NCERT Class 9 English Chapter 16 A Legend of the Northland

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NCERT Class 9 English Chapter 16 A Legend of the Northland

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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 9 English Solutions are part of All Subject Solutions. Here we have given NCERT Class 9 English Chapter 16 A Legend of the Northland and After, NCERT Class 9 English Textbook of Beehive and Supplementary Reader (Moments). for All Chapters, You can practice these here.

A Legend of the Northland

Chapter: 16



Read the stanzas given below and answer the questions that follow:


Away, away in the Northland, 

Where the hours of the day are few, 

And nights are so long in winter 

That they cannot sleep them through;


(i) Which place is under discussion in the stanza? 

(a) Netherland. 

(b) Northland.

(c) Iceland.

(d) Finland.

Ans: (b) Northland.

(ii) The hours of the day are few because:

(a) Nights are longer.

(b) It is always snowing. 

(c) These are wintry nights.

(d) The days are shorter.

Ans: (d) The days are shorter.

(iii) ‘They’ in the forth line stands for:

(a) Hours. 

(b) Nights. 

(c) People.

(d) Animals. 

Ans: (c) People. 

(iv) What poetic device do you find in the first line?

(a) Metapher. 

(b) Irony.

(c) Personification.

(d) Alliteration.

Ans: (d) Alliteration. 

(v) Give the antonym of the word ‘few’.

(a) Long.

(b) Bigger.

(c) Small. 

(d) Many.

Ans: (d) Many. 


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


(i) Which animal do the people rear there?

(a) Mountain Goat.

(b) Reindeer.

(c) Snow leopard. 

(d) Amphibian.

Ans: (b) Reindeer.

(ii) Children wear clothes made of fur to protect from: 

(a) Cloudy weather.

(b) Save from cold. 

(c) Look beautiful.

(d) Look like bear’s cubs.

Ans: (b) To save from cold.

(iii) Sledge is a cart drawn by a reindeer on:

(a) The field.

(b) The mountains.

(c) The polar regions.

(d) The snow.

Ans: (d) The snow.

(iv) What is the poetic device in the fourth line?

(a) Metapher. 

(b) Simile.

(c) Irony.

(d) None.

Ans: (b) Simile. 

(v) Who is the poet of this poem

(a) William Yeats. 

(b) Robert Frost. 

(c) Phoebe Kelly. 

(d) Phoebe Cary.

Ans: (d) Phoebe Cary.


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.


(i) The poet told the story of Saint _________ in this stanza.

(a) Peter.

(b) George.

(c) Augustin. 

(d) Devisits.

Ans : (a) Peter.

(ii) Where did the story of this poem occur?

(a) Netherland. 

(b) Iceland.

(c) Scotland.

(d) Northland.

Ans: (d) Northland.

(iii) The story is curious because:

(a) St. Peter turned the lady to a bird. 

(b) the lady could not part with the cake. 

(c) the tempty lady was punished. 

(d) St. Peter cursed the lady to a bird.

Ans: (c) People.

(iv) Which word in the stanza stands for story? 

(a) Tale.

(b) Curious.

(c) Lesson. 

(d) Tell.

Ans: (d) Tale.

(v) The tale told by them:

(a) Is true.

(b) Is believable.

(c) Is interesting.

(d) has a moral lessen.

Ans: (a) Is true.


Once, when the good Saint Peter 

Lived in the world below, 

And walked about it, preaching, 

Just as he did you know, 


(i) Who was Saint Peter?

(a) A great saint of Muslims. 

(b) A great saint of Christians.

(c) A great Hindu Saint. 

(d) A great saint of Parsi.

Ans: (a) A great saint of Christians.

(ii) Where is St. Peter?

(a) In hell.

(b) In the world below.

(c) In heaven.

(d) In the unknown sky. 

Ans: (c) In heaven.

(iii) St. Peter remained busy in _________.

(a) Sermonizing. 

(b) Preaching.

(c) Roaming here and there. 

(d) Preaching the teaching of Christ.

Ans: (d) Preaching the teaching of Christ.

(iv) This stanza has been written by:

(a) W.B. Yeats.

(b) Phoebe Cary.

(c) William Wordsmith.

(d) S. Bharti.

Ans: (d) Learn a lesson.

(v) Trace the antonym of ‘above’:

(a) Below. 

(b) Over. 

(c) Good.

(d) Preach.

Ans: (a) Below.


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;


(i) Identify ‘he’ here in the first time.

(a) The door. 

(b) St. Peter.

(c) Cottage.

(d) Cake.

Ans: (b) St. Peter.

(ii) The little woman was:

(a) Old.

(b) Little. 

(c) Young. 

(d) Fat.

Ans: (b) Little.

(iii) The lady was busy in:

(a) Her home chores. 

(b) Washing the clothes.

(c) Baking cake. 

(d) Sweeping.

Ans: (c) Baking cake.

(iv) Where did St. Peter travel?

(a) Round the earth.

(b) Round the cottage.

(c) Travelled from place to place. 

(d) None/All of these.

Ans: (d) Round the earth.

(v) Why did he came to the door of a cottage? 

(a) To preach.

(b) To sleep.

(c) For alms.

(d) To satisfy his hunger.

Ans: (d) To satisfy his hunger.


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.


(i) St. Peter had fainted due to: 

(a) Remaining hungry.

(b) Some unknown misery. 

(c) Fasting.

(d) Having eaten no food. 

Ans: (c) Fasting.

(ii) What do you mean by ‘the day was almost done’.

(a) It was sun set.

(b) It was dusk.

(c) it was dark.

(d) it was cloudy.

Ans: (a) It was sun set.

(iii) St. Peter asked the lady for:

(a) A small cake.

(b) A single cake.

(c) Some cake. 

(d) Water. 

Ans: (c) Baking cake.

(iv) Write the rhyme scene of the stanza. 

(a) Ab,bb.

(b) Ac,da.

(c) Ab,ab.

(d) Bb,ba.

Ans: (c) Ab,ab.

(v) He asked the old woman to give him:

(a) A piece of bread. 

(b) A piece of chapati.

(c) A piece of cake.

(d) A piece of biscuit.

Ans: (c) A piece of cake.


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.


(i) The lady was busy in:

(a) Is baking a cake. 

(b) Making a small cake.

(c) Making a big cake.

(d) Burning the hearth.

Ans: (b) Making a small cake.

(ii) The lady seemed to be:

(a) Very crook. 

(b) Very greedy.

(c) Very opened thrift. 

(d) None / all of these.

Ans: (b) Very greedy.

(iii) The word ‘seemed’ is similar to:

(a) Looked. 

(b) Sensed.

(c) Witnessed. 

(d) Appeared. 

Ans: (d) Appeared. 

(iv) How did the cake appear to the lady?

(a) Very big. 

(b) small.

(c) To small.

(d) Very large.

Ans: (a) Very big.

(v) The old lady didn’t give that cake to St. Peter because:

(a) She was a selfish and greedy creature. 

(b) She was very courteous.

(c) She was helpful.

(d) She was ill-mannered.

Ans: (a) She was a selfish and greedy creature.


Therefore she kneaded another,

And still a smaller one; 

But it looked, when she turned it over, 

As large as the first had done.


(i) What did the lady do?

(a) kneaded the flour.

(b) Prepared another.

(c) Made a smaller one.

(d) Did nothing.

Ans: (a) kneaded the flour.

(ii) What was the size of the second cake?

(a) Smaller. 

(b) Bigger. 

(c) Larger. 

(d) Heavier.

Ans: (a) Smaller.

(iii) Which is the correct one: 

(a) Lady doing ironing clothes. 

(b) Lady baking bread in a hearth. 

(c) Lady sweeping the room. 

(d) Lady cleaning the utensils.

Ans: (b) Lady baking bread in a hearth.

(iv) The lady could not give the cake of St. peter because: 

(a) She was greedy.

(b) All the cakes appeared too big to her.

(c) She wanted to eat them all. 

(d) She was not a charitable lady. 

Ans:(b) All the cakes appeared too big to her.

(v) Who is ‘she’ referred to above?

(a) Little woman.

(b) Old woman.

(c) Young girl. 

(d) Teacher.

Ans: (a) Little woman.


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.


(i) The lady took a tiny scrap of dough because:

(a) She wanted to save some flour. 

(b) She wanted to prepare the smallest cake.

(c) She wanted to save it for a rainy day.

(d) She was money minded and selfish. 

Ans: (a) she wanted to save some flour.

(ii) She was preparing the cakes through:

(a) Kneading.

(b) Smaller dough.

(c) Rolling.

(d) Baking.

Ans: (c) Rolling.

(iii) The thin cake she prepared was like a:

(a) Paper. 

(b) Small and thin leaf.

(c) Cotton gauze.

(d) Wafer.

Ans : (d) Wafer.

(iv) Write the correct antonym of ‘tiny’:

(a) Large. 

(b) Big. 

(c) Huge.

(d) Significant. 

Ans: (c) Huge. 

(v) Trace a word similar to ‘leftover’. 

(a) Tiny.

(b) Scrap.

(c) Dough.

(d) Thin.

Ans: (b) Scrap. 


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


(i) The lady did not give any cake to St. Peter because:

(a) All appeared too large to be given away. 

(b) She wanted to eat them herself.

(c) Greedy had overpowered her. 

(d) She desired to make saving.

Ans: (a) All appeared too large to be given away.

(ii) Name the poem. 

(a) A Legend of the Northland.

(b) Wind.

(c) The Lake Isle of Innisfree.

(d) Rain on the Roof.

Ans: (a) A Legend of the Northland.

(iii) Trace the correct meaning of ‘shelf: 

(a) Almirah.

(b) Cupboard. 

(c) Wardrobe. 

(d) Closet. 

Ans: (a) Almirah. 

(iv) The lady put all the cakes on the shelf because:

(a) She decided to feed the birds. 

(b) She wanted to a eat them herself. 

(c) She did not want one to give to St. Peter. 

(d) She wanted to make them state.

Ans: (c) She did not want one to give to St. Peter.

(v) The cakes looked too small when she ate them herself because:

(a) Her greed made her think so. 

(b) Her kind heartedness made it so.

(c) Her feelings of respect for saints made it so. 

(d) None of these.

Ans: (a) Her greed made her think so.


Then good Saint Peter grew angry, 

For he was hungry and faint;

And surely such a woman 

Was enough to provoke a saint.


(i) St. Peter lost his temper because:

(a) The lady did not oblige him. 

(b) The lady didn’t part with a single cake.

(c) He was hungry and thirsty. 

(d) His tolerance has exhausted.

Ans: (b) the lady did not part with a single cake. 

(ii) What made Saint Peter angry? 

(a) The woman’s greed.

(b) The woman’s selfishness.

(c) The woman’s pride.

(d) The woman’s impoliteness. 

Ans: (a) The woman’s greed.

(iii) Where did the story of this poem occur?

(a) Scotland. 

(b) Iceland.

(c) Northland. 

(d) Netherland. 

Ans: (c) Northland.

(iv) Find a word from the passage that mans ‘angry’:

(a) Provoke.

(b) Incite.

(c) Enraged. 

(d) Red and blue. 

Ans: (a) Provoke.

(v) Give the rhyming scheme of the above lines:

(a) Aabb.

(b) Abcb.

(c) Abcd.

(d) Abbb.

Ans: (b) A b c b.

Stanza- 12

And he said, “You are far too selfish

To dwell in a human form 

To have both food and shelter,

And fire to keep you warm.


(i) St. Peter felt that the little woman was:

(a) Selfish.

(b) Greedy. 

(c) Dishonest.

(d) Cheat.

Ans: (a) selfish.

(ii) Which of the comforts the little woman was availing of:

(a) Food.  

(b) Shelter.

(c) Fire. 

(d) All/none of these.

Ans:(d) All of these.

(iii) St. Peter estimated that the little woman should not remain in:

(a) Human form. 

(b) Bird form.

(c) Animal form. 

(d) Plants form.

Ans: (a) Human form.

(iv) Selfish is a man who always thinks of:

(a) His personal benefit.

(b) His private advantages. 

(c) Filling his belly.

(d) Self progress and nothing else.

Ans: (a) His personal benefit.

(v) The word ‘dwell’ means:

(a) Harness.

(b) Sleep.

(c) Live. 

(d) Eat.

Ans: (c) Live. 

Stanza -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.


(i) St. Peter changed the little woman into a:

(a) Sparrow.

(b) Bird. 

(c) woodpecker. 

(d) Wood.

Ans: (b) Bird.

(ii) How did St. Peter curse the woman?

(a) To build a nest like a bird.

(b) Boeing the hard wood.

(c) Living like a woodpecker. 

(d) All/none of these.

Ans: (a) To build a nest like a bird.

(iii) What quality of food will the old lady get? 

(a) Scanty food.

(b) Much food.

(c) Tasty food.

(d) Contaminated.

Ans: (a) Scanty food.

(iv) She will pass her whole day by: 

(a) Working hard.

(b) Boeing all the day. 

(c) Flying from one tree to other tree.

(d) Resting in her nest .

Ans: (a) working hard. and (b) boring all the day. 

(v) Similar word for ‘Live’ used in the stanza is:

(a) Form.

(b) Shelter. 

(c) warm. 

(d) Dwell.

Ans: (d) Dwell. 



Read the following questions and write your answers in 30-10 words each:

Q.1. Which country or countries do you think ‘The Netherland’ refer to?

Ans: The Netherland is a polar region. There the days are shorter and the nights are longer. It is a cold region covered with snow. People use Reindeer for food and driving their sledges. They wear clothes made of animal’s skin.

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

Ans: St. Peter while taking round the earth reached a little woman’s house. She was preparing cakes. As St. Peter had turned faint due to fasting, he requested the lady for a single cake. The lady was very selfish. She took a tiny kneaded dough and rolled it but it seemed to her very large. Finally she put them on the shelf. 

Q.3. How did he punish her?

Ans: The priest was very angry with the lady as she was not ready to part with a single loaf of bread. He cursed and changed her to be a wood-pecker to collect her food from the wood by boring and boring into it.

Q. 4. How does the woodpecker get her food?

Ans: When the little lady did not part with from her tiniest cake, St. Peter became angry. He called her a selfish woman. He cursed her to be a woodpecker. She would get her little food by boring and boring into the hard, dry wood.

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

Ans: Even if the lady had known who St. Peter really was, she would not have been generous to him. She would not have given him a cake even then. We are told that she was utterly selfish and greedy; and such people rarely part with their things.

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

Ans: No, this is not a true story. We think the last part of the poem, where St. Peter announces his punishment for the lady, is the most important.

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

Ans: A legend is an old traditional story. This poem is called a legend because it tells an old story of Northland. This is the story of an old woman who angered St. Peter because of her greed. 

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

Ans: Once St. Peter was faint with hunger. He came to the door of a cottage where an old woman was making cakes. He asked for a cake. She made a very little cake, but it seemed to her too large to give away. She made yet another cake, thin was a wafer, but could not part with that also. St. Peter got angry at her greed and selfishness. He said that she did not deserve to live in human form and have food, fire and shelter. He changed her into a woodpecker so that she might live in the trees and bore all day in the hard, Huile dry wood to get her scanty food.

II. 1. Let’s Look at words at the end of second and fourth lines, Viz. … ‘snows’ and ‘clothes’, ‘true’ and ‘you’, ‘below’ and ‘known’. We find that ‘snows’ rhymes with ‘clothes’, true rhymes with you and ‘below’ rhymes with known. 

Find more such rhyming words.

Ans: Other rhyming words are:

(i) ‘earth’ and ‘hearth’.

(ii) ‘done’ and ‘one’.

(iii) ‘Lay’ and ‘away’.

(iv) ‘faint’ and ‘saint’

(v) ‘food’ and ‘wood’. 

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.

Ans: For self attempt.


Q.1. ‘Greed is a curse’. Justify with reference to the poem ‘A Legend of the Northland’.

Ans: No one can deny the fact that greed is a curse. The people who are greedy can go to any extent of troubling others. There are some people who are so greedy that they even lay down their bool lives to save a single penny. 

We find in the poem ‘A Legend of the Northland’ the lady is too greedy to part with any of the single cake to St. Peter. Thus greed of the lady turned her into a woodpecker.

Q.2. At time we commit actions which we repent on later. Who do you think was responsible for turning woman into a woodpecker?

Ans: Some appearances can be deceptive. At times it becomes difficult for us to recognise the reality. We sometimes act rudely and refuse to part with the material things but have to pay for them heavily. Such is the fate which was met by the woman who refused to part with a tiny cake to give to St. Peter. St. Peter got very angry and changed her into a Woodpecker. If the woman had known the reality of St. Peter, she might have acted differently.

Q.3. What kind of value / values or lesson do you have from the poem? 

Ans: For leading a meaningful as well as a successful life, an individual should be beyond greed, selfishness and other social vices. We should be rather helpful, reasonable and supportive to the needy and the poor. We can bring happiness, satisfaction and peace in others life. We should understand the pains, poverty, troubles and misfortunes of others.

Q. 4. Why did Saint Peter curse the lady? 

Ans: While walking, the hungry Saint Peter asked for a cake which the woman was baking on her hearth. She tried to make it smaller and smaller but it went on emerging larger. Saint became angry at her greed as she did not part with a single morsel of loaf from her. He was witnessing everything. Being disappointed, he became angry and provoked hard to curse her to be a woodpecker who would go on moving and boring from wood to wood for food. It was her utmost greed and selfishness that caused the good Saint Peter to curse the old lady. 

Q. 5. Write a few sentences on the baking lady.


Write the Character sketch of the Greedy woman.

Ans: The baking lady was preparing cakes. She had food, shelter and fire for warmth but she was both greedy and selfish. Once the good Saint Peter, after much travelling, became hungry and exhausted. He arrived at a cottage where a little woman was making cakes. He asked her for a cake morsel. She prepared the smallest cake but it became larger and larger. The saint was glancing her thoroughly. She rather put them in the shelf. This provoked the Saint and he cursed her to be a wood pecker. She would even make a great struggle even for a scanty food. Her greed punished the lady. She had to fly through a Chimney in the shape of a bird. 

Q. 6. What happened to the cake everytime that the lady was preparing?

Ans. Old lady was a very greedy woman to part with even a single morsel of food from her store. Once Saint Peter became hungry and asked for something. The lady was preparing cakes. She was in a mood to give only the smallest possible cake but everytime it became bigger and bigger. The lady did not part with the smallest sized cake but kept them on the shelf.

Q. 7. Why did the little old woman knead another cake for the Saint? 

Ans: Being hungry and tired, Saint Peter on his way, stopped to ask for something to eat. The lady was preparing cakes. On his urge, she tried to prepare the smallest possible cake. But even the little piece seemed too large to give away. Thus the greedy lady kneaded another dough to make it the smallest possible.

Q. 8. Write a few sentences on the Character of Saint Peter.

Ans: Saint Peter was a holy man. He travelled from door to door. He used to Preach for the welfare of the mankind. He lived in the outer world and had no inclination with the world at length. Being a Christian Saint, one day while travelling, he became tired and hungry. He asked for something at a lady’s cottage. But the lady was too greedy to part with the smallest piece of food. His anger grew and he cursed her to be a woodpecker who would go on boring and boring in the wood for her scanty food.

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