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English CBSE Class 10 NCERT First Flight Chapter 1 A Letter to God Line by Line Explanation and Meaning of Difficult Words

A LETTER TO GOD

(Explanation)

The house — the only one in the entire valley — sat on the crest of a low hill. From this height one could see the river and the field of ripe corn dotted with the flowers that always promised a good harvest.

Word

Meaning

Crest of hill

Top of hill

Dotted with flowers

Flowers in between

Harvest

Crop

The house was situated on the top of the hill. The hill was not very high. It was the only house in that area. From the house, one could see the river and the field of ripe corn. The field had flowers of corn also. It was an indication that crop was good this time.

 

 

The only thing the earth needed was a downpour or at least a shower. Throughout the morning Lencho — who knew his fields intimately — had done nothing else but see the sky towards the north-east.

Word

Meaning

Downpour

Rain

Shower

Less quantity of rain

Intimately

Completely

The earth needed rain or at least a small amount of rain for a good crop. Lencho is owner of the fields. He knew everything about his field. Since morning Lencho had been looking at the sky in the north-east direction.

“Now we’re really going to get some water, woman.” The woman who was preparing supper, replied, “Yes, God willing”. The older boys were working in the field, while the smaller ones were playing near the house until the woman called to them all, “Come for dinner”.

Word

Meaning

Supper

Dinner

Older boys

Elder boys

Smaller boys

Younger boys

Lencho tells to a woman (his wife) that now they will surely get some rains. The woman replied that by the grace of God, it would surely happen. The woman was preparing dinner. The elder boys were working in the field. Younger boys were playing near the house. The woman called them for a dinner and all of them came to the house.

 

 

It was during the meal that, just as Lencho had predicted, big drops of rain began to fall. In the north-east huge mountains of clouds could be seen approaching. The air was fresh and sweet.

Word

Meaning

Predict

Forecast, Tell about future

Huge

Very big

Approaching

Coming

While they were having food, the big drops of rain started falling. This was exactly as predicated by Lencho. One could see large numbers of very big clouds coming from north-east direction. The air was fresh and its smell was very nice.

The man went out for no other reason than to have the pleasure of feeling the rain on his body, and when he returned he exclaimed, ‘‘These aren’t raindrops falling from the sky, they are new coins. The big drops are ten cent pieces and the little ones are fives.’’

Word

Meaning

Pleasure

Joy, Happiness

Exclaimed

Spoke with happiness

Cent

Small money like paisa of India

Lencho went outside to feel joy of rain falling on his body. He returned and spoke with lot of happiness. These are not the drops of water. They are the new coins. The big drops are ten cent coins and small drops are five cent coins

With a satisfied expression he regarded the field of ripe corn with its flowers, draped in a curtain of rain. But suddenly a strong wind began to blow and along with the rain very large hailstones began to fall. These truly did resemble new silver coins. The boys, exposing themselves to the rain, ran out to collect the frozen pearls.

Word

Meaning

Regarded

Looked

Draped

Covered

Hailstone

Ice falling with rain

Resemble

Look similar

Exposing

Experiencing, Going outside

He was very much satisfied to look at his field of ripe corn and flowers. These were covered by rain falling on the field. Suddenly speed of the wind increased. And along with rains, hailstones started falling. These were of white colour and were shining like new silver coins. The boys went outside into the rain to collect hailstones. The hailstones looked like pearls.

‘‘It’s really getting bad now,’’ exclaimed the man. “I hope it passes quickly.” It did not pass quickly. For an hour the hail rained on the house, the garden, the hillside, the cornfield, on the whole valley. The field was white, as if covered with salt.

Word

Meaning

Exclaimed

Spoke with sadness

Passes

Stops, Goes away

Lencho spoke with sadness that the rains with hailstone is bad for the crop. He wished that it stopped very soon. But it did not stop quickly. It rained hailstones for one hour. It rained everywhere. The field had become white as if salt had been spread on the field.

Not a leaf remained on the trees. The corn was totally destroyed. The flowers were gone from the plants. Lencho’s soul was filled with sadness.

Every leaf from trees had fallen on ground. All the corn was completely destroyed. All the flowers had fallen on the ground. Lencho was now full of sadness.

When the storm had passed, he stood in the middle of the field and said to his sons, “A plague of locusts would have left more than this. The hail has left nothing. This year we will have no corn.’’

 

Word

Meaning

Plague

A large group

Locusts

Insect that eats crop

When the storm had stopped, Lencho went out of the house. He stood in the field and looked around. He told his sons that even a group of insects (locusts) would not have damaged our crop so much. Because of hailstorm everything has been destroyed. This year there will not be any corn for us.

That night was a sorrowful one. “All our work, for nothing.” ‘‘There’s no one who can help us.” “We’ll all go hungry this year.”

That night was full of sadness for them. Lencho said all our work has become a wastage. Nobody can help us now. We will be hungry this year.

But in the hearts of all who lived in that solitary house in the middle of the valley, there was a single hope: help from God.

Word

Meaning

Solitary

Alone, Only one, Lonely

Everybody living in that only house of the valley had one hope. They thought that God would surely help them.

“Don’t be so upset, even though this seems like a total loss. Remember, no one dies of hunger.” “That’s what they say: no one dies of hunger.”

His wife told Lencho not to be so worried although the crop was completely destroyed. She told him to remember that no one dies because of hunger. Lencho replied that people say that nobody dies because of hunger.

All through the night, Lencho thought only of his one hope: the help of God, whose eyes, as he had been instructed, see everything, even what is deep in one’s conscience.

Word

Meaning

Conscience

Mind, Moral sense

Throughout that night Lencho thought about the help of God. It was his only hope. He had been told that God can see everything. God can also see what is in the mind and heart of everyone.

Lencho was an ox of a man, working like an animal in the fields, but still he knew how to write. The following Sunday, at daybreak, he began to write a letter which he himself would carry to town and place in the mail.

Word

Meaning

Ox of a man

Very strong man

Daybreak

Morning

Place in the mail

Send by post

Lencho was a very strong man. He used to work very hard in fields. He knew how to write. Next Sunday morning, he started writing a letter. He thought that he would himself carry that letter to the town and send it by post.

It was nothing less than a letter to God. “God,” he wrote, “if you don’t help me, my family and I will go hungry this year. I need a hundred pesos in order to sow my field again and to live until the crop comes, because the hailstorm… .”

Word

Meaning

Peso

Type of currency like Rupee

Sow

Put seeds in ground to grow

Hailstorm

Storm with hailstones

It was letter to God. In his letter he requested God to help him and his family, otherwise we will remain hungry this year. I need one hundred pesos to put new seeds in my field. And to live until the new crop comes. Because the hailstorm …..

He wrote ‘To God’ on the envelope, put the letter inside and, still troubled, went to town. At the post office, he placed a stamp on the letter and dropped it into the mailbox.

Word

Meaning

Troubled

Worried

Mailbox

Letter box

He put that letter into an envelope and sealed it. He wrote ‘To God’ on the envelope. He was still worried but went to the town. He pasted a stamp on the envelope and dropped it into the letterbox.

One of the employees, who was a postman and also helped at the post office, went to his boss laughing heartily and showed him the letter to God. Never in his career as a postman had he known that address.

Word

Meaning

Laughing heartily

Laughing a lot

One of the employees at the post office was a postman. He used to also do other works of post office. He went to his boss – the postmaster. He was laughing a lot. He showed the letter to his boss. In his career as a postman, he did not know the address written on that envelope.

The postmaster — a fat, amiable fellow — also broke out laughing, but almost immediately he turned serious and, tapping the letter on his desk, commented, “What faith! I wish I had the faith of the man who wrote this letter. Starting up a correspondence with God!”

Word

Meaning

Amiable

Friendly

Broke out laughing

Started laughing

Tap

To strike lightly

Correspondence

Sending letter, Communication

The post master was fat and a friendly person. He also started laughing. But immediately he became serious. He started tapping the letter on his desk. He wondered at the faith of the person who had written that letter. He wished he also had such faith. He was surprised that the man was sending a letter to God.

So, in order not to shake the writer’s faith in God, the postmaster came up with an idea: answer the letter. But when he opened it, it was evident that to answer it he needed something more than goodwill, ink and paper.

Word

Meaning

Came up with an idea

Thought of an idea

Evident

Became clear

Goodwill

Friendly or kind feeling

In order to keep the faith of the person in God, the postmaster thought of an idea. His wanted to write a reply to the letter. But when he read the letter it became clear to him he would need something in addition to paper, ink and kindness.

But he stuck to his resolution: he asked for money from his employees, he himself gave part of his salary, and several friends of his were obliged to give something ‘for an act of charity’.

Word

Meaning

Resolution

Decision

Stuck to

Maintained, Adhered

Charity

Donation, Help

Obliged

Agreed

But he maintained his decision. He asked money from his colleagues. He also gave a portion of his salary. Many of his friends agreed to donate money to help the farmer.

It was impossible for him to gather together the hundred pesos, so he was able to send the farmer only a little more than half. He put the money in an envelope addressed to Lencho and with it a letter containing only a single word as a signature: God.

Word

Meaning

Gather

Collect

Containing

Having

It was not possible for the postmaster to collect hundred pesos. He could collect slightly more than half of 100 pesos. He put that money in an envelope. He wrote the address of Lencho on the envelope. He also put a letter in the envelope. This letter had one single word ‘God’ written on it. This word was written as a signature.

The following Sunday Lencho came a bit earlier than usual to ask if there was a letter for him. It was the postman himself who handed the letter to him while the postmaster, experiencing the contentment of a man who has performed a good deed, looked on from his office.

Word

Meaning

Bit

Slightly. Small

Contentment

Satisfaction

Deed

Work

Next Sunday, Lencho came slightly early to the post office. He asked if there was any letter for him. The postman himself gave the letter to Lencho. The postmaster was looking at Lencho from his office. The postmaster had the satisfaction of a person who had done some good work.

Lencho showed not the slightest surprise on seeing the money; such was his confidence — but he became angry when he counted the money. God could not have made a mistake, nor could he have denied Lencho what he had requested.

Word

Meaning

Slightest

Minimum

Denied

Refused

Lencho was not at all surprised to see money in the envelope. Because he had a confidence in God. But he became angry after counting money. He thought that God cannot make any mistake. And God cannot refuse what Lencho had requested.

Immediately, Lencho went up to the window to ask for paper and ink. On the public writing-table, he started to write, with much wrinkling of his brow, caused by the effort he had to make to express his ideas.

Word

Meaning

Wrinkling

Bend, Fold

Immediately Lanchow went to window of the post office and asked for a paper and a pen. There was a table in the post office where anybody could write. He went to that table and started writing. He was making lot of effort in writing his thoughts on that paper. His eyebrows had folds because of the effort.

When he finished, he went to the window to buy a stamp which he licked and then affixed to the envelope with a blow of his fist. The moment the letter fell into the mailbox the postmaster went to open it.

Word

Meaning

Licked

Touched with tongue

Affixed

Pasted, Fixed

Blow

Sudden stroke by something

When Lencho had completed writing letter, he went to the window to buy a stamp. He licked the stamp. He put the stamp on the envelope and applied blows of his fist to paste it. He put the envelope into the letterbox. Immediately the postmaster took the letter out and opened it.

It said: “God: Of the money that I asked for, only seventy pesos reached me. Send me the rest, since I need it very much. But don’t send it to me through the mail because the post office employees are a bunch of crooks. Lencho.”

Word

Meaning

Rest

Remaining, Balance

Crooks

Dishonest persons

Following were written on the letter. God, from the money I had asked, I have received only 70 pesos. Please send me the remaining money because I need it very much. But please do not send through the post because people of post office are dishonest. The letter was signed by Lencho.

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Dust of Snow

(Explanation)

The way a crow

Shook down on me

The dust of snow

From a hemlock tree

 

Word

Meaning

Dust of snow

Fine particles of snow

Hemlock tree

A poisonous tree

The poet was walking under a Hemlock tree during winter season. He was very sad. All trees were covered with snow. A crow comes and sits on the three. Because of this movement, fine particles of snow from the tree fell on the poet.

Has given my heart

A change of mood

And saved some part

Of a day I had rued.

 

Word

Meaning

Rued

Felt sad

As soon as snow fell on the poet, his mood changed. His feelings of sadness got away. Now his remaining day will be free from sadness

Detailed Explanation

Hemlock tree is a poisonous tree. Crow is a bird that in not liked by people. In this poem these represent things people do not want. Actually people hate these and want to avoid these. But these unwanted things removes sadness from the heart of poet.

Thus poet wants to gives a message that we may not be able to control the factors causing sadness in our life. But we can find something good in every situation that will make us happy.

The poet was unhappy in the beginning. A small incident made him feel better. Similarly, every small incident of life has the power to make us happy. We should not wait or look for big things to happen in our life. We should start enjoying the little good things of life. A combination of such small happiness can keep us always happy.

It also implies that we should regularly extend small helps to other people of society. Such small things may make a big difference to somebody. This way everybody in the society gets benefit. Hence status and culture of society improves to make the world a better place.

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Fire and Ice

(Explanation)

Some say the world will end in fire

Some say in ice.

From what I’ve tasted of desire

I hold with those who favour fire.

Word

Meaning

Desire

Wish

Favour

Support

The poet says that someday this world would get destroyed. It will be either because of excessive heat or because of excessive cold. I have understood that a strong desire can cause lot disturbance in the life of a person. Such situation can be called as fire within the person. Therefore I feel the world will end because of fire.

But if it had to perish twice,

I think I know enough of hate

To say that for destruction ice

Is also great

And would suffice.

Word

Meaning

Perish

Die

Suffice

To be enough

But if the world has to get destroyed twice, first it will be because of hate that is prevailing in the society. And the cold behaviour of people towards each other is also sufficient to destroy the world.

Detailed Explanation

By fire, the poet means that the unending desire of human beings. This desire has caused so much of fire within everybody that its impact on the world could be destructive. By ice poet means the cold behaviour of people towards others. People have stopped caring about feelings and emotion of others. Poet says that both aspects have the equal power to destroy the world.

The poet compares hate with fire. He says that people hate each other so much that the hatred has acquired the capacity to destroy the world. Similarly insensitivity of people towards each other can also destroy the world.

The desire for power has caused so many wars in the history of world. The desire for excessive money has made people greedy. Nowadays people attack, steal or cheat for the sake of money. Hence the power of desire can destroy the world.

With emergence of materialistic attitude, the human relations and human touch have disappeared from society. People have become selfish and cruel. Absence of affection and respect can also destroy the world.

Poet says that initially the fire of desire would destroy the world and then whatever remain, coldness of relation would destroy. Poet wants to say that desire of materialistic things leads to coldness among relations hence world will be destroyed twice.

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Important Links
A Letter to God – Textbook Q&A A Letter to God – Extra Q&A
Nelson Mandela – Explanation The Proposal – Explanation
Nelson Mandela – Textbook Q&A The Proposal – Textbook Q&A
Nelson Mandela – Extra Q&A The Proposal – Extra Q&A
Re-arrange Exercises Error Finding Exercises
Active-Passive Rules Gap Filling Exercises
Passages Direct-Indirect Speech Rules
Story Writing Tips Letter Writing


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