Summary of The Best Christmas Present in the World
Chapter 1 of CBSE Class 8 English Main Coursebook – Honeydew consists of a prose – The Best Christmas Present in the World. This story took place during the Christmas festival in the midst of the war. The lesson reflects upon the desire of soldiers and their families to reunite among themselves and spend time with their families. The chapter narrates the story of an old lady, Connie, who is a wife of a British soldier. She misunderstood her visitor to be her husband and called the reunion as “The Best Christmas Present in the World”. Read the prose summary of the CBSE Class 8 English Honeydew The Best Christmas Present in the World to know the entire story. The CBSE Class 8 English Notes and Summary will also help students in their English exam preparation.
To prepare for the writing section of Class 8 English exam, students must practice essays on various topics. By doing so, they can easily score marks in essay writing.
CBSE Class 8 English Honeydew The Best Christmas Present in the World Summary
The Best Christmas Present in the World is written by Michael Morpurgo. The story starts with the author making a decision about buying an old roll top desk. He spotted one in a junk shop in Bridport. It was in bad condition but was reasonable. So, he thought that he could restore it and brought it home. He started working on it on the eve of Christmas. He pulled out the drawers and found them in a damaged condition. The last drawer stuck fast and the author had to apply more force to open it.
Finally, the drawer opened and he found a shallow space inside. Inside the drawer, there was another small drawer. On it there was a piece of lined note paper and it was written “Jim’s last letter, received January 25, 1915. To be buried with me when the time comes”. Inside the box, he found an envelope and the address mentioned on it was “Mrs Jim Macpherson, 12 Copper Beeches, Bridport, Dorset.” He took out the letter and unfolded it. It was written in pencil with a date at the top — “December 26, 1914”.
He found an envelope in that secret drawer. The author read the letter. The letter had been written by a German Captain whose name was Jim Macpherson. He had written the letter to his wife, Connie. Jim Macpherson had narrated a wonderful experience in this letter that had happened on the battlefield of Christmas Eve.
The British and Germans were at war. Both the armies were standing in their trenches on Christmas morning. Someone from the German side was waving off the white flag. Then, they were calling out to the British soldiers. They were wishing Happy Christmas to the British soldiers who wished them back in return. Surprisingly, some German soldiers started moving towards them. The Captain was alarmed as he thought that they might attack them. But, it turned out that they brought German wine and canned meat along with them. They were hugging one another and celebrating Christmas Eve. There were no guns between them. In the middle of the war, they were trying to make peace.
A German officer moved towards Macpherson. He shook hands and introduced himself as Hans Wolf Dusseldorf. He said that he loved to play the cello in the orchestra and greeted Macpherson for Christmas. In return, Macpherson also introduced himself as a school teacher of Dorset. Hans Wolf smiled and said he knew about Dorset. Although he had never visited Dorset, or been to England either, he knew about England from school as he had read books in English. His favourite writer was Thomas Hardy and his favourite book was “Far from the Madding Crowd”. Dusseldorf and Macpherson also shared a Christmas cake together. Hans Wolf told Jim that the marzipan was the best he had ever tasted. Macpherson mentioned in his letter that this was a wonderful Christmas party that they had ever seen.
Suddenly, another soldier brought out the football on the ground. The British and German soldiers played a friendly match. Macpherson and Dusseldorf clapped and cheered the soldiers. Jim Macpherson wished if the problem between the two nations could be resolved by a football match instead of war. He said so because in a football match, no one dies – neither do children get orphaned, nor do the soldiers wives become widows.
Finally, the football match came to an end. The Germans won the match. Soon after, everyone had drinks and enjoyed the food. Macpherson wished Dusseldorf and told him that they would meet again with their families. He left with a gentle note that when the fight ends, they all could go home and enjoy quality time with their respective families. Dusseldorf saluted Macpherson and walked away slowly and unwillingly. That night the German soldiers were heard singing a Christmas carol. The English soldiers also gave them a rousing chorus of “While Shepherds Watched”. While concluding the letter, Macpherson wrote to Connie that all those moments were the happiest memories of his life. He ended the letter with the hope that war would end soon. Both the armies longed for peace and he would return to Dorset soon and they would be able to spend time together again.
After reading the letter, the author put back the letter into the envelope. He decided to give the letter to whom it belonged. The next morning, he woke up early and went to Bridport. He reached House no. 12 and found the house in a burnt-out shell condition. He knocked on the door of the next house to enquire about the whereabouts of Mrs Macpherson. An old man staying in the neighbourhood said that her house caught fire probably due to burning of candles. However, she was saved by the firemen and was admitted to a nursing home in Burlington House on the Dorchester road that was on the other side of town.
Later, the author went there and found Mrs Macpherson was an old lady who was confined to a wheelchair at the Burlington House Nursing Home. The matron offered him a mince pie to eat. He introduced himself to Mrs Macpherson as her husband’s friend who had come to visit her in Christmas. He wished her and handed over the tin box containing her husband’s last letter to her. That moment her eyes lit up with recognition and her face was filled with a sudden glow of happiness.
The author explained that he had come to visit her as he brought a Christmas present for her and explained about the roll top desk. Mrs Macpherson’s eyes were filled with tears and she was completely lost in thoughts. She assumed that the author was her husband and asked him to sit beside her. She expressed that she missed him badly all the years when he was away to fight the war. Besides, she also said that she prepared a nice Christmas cake, marzipan all around for him because she knew how much he relished it. Thus, the story ends with a note that Mrs Macpherson mistook the author for her long-awaited husband for whom she had been waiting for many years.
Conclusion of The Best Christmas Present in the World
The chapter – The Best Christmas Present in the World conveys to students a moral lesson that war only brings sadness and pain to mankind. Soldiers who fight a war and get killed in it lose their family lives in the process. Therefore, countries should follow the path of peace to attain happiness and harmony among people in the world. Here, we brought you the CBSE Class 8 English Honeydew Prose Summary of The Best Christmas Present in the World that must have helped 8th Standard students to have a thorough understanding of the chapter.
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Frequently asked Questions on CBSE Class 8 English: The Best Christmas Present
Why is Christmas such an important festival?
Christmas is the festival which is celebrated throughout the world as it marks the commemoration of the birth of Jesus Christ.
Who is a Santa Claus?
Santa Claus is a legend based mostly on the life of Saint Nicholas, a real-life, historical follower of Jesus Christ. He generously gave to those in need.
What are the effects of war on the society and common people?
1. Economic/financial instability 2. Injury and mortality rate increase 3. Poverty and starvation