Life is a wiff of air…
Ending sooner than we presume.
Yet, we crumble thinking of tomorrow,
That never ever comes.
All we experience is the past,
And waste the present in apprehensions.

Yet, how lovely is the present;
The greatest gift of God,
With its beauty all around,
Inviting us to perceive, and create
Indelible joyful memories,
To cherish in the days to come.

Yet, we deliberately turn a blind eye,
And rush to secure a future;
Which is as certain as the rain,
In the scorching summer days.
We slave day and night,
Keeping enjoyment for tomorrow.

Then future becomes the present,
Presenting its glory to all;
But scarce is the time to gaze,
And enjoy its beauty sublime.
For we need to slog for tomorrow,
That’s more wondrous than today.

Little do we know…
That today is the tomorrow;
For which we waited forever.
The tomorrow we yearned for,
Toiling day and night
To relax and enjoy with ease.

So, relish the taste of every moment,
Every feeling has a different taste.
Coming in varying combinations,
Of situations and individuals.
Spicing up the dish of life.
Life is today…live it now.


A legend of Northland, NCERT Solutions, Class 9- English Beehive Ch -5

The Poem-

A legend of Northland

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.

                                                                         Phoebe Cary

About the poetPhoebe Cary

Phoebe Cary(1824-1871) was an American poet. She along with her sister Alice Cary published their poems jointly in 1850 – ‘Poems of Alice and Phoebe Carey. Later she individually published her work in ‘Poems and Parodies’ and ‘Poems of Faith, Hope and Love’.

Synopsis – A legend of Northland

The poem originates in the northern part of the Northern hemisphere near the poles, where the days are short and the nights are so long that people have to get up in the darkness for work.

The people in Northland use reindeer to pull their sledges during the snowy winters and children look like bear–cubs in their fur clothes.

The poet says that in the Northland there is a legend that goes around which, according to the poet, might not be a true story. However, he thinks that the story might teach the readers some lesson- so he narrates it to his readers in the form of a ballad.

He says that the story belongs to the time when Saint Peter, who was an apostle of Jesus, was alive and went around the world preaching the teachings of Lord Jesus.

One day while teaching in Northland, he came to a cottage where a little woman was busy making cakes in the fireplace.

St. Peter had been fasting throughout the day and felt hungry and weak at the end of the day, therefore he requested the little woman to give him a single piece of cake from her store of cakes.

The miserly woman thought that the cakes that she had were too big to be given away for free, so she baked a very small cake. But after baking was done, the cake began to look too big to be given away.

She therefore, made a smaller cake for St. Peter but it looked as big as the first cake when she turned it over. Her greed created an illusion in her mind and made it look too big to be given away in charity.

The woman then took a very small amount of dough to make an even smaller cake and rolled it till it was as thin as a wafer. However, the selfish woman could not give it away when it was baked.

She wondered why those very same cakes that seemed too small when she ate them appeared too big to be given to others. Her selfishness knew no limits and she decided to let Saint Peter suffer in hunger and hoarded even the thinnest of cakes on the shelf.

Though Saint Peter was kind-hearted, but the extreme heartlessness of the little woman incited his anger. Despite St. Peter’s fatigue and starvation, the pitiless woman could not give him even a scrap of food although she had stored plenty of them.

Saint Peter remarked that the woman did not deserve to live in a human form and enjoy food, shelter and fire as she lacked humane qualities of kindness, empathy and charity.

He cursed her by telling, that the woman would be turned into a bird and would have to bore into the hard, dry wood for her meagre food.

In an instant, the woman went through the chimney without a word, and flew out of it in the form of a woodpecker.

All her clothes were burnt coal-black in the chimney fire, except for her scarlet red scarf which was spared from burning. She is now a woodpecker with a black feathers and a patch of red on her head.

She is often seen by country schoolboys, flying in the woods, where she still stays and bores throughout the day for her scanty food.

Word- meanings in in A legend of Northland

Legend – old traditional story

Saint Peter – an apostle of Christ (disciple)

Sledge – vehicle pulled by draught animals in snow

swift – fast

curious – strange

preaching – (here) religious teachings

hearth – fire-place for cooking

kneaded – turning flour into dough

provoke: incite anger or make angry

dwell – live

scanty – very little

boring – (here) drilling hole

scarlet – bright red

country – countryside, rural areas

Literary Devices in ‘A legend of Northland

Assonance – (repetition of vowel sound)

Stanza 1 – ‘Away, away’

Alliteration- (repetition of consonant sound)

The poet has used alliteration throughout the poem

Stanza 1- ‘that – they’, ‘them- through’

Stanza 2- ‘they-the’, ‘look-like’, ‘funny-furry’

Stanza 3- ‘they- them’, ‘yet-you’, ‘learn-lesson’, ‘tell-tale’

Stanza 5- ‘woman-was’, ‘them-the’

Stanza 6- ‘faint-fasting’

Stanza 8- ‘still-smaller’

Stanza 9- ‘took-tiny’

Stanza 10- ‘seem-small’

Stanza 13- ‘build-birds’, ‘by-boring-boring-boring’, ‘day-dry’

Stanza 15- ‘her-head’

Stanza 16- ‘trees-till-this’

Repetition– (repeating words for emphasis)

Stanza 1 – ‘Away-away’

Stanza 9- ‘rolled and rolled’

Stanza 13- ‘boring, and boring, and boring’

Stanza 16- ‘boring and boring’

Simile – (Comparing things using ‘like’ or ‘as’)

Stanza 2 – ‘Children look like bear’s cubs’

Stanza 9- ‘baked it as thin as wafer’

Stanza 15 –‘clothes were burnt as black as coal’

Irony – (Expressing something that is opposite to the actual thing)

Stanza 10- “My cakes that seem so small when I eat them myself are yet too large to give away.”

Thinking about the Poem – Questions and answers of A legend of Northland

I. 1. Which country or countries do you think “the Northland” refers to?

Ans. ‘The Northland’ possibly refers to a country in the polar region of the northern hemisphere.

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

Ans.  Being tired after preaching through the day, Saint Peter asked the old lady to give him a single cake.

 The lady was reluctant to give him the cake and decided to bake him a smaller cake. Every time she backed one it seemed too big to be given away, so she baked a smaller one yet.

3. How did he punish her?

Ans. St. Peter decided that the old woman was too selfish to live a life of a human being and enjoy food, shelter, fire and comfort.  Therefore he decided to punish her by turning her into a woodpecker which would have to work hard for food by boring and boring into the dry and hard wood. 

4. How does the woodpecker get her food?

Ans. The woodpecker gets its food by boring all day long into the hard dry wood.

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

Ans.  In my opinion, if the old lady had known about St. Peter’s true identity as an apostle of Christ, she would have been more generous.

She would possibly have given him the biggest cake as she would have wanted to receive his blessings for fulfilling her greed.

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

Ans. No, it is not a true story but a legend that has been passed through generations as a moral story. The intention of the story is to teach people to be generous human beings.

According to me, the most important part of the story is where the little lady gets turned into a woodpecker for her selfishness. She no longer possesses the comforts of food, shelter and fire.  As a woodpecker, she has to bore continuously into the hard, dry wood even for the tiniest scrap of food.

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

Ans.  A legend is an old traditional story that is popularly regarded as historical but lacks authenticity.

This poem has been called a legend because it has been passed on from one generation to the other for teaching generosity and charity as its moral. It has supernatural elements like a woman being turned into a woodpecker for being selfish and lacking compassion. The origin of the story cannot be authenticated.

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

Ans.  A long time ago, when St. Peter was alive. He went to Northland for preaching and after a day’s fasting reached a cottage where a little woman was baking a cake. He was faint with hunger and therefore asked the woman to give him a piece of cake. The selfish woman did not give any cake from her store of cakes as she thought they were too big to be given away. She decided to bake a small cake for the visitor and baked smaller and smaller cakes till it was thin as wafer. She was too selfish to part with even the wafer like cake which provoked the anger of St. Peter, whose curse turned her into a woodpecker for her lack of charity. He said that humans should be grateful for the food, shelter and fire that they enjoy and should have compassion for fellow beings. The selfish woman now turned into a woodpecker has to bore holes in the hard, dry wood for even a little bit of food.  She can be seen among the trees boring and boring for food all day long.

II. 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 – in A legend of Northland

‘earth’ and ‘hearth’

‘done’ and ‘one’

‘lay’ and ‘away’

‘flat’ and ‘that’

‘myself’ and ‘self’

‘faint’ and ‘saint’

‘form’ and ‘warm’

‘food’ and ‘wood’

‘word’ and ‘bird’

Q. What form of poetry is used in ‘A Legend of Northland’?

Ans.  ‘A Legend of the Northland’ is a ballad. A ballad is a song narrating a story in short stanzas. Ballads are a part of folk culture or popular culture and are passed on orally from one generation to the next.

Q. What is the rhyme scheme of the poem?

Ans. The rhyme scheme of the poem is ‘abcb’. The second line rhymes with the fourth line.

Sky is the Limit—Only if You Stick to Your Dreams Long Enough

Motivation & Environment

The saying that “the sky is the limit” is only for those who are into their dreams or aspirations for the long haul—in the long run. Sky is the limit is not applicable to every circumstance or dream, especially if it’s surrounded by impatience and “short-termness”, instead of patience and “long-termness”.

As we aim for the stars in a world where impatience dominates patience—as is this case here on our old planet Earth—we often fail to consider or estimate long-term approaches which work well with “sky is the limit”.

Even when we consider “long-term approaches”, we usually focus on “short or shorter long-term approaches” and end up overestimating the desired changes that would/could occur in the next one, two, or few years. Don’t fall into the trap of wrongly overestimating what you think can be achieved in a short period of time, even when it isn’t feasible.


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Rain on the Roof / NCERT Solutions Class 9 English/ Summary / Literary Devices

Rain on the Roof

                                         By Coates Kinney  

When the humid shadows hover

Over all the starry spheres

And the melancholy darkness

Gently weeps in rainy tears,

What a bliss to press the pillow

 Of a cottage-chamber bed

 And lie listening to the patter

 Of the soft rain overhead!


 Every tinkle on the shingles

 Has an echo in the heart;

And a thousand dreamy fancies

Into busy being start,

And a thousand recollections

Weave their air-threads into woof,

As I listen to the patter

Of the rain upon the roof.


 Now in memory comes my mother,

 As she used in years agone,

To regard the darling dreamers

Ere she left them till the dawn:

O! I feel her fond look on me

 As I list to this refrain

 Which is played upon the shingles

 By the patter of the rain.


About the poet -COATES KINNEY

Coates Kinney(24th Nov, 1826 – 25th January 1904)  was an American poet, journalist, lawyer and a polititian. He was born in Penn Yan, New York and studied in Antioch College. He became an established poet with the publication of his poem ‘Rain on the Roof’ written in six stanzas expressing his feelings on a rainy evening as memories flood his mind.

Summary- Rain on the Roof

This poem is about the poet’s nostalgia associated with rain falling on the roof. The first stanza, gives a description of the rain falling outside his house. The dark moisture laden clouds move around in the starry sky causing shadows on earth. The darkness which causes sadness seems to be weeping which results in its tears falling from the sky as rain. Then, the poet goes on to describe his feelings on such evenings. He says that it is a blessing to be able to lie in his warm bed in his cottage listening to the pitter–patter of the rain drops falling on the roof.

In the second stanza, he says that every drop of rain that falls on the tiles on his roof finds a reverberation or echo in his heart. As he lies on his bed, a lot of thoughts flow into his head making his mind busy. He recalls things from the past and goes into a reverie. His thoughts run across his mind interweaving and creating images from the past as he listens to the rainfall.

In the third stanza, the poet recalls and cherishes the memories of his mother. He says that the sound of the rain reminds him of the time, when his dear mother used to put him and his siblings to sleep. She used to look at them lovingly while tucking them to sleep. The continuous musical sound of the falling raindrops takes him to the past and he relives the golden moments of his childhood as he listens to the rain.

Message  of the poem: Rain on the Roof

The poem gives us the message that nature and rainfall has a therapeutic effect on humans. The sound of rain brings back beautiful memories from the past as the poet recalls the soothing affection of his mother’s presence during his childhood.

Theme of the poemRain on the Roof

The theme of the poem is the healing effect of nature on humans. Mother-nature, just like all mothers, has a soothing effect on humans. Listening to the musical refrain of the rainfall brings back the loving memories of the poet’s mother in whose presence he felt comfortable and secure.

Rhyme scheme of ‘Rain on the Roof’

The rhyme scheme of the poem is abcbdefe. The second and the fourth lines rhyme and the sixth and the eighth lines rhyme.

Literary devices used in ‘Rain on the Roof’

Alliteration –  (Repetition of the consonant sound)

                          humid clouds hover,

                         starry spheres

                         press the pillow

                         cottage- chamber


                         busy being

                         their air-threads

                         rain on the roof

                         memory comes my mother

                         darling dreamers

                         them till

Transferred epithet- ( When an adjective is used to describe a noun but it actually refers to another noun)

                        Melancholy darkness – here the darkness is not sad but the people are.

                        Dreamy fancies – here the person is dreamy and not the fancies.

Onomatopoiea – words formed from the sound it represents used for literary effect

                        Patter – sound of rain drops

                        Tinkle – sound of raindrops in the shingles or the tiles of the roof.

Personification – (human characteristics given to inanimate objects)

                        Darkness is melancholy and weeping like a sad person.

                        Recollections are weaving air-threads like a weaver.

Hyperbole –  (exaggerated statements)

                      a thousand recollections

                      a thousand dreamy fancies   

GlossaryRain on the Roof

humid: full of moisture

shadows: (here) moisture laden clouds which cause shadows

hover: move around something

melancholy: sad

bliss: happiness

patter: sound of raindrops

Cottage chamber: room in a cottage

tinkle: short, light ringing sounds

shingles: rectangular wooden tiles used on roofs

woof: weft, i.e. the threads woven across the loom

busy being: the poet refers to his busy mind

ere: old poetic word for ‘before’

refrain: a repeated part of a song or a poem; here, the sound of the rain

list: old poetic word for ‘listen’

Thinking about the Poem / Question- Answers Rain on the Roof

I. 1. What do the following phrases mean to you? Discuss in class.
(i) humid shadows

Humid shadows refer to the moisture laden dark clouds which cause shadows on the earth. It may also refer to the shadows of people and objects which become wet when the rain falls.

(ii) starry spheres

The starry spheres refer to the night sky full of stars. Sometimes they are seen in clusters twinkling in the night sky.

(iii) what a bliss

The poet feels happy when he listens to the raindrops falling on the roof as he relaxes in his cozy bed.

(iv) a thousand dreamy fancies into busy being start

When he listens to the sound of raindrops, numerous thoughts flow into his mind and he finds himself lost in sweet reveries from the past.

(v) a thousand recollections weave their air-threads into woof

The poet recollects numerous memories from the past as he hears the rain fall. He compares his interweaving of thoughts with a weft which is woven with colourful air- threads.

2. What does the poet like to do when it rains?

Ans. When it rains, the poet likes to lie on his bed pressing on his pillow, and listen to the pitter-patter of the raindrops falling on  the shingles of his cottage.

3. What is the single major memory that comes to the poet? Who are the “darling dreamers” he refers to?

Ans. The memory of his loving mother is the single major memory that comes to his mind. He recollects the sweet moments when he felt loved and secure under his mother’s shelter.

 The ‘darling dreamers’ refer to the poet and his siblings when they were children. It refers to the time when their mother lovingly put them to a relaxing sleep with sweet dreams till the dawn.

4. Is the poet now a child? Is his mother still alive?

Ans. No, the poet is no longer a child. He has become an adult.

His mother is possibly no longer alive and had died a long time ago. Her memories make him nostalgic and he misses her badly.

II. 1. When you were a young child, did your mother tuck you in, as the poet’s did?

Ans. Yes, my mother too used to tuck me lovingly to bed when I was a child, just like the poet’s mother.

2. Do you like rain? What do you do when it rains steadily or heavily as described in the poem?

Ans.  Yes, I love to see and hear the rainfall.

 I like to play indoor games and enjoy hot snacks and drinks when it rains outside.

3. Does everybody have a cosy bed to lie in when it rains? Look around you and describe how different kinds of people or animals spend time, seek shelter etc. during rain.

Ans. Unfortunately, everybody does not have the priviledge of lying in a cosy bed when it rains. The deprived  and the homeless suffer a lot when it rains. Birds and animals find it hard to find shelter from the rain and are seen soaked and shivering in the rain.

Q. Compare the poems ‘Rain on the Roof’ and ‘Wind’. What are the similarities and differences that you find in these two poems?

Ans. The poems ‘Rain on the Roof’ and ‘Wind’ are both based on nature. Both the poets have drawn inspiration from their past and reflected their thoughts in these poems.

The poems are different from the perspective from which the poets have viewed or perceived nature. While the rain evokes gentle memories and brings comfort to the poet, the wind is violent and destroys lives. While in the poem ‘Wind’ the poet advices the readers to be prepared against adversities, there is no such message conveyed through the poem ‘Rain on the Roof’.   

Rain on the Roof – (Full poem)

Coates Kinney

 When the humid shadows hover

 Over all the starry spheres

 And the melancholy darkness

 Gently weeps in rainy tears,

 What a bliss to press the pillow

 Of a cottage-chamber bed

 And lie listening to the patter

 Of the soft rain overhead!


  Every tinkle on the shingles

  Has an echo in the heart;

  And a thousand dreamy fancies

  Into busy being start,

  And a thousand recollections

  Weave their air-threads into woof,

  As I listen to the patter

  Of the rain upon the roof.


Now in memory comes my mother,

 As she used in years agone,

To regard the darling dreamers

Ere she left them till the dawn:

O! I feel her fond look on me

 As I list to this refrain

 Which is played upon the shingles

 By the patter of the rain.


Then my little seraph sister,

With the wings and waving hair,

And her star-eyed cherub brother

A serene angelic pair!

Glide around my wakeful pillow,

With their praise or mild reproof,

As I listen to the murmur

 Of the soft rain on the roof.


And another comes, to thrill me

With her eyes’ delicious blue;

And I mind not, musing on her,

That her heart was all untrue:

I remember but to love her

With a passion kin to pain,

And my heart’s quick pulses vibrate

To the patter of the rain.


Art hath naught of tone or cadence

That can work with such a spell

In the soul’s mysterious fountains,

Whence the tears of rapture well,

As that melody of nature,

That subdued, subduing strain

Which is played upon the shingles

By the patter of the rain.



Wind, come softly.

Don’t break the shutters of the windows.

Don’t scatter the papers.

Don’t throw down the books on the shelf.

There, look what you did — you threw them all down.

You tore the pages of the books.

You brought rain again.

You’re very clever at poking fun at weaklings.

Frail crumbling houses, crumbling doors, crumbling rafters,

crumbling wood, crumbling bodies, crumbling lives,

crumbling hearts —

the wind god winnows and crushes them all.

He won’t do what you tell him.

So, come, let’s build strong homes,

Let’s joint the doors firmly.

Practise to firm the body.

Make the heart steadfast.

Do this, and the wind will be friends with us.

The wind blows out weak fires.

He makes strong fires roar and flourish.

His friendship is good.

We praise him every day.

                                                 SUBRAMANIA BHARATI

                                           [translated from the Tamil by A.K. Ramanujan]

Subramania Bharati (1882–1921) is a great Tamil poet, famous for his patriotism in the pre-Independence era.

A.K. Ramanujan is a Kannada and English poet, well known for his translation of classical and modern poetry.


poking fun: making fun of

rafters: sloping beams supporting a roof

winnow: blow grain free of chaff; separate grain from husk by blowing on it


The poem begins with an entreaty to the wind, requesting him to come slowly without causing destruction. He requests him not to break the shutters of the windows, scatter the papers or throw down the books from the shelf. Then the poet addresses the wind and blames him for tearing books and bringing the rain again. The poet is vexed and thinks of the wind as someone cruel who takes pleasure in teasing and torturing the weak – destroying their property and crushing their hearts and lives. He says that the wind god blows harshly to winnow out the weak and destroy them. The poet then advices his readers that; since, the wind god would not work according to their bidding- it is they who should strengthen their own selves and their surroundings. They should build strong homes, firmly joint the doors and make their bodies strong and hearts steadfast. The wind favours the strong and bold, so once they make themselves strong – the wind will become their friend. The wind blows out weak fires and makes the strong ones flourish. So, his friendship is good once we are strong. It is because of this that we praise the wind god every-day.

Theme of the poem – Wind

The theme of the poem is facing the adversities of life by being prepared for them beforehand. The destructive power of the wind symbolizes the hardships that we face in life. By making ourselves strong we can make the challenges in our lives our friend and be successful in life.

Message of the poem – Wind

The poem gives us an important message that we must be prepared for the challenges of life. We should be physically fit and mentally strong in order to overcome the adversities of life. The hardships of life separate the strong from the weak and help the strong to flourish while crushing the weak ones. Nobody in the world cares for the weak so we must make ourselves strong in order to overcome the adversities of life and emerge as a winner.

Rhyme scheme of the poem – Wind

The poem is written in free verse and hence does not have a rhyme scheme.

Line by line explanation -poem Wind

Wind, come softly.

Don’t break the shutters of the windows.

Don’t scatter the papers.

Don’t throw down the books on the shelf.

There, look what you did — you threw them all down.

You tore the pages of the books.

You brought rain again.

The poet requests the wind to tread softly, so that nothing breaks or gets disturbed. He tells the wind not to break the shutters of the window, not to scatter the papers or make the books fall down from the shelf. But the wind is like a disobedient child and tears the pages of the books and brings the rain. The poet is vexed and blames the wind for the destruction he has done.

You’re very clever at poking fun at weaklings.

Frail crumbling houses, crumbling doors, crumbling rafters,

crumbling wood, crumbling bodies, crumbling lives,

crumbling hearts —

the wind god winnows and crushes them all

The poet says that the wind is cruel and he teases and destroys the weak. The word ‘crumbling has been used multiple times to emphasize the fact, that everything that is feeble, frail and weak crumbles in the face of strong wind. Weak houses, doors and beams of the roof fall down, and the weak hearts and lives are crushed in the violent destructive force of the wind. The poet implies that weak people break and fall in adverse times. The poet says that the wind god winnows people. Just as people winnow grains to separate it from the chaff, similarly the wind god winnows people to separate the strong people from the weak. He crushes the weak and makes them fall.

He won’t do what you tell him.

So, come, let’s build strong homes,

Let’s joint the doors firmly.

Practise to firm the body.

Make the heart steadfast.

The poet tells people that the wind god won’t act according to our bidding and hence to save ourselves from destruction we must build strong homes with firm doors to keep out the strong wind. We must make our bodies strong and our hearts firm in order to overcome the storms of life.

Do this, and the wind will be friends with us.

The wind blows out weak fires.

He makes strong fires roar and flourish.

His friendship is good.

We praise him every day

If we are strong and prepared we will find that the wind will become our friend. The wind favours the strong like everyone in the world. It will destroy us if the fire inside us is weak, but if it is strong the wind will help us to flourish and succeed in life. The poet ends by saying that friendship with the wind is good as it will help us to succeed and fly high in life. It is for this good quality that we praise the wind god every-day.

Literary Devices -poem Wind

Apostrophe – “Wind come softly…” (An inanimate object is directly being addressed by the poet)

Anaphora – ‘Don’t’ [in lines 2, 3, 4] and ‘You’ [in lines 6, 7, 8] (Repetition of the same word at the        beginning of lines)

Alliteration – ‘wind winnows’, ‘won’t want’ (Repetion of consonant sound)

Personification – “Don’t break the shutters…” (The wind is given characteristics of a human being)

Repetition – ‘Crumbling’ (it is repeated several times for emphasis)

Symbolism – The wind symbolizes the adversities in life.

Thinking about the Poem – Question /Answers

I. 1. What are the things the wind does in the first stanza?

Ans.  In the first stanza, the wind demonstrates its destructive behavior by breaking the shutters of windows, scattering papers, throwing down the books form the shelf, tearing their pages. It brings rain and destruction along with itself, poking fun at weaklings and crumbling them.

2. Have you seen anybody winnow grain at home or in a paddy field? What is the word in your language for winnowing? What do people use for winnowing? (Give the words in your language, if you know them.)

Ans. Yes, people in rural areas winnow grain to separate it from the chaff. Winnowing is known as ‘phatakana’.

People use ‘kulo’ or ‘soop’ made of wicker for winnowing in our country.

3. What does the poet say the wind god winnows?

Ans. The wind god winnows the people and separates the strong from the weak. The poet describes the wind god as cruel and destructive who likes poking fun at the weak and crushing them. Just as winnowing separates the grain from the chaff, similarly wind god blows away and destroys the weak and retains and helps the strong.

4. What should we do to make friends with the wind?

Ans. Wind favours the strong, so in order to be friends with the wind, one should be ready to withstand the destructive forces in life. We should make strong homes, practice to firm our bodies and make our minds steadfast.

5. What do the last four lines of the poem mean to you?

Ans. The last four lines describe the wind as someone, who favours the strong over the weak. It blows out weak fires implying that it likes to crumble the lives of the weaklings, but makes the strong fires flourish. Symbolically it means that strong people can withstand and bloom under the wind’s destructive embrace. It gives out the message that one must be ready to face the challenges of life in order to emerge victorious.

6. How does the poet speak to the wind — in anger or with humour? You must also have seen or heard of the wind “crumbling lives”. What is your response to this? Is it like the poet’s?

Ans. The wind has been personified in the poem and the poet bids the wind to come softly, but when the wind disobeys, the poet speaks to him in anger requesting him to stop the destruction.

Yes, often during cyclones the wind creates havoc by destroying lives and property. In those times I feel that humans are helpless against the forces of nature.

Like the poet, I too feel that the only option that humans have is to be prepared against adversities.

                           The tree on the mountain takes whatever the

                           weather brings. If it has any choice at all, it is in

                           putting down roots as deeply as possible.



NCERT  Beehive: Ch -4   A Truly Beautiful Mind


Thinking about the Text

1. Here are some headings for paragraphs in the text.

Write the number(s) of the paragraph(s) for each title against the heading. The first one is done for you.

(i)  Einstein’s equation                                9 

(ii) Einstein meets his future wife               7

(iii)The making of a violinist                       3

(iv) Mileva and Einstein’s mother               10

(v) A letter that launched the arms race   15

(vi) A desk drawer full of ideas                   8

(vii) Marriage and divorce                          11

missive: letter, especially long and official

visionary: a person who can think about the future in an original and intelligent way

2. Who had these opinions about Einstein?

(i) He was boring.   – his playmates.                                      

(ii) He was stupid and would never succeed in life.- his headmaster.

(iii) He was a freak. – his mother

3. Explain what the reasons for the following are.

(i) Einstein leaving the school in Munich for good.

Ans. Einstein felt stifled because of the strict regimentation at the school and therefore left the school for good.

(ii) Einstein wanting to study in Switzerland rather than in Munich.

Ans. Einstein wished to study in German- speaking Switzerland as he felt that the city was much more liberal than Munich.

(iii) Einstein seeing in Mileva an ally.

Ans. They both had similar views and shared common interests; therefore, Eienstein saw Mileva as an ally against the philistines in his family and at the university.

(iv) What do these tell you about Einstein?

Ans. Einstein appears to be an creative, intelligent, independent minded person, who believed in the liberty of art, literature and music.

4. What did Einstein call his desk drawer at the patent office? Why?

Ans. Einstein used to call his desk drawer at the patent office as the “bureau of theoretical physics,’ he secretly began to develop his own ideas while he was supposed to be assessing other peoples inventions.

5. Why did Einstein write a letter to Franklin Roosevelt?

Ans. Einstein’s letter to Roosevelt warned him against the power of the atom bomb. He wrote that if it exploded in a port it would blow up the port along with some of its surrounding territory.

6. How did Einstein react to the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki?

Ans. Einstein was devastated by the extent of destruction after the bombings. He wrote a public missive to the U.N. proposing the formation of a world government. He got more involved in politics over the next decade and  used his fame to campaign for world peace and democracy. 

7. Why does the world remember Einstein as a “world citizen”?

Ans.  Einstein is remembered as a’ world citizen’ as he campaigned for world peace and democracy. He also involved himself deeply into politics in an effort to stop militarizing and building up of arms across the world.

8. Here are some facts from Einstein’s life. Arrange them in chronological order.

[7 ] Einstein publishes his special theory of relativity.

[9 ] He is awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics.

[11 ] Einstein writes a letter to U.S. President, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and

warns against Germany’s building of an atomic bomb.

[2] Einstein attends a high school in Munich.

[3] Einstein’s family moves to Milan.

[1] Einstein is born in the German city of Ulm.

[5] Einstein joins a university in Zurich, where he meets Mileva.

[12] Einstein dies.

[8] He provides a new interpretation of gravity.

[4] Tired of the school’s regimentation, Einstein withdraws from school.

[6] He works in a patent office as a technical expert.

[10] When Hitler comes to power, Einstein leaves Germany for the United


Thinking about Language

I. Here are some sentences from the story. Choose the word from the brackets which can be substituted for the italicised words in the sentences.

1. A few years later, the marriage faltered.- became weak

 (failed, broke, became weak).

2. Einstein was constantly at odds with people at the university.- in disagreement

 (on bad terms, in disagreement, unhappy)

3. The newspapers proclaimed his work as “a scientific revolution.”- declared

 (declared, praised, showed)

4. Einstein got ever more involved in politics, agitating for an end to the arms buildup.-campaigning

 (campaigning, fighting, supporting)

5. At the age of 15, Einstein felt so stifled that he left the school for good.- permanently

(permanently, for his benefit, for a short time)

6. Five years later, the discovery of nuclear fission in Berlin had American physicists in an uproar. – in a state of commotion

 (in a state of commotion, full of criticism, in a desperate state)

7. Science wasn’t the only thing that appealed to the dashing young man with the walrus moustache.- interested

 (interested, challenged, worried)

II. Study the following sentences.

• Einstein became a gifted amateur violinist, maintaining this skill throughout his life.

• Letters survive in which they put their affection into words, mixing science with tenderness.

The parts in italics in the above sentences begin with –ing verbs, and are called participial phrases. Participial phrases say something more about the person or thing talked about or the idea expressed by the sentence as a whole. For example:

– Einstein became a gifted amateur violinist. He maintained this skill throughout his life.

Complete the sentences below by filling in the blanks with suitable participial  clauses. The information that has to be used in the phrases is provided as a sentence in brackets.

1. Working round the clock, the firefighters finally put out the fire. (They worked

round the clock.)

2. Noticing the colours blending softly into one another, she watched the sunset above the mountain, (She noticed the colours blending softly into one another.)

3. Neighing continually, the excited horse pawed the ground rapidly, (While it neighed continually.)

4. Having taken the wrong train, I found myself in Bangalore, instead of Benaras. (I had taken the wrong train.)

5. Having not bathed for two days, I was desperate to get to the bathroom. (I had not bathed for two days)

6. The stone steps being worn down, needed to be replaced. (They were worn down).

7. The actor received hundreds of letters from his fans, asking him to send them his photograph. (They asked him to send them his photograph.)

Writing Newspaper Reports

Here are some notes which you could use to write a report.

21 August 2005 — original handwritten manuscript of Albert Einstein unearthed — by student Rowdy Boeynik in the University of the Netherlands — Boeynik researching papers — papers belonging to an old friend of Einstein — fingerprints of Einstein on these papers — 16-page document dated 1924 — Einstein’s work on this last theory — behaviour of atoms at low temperature — now known as the Bose-Einstein condensation — the manuscript to be kept at Leyden University where Einstein got the Nobel Prize.

Write a report which has four paragraphs, one each on:

• What was unearthed.

• Who unearthed it and when.

• What the document contained.

• Where it will be kept.

Your report could begin like this:

                                              Student Unearths Einstein Manuscript

21 AUGUST 2005. An original handwritten Albert Einstein manuscript has been unearthed at a university in the Netherlands. While doing his research, Boeynick found the papers belonging to an old friend of Einstein. The 16 page document dated 1924 were confirmed to be Einstein’s as his fingerprints were found on them. The papers related to research on behavior of atoms at low temperatures – now known as the Bose-Einstein condensation theory- were part of his work on the last theory. The handwritten manuscript will be kept at the Leyden University where Einstein had received the Noble Prize.


Your teacher will dictate these paragraphs to you. Write down the paragraphs with correct punctuation marks.

In 1931 Charlie Chaplin invited Albert Einstein, who was visiting Hollywood, to a private screening of his new film, City Lights. As the two men drove into town together, passersby waved and cheered. Chaplin turned to his guest and explained: “The people are applauding you because none of them understands you and applauding me because everybody understands me.”

One of Einstein’s colleagues asked him for his telephone number one day. Einstein reached for a telephone directory and looked it up. “You don’t remember your own number?” the man asked, startled. “No,” Einstein answered. “Why should I memorise something I can so easily get from a book?” (In fact, Einstein claimed never to memorise anything which could be looked up in less than two minutes.)

10 Ways to Survive Your Day Job — A Writer’s Path

If you’re reading this, I’m guessing that being a full-time writer, a fully-fledged author, is one of your dream scenarios. Working for yourself and doing what you love – it couldn’t get better. Unfortunately, most of us have a day job, and it may not be that great. My employment record hasn’t been awash with […]

10 Ways to Survive Your Day Job — A Writer’s Path

Developing The Dunkirk Spirit

It is not Enough to reach your goal.
You must be emotionally ready
To face obstacles thereafter.
In the thrilling game called life,
You must be physically fit
Mentally prepared to deal with
The storms which winnows
The strong from the weak
And gives wind under the wings
Of those who are prepared to fight.
While crushing those whose wings
Were not strong enough to withstand
The gales of an endless stormy night
Inevitably followed by a merry morn
That makes things more  alluring
Wondrous and pure than ever before.

So pursue your dreams with zest,
Keeping in mind the challenges
That you shall have to tide.
Make the walls inside your self
Strong enough to withstand
The hurricanes and cyclones in life
Be steadfast through ups and downs
And with stoic endurance emerge –
Victorious in the battle of life.

NCERT English Beehive Class – 9 – Solutions Ch -2 :Part – 2 The Shehnai of Bismillah Khan


Thinking about the Text

I.Tick the right answer.

1. The (shehnai, pungi ) was a ‘reeded noisemaker.’ – Pungi

2. (Bismillah Khan, A barber, Ali Bux) transformed the pungi into a shehnai.  A barber

3. Bismillah Khan’s paternal ancestors were (barbers, professional musicians). – Professional musicians

4. Bismillah Khan learnt to play the shehnai from (Ali Bux, Paigambar Bux, – Ali Bux

Ustad Faiyaaz Khan).

5. Bismillah Khan’s first trip abroad was to (Afghanistan, U.S.A., Canada). – Afghanistan

II. Find the words in the text which show Ustad Bismillah Khan’s feelings about the items listed below. Then mark a tick (4) in the correct column. Discuss your answers in class.

Bismillah Khan’s feelings aboutPositiveNegativeNeutral
1. teaching children musicPositive  
2. the film world Negative 
3. migrating to the U.S.A. Negative 
4. playing at temples  Neutral
5. getting the Bharat RatnaPositive  
6. the banks of the GangaPositive  
7. leaving Benaras and Dumraon Negative 

III. Answer these questions in 30–40 words.

1.Why did Aurangzeb ban the playing of the pungi?

Ans. Emperor Aurangzeb banned pungi in the royal residence for it had a shrill, unpleasant sound. ‘Pungi’ became the generic name for reeded noisemakers.

2. How is a shehnai different from a pungi?

Ans. A pungi is a reeded noisemaker and has a shrill unpleasant sound. A shehnai is an improved version of the pungi. It has a pipe with a natural hollow stem that is longer and broader than a pungi and has seven holes on the body of the pipe which helps in playing classical music.

3. Where was the shehnai played traditionally? How did Bismillah Khan change this?

Ans. The sound of shehnai was considered to be auspicious and was played in temples and in north Indian weddings. In the past it was also a part of the naubat at royal courts.

4. When and how did Bismillah Khan get his big break?

Ans. Bismillah Khan got his big break with the opening of the All India Radio in Lucknow in 1938. He soon became an often-heard shehnai player on radio.

5. Where did Bismillah Khan play the shehnai on 15 August 1947? Why was the event historic?

Ans. On 15th August 1947, the shenai was played by Bismillah Khan at Red Fort.

         This event was historic since India became independent on this day and Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru gave his famous speech ‘ Tryst with Destiny’.

6. Why did Bismillah Khan refuse to start a shehnai school in the U.S.A.?

Ans. Bismillah Khan was a very patriotic person and loved India. He refused to set up a school in U.S.A as he was extremely attached with Benaras, the banks of Ganga and Dumraon . When a student asked whether he would be amenable to move to U.S if the atmosphere of Benaras was recreated there; Khansaab retaliated by saying whether the Ganga could be transported there as well.

7. Find at least two instances in the text which tell you that Bismillah Khan loves India and Benaras.

Ans. Bismillah Khan’s love for India is reflected when he refuses to shift to the U.S to start a school there. He also said that he missed Benaras when he was in Mumbai and he missed Dumraon when he was in Benaras. He also refused to shift to Pakistan during separation.

Thinking about Language

  1. Look at these sentences

• Evelyn was determined to live a normal life.

• Evelyn managed to conceal her growing deafness from friends and teachers.

The italicised parts answer the questions: “What was Evelyn determined to do?”

and “What did Evelyn manage to do?” They begin with a to-verb (to live, to conceal).

Complete the following sentences. Beginning with a to-verb, try to answer the questions in brackets.

1. The school sports team hopes – to win. (What does it hope to do?)

2. We all want – to succeed (What do we all want to do?)

3. They advised the hearing-impaired child’s mother – to take her to a specialist. (What did they advise her to do?)

4. The authorities permitted us to -use the stadium. (What did the authorities permit us to do?)

5. A musician decided to – create a world record. (What did the musician decide to do?)

II. From the text on Bismillah Khan, find the words and phrases that match these definitions and write them down. The number of the paragraph where you will find the words/phrases has been given for you in brackets.

1. the home of royal people (1)  – royal residence

2. the state of being alone (5)    – solitude

3. a part which is absolutely necessary (2) – an indispensible component

4. to do something not done before (5) – improvise

5. without much effort (13) – effortlessly

6. quickly and in large quantities (9)  thick and fast

III. Tick the right answer.

1. When something is revived, it  – lives again (remains dead/lives again). 

2. When a government bans something, it wants it – stopped (stopped/started).

3. When something is considered auspicious, – welcome it (welcome it/avoid it).

4. When we take to something, we find it – interesting (boring/interesting).

5. When you appreciate something, you – find it good and useful (find it good and useful/find it of no use).

6. When you replicate something, you do it – for the second time (for the first time/for the second time).

7. When we come to terms with something, it is- no longer upsetting (still upsetting/no longer upsetting).

IV. Dictionary work

• The sound of the shehnai is auspicious.

• The auspicious sound of the shehnai is usually heard at marriages.

The adjective auspicious can occur after the verb be as in the first sentence, or before a noun as in the second. But there are some adjectives which can be used after the verb be and not before a noun. For example:

• Ustad Faiyaz Khan was overjoyed.

We cannot say: *the overjoyed man.

Look at these entries from the Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary (2005).

elder adi., noun adjective 1 [only before noun] (of people, especially two members of the same family) older: my elder brother • his elder sister 2 (the elder) used without a noun immediately after it to show who is the older of two people: the elder of their two sons 3 (the elder) (formal) used before or after sb’s name to show that they are the older of two people who have the same name: the elder Pitt • Pitt, the elder.awake adj., verb adjective [not before noun] not asleep (especially immediately before or after sleeping): to be half/fully awake; to be wide awake. I was still awake when he came to bed.

Consult your dictionary and complete the following table. The first one has been done for you

adjectiveOnly before nounNot before nounboth before and after the verb be
indispensable         Yes
impressed    Yes Yes
afraid    Yes Yes
outdoor   Yes  
paternal   Yes  
countless   Yes  
priceless Yes  

THE ROAD NOT TAKEN – Summary: Question/ Answers : Literary Devices



About the poet:

Robert Frost was born on March 26th, 1873 in San Francisco and died in January 29, 1963.  Frost mostly wrote about the life and landscape of New England. He avoided the poetic experiments of his time and was a poet of traditional verse forms and meter.  Frost, one of the best-known and most beloved American poets of the 20th century, won the Pulitzer Prize four times for New Hampshire (1924), Collected Poems (1931), A Further Range (1937), and A Witness Tree (1943).

             The Road Not Taken

                               Robert Frost

    Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,

    And sorry I could not travel both

    And be one traveler, long I stood

    And looked down one as far as I could

    To where it bent in the undergrowth;

    Then took the other, as just as fair,

    And having perhaps the better claim,

    Because it was grassy and wanted wear;

    Though as for that the passing there

    Had worn them really about the same,

   And both that morning equally lay

   In leaves no step had trodden black.

   Oh, I kept the first for another day!

   Yet knowing how way leads on to way,

   I doubted if I should ever come back.

   I shall be telling this with a sigh

   Somewhere ages and ages hence:

   Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—

   I took the one less traveled by,

   And that has made all the difference.

Summary of ‘ The Road Not Taken’

The poem ‘The Road Not Taken’ is about the choices that one makes in the journey of life. The road is the metaphor of that journey and the diversions in the road stand for the different choices that one comes across as one travels through life.

In the poem the poet describes his experience of a walk through the woods one autumn morning. As he walked through the wood he came across a diversion or a fork on the road. He wanted to make the correct choice and therefore found himself in a dilemma about choosing the right one. He wanted to travel through both the roads and felt sorry that he was unable to do so. Therefore, he looked as far as possible till the road curved among the bushes and was no longer visible.

After much contemplation he took the other road which looked just as good as the other. He thought that it had a greater claim for travelers as it was grassy and wanted people to travel through it. It wanted people to wear down the grassy road through use. Though, afterwards he felt that both the roads were walked on almost the same by travelers.

 It was early in the morning, and the fallen leaves were still fresh not having been stepped upon and turned black with the impact.  Therefore, the poet decided to keep the first well-travelled road for a later time and took the somewhat less frequented one. Though, in his sub- conscious mind he knew that it was a futile thought, as one way leads to the other and it was extremely doubtful that he would get the chance to travel the other road.

He then predicts that sometime in the distant future he would tell others with a sigh, that at some point in his life he had to make a choice between two options. He chose to take the less travelled road which made a difference in his life and decided his future.

Literary devices in ‘The Road Not Taken’

  1. Metaphor –  the road is the metaphor for journey of life
  2. Metaphor – the divergent paths are metaphors for choices in life.
  3. Symbolism – The roads symbolize the choices in our life.
  4. Anaphora – Repetition of ‘ and ‘ in lines 2, 3, 4
  5. Alliteration – ‘wanted wear’, ‘first for’, ‘then took’, ‘that the’
  6. Repetition – ‘ Ages and ages’ , ‘ and I / I took …’
  7. Repetition – ‘Two roads diverged in a’ (repeated I stanza 1 and 4)

Questions and answers:

1. Where does the traveller find himself?  What problem does he face?

Ans..The traveller finds himself in a wood during the autumn season. He comes to a point where the road diverges into two separate paths.

The road is the metaphor for the journey of life, and the fork in the road stands for choices in life’s journey.  The problem of the traveller is that he is facing a dilemma and is unable to decide which road or choice to take.

 2. Discuss what these phrases mean to you.
(i) a yellow wood

The yellow wood is the wood during autumn. The leaves have turned yellow and are about to fall. The autumn season is symbolic of the matured age of a man’s life.

(ii) it was grassy and wanted wear

The road was less travelled and was filled with grass. Here, the road is personified as it seems to want people to travel on that road, so that it could also become worn out like the other one.

(iii) the passing there

The passing there refers to the road on which people had trodden on the grass. To the traveller both the roads that morning seemed to be used almost the same. Here, the poet is using contrast and antithesis to express his repentance of having to make a choice as both options seemed to be equal.

(iv) leaves no step had trodden black

The traveller was travelling in the morning. So he finds that the freshly fallen leaves had not been walked over by anyone and hence they had not turned black and looked equally attractive and fresh. The roads symbolise equal opportunities.

(v) how way leads on to way

Although the traveller wanted to explore both the roads, he decided to take the less frequented one and keep the other one for future.  He also realizes that it was a futile thought as one way would lead to another and he would not be able to come back to explore the other road. Symbolically it means that the choices we make in life are permanent.

3. Is there any difference between the two roads as the poet describes them
(i) in stanzas two and three?

There wasn’t much difference between the two roads. Initially the traveller thought that he had chosen the less travelled grassy road, but after travelling for some time he realised that both roads were about the same. That is, he faced similar challenges in the path that he had chosen.

(ii) in the last two lines of the poem?

In the last two lines the travelled expresses his satisfaction in choosing the less travelled road. It was the correct choice which made a difference in his life. Though he sighs for lost opportunities, he is satisfied about the outcome of his choice.

Extra questions of ‘The Road Not Taken’

1. Discuss the appropriateness of the title ‘The Road Not Taken ‘.

Ans. The poet has chosen a negative sentence to convey to his readers that it was his wise decision not to make the common choice which made the difference in his life. The title thus appropriately brings out the wisdom of the poet’s decision to take the less travelled path.

2. What is the theme of ‘The Road Not Taken ‘?

Ans. The theme of ‘The Road Not Taken ‘ is the importance of making correct choices in life which decides our future.  It also points out the permanence of the choices that we take in our lives.

3. What is the message of ‘The Road Not Taken ‘?

Ans. The poem gives the message to its readers that it is important to take correct decisions at the correct time for living a life of satisfaction and success.

4. What is the rhyme scheme of the poem?

Ans. The rhyme scheme of the poem is abaab. The poem is written in four stanzas of five line each called quintain or quintet.