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NCERT Class 8 English Chapter 1 The Best Christmas present In the world
Table of Contents
Also, you can read the NCERT book online in these sections Solutions by Expert Teachers as per Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) Book guidelines. CBSE Class 8 English Solutions are part of All Subject Solutions. Here we have given NCERT Class 8 English Chapter 1 The Best Christmas present In the world and After, NCERT Class 8 English Textbook of Honeydew and It So Happen. for All Chapters, You can practice these here.
The Best Christmas present In the world
Textbook Questions With Their Answers
COMPREHENSION CHECK – I
Q. 1. What did the author find in a junk shop?
Ans. The author found an old roll-top desk made of oak in a junk-shop. It was cheap as it was in a bad condition.
Q. 2. What did he find in a secret drawer? Who do you think had put it in there?
Ans. He found a small tin box in the secret drawer of the desk which had a letter in it. Think the owner of the roll-top desk might have put it there.
COMPREHENSION CHECK – II
Q. 1. Who had written the letter, to whom and when?
Ans. Jim Macpherson had written the letter to his wife, Connie when he was in battlefield during first world-war.
Q. 2. Why was the letter written – what was the wonderful thing that had happened?
Ans. The letter was written to describe an unusual event which happened on the Christmas eve at wartime. It was wonderful as they (Fritz and Tommy-the German and British soldiers respectively) celebrated Christmas in the terrible sight of war. They enjoyed together with German drinks and p0 sausage. Enemies became friends for a while in the battlefield. So it was the wonderful thing that had happened.
Q. 3. What jobs did Hans Wolf and Jim Macpherson have when they were not soldiers?
Ans. Hans Wolf played the cello in the orchestra in Dusseldorf and Jim Macpherson was a school-teacher from Dorset in the west of England.
Q. 4. Had Hans Wolf ever been to Dorset? Why did he say he knew it?
Ans. No, he had never set foot in Dorset. He learned about it from school and reading books in English. So he said he knew it.
Q. 5. Do you think Jim Macpherson came back from the war? How do you know this?
Ans. I think Jim Macpherson never came back from the war. His wife Connie was found still waiting for him at the age of found one hundred and one years. It was also written in a shaky handwriting, “Jim’s last letter, received January 25, 1915. To be buried with me, when the time comes.”
COMPREHENSION CHECK – III
Q. 1. Why did the author go to Bridport?
Ans. The author went to Bridport to meet Mrs. Macpherson and to deliver her letter.
Q. 2. How old was Mrs. Macpherson now? Where was she?
Ans. She was 101 years old. She was in a nursing home on the Dorchester Road named as Burlington House.
The place was on the other side of the town.
COMPREHENSION CHECK – IV
Q. 1. Who did Connie Macpherson think her visitor was?
Ans. Connie thought that the visitor was her own husband, Jim Macpherson.
Q. 2. Which sentence in the text shows that the visitor did not try to hide his identity?
Ans. The sentence in the text which shows that the visitor did not try to hide his identity is-‘I explained about the desk, about how I had found it’.
WORKING WITH THE TEXT
Q.1. How long do you think Connie had kept Jim’s letter? Give reasons for your answer.
Ans. She kept the letter till the end. She got separated from it only when her house. caught fire. There are enough evidence as the roll-top desk, in which the writer found the letter, was in a bad condition. It had burn marks over it.
Q.2. Why do you think the desk had been sold, and when?
Ans. The author found the desk in a junk shop in Bridport. So it might have been as wrap after the hease of Mrs. Macpherson got burnt by the fire completely.
Q. 3. Why do Jim and Hans think that games or sports are good ways of resolving conflicts? Do you agree?
Ans. Jim and Hans thought that games or sports are good ways to resolve conflicts because no one dies in a sport. Neither the children got orphaned nor the wives become widows.We also agree with this concept as war gives nothing but only disaster. If all the conflicts could be solved by playing games then it would be better for humanity and it will save many lives.
Q. 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.
Ans. The soldiers of the two armies are very much like one-another.Both the armies enjoyed, talked with each other. They celebrated Christmas doing smoking, laughing, eating, drinking and they shared everything. We found Jim saying that “We agreed about everything and he was my enemy.” They were fighting against each other, they were enemies, yet they became friends. All of them just wanted to end the fight and they shared their time of peace and goodwill, as they got the chance to do so.
Q. 5. Mention the various ways in which the British and the German soldiers become friends and find things in common at Christmas.
Ans. Both the armies were trying to make peace in the middle of war by celebration of Christmas.They wished each other ‘Happy Christmas’ and introduced themselves. They shared everything they had. They had a common opinion about almost everything although they were enemies and fighting against each other. But they got intermixed with smoking, laughing, eating, drinking and talking. They played football also. They all longed for peace and hoped that they would all go home one day.
Q. 6. What is Connie’s Christmas present? Why is it ‘the best Christmas present in the world’?
Ans. Connie’s Christmas present was Jim’s letter, and Connie’s husband was away in the battlefield during Christmas, she had been one hundred one years old and she had been waiting for her husband. When she saw the writer with letter in his hand, she mistook him for her husband. So that was the best Christmas present in the world.
Q.7. Do you think the title of the story is suitable for it? Can you think of any other title(s)?
Ans. The title of the story, The Best Christmas Present in the World’ is very suitable for it as the letter that the writer finds in the old roll-top desk contained the letter from Jim, to his wife, Mrs. Connet that contained the detailed account of the unique Christmas celebrations in the battlefield. The author’s wife had been promised by Jim that he would come back on the day of Christmas. When the writer came to her with the letter of her husband in his hand, she was overjoyed and told that it was the best Christmas present in the world.
Another suitable title may be–”The Last Letter’, or ‘A Unique Christmas Gift’.
THINKING ABOUT LANGUAGE
Q.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 19th century ___ This one was in bad conditio __
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 verbs 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.
Ans. 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 use the ‘had…’ form for the event that first occurred 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 ______ the (have, chase) her, and she_____(have, fall) down and ____ (have, tear) her dress.
Ans. came, torn, asked, happened, said, had quarrelled, had beaten, had tried, had told, had chased, had fallen, had torn.
(iii) Underline the verbs and arrange them in two columns, past and earlier past.
(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!
|(a) set out, stayed
|(b) arrived, come back
|had left, had gone
|(c) sat, ate
2. Dictionary Work
By the end of the journey, we had run our 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 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 your sentence.
Ans. Burned out: destroyed by fire.
→ No. 12 turned out to be nothing but a burned-out shell, the roof gaping, the windows boarded up.
→ Lit up: became bright with happiness and excitement.
→ That was the moment her eyes lit up with recognition and her face became suffused with a sudden glow of happiness.
Looked on: looked at each other and talked.
→ Hans Wolf and I looked on and cheered, clapping our hands and stamping our feet, to keep out the cold as much as anything.
Run out: to disappear from the scene.
→ The time came, and all too soon, when the game was finished, the schnapps and the rum and the sausage had long since run out and we knew it was all over.
Boarded up: to be dislocated.
→ No.12 turned out to be nothing but a burned out shell, the roof gaping, the windows boarded up.
Keep out: to be safe from something.
→ Hans Wolf and I looked on and cheered, clapping our hands and stamping our feet, to keep out the cold as much as anything.
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 (lack) and material of which it is made (tin).
→ 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 modifiers/adjectives in a noun phrase, as given below:
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 description!
|circular, pool, striped, enormous,
|multicoloured, round, cheerful,wild, blue, red, chubby, large.
|medium – sized,brick, cold.
|cheerful, round, chubby, medium sized
|circular, large, multi-coloured
Q. 1. In groups discuss whether wars are a good way to end conflicts between countries. Then present your arguments to the whole class.
Ans. Wars bring destruction. It results in the loss of resources as well as lives. Wars result in bloodshed, the children become orphans and the women become widows. The countries choose wars, wars but solve no problems. Understanding between nations and sharing of resources can end conflicts.
Q. 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.
Ans. I would like all those presents that are given to me with love and affection. Even a small rose would be more precious to me than an expensive toy or dress if it contains the amiable feelings of the giver. When I go to buy presents for others. I keep into consideration their likes and dislikes. My gift should satisfy other person’s need or interests.
Q. 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
Its Christmas today, but the town looks….
25th December 20……
Its Christmas today, but the town looks quiet. My house, Copper Beeches No. 12 turned out to be nothing but a burned-out shell, the roof looked gaping and the windows boarded-up. It had become a solitary piece of land. My neighbour told me that my wife had been in the house when it caught fire. Now she is in a nursing home. I have come after meeting her. She was quite happy at my return. We will start a new life soon, after she recovers a good health. She took my arrival as a Christmas present for her. I am happy as well as worried. But hope that situation will be improved soon. May God bless us all! Jim
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.
25th December 20…
I hope this finds you in the best of your health. I would like to share my anxiety, fears and feelings about an incident with you.
Recently I bought a roll-top desk from a junk shop. It was in a quite bad condition. There was a letter in a secret drawer of the desk. That was for Mrs. Jim Macpherson. After reading that letter, I decided to give it back to Mrs. Macpherson. But when I reached at the mentioned address, the situation had been completely changed. As per the information provided by her neighbour, I went to see her in the nursing home. She was a 101 years old lady. She thought that I was here husband, Jim. She had glitter in her eyes as well tears. She had been anxiously waiting for her husband, who she thought, that was me. Now I am in a fix. What should I do? I am afraid to clear the misunderstanding as it may hurt the old woman. Even I don’t want to continue with this myth. But my self-reliance is not above the life of an old woman. So I have decided not to disclose my identity and disappoint the old lady. I would like to let her believe that her dear Jim has come back so that she may live for some more happy years.
Please do write your views about my decision.
Q. 2. Given below is the outline of a story. Construct the story using the outline:
Ans. A young newly married doctor was a great freedom fighter. He was exiled to the Andaman and Nicobar Islands by the British. He was imprisoned in infamous Cellular Jail. Prisoners were tortured there. Some of his inmates did revolt. The doctor was hanged till death. But his wife did not know anything about it. She waits for his return but he never comes back. She becomes old and continues to wait with hope and faith that one day her husband will return and they will live a happy life once again.
Read the passages carefully and answer the questions that follow:
PASSAGES – 1
I spotted it in a junk shop in Bridport, a roll-top desk. The man said it was early 19th century, and oak. I had always wanted one, but they were always far too expensive. This one was in a bad condition, the roll-top in several pieces, one leg clumsily mended, scorch marks all down one side. 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. I paid the man and brought it back to my workroom at the back of the garage. I began work on it on Christmas Eve.
(a) Name the lesson and the author.
Ans. The name of the lesson is “The Best Christmas Present in the World’ and the name of the author is Michael Morpurgo.
(b) What did he spot and where?
Ans. He spotted a roll-top desk in Bridport.
(c) Describe the condition of the roll-top desk.
Ans. The roll-top desk was very old. It was in several pieces, one leg clumsily mended, scorch marks all down one side.
(d) Give two reasons why the roll-top desk was bought by the writer.
Ans. (i) The author had always wanted to buy a roll-top desk.
(ii) The author could find this old roll-top desk at a reasonable price.
(e) Where was his workroom?
Ans. His workroom was at the back of the garage.
PASSAGE – 2
One of the Germans was waving a bottle above his head. “It is Christmas Day, Tommy. We have schnapps. We have sausage. We meet you? Yes” By this time there were dozens of them walking towards us across no man’s land and not a rifle between them. Little Private Morris was the first up. “Come on, boys. What are we waiting for?” And then there was no stopping them. I was the officer. I should have stopped them there and then, I suppose, but the truth is that it never even occurred to me I should. All along their line and ours I could see men walking slowly towards one another, gray coats, khaki coats meeting in the middle. And I was one of them. I was part of this. In the middle of the war we were making peace.
(a) What time did the scene belong to?
Ans. The scene belonged to the time of World-War I.
(b) What do you mean by ‘schnapps’?
Ans. ‘Schnapps’ is a German drink made from grain.
(c) ‘And I was one of them’. Who is ‘I’m Here?
Ans. ‘I’ is Jim Macpherson (a British army officer) here.
(d) Where were the men meeting?
Ans. The men were meeting in no man’s land, i.e., in the middle of the British and the German posts.
PASSAGE – 3
“I’d prefer cricket,” I told him. “Then we Tommies could be sure of winning, probably.” We laughed at that, and together we watched the game. Sad to say, Connie, Fritz won, two goals to one. But as Hans Wolf generously said, our goal was wider than theirs, so it wasn’t quite fair.
The time came, and all too soon, when the game was finished, the schnapps and the rum and the sausage had long since run out, and we knew it was all over. I wished Hans well and told him I hoped he would see his family again soon, that the fighting would end and we could all go home.
(a) Who was Hans Wolf?
Ans. Hans Wolf was the Fritz Officer.
(b) The time came, and all too soon, when the game was finished.’
(i) What was the game?
Ans. It was the game of cricket.
(ii) Why did he feel that it was too soon?
Ans. He felt that it was too soon because the men from both the sides were enjoying the game. It was a good change for them because they were away from their families.
(c) What did Jim hope?
Ans. Jim hoped that he would see his family again soon, that the fighting would end and they could all go home.
(d) Find from the passage:
(i) two common nouns.
Ans. cricket, sausage.
(ii) two proper nouns.
Ans. Connie, Hans wolf.
(iii) two adverbs.
Ans. probably, generously.
PASSAGE – 4
The old lady was sitting in a wheelchair, her hands folded in her lap. She had silver white hair pinned into a wispy bun. She was gazing out at the garden. “Hello,” I said. She turned and looked up at me vacantly. “Happy Christmas, Connie,” I went on. “I found this.I think it’s yours.” 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. For a while she said nothing, but stroked the letter tenderly with her fingertips.
(a) Who was the old lady?
Ans. The old lady was Mrs. Macpherson.
(b) ‘As I was speaking her eyes never left my face.
(i) Who is ‘I’ here?
Ans. The author is ‘I’ here.
(ii) Why did her eyes never leave his face?
Ans. Her eyes never left his face because she mistook him for her husband.
(c) How did the old lady react, when he explained her about the desk?
Ans. Ans. The old lady did not seem listening to him. For a while she said nothing, but stroked the letter tenderly with her fingertips.
(d) ‘I found this’ I think it’s yours’.
(i) Who said this to whom?
Ans. The writer said this to the old lady.
(ii) What is ‘it’ referred to here?
Ans. ‘It’ is referred to the letter written by Jim Macpherson to his wife.
SOME OTHER QUESTIONS FOR EXAMINATION
Q. 1. When did the writer begin work on the old roll-top desk?
Ans. The writer began work on the old roll- top desk on Christmas Eve.
Q. 2. How was probably the roll-top desk damaged?
Ans. The roll-top desk was probably damaged by the action of fire and water.
Q. 3. What was the address written on the envelope of the letter?
Ans. The address written on the envelope of the letter was Mrs. Jim Macpherson, 12 Copper Beeches Bridport Dorset
Q. 4. Who first sent the message of celebrating Christmas?
Ans. Fritz first sent the message of celebrating Christmas.
Q. 5. Why did Jim first tell his men to keep the heads down?
Ans. Jim first told his men to keep the heads down because he thought it was a trick from the Germans.
Q.6. Did the soldiers on both sides want the war? How do you know?
Ans. The soldiers on both sides did not want the war. Hans Wolf, the German officer told Jim Macpherson, the British Officer that they should resolve the war by a football match because unlike war, people are not killed in a match.
Q. 7. What did Christmas celebration from both sides of the army signify?
Ans. Christmas celebration from both sides of the army signified that both armies longed for happiness and peace. They wished to reunite with their families.
Q. 8. Who are Fritz and Tommy in the story?
Ans. Fritz and Tommy are the names given to the German and British soldiers in the story.
MULTIPLE CHOICE QUESTIONS
Tick (✔) the correct option
1. What is veneer?
(a) burn marks.
(b) a thin layer of plastic or decorative wood.
(d) a musical instrument.
Ans. (b) a thin layer of plastic or decorative wood.
2. What did the writer do after he had read Jim’s letter?
(a) He tore the letter.
(b) He folded the letter again and slipped it carefully back into its envelope.
(c) He drove into Bridport.
(d) Both (b) and (c).
Ans. (d) Both (b) and (c).
3. Who was Hans Wolf’s favourite writer?
(a) William Wordsworth.
(b) Ruskin Bond.
(c) Thomas Hardy.
(d) None of them.
Ans. (c) Thomas Hardy.
4. What did Hans Wolf like the best on the Christmas Cake?
(c) base of cake.
(d) none of these.
Ans. (b) marzipan.
Use the following words in sentences of your own:
(i) muddle-headed: A muddle-headed person daily came to the post office to enquire about his daughter’s letter.
(ii) perhaps: We would perhaps go to “The Kingdom of Dreams’ next Sunday.
(iii) saluted: The students on March saluted the Prime Minister on the Republic Day.
(iv) goodwill: The goodwill of the business is maintained by supplying quality goods
(v) resolve: It is always wise to resolve the family matters peacefully.
The Ant and the Cricket
Textbook Questions With Their Answers
WORKING WITH THE POEM
Q. 1. The cricket says: “Oh! what will become of me ?” When does he say it,and why?
Ans. He says this when he notices that he has not prepared anything for winter. The winter had come and the cricket had nothing to eat. He could not find even a crumb. He was worried about food and shelter.
Q. 2. (i) Find in the poem the lines that mean the same as, “Neither a borrower nor a lender be.” (Shakespeare)
Ans. ‘But we ants never borrow never lend.’
(ii) What is your opinion of the ant’s principles?
Ans. The ant’s principle is quite appropriate. They are hardworking creatures and maintain their ideals. They do not follow the principles of borrowing or lending. But, when in need they should be generous enough to lend money to the poor cricket and instead teach him a lesson.
Q.3. The ant tells the cricket to ‘dance the winter away.’ Do you think the word ‘dance’ is appropriate here? If so, why?
Ans. The word ‘dance’ is appropriate here because it suits to the light and the careless attitude of the cricket.
Q. 4. (i) Which lines in the poem express the poet’s comment? Read them aloud.
Ans. (i) ‘Folks call this fable. I’ll warrant it true:
Some crickets have four legs and some have two’.
(ii) Write the comment in your words.
Ans. By a two-legged cricket, the poet means the persons who are lazy enough. Such persons do not work in present and suffer in future. They have tendency of leaving work on tomorrow.
STANZA – 1
Sys the and to the cricket, ‘I’m your servant and friend, But we ants never borrow; we ants never lend. Bu tell me, dear cricket, did you lay nothing by When the weather was warm? Quota the cricket ‘Not I!
(i) What is the archaic word used?
(ii) Who is the ant to a cricket?
Ans. The ant to the cricket is its servant and friend.
(iii) What is the principle of ants?
Ans. The principle of ants is that they neither lend nor borrow.
STANZA – 2
Thas ending, he hastily lifted the wicket, And out of the door turned the poor little cricket. Folks call this a fable. I’ll warrant it true. Some crickets have four legs, and some have two.
(i) What do folks call this story?
Ans. Folks call this story a fiable.
(ii) How did the ant react to the cricket?
Ans. The ant turned the door to the cricket.
(iii) What is the poet’s opinion about cricket’s and the ant’s story?
Ans. The poet’s opinion about cricket’s and ant’s story is that even though ladies consider it a fable.
STANZA – 3
At last by starvation and famine made bold, All dripping with wet, and all trembling with cold, Away he set off to a miserly ant,To see if, to keep him alive, he would grant Him shelter from rain,And a mouthful of grain.He wished only to borrow; He’d repay it tomorrow;If not, he must die of starvation and sorrow.
(i) What is the rhyme scheme of ‘The Ant and The Cricket’?
(ii) Who would grant the cricket?
Ans. An ant would grant the cricket.
(iii) What did he wish?
Ans. He wished only to borrow shelter in the rain and only a mouthful of grain.
SOME OTHER QUESTIONS FOR EXAMINATION
Q.1. What is a fable?
Ans. A fable is a story, often with animals as characters that conveys a moral.
Q.2. Why would you consider ‘The Ant and the Cricket’ to be a fable?
Ans. The Ant and the Cricket is a fable because it gives the lesson that we should be hand-working and prepared for the future.We should not believe in the principle of borrowing and lending.
Q.3. Why did the cricket think that he would die?
Ans. The cricket had nothing in his cupboard. He thought that he would die of starvation and sorrow.
Q. 4. Give a description of the ant.
Ans. The ant is miserly but hard-working.
Use the following in sentences of your own
(a) lay by.
Ans. lay by – The hailstorm destroyed the crops, the farmers could lay nothing by.
Ans. borrow – I do not like to borrow things.