The Best Christmas Present in the World NCERT Solutions for Class 8 English Honeydew Chapter 1
The Best Christmas Present in the World NCERT Text Book Questions and Answers
The Best Christmas Present in the World Comprehension check-I
What did the author find in a junk shop?
The author found an old roll-top desk in a junk shop. The shopkeeper claimed that it belonged to the early nineteenth century, and was made of oak. It was in a bad condition, and had scorch marks all down one side.
What did he find in a secret drawer? Who do you think had put it in there?
He found a small black tin box in the secret drawer. A woman by the name of Mrs Jim Macpherson might have put it in there.
The Best Christmas Present in the World Comprehension check-II
Who had written the letter, to whom, and when?
A soldier called Jim Macpherson had written the letter to his wife, Connie on December 26, 1914, that is, during the First World War.
Why was the letter written—what was the wonderful thing that had happened?
The letter was written to share the soldier’s feelings about a truce that happens in the midst of the war between the British and German soldiers.
What jobs did Hans Wolf and Jim Macpherson have when they were not soldiers?
Hans Wolf was a cellist who used to play the cello in the orchestra and Jim Macpherson was a school teacher from Dorset in the west of England.
Had Hans Wolf ever been to Dorset? Why did he say he knew it?
No, Hans Wolf had never been to Dorset. He had learned all he knew of England from school, and from reading books in English.
Do you think Jim Macpherson came back from the war? How do you know this?
No, Jim Macpherson never came back from the war. We know this because his wife had secured the letter in a small tin box with a note sello-taped on top of it, which read: “Jim’s last letter, received January 25, 1915: To be buried with me when the time comes.”
The Best Christmas Present in the World Comprehension check-III
Why did the author go to Bridport?
The author went to Bridport to meet Mrs Macpherson, and deliver the letter written by her late husband.
How old was Mrs Macpherson now? Where was she?
Mrs Macpherson was a hundred and one years old now. She was living in a nursing home called Burlington House, on the Dorchester road.
The Best Christmas Present in the World Comprehension check-IV
Who did Connie Macpherson think her visitor was?
Connie Macpherson thought that her visitor was her dead husband whom she had lost in the war.
Which sentence in the text shows that the visitor did not try to hide his identity?
The sentence in the text that shows that the visitor did not try to hide his identity is:
I explained about the desk, about how I had found it, but I don’t think she was listening.
The Best Christmas Present in the World Working with the text
For how long do you think Connie had kept Jim s letter? Give reasons for your answer.
Connie had kept Jim’s letter from January 1915 till the time that her house caught fire. She had secured the letter carefully in a small old tin box inside a roll-top desk. The author buys it at a garage sale. He can see the bum marks on its top. When he visits Bridpost, he discovers that Connie has been shifted to a nursing home because her house had caught fire.
Why do you think the desk had been sold, and when?
The desk had been sold because of a fire that had occurred in Connie’s home. It might have been sold shortly after the fire at her house.
Why do Jim and Hans think that games or sports are good ways of resolving conflicts? Do you agree?
Jim and Hans think that games or sports are good ways of resolving conflicts because they are harmless ways of doing so. Playing sports and games will not lead to orphan children or bereaved widows. It will help stop all the killings that happen in a war and destroy families. Yes, I completely agree with them. We need to find a peaceful way of resolving conflicts, and sports can help us do so.
Do you think the soldiers of the two armies are like each other, or different from each other? Find evidence from the story to support your answer.
Yes, the soldiers of the two armies are like each other. Most of them are not even soldiers and have enlisted in the army because of the war. They both wanted to celebrate Christmas, and might have felt homesick on the Christmas Eve. All of them sang Christmas carols, although in different languages. All soldiers had families that were waiting for them at home. Moreover, the soldiers on both sides wanted peace. Hans tells Jim so.
Mention the various ways in which the British and the German soldiers become friends and find things in common at Christmas.
Both the British and the German soldiers become friends through their desire to celebrate Christmas peacefully. Soldiers on both sides are fond of reading, playing sports and wish to live peacefully with their families back home. All of them sat together on Christmas Eve smoking, laughing, talking, drinking, eating and singing carols.
What is Connie’s Christmas present? Why is it “the best Christmas present in the world”?
Connie’s Christmas present is her illusion that Jim, her husband, has returned from war at last. She is extremely happy to receive the letter that he had written to her before his death. Connie had deep love for her husband, and seeing him again after all these years and receiving his letter is “the best Christmas present in the world”.
Do you think the title of this story is suitable for it? Can you think of any other title(s)?
(Encourage the students to use their creativity and formulate their own answers.)
Yes, I think the title of this story is suitable because Connie had been waiting for Jim for the longest time. She receives his letter on Christmas and thinks that Jim himself has returned from the war. Although this is an illusion, it is the best present that she could have ever received. Another title that could be equally suitable is ‘The Last Letter’.
The Best Christmas Present in the World Working with language
i. Read the passage below and underline the verbs in the past tense. Solved
A man got on the train and sat down. The compartment was empty except for one lady. She took her gloves off. A few hours later the police arrested the man. They held him for 24 hours and then freed him.
ii. Fill in the blanks using the correct form of the verbs in brackets. Solved
My little sister is very naughty. When she came back from school yesterday, she had torn her dress.
We asked her how it had happened. She said she had quarrelled with a boy. She had beaten him in a race and he had tried to push her. She had told the teacher and so he had chased her, and she had fallen down and had torn her dress.
iii. Underline the verbs and arrange them in two columns, Past and Earlier past. Solved
a. My friends set out to see the caves in the next town, but I stayed at home, because I had seen them already.
b. When they arrived at the station, their train had left. They came back home, but by that time I had gone out to see a movie!
c. So they sat outside and ate the lunch I had packed for them.
d. By the time I returned, they had fallen asleep!
|b. arrived; came
|had left; had gone
|c. sat; ate
Find these phrasal verbs in the story.
Write down the sentences in which they occur. Consult a dictionary and write down the meaning that you think matches the meaning of the phrasal verb in the sentence.
i. bum out: House number 12 turned out to be nothing but a burned-out shell, the roof gaping, the windows boarded-up.
Meaning: destroyed completely by fire so that only the outer frame remained
ii. light up: That was the moment her eyes lit up with recognition and her face became suffused with a sudden glow of happiness.
Meaning: showed happiness or excitement
iii. look on: Hans Wolf and I looked on and cheered, clapping our hands and stamping our feet, to keep out the cold as much as anything.
Meaning: watched something without becoming involved in it yourself
iv. run out: The time came, and all too soon, when the game was finished, the schnapps and the rum and the sausage had long since run out, and we knew it was all over.
Meaning: used up or finished
v. keep out: Hans Wolf and I looked on and cheered, clapping our hands and stamping our feet, to keep out the cold as much as anything.
Meaning: to prevent
The table below contains a list of nouns and some adjectives. Use as many adjectives as you Can to describe each noun. You might come up with some funny descriptions!
(Encourage the students to use their creativity and formulate their own answers.)
- wild, enormous, blue elephant; cheerful, enormous, chubby, multicoloured elephant
- cheerful, circular, medium-sized face; round, chubby, large face
- red, medium-sized building; blue, enormous building
- cold water
The Best Christmas Present in the World Speaking
In groups, discuss whether wars are a good way to end conflicts between countries. Then present your arguments to the whole class. (Encourage the students to use their creativity and formulate their own answers.)
Sample answer: I do not believe that wars are a good way to end conflicts between countries. Wars do not affect the politicians and leaders who start them. It affects the soldiers and the civilians. What we often do not realize is that wars are highly unnecessary, and result in so much destruction and violence. In its wake, it turns children into orphans, and causes the loss of human lives. The loss caused by a war is irreparable. Wars are the most profane way of insulting mankind. We need to bring peace in the world by keeping our negative feelings in check. Peace is the only way forward.
What kind of presents do you like and why? What are the things you keep in mind when you buy presents for others? Discuss with your partner. (For example, you might buy a book because it can be read and re-read over a period of time.) (Encourage the students to use their creativity and formulate their own answers.)
Sample answer: I like presents that are useful and practical because I cannot wrap my head around presents that are impractical like teddy bears and flowers. When I buy a present for others, I ensure that it has some value for the other person. I keep in mind their likes and dislikes before choosing a present for them. For example, if one of my friends is fond of reading, I would buy a book for him/her. However, if they are fond of going out and shopping, I would take them on a visit to the mall or a fancy restaurant.
The Best Christmas Present in the World Writing
Imagine that you are Jim. You have returned to your town after the war. In your diary record how you feel about the changes you see and the events that occur in your town. (Encourage the students to use their creativity and formulate their own answers.)
25 December, 1919
Its Christmas today, but the town looks desolate and forsaken. There’s no joy on people’s faces, but rather fear seems to have made a permanent home on their faces. The town itself looks different. Many of the old restaurants and churches have been destroyed by the bombings. The whole town is in mourning. Every house has lost someone. I miss the old town with happy faces.
I wonder whether we will ever be able to get over this feeling of sadness and shock. No doubt, it has brought people together, but it has taken away so much that it is impossible for things to be the same again. I feel sad and depressed all the time. The faces of dead soldiers haunt me every night as I drift into sleep. I wish I could go back in time and change all this. I would not let war hamper our happiness. I would not let this happen. I just wish ………
Suppose you are the visitor. You are in a dilemma. You don’t know whether to disclose your identity and disappoint the old lady or let her believe that her dear Jim has come back. Write a letter to a friend highlighting your anxiety, fears andfeelings. (Encourage the students to use their creativity and formulate their own answers.)
Given below is the outline of a story. Construct the story using the outline.
Those were the times of India’s freedom struggle. Things were not the same as they are today. In such hard times there was loss of life, separation and heartbreak at every comer. My grandmother used to tell me this one particular story. It is the story of a young couple. There was a young, newly married doctor. He was well-respected in the society. One day, a strange case came to him. A wounded, semi-conscious man was brought to his clinic. He was bleeding all over. The doctor asked the reason for such injuries. It looked like the man had been beaten up very badly.
Upon interrogation, he found that he was one of the servants of the Vice-Chancellor, who was a British. He was beaten him up so badly because he had . held the Vice-Chancellor’s hand accidently to prevent himself from falling down. This was enough to send the Chancellor into a flying rage. He beat the man unconscious. When the doctor heard about this, he decided to participate in the freedom struggle
The doctor joined hands with one of the parties seeking complete independence from the British. It did not fare well with the authorities, and the doctor was soon captured and sent off to the Cellular Jail in the Andamans. The doctor’s wife was distraught. She loved her husband a lot, and could not bear the separation. She wrote him countless letters, but all of them remained unanswered.
One day, there was news that there was a major revolt by the jail inmates because they were being tortured. They were thrashed and made to work for more than twelve hours a day. They were not given proper food and clean water. Soon, another unfortunate news came. The doctor was hanged mercilessly. The wife lost all her sanity after this. She said that her husband would come back. She never believed that he was dead. She turned 92 last month, and is still waiting for her husband to return. This is what hope does. It keeps you going.