The Best Christmas Present in The World Summary Class 8 | NCERT | English |
The Best Christmas Present in The World Summary
The Best Christmas Present in The World Summary : This chapter has been written by Michael Morpurgo. The story starts with the author buying a desk from a junk shop in Bridport. He thought that he could fix it and give it to his son for Christmas. But when he pulled out the drawers, he found they were broken or stuck shut, so he had to apply more force when pulling them out.
Finally the drawer opened and he found another small drawer. There was a note on it that said “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 it had a name on it: “Mrs. Jim Macpherson” and then there were numbers that said “12 Copper Beeches, Bridport.” He took out the letter and read what was inside: It says “December 26, 1914” at the top of the paper.
The author found a letter in the secret drawer. The letter was written by Jim Macpherson, a German Captain. He wrote it to his wife, Connie. In the letter, he described an amazing experience he had on Christmas Eve on the battlefield.
In World War I, the British and Germans were at war. They met on Christmas Day. The soldiers from both sides stood in their trenches. A German soldier waved a white flag and called out to the British soldiers who wished them “Happy Christmas.” Some German soldiers walked toward them with food they had brought as a gift for the British–wine and canned meat. They hugged one another, celebrating Christmas Eve together. There were no guns between them. They were trying to make peace in the middle of the war.
A German officer came to Macpherson and said he was Hans. He told Macpherson his name and shook hands with him. Then, he asked Macpherson what his name was and they both introduced themselves to each other. Hans liked to play the cello in an orchestra, like Macpherson did. They talked about Christmas for a little while before they went their own ways. Jim, Hans Wolf, and Macpherson all ate a cake together. Hans Wolf said that the marzipan was the best he had ever tasted. Macpherson mentioned in his letter that this was a wonderful party where they had cake.
This other soldier brought out the football on the ground. Soldiers from Britain and Germany played a friendly game of ball. Macpherson and Dusseldorf clapped and cheered them on. Jim Macpherson wished that wars could be solved with games like this one instead. He said so because in a game like this, no one dies – neither do children get orphaned, nor do soldiers wives become widows.
The football match has finally come to an end. The Germans won the game. Soon after, people had drinks and enjoyed the food. Macpherson said that they would meet again with their families. He left with a gentle note that when the war 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, German soldiers were heard singing a Christmas carol while English soldiers also gave them a rousing chorus of “While Shepherds Watched.” Macpherson wrote to Connie that he would remember all the happy moments of his life. He hoped that the war would be over soon. The soldiers longed for peace and he would return to Dorset soon. When he gets back, they can spend time together again.
The author read the letter. And then he put it back in the envelope. The next morning, he woke up early and went to Bridport. He found Mrs Macpherson’s house, but it was burnt down. He asked people who lived in that neighbourhood about her whereabouts and an old man said that her house probably burned down because of candles that were burning inside of it when it caught on fire. However, she was saved by the firemen and admitted to a nursing home. It was on the other side of town so she could not go there.
After that, the author went to the home and found an old lady. She was in a wheelchair. The matron offered him a mince pie to eat. He introduced himself to her as her husband’s friend who had come to visit her at Christmas time. He wished her well and gave her the box with his last letter inside it (to hand over). When she opened it, she recognized him and he saw happiness on her face for real for the first time since she lost him.
The author said he was going to visit Mrs. Macpherson because she thought the author was her husband. The present he brought her was a Christmas present. When she saw that it wasn’t him, she started crying and said that she missed him all those years when he went away to fight in a war. In addition, Mrs. Macpherson told the author about this cake that had marzipan on top for him because she knew how much he liked it. Mrs. Macpherson was waiting for her husband for a long time, but he never came. In the story, she thinks that the author is her long-awaited husband when she sees him. But they are not actually married.
NCERT Solutions of The Best Christmas Present in the World
Comprehension Check (Page 10)
Question 1: What did the author find in a junk shop?
Answer: The author went to a junk shop and found an old desk. It was very old with pieces that were broken. The desk had been dropped and burned on one side.
Question 2: What did he find in a secret drawer? Who do you think had put it in there?
Answer: The author found a space underneath the desk drawer. There was a box with a note on it. The note had someone else’s handwriting and said “Jim’s last letter, received January 25, 1915. To be buried with me when the time comes.”
The Best Christmas Present in The World Summary/Questions Answers
Comprehension Check (Page 14)
Question 1: Who had written the letter, to whom, and when?
Answer: Captain Jim Macpherson of the British army wrote a letter to his wife Connie on December 26th, 1914. He was fighting a war against the Germans.
Question 2: Why was the letter written — what was the wonderful thing that had happened?
Answer: Jim Macpherson wrote a letter to his wife Connie and told her about the good thing that happened on the day of Christmas. On this day, there was a war going on between two armies: the British and the Germans. But they played football together and celebrated Christmas.
Question 3: What jobs did Hans Wolf and Jim Macpherson have when they were not soldiers?
Answer: Before joining the armed forces, Hans Wolf from Dusseldorf used to play the cello in an orchestra whereas Jim Macpherson was a school teacher from Dorset.
Question 4: Had Hans Wolf ever been to Dorset? Why did he say he knew it?
Answer: No, Hans had never been to Dorset before. But he knew about it because of school and books. One of his favourite books was called ‘Far from the Madding Crowd’ written by Thomas Hardy.
Question 5: Do you think Jim Macpherson came back from the war? How do you know this?
Answer: Jim Macpherson never came back from the war, so his wife Connie kept all of his letters.
Comprehension Check (Page 15)
Question 1: Why did the author go to Bridport?
Answer: The author went to Bridport to meet Mrs. Jim Macpherson. He had her address – 12 Copper Beeches, Bridport and Dorset. The letter the author read was written by her husband, which he mistakenly opened and read its contents before he wanted to deliver it back to her.
Question 2: How old was Mrs. Macpherson now? Where was she?
Answer: Mrs. Connie Macpherson was a 100-year-old woman in the nursing home on Dorchester Road, across town.
Comprehension Check (Page 16)
Question 1: Who did Connie Macpherson think her visitor was?
Answer: Connie Macpherson thought that the visitor who came with a letter was her husband.
Question 2: Which sentence in the text shows that the visitor did not try to hide his identity?
Answer: The sentence that shows 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.” From this sentence we can understand that although the author tried to explain how he found an old letter in a roll-top desk, Mrs. Macpherson didn’t listen to him and instead stroked the letter with her fingers.
Working with the text (Page 16)
Question 1: For how long do you think Connie had kept Jim’s letter? Give reasons for your answer.
Answer: Connie kept Jim’s letter for a long time. We know this because she told the narrator that she read the letter every day and felt like Jim was there with her.
Question 2: Why do you think the desk had been sold, and when?
Answer: A roll-top desk was put up for sale when Mrs. Jim Macpherson’s house caught on fire. Things in the house were burned and she was taken to a hospital that takes care of old people.
Question 3: Why do Jim and Hans think that games or sports are good ways of resolving conflicts? Do you agree?
Answer: Jim and Hans thought that games or sports can be a good way to resolve conflicts. Nobody dies in matches. When people play matches, they don’t become orphans or widows of those who died in war. Jim and Hans thought that if people played matches, then there would be less death, conflict and destruction because war only leads to those things.
Yes, I agree with Jim and Hans that playing friendly matches is a good way to fix disagreements between countries without any people being hurt.
Question 4: 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.
Answer: Both armies celebrated Christmas together. They shared good moments like eating, laughing, drinking, and talking with each other. Both the armies played a friendly football match. They agreed about the negative impact that war has on families. Both the armies longed for peace and exchanged Christmas carols to hope they would soon unite with their respective families.
Question 5: Mention the various ways in which the British and the German soldiers become friends and find things in common at Christmas.
Answer: Both British and German armies were fighting, but they both shared a Christmas spirit. They ate and drank together. They told stories about other people who have been in the same situation as them. They sang carols together and shared some time that was quality time with each other. They played a football game with each other. They didn’t hate each other. They wished that all problems in the world could be solved by playing games, because they both hate war. Both of them wanted to go home to their families when the war is over.
Question 6: What is Connie’s Christmas present? Why is it “the best Christmas present in the world”?
Answer: The narrator visited Connie to deliver her husband’s letter. But she mistook him for her husband, Jim Macpherson. She was happy because then he would come back home for Christmas. That would be the best Christmas present ever!
Connie was happy when she found the letter. She thought that Jim was coming home because he talked about it in the letter. When someone told her that they found the letter, she felt like Jim had come to visit her after a long time.
Question 7: Do you think the title of this story is suitable for it? Can you think of any other title(s)?
Answer: In my opinion, the title of the story is perfect. The story is about Christmas and how people were longing for peace. People also wanted to go home to their families. They had a great time by eating, drinking, and talking with each other.
Some other suitable titles can be – “The Best Christmas Gift Ever” and “When any Christmas wish comes true”.
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