CBSE Class 9 English Beehive A Legend of the Northland Poem Summary and Notes

Chapter 5 of CBSE Class 9 English Beehive contains one poem named “A Legend of the Northland”. The poem is in the form of a ballad which narrates a story. Ballads are a part of folk culture or popular culture, which are passed from one generation to the next. Here, we have provided the summary and explanatory notes of CBSE Class 9 English Beehive A Legend of the Northland Poem. The summary will provide an overview to the students and the detailed explanation will help in understanding the meaning of the poem. They can refer to the summary and class 9 English notes to prepare for their English exam. Also, it will save their time during the exam by providing the gist of the poem in the form summary.

Students can also learn how to write an effective essay during the exam by going through the essays at BYJU’S to increase marks in Class 9 English paper.

CBSE Class 9 English Beehive A Legend of the Northland Poem Summary

This poem narrates the legend of an old lady who angered Saint Peter because of her greed. The story is of the Northland area where a lady lives. She was selfish and greedy. Once Saint Peter was walking around the world and delivering a religious speech to people. One day, the saint reached a woman’s home. She was baking cakes. The saint was very hungry as he had fasted the whole day. He was also feeling weak. He asked the women to give a single piece of cake to him. The woman was very selfish. She felt that the cakes she had baked were big ones. Since she did not want to give any of those from the ones she has baked, she baked a new cake. But then she realised that this one was also bigger. So, she took a small dough and rolled it flat. She made it as thin as a wafer. But, she was not able to give that one also to the saint. By watching this behaviour of the woman, the Saint got angry. He said that she is not fit to live a human life and cursed her to become a bird. Following the curse, the woman transformed into a woodpecker bird. Now, she was digging dry wood to get shelter and working hard searching for some food to eat, as birds do.

CBSE Class 9 English Beehive A Legend of the Northland Poem Explanation Notes

Students can go through the CBSE Class 9 English Beehive A Legend of the Northland Poem and its explanation below.

A Legend of the Northland Poem and Explanation

Away, away in the Northland,

Where the hours of the day are few,

And the nights are so long in winter

That they cannot sleep them through;

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:

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.

Once, when the good Saint Peter

Lived in the world below,

And walked about it, preaching,

Just as he did, you know,

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;

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.

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.

Therefore she kneaded another,

And still a smaller one;

But it looked, when she turned it over,

As large as the first had done.

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.

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.

Then good Saint Peter grew angry,

For he was hungry and faint;

And surely such a woman

Was enough to provoke a saint.

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.

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.”

Then up she went through the chimney,

Never speaking a word,

And out of the top flew a woodpecker,

For she was changed to a bird.

She had a scarlet cap on her head,

And that was left the same;

But all the rest of her clothes were burned

Black as a coal in the flame.

And every country schoolboy

Has seen her in the wood,

Where she lives in the trees till this very day,

Boring and boring for food.


In the first stanza, the poet has described Northland. He says that far away in the region of Northpole, there is a place named Northland. In the Northland, the days are smaller and nights are longer during the winter season. The people of Northland could not sleep as the nights were cold and long.

Northland is a very cold place. The poet says that whenever the snow falls in the region, the people of Northland tie the reindeer to the sledges. Reindeer is the species of deer found in the polar region. He further says that the children look like the babies of bears when they wear funny furry clothes during the winter season.

The people of the Northland region tell an interesting story to their children. The poet says that he does not believe that the story is true. However, the readers might learn a lesson after listening to this story.

Now, the story starts and it goes like this. Once there was a saint by the name of Saint Peter. He used to live in the world and walked around it, giving religious speeches to people just like other saints do. Then an incident happened.

While travelling around the world, Saint Peter came to the door of an old cottage. In the cottage, he saw a small woman, who was making cakes. She was baking them on the fireplace.

Since Saint Peter had fasted for the day, he was feeling weak. He was almost losing consciousness due to hunger. The fast was over for the day, and he was looking for some food to eat. So, he asked the woman to give him a piece of the cake from the store of the cakes that she had baked.

The woman was selfish. She thought that all the cakes she had baked were big ones. So, she made a tiny cake. But, when she baked it, she found it to be large. So, she decided not to give that one and bake another cake.

This time she took a small dough which was smaller than the previous one and started making it. When she baked it and looked at it, she found that it was of the same size as the previous one. So, again she was not ready to give this piece of the cake to Saint Peter.

She again started making a new one. This time she took a very small piece of dough. She rolled it flat and baked it thin as a wafer. But, she could not give that thin piece of cake to Peter owing to her greed.

The woman said that when she eats her cakes, she feels that they are small. But now when she has to give a single cake, she considers them to be large ones. Hence, she decided not to give the cake at all and put it on the shelf.

After watching all this, Saint Peter became angry. He was very hungry and weak. The selfish woman was not ready to give even a single piece of the cake to the Saint. This behaviour of the woman had provoked the Saint.

Saint Peter said to the woman that you are too selfish. You are not meant to live the human life. You do not deserve food, house and fire to keep you warm. You have become so selfish that you are not ready to share these resources with anyone. Not even with needy people.

Saint Peter cursed the woman and said she would become a bird and just like the birds build their homes by boring into the wood, she will also build her home in a similar way. She will get little food to eat. She has to work hard throughout the day and only then would she find some food to eat and dry wood to live.

As Saint Peter cursed the woman, she did not get a chance to speak anything in her favour. She went through the chimney and flew out from it in the form of a bird. The woman turned into a woodpecker bird due to the curse of the Saint.

The woman was wearing a red colour cap when she was transformed into a bird. Interestingly, the bird also had a bright red colour cap on its head. Everything other than the cap was burned in the fire. Her clothes were burned and became black like coal in the fire.

All the people who live in that region and even the schoolboys have seen this type of bird in the woods. She lived in the tree for the whole day and dug the wood for her food. Older people narrate this story to their young children and teach them not to be greedy in their life.

We hope the summary and explanatory notes must have helped students in understanding the meaning of the CBSE Class 9 English Beehive A Legend of the Northland Poem. Also, students have found it useful for their English exam preparation. To boost their preparation, we have also provided essays on common topics such as essay on the constitution of India and essay on republic day. By going through these essays, students will fetch more marks in the writing section of English paper.

Frequently asked Questions on CBSE Class 9 English: A Legend Of The Northland

Where is ‘Northland’ situated?

The Northland is far away in the north located near the Scotland.

What are the consequence of being selfish?

Selfishness may make it easier for a person to fall into traps like addiction. Selfishness can hurt others as one ruthlessly strives to satisfy one’s own needs. Self-centeredness can damage one’s reputation and lead to loneliness.

What are some qualities expected out a good human being?

1. Honest.2. Loyal.3. Trustworthy.4. Dependable.5. Open-Minded. 6. Helpful 7. Courteous

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