NCERT Solutions for Poem A Legend of the Northland Class 9 English Beehive

A Legend of the Northland is a legend narrated by the poet Phoebe Cary. It is the story of St. Peter and a greedy old lady. Once St. Peter asked for a cake from the old lady but the old lady did not give him anything because of her greediness. As a result Saint Peter cursed her that she would become a woodpecker and she would make her own home and would dig hard wood for the food. After that she changed in a woodpecker and flew out from her chimney. This story is a moral to everyone that we should not be greedy and should be generous to the people.

NCERT Solutions for Class 9th English Poem A Legend of the Northland

A Legend of the Northland Questions and Answers

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A Legend of the Northland NCERT Solutions


CBSE Class 9

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Thinking about the poem

I. Question 1: Which country or countries do you think 'The Northland' refer to?


'The Northland' refers to a cold country such as Russia, Greenland, Iceland, Canada etc. where the days are shorter and the nights are longer. There is a lot of snow in this region. 

Question 2: What did St. Peter ask the old lady for? What was the lady's reaction?


St. Peter asked the old lady for a piece of cake from her stock because he was very hungry. The lady's behaviour was stingy towards the saint and she was very selfish because she tried to decrease the size of the cake and lastly she did not give the cake to St. Peter.

Question 3: How did he punish her?


St. Peter was hungry and faint because of fasting, and the old lady did not want to share her cake. The priest was very angry with the old lady because she was selfish and couldn't let him have any of her cake, so the priest cursed her that she would make her own home as the birds do, and get her own food by boring all day in the hard dry woods because she did not deserve a human form, food, shelter, or fire. After that she quietly went inside her cottage and flew out from her chimney in the form of woodpecker. 

Question 4: How does the woodpecker get her food?


The woodpecker gets her food by boring holes in trees.

Question 5: Do you think that the old lady would have been so ungenerous if she had known who St. Peter really was? What would she have done then?


No, the old lady would not have been so ungenerous if she had known who St. Peter really was. This poem describes the old lady as a selfish and greedy woman who wouldn't even share a small portion of her bread with a priest. The only way she would have learned the lesson through punishment, this is the reason Saint Peter cursed her with making her own home and finding her food in the woods.

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


No, this is not a true story. This is a legend narrated by people in the northland, but this story gives a lesson to learn to not be greedy. The most important part of the poem is when Saint Peter curses the old lady for being selfish. Those who are far too selfish to be called human should learn this lesson. Nature provides them with shelter, food, and a fire so they should respect these things.

Question 7: What is a legend? Why is this poem called a legend?


Legends are traditional stories that are considered historical. Northlanders tell this story to everyone, that is why it is called a legend. This poem is called a legend because the poet said that he does not believe this tale to be true because this story is taken from the stories that old people told in their past.

Question 8: Write the story of 'A Legend of the Northland' in about ten lines.


Once there was a priest known as Saint Peter who travelled around the earth and reached a cottage where an old lady was baking cakes. The priest asked a cake from her stock of cakes because he was hungry and weak after fasting.  She made little cakes but couldn't give them away to the priest because they seemed larger for her, and then she made another one which was as thin as a wafer. After that she put all her cakes away on the shelf because she was a selfish lady. Then the priest became angry and  cursed the old woman and said that she didn't deserve the human form, food or shelter, and that she would spend her life digging all day in the woods finding food and making her own home. The lady went inside her cottage and flew out from her chimney as a woodpecker.

II. Question 1: Let's look at the 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.


The following are other rhyming words from the poem:

(i) Earth - Hearth (Para 5)

(ii) Done - One (Para 1)

(iii) Lay - Away (Para 7)

(iv) Flat - That (Para 9) 

(v) Lay Away (Para 7)

(vi) Myself - Shelf (Para 10)

(vii) Faint - Saint (Para 11)

(viii) Form - Warm (Para 12)

(ix) Food - Wood (Para 13)

(x) Same - Flame (Para 15)

(xi) true - you (para 3)

(xii) below - know (para 4)

(xiii) bird - word (para 14)

Question 2: Go to the local library or talk to older persons in your locality and find legends in your own language. Tell the class these legends.


This answer is dependent on the experience of the students. Please do it yourself.

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