry?
(22) What did Saint Peter say to the greedy women?
(23) How did Saint Peter curse the old women?
(24) What will the old lady have to do to get her scanty food?
(25) What did the old lady do after she had been changed to a bird?
(26) What happened to the clothes the old lady was wearing?
(27) The poem is a legend of an old lady and greedy lady? How ?
(28) The poet himself says that the is not true but still he wants to narrate the story? Why?
(29) How did Saint Peter reach the old women’s cottage?
(30) Why did Saint Peter ask for a single cake from the old lady?
(31) What did Saint Peter say about the greedy old lady?
|legend||(in title) old traditional story|
|Northland||a place located in far North of Europe|
|furry||made of fur|
|tis||short form for “it is”|
|preaching||what God had said|
|give away||donate for free|
|part with||give away|
|provoke||irritate or anger|
|boring||making holes in the tree trunks with the beak to find food|