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The Little Girl, Class 9 English Beehive Chapter 3 Explanation, Summary, Question Answer

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The Little Girl Summary | NCERT Class 9 Chapter 3 The little girl Explanation, Question and Answer

CBSE class 9 English Lesson 3 - The little Girl

CBSE class 9 English Lesson- The Little Girl. Detailed explanation of the lesson along with meanings of difficult words. Also, the explanation is followed by a Summary of the lesson . All the exercises and Question and Answers given at the back of the lesson have been covered.


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Lesson and Explanation




CBSE class 9 English (Beehive) Chapter 3 -
By Katherine Mansfield




Introduction to The Little Girl

The title of the story refers to the main character that we will come across- the little girl named Kezia. The theme of the story is the relationship between children and their parents and the writer Katherine Mansfield wants to tell us that children share a very important bond of love with their parents. Although when children are small, when they are young they do not feel that their parents love them because their parents are strict and many actions of the parents seems unjustified. But as children grow up they realise that all the acts done by their parents were beneficial for them. The parents were concerned for them and beneath the strictness lies a heart full of love for the children. And this bond of love between parents and their children has been highlighted through this story.


Do you feel you know your parents better now, than when you were much younger? Perhaps you now understand the reasons for some of their actions that used to upset you earlier.


When we are small, when we are very small,we do not know why our parents are being strict with us. But as we grow older we become mature and we realize why they were being strict with us and when we realized that thing then we also realize that our parents love us. So even the reader can also relate to this. You all can also feel that when you were younger, the action you parents did, the strictness that they had towards you was for your betterment.And as you will grow older and older you will realize that in the past whatever acts your parents did were for your betterment and in fact they really love you.


This story about a little girl whose feelings for her father change from fear to understanding will probably find an echo in every home.


Now what do we mean by “will probably find an echo in every home”. This means that all the children will feel the same way. So, you all can relate to the feeling of little girl Kezia. Just like Kezia is full of fear towards her father and later on she understands his behavior and feels that he was concerned, and he loved her. All the children also have the same feeling towards their parents and you can relate to Kezia’s story very well.


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Lesson and Explanation of The Little Girl


To the little girl he was a figure to fear and avoided.


a figure to be feared: a person to be feared


And who is the figure to be feared here - Kezia’s father. So he refers to Kezia’s Father and the little girl is Kezia. So, the opening line of the story is indicating the fear that Kezia has for her Father. And as she is fearful of her father, she tries to avoid him and she tries to remain away from him.

Every morning before going to work he came into her room and gave her a casual kiss, to which she responded with “Goodbye, Father”.


So every morning before going to work Kezia’s father would visit her in her room and give her a casual kiss. And in reply Kezia would say “Goodbye, Father”. So, this action of Kezia’s father shows his love for Kezia.


And oh, there was a glad sense of relief when she heard the noise of the carriage growing fainter and fainter down the long road!


Glad sense of relief: feeling relaxed

Fainter and fainter: to lessen or reduce


Carriages like horse carts were means of conveyance used in olden times. So here we can make out the fear that Kezia has for her father. The writer says that when Kezia heard that her father’s carriage was going away from home and he was leaving home and the sound became fainter and fainter that means the sound reduced, Kezia would have a sense of relaxation. She would feel relieved that her father had left. Now why did she feel relieved? Because she feared her father, she was afraid of him and so she was relieved when he left home.


In the evening when he came home she stood near the staircase and heard his loud voice in the hall.


In the evenings, when Kezia’s father would return home she would hear his loud voice. And this loud voice against made her afraid of him.


 “Bring my tea into the drawing-room... Hasn’t the paper come yet? Mother, go and see if my paper’s out there — and bring me my slippers.”


So asKezia’s father returned home, he would start ordering all different things. He would order that tea be served to him in the drawing room,  he wanted the newspaper, he would asked his mother to go and see if the newspaper was there outside the house and he would asked her to get him his slipper also.


“Kezia,” Mother would call to her, “if you’re a good girl you can come down and take off father’s boots.”


Kezia’s mother would call out to her and ask her to remove her father’s boots. In order to make her obey, she would say that if she was a good girl then surely she would obey her command.


 Slowly the girl would slip down the stairs, more slowly still across the hall, and push open the drawing-room door.


slip down: come down quietly and unwillingly


So again we see Kezia’s fear for her father that is why she would come down the stairs quietly and unwillingly. Unwillingly because she did not want to face her father. She feared him.


By that time he had his spectacles on and looked at her over them in a way that was terrifying to the little girl.


Now just imagine - Kezia’s father sitting in the drawing room on a sofa, wearing his spectacles and he is looking at Kezia over the spectacles. And now the way he look at her, terrified her. She was horrified because maybe it seemed to her that he was staring at her.


“Well, Kezia, hurry up and pull off these boots and take them outside. Have you been a good girl today?”

Kezia was reluctant in her work. She was slow in her motion. And so, her father would tell her to hurry up and remove his boots and keep them out of the room. And then he would asked her if she had been a good girl that day.


“I d-d-don’t know, Father.”


And Kezia replied that she did not know. So why was she stammering because she was not confident. A person is not confident when he has any feeling of fear.


“You d-d-don’t know? If you stutter like that Mother will have to take you to the doctor.”


Stutter: to stammer, to speak with pauses


So here Kezia’s father is copying her. And he also stammers like she did. He says to her that if she stuttered like that, then her Mother would have to take her to the doctor for a checkup.


She never stuttered with other people — had quite given it up — but only with Father, because then she was trying so hard to say the words properly.


given it up: stopped doing it


Trying so hard: making a lot of efforts


So here the writer tells us that Kezia never stammered while she spoke to other people. It was only when she talked to her father that she lacked confidence and that is why she tried very hard to speak properly and she stammered.


“What’s the matter? What are you looking so wretched about? Mother, I wish you taught this child not to appear on the brink of suicide...Here, Kezia, carry my teacup back to the table carefully.”


Wretched: unhappy, sad


on the brink of suicide: about to commit suicide


suicide: kill oneself


Now kezia’s father looks at her, he feels that something is wrong with her. And he asked her why she is so unhappy. And then he tells the mother that she should teach Kezia to behave in a better way and she should not appear as if she is so unhappy that she is about to end her life. So, he wants to say that Kezia seems to be so unhappy with her life that she did not want to live any longer. He hands her his teacup and asks her to place it back on the table.


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He was so big — his hands and his neck, especially his mouth when he yawned. Thinking about him alone was like thinking about a giant.


Here this is the feeling, this is the vision that Kezia has for her father. She feels that her father was so big, he was just like a giant. And the writer says that Kezia felt that his hand and his neck and his mouth were all so huge especially when he yawned. It seemed as if he was a huge monster. And whenever Kezia thought about her father she felt that she was thinking about a giant.



On Sunday afternoons Grandmother sent her down to the drawing-room to have a “nice talk with Father and Mother”.


So, every Sunday, during the afternoon Kezia’s Grandmother sent her downstairs to the drawing room in order to spend time with her parents. So Kezia was supposed to behave in a nice and decent way in front of her parents and they had a formal get together.


But the little girl always found Mother reading and Father stretched out on the sofa, his handkerchief on his face, his feet on one of the best cushions, sleeping soundly and snoring.


Snoring: the sound produced by some people when there are asleep.


So here we feel that Kezia felt a bit neglected. Every Sunday afternoon when she went to her parents to meet them in the drawing room and have a nice talk with them,they were busy doing their own things. Her mother was busy reading and her father was busy sleeping and snoring. So Kezia had this image of her parents in her mind. They did not talk with her, they didn’t spend time with her.On the other hand, they were busy doing their own things.  


She sat on a stool, gravely watched him until he woke and stretched, and asked the time — then looked at her.


Gravely: seriously.


So all the while Kezia’s father was asleep, she would just sit on a stool and watch him carefully till the time he would wake up and stretch his body and then would ask the time and look at her.


“Don’t stare so, Kezia. You look like a little brown owl.”


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Kezia’s father would compare Kezia to a little brown owl. He would say that Kezia was staring at him just like an owl does.


One day, when she was kept indoors with a cold, her grandmother told her that father’s birthday was next week and suggested she should make him a pin-cushion for a gift out of a beautiful piece of yellow silk.


Now Kezia was not well, she had a cold, so she was supposed to stay at home. So, her grandmother suggested that as she was at home and her father’s birthday was approaching, she could make a birthday gift for him.She asked Keziato make a pin cushion for him and she also gave her a yellow coloured fabric of silk to make the cushion.


Laboriously, with a double cotton, the little girl stitched three sides.


Laboriously: with lot of effort or difficulty.


Kezia put in lot of effort to make the birthday gift. She used double cotton (refers to a thread) and she stitched three sides of the cushion.


But what to fill it with? That was the question.


Now Kezia had prepared the bag. The bag shape of the cushion.She had to stitch the fourth side and before that, she had to fill the cushion with something and she did not know what to fill the cushion with.


The grandmother was out in the garden, and she wandered into Mother’s bedroom to look for scraps.


Wandered into: went into, by chance

Scraps: small pieces of cloth or paper etc that are not needed.


So Kezia was confused that what should she use to fill the cushion with.As her grandmother was out in the garden and she was just looking for something, she reached her mother’s bedroom. She was looking for bits of paper or cloth to stuff in to the cushion.



On the bed-table she discovered a great many sheets of fine paper, gathered them up, tore them into tiny pieces, and stuffed her case, then sewed up the fourth side.


Now Kezia is a small little girl, she is very young. Now what she do, on the bed-table she found a heap of sheet of paper.  So, she just gathered all the sheets, then tore them and stuffed those pieces of paper into the cushion. And then, she stitched the fourth side of the cushion and she had prepared a birthday gift for her father. So many of you can relate to Kezia’s act. Many children do such things unknowingly.They do not intend to create any mischief or harm anyone but they end up doing it. Now Kezia has torn some important papers.


That night there was a hue and cry in the house. Father’s great speech for the Port Authority had been lost.

Hue and Cry: angry protest.


Now there was lot of shouting in the house because Kezia’s father had prepared a speech for the Port Authority (for a particular meeting) and he was unable to find it. Now we all know where the speech has gone. It has been torn into tiny pieces and Kezia has stuffed it into the cushion.


 Rooms were searched; servants questioned. Finally Mother came into Kezia’s room.


Now the family searched everywhere. They asked the servants, but no one knew where the sheets of paper had gone. And finally, the mother reached the Kezia’s room.


“Kezia, I suppose you didn’t see some papers on a table in our room?”


So Kezia’s mother asked her that did she see some papers lying on a table in her mother’s room.


“Oh yes,” she said, “I tore them up for my surprise.”


Now here we get to see that Kezia is an innocent girl, she did not intend to harm anyone, she was just preparing her birthday gift.  And so very truly she tells her mother that she found some pieces of paper and as she needed them to stuff into the cushion, so she torn them and prepared her surprise gift. That is a birthday gift that she had prepared for her father. Unknowingly,Kezia had done a great disaster.


“What!” screamed Mother. “Come straight down to the dining-room this instant.”


Now Kezia’s mother is so furious when she comes to know that Kezia has torn the speech that her father is looking for. And so, she orders Kezia to come down into the dining room at that very movement.


 And she was dragged down to where Father was pacing to and fro, hands behind his back.


Now Kezia’s father is full of tension as his important document has been lost. Kezia has torn it into pieces. Now Kezia will be scolded for the mischief that she has done.



“Well?” he said sharply.


Mother explained.

He stopped and stared at the child.


“Did you do that?”


“N-n-no”, she whispered.


“Mother, go up to her room and fetch down the damned thing — see that the child’s put to bed this instant.

The damned thing: used to express anger at something.

Now why is Kezia’s father referring to the cushion that she has prepared as a damned thing because he is angry at the cushion, because Kezia has torn his important document to prepare it. Now he is very angry with Kezia and he stared at her and asked her if she had torn the papers. Kezia Was so scared that she was again stammering. And then Kezia’s father ordered mother to go and bring that cushion downstairs and asked her to put Kezia to bed at that very movement.


Crying too much to explain, she lay in the shadowed room watching the evening light make a sad little pattern on the floor.

shadowed room means that as it was dark, there was a light outside the room which was making shadows in the room.

a sad little pattern refers to the sad atmosphere in the room.


Kezia wanted to justify her action as she was innocent, she did not mean to harm her father, she was just preparing a surprise birthday gift for him. Kezia was very sad. She had been happy that she had prepared a surprise for her father and he would like it but on the other hand she had accidentally committed a disaster.


Then Father came into the room with a ruler in his hands.


Now he is about to punish Kezia for the wrong act she has done.


“I am going to beat you for this,” he said.


“Oh, no, no”, she screamed, hiding under the bedclothes.


Bedclothes Refers to the sheets, the top sheets that you cover yourself when you are sleeping.

Now Kezia’s father told her that he would beat her with the ruler. Kezia was so scared that she tried to hide under the sheets.


He pulled them aside.


“Sit up,” he ordered, “and hold out your hands.


You must be taught once and for all not to touch what does not belong to you.”


Now here we come to know that why Kezia’s father was being strict with her. Why was he punishing her.Because he wanted Kezia to know this thing once for all that she should not touch that thing that does not belong to her. He wanted to teach her this thing so that it benefitted in her future life. Right now, she was a small child, she did not know what was important and what was not important.That is why, unknowingly she has torn the important document of her father.  And so, he was punishing her. He did not want to harm Kezia, but he wanted that Kezia should know that in future she should not touch anything that does not belong to her.


“But it was for your b-b-birthday.”


Kezia tried to explain her position. She said that she had been preparing a birthday gift for her father and had to stuff it with something.She just tore the pages to stuff them into the cushion. She was trying to explain to him that she was just preparing a birthday gift for him. She wanted to give him a surprise. She did not want to tear his important documents. But Kezia’s father did not listen to her excuses.


Down came the ruler on her little, pink palms.

Kezia’s father hit the palms of her hand with a ruler.


Hours later, when Grandmother had wrapped her in a shawl and rocked her in the rocking-chair, the child clung to her soft body.


Clung: to attach yourself to something.


Now Kezia was so afraid. She had got beating. Her father had hit her small little palms with the ruler. And many hours later her grandmother wrapped her in a shawl and was trying to pacify her. She made her sit in her lap on a rocking chair and she was trying to put Kezia to sleep. And Kezia clung to her grandmother.


“What did God make fathers for?” she sobbed.


So Kezia was still not comfortable. She was crying and she said that god should not have made fathers. She hated her father.She was so innocent. she did not know what wrong she had done. She was just preparing a gift for him. She was heartbroken as he did not understand her and said that god should not have made fathers.


“Here’s a clean hanky, darling. Blow your nose. Go to sleep, pet; you’ll forget all about it in the morning. I tried to explain to Father but he was too upset to listen tonight.”


Now Kezia’s Grandmother was trying to pacify her. She gave her a handkerchief, to blow her nose in it and go to sleep. She added that by morning Kezia would forget the beating. Kezia tried to justify herself. she



said that she was trying to explain to him the reason for tearing the sheets of paper but he was not ready to listen to her. So again, we see that the little child was so innocent, she did not realize that her father hit her to teach her a lesson so that she did not touch anything that did not belong to her.


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But the child never forgot. Next time she saw him she quickly put both hands behind her back and a red colour flew into her cheeks.


Now Kezia’s Grandmother had told her to go to sleep and that by morning she would forget the beating that her father gave her. But Kezia never forgot the beating that she had got. Whenever she saw her father approaching, she would keep her hands behind her back because she felt that maybe he would hit her again and red colour flew into her cheeks. Whenever she saw her father, she got scared and her cheeks got full of red colour.



The Macdonalds lived next door. They had five children. Looking through a gap in the fence the little girl saw them playing ‘tag’ in the evening.The father with the baby, Mao, on his shoulders, two little girls hanging on to his coat pockets ran round and round the flower-beds, shaking with laughter. Once she saw the boys turn the hose on him—and he tried to catch them laughing all the time.


Here the writer tells us about Kezia’s neighbours. Her neighbours were a family named Mac donalds. In all, the Mac donald’s had five children. And Kezia would peep at them through a hole in the fence. She would see that the family had a lot of fun. They played a game called tag. (Tag is a children’s game of catching one another like we play catch catch.) So, all the children along with their father would have a lot of fun. Mr. Macdonald would make his little baby Mao sit on his shoulders And the two little daughters that he had they would hang on to his coat pockets. So, all the children were so much attached to their father. They loved him so much that they would stick to him.  And then they would run around the garden, around the flower beds and they would laugh and laugh and laugh. Kezia also wanted to have such fun with her father and she missed it. One day she saw that the little sons of Mrs. Macdonald opened the hose on him. They opened the water pipe and tried to make him wet. But Mr. Macdonald was not angry with them. He tried to catch them, and he was laughing. This was very strange for Kezia because her father was just the opposite of Mr. Macdonald.


Then it was she decided there were different sorts of fathers.


Now when Kezia saw Mr. Macdonald, she realized that he was quiet opposite to her father. She felt that God had made various kinds of fathers.


Suddenly, one day, Mother became ill, and she and Grandmother went to hospital.


One day,Kezia’s mother fell ill so she was taken to the hospital and the Grandmother also went along with her.

The little girl was left alone in the house with Alice, the cook. That was all right in the daytime but while Alice was putting her to bed she grew suddenly afraid.


Now Kezia was all alone at home with the cook.  The name of the cook is Alice.  Now Kezia was fine during the day but at night when the cook put Kezia to bed all alone Kezia started feeling scared.



“What’ll I do if I have a nightmare?”she asked.


Nightmare: a bad dream.


Kezia asked Alice that if she had a bad dream, what would she do all alone.


 “I often have nightmares and then Granny takes me into her bed—I can’t stay in the dark—it all gets ‘whispery’…”


Kezia explained to Alice that whenever she had nightmares, she would go to her Grandmother and she would sleep with her. So, she said that she could not stay all alone in the dark because she would be scared. She could hear different kinds of whispering sounds which made her feel that there was someone around her.


“You just go to sleep, child,” said Alice, pulling off her socks, “and don’t you scream and wake your poor Pa.”


So,Kezia’s father was sleeping in the next room and Alice told Kezia to sleep quietly.She removed Kezia’s socks and asked her not to scream. She warned her not to scream and wake her father. But Kezia was helpless.


But the same old nightmare came — the butcher with a knife and a rope, who came nearer and nearer, smiling that dreadful smile, while she could not move, could only stand still, crying out, “Grandma! Grandma!” She woke shivering to see Father beside her bed, a candle in his hand.

A Butcher is a person who cuts animals, who cuts meat.


So now this is a nightmare that Kezia had often - she would see a butcher. So this butcher would hold a big knife - a huge butcher’s knife and a rope and he would approach Kezia.  He had a dreadful smile on his face. And once Kezia would see him, she would feel that she was unable to move. She was so much scared of him. She was terrified to see this butcher. And in her sleep,Kezia Cried out for help, she called for her grandmother. When Kezia woke up she was shivering, she was trembling and she saw that her father was standing next to her bed and he was holding a candle in his hand. So Kezia’s father had heard her screams and he had heard that Kezia was calling for her grandmother and he had come to help her.


“What’s the matter?” he said.


Now he asked Kezia what was the matter. Why she was screaming.


“Oh, a butcher — a knife — I want Grannie.”


Kezia was still scared of the nightmare. She said that there was a butcher, he was holding a dreadful knife and she wanted her grandmother.


He blew out the candle, bent down and caught up the child in his arms, carrying her along the passage to the big bedroom.


So here we can see the affection that Kezia’s father has for her. He blew the candle off. He lifted her and carried her to his bedroom.


A newspaper was on the bed. He put away the paper, then carefully tucked up the child.


tucked up: covered up nicely in bed

Kezia’s father lay her in his bed next to him and covered her with the top sheets.


 He lay down beside her. Half asleep still, still with the butcher’s smile all about her it seemed, she crept close to him, snuggled her head under his arm, held tightly to his shirt.


Snuggled: moved into a warm, comfortable position, close to another person


Now Kezia felt her father’s affection and so, she went close to him. She snuggled herself towards her father and she held his shirt tightly so that she would not feel scared again. And now Kezia had overcome her fear of her father.


Then the dark did not matter; she lay still.


Now once Kezia was with her father, she was no longer afraid.


“Here, rub your feet against my legs and get them warm,” said Father.


He asked Kezia to rub her feet against his legs so that they became warm.



Tired out, he slept before the little girl. A funny feeling came over her.


So as Kezia father was very tired, he slept before she did. A funny feeling came over her.


Poor Father, not so big, after all — and with no one to look after him. He was harder than Grandmother, but it was a nice hardness. And every day he had to work and was too tired to be a Mr Macdonald… She had torn up all his beautiful writing… She stirred suddenly, and sighed.


Now here Kezia realizes her mistake and she had affection towards her father. She felt that her father was a poor man. He worked so hard. He was not so big as she found him to be earlier. Now she felt that her father was a poor man who worked very hard and so, he got so tired that he went off to sleep and did not play with her like Mr. Macdonald did with his children. But Kezia felt that her father’s heart was also full of love for her. She realizes that she has torn up his important document, the speech that he has written, and all this realization make sure take a deep breath. She realizes that she had been wrong and that is why her father had beaten her, he had been so strict with her.


“What’s the matter?” asked her father. “Another dream”?


Although Kezia’s father was asleep, he heard her sigh. He heard the sound that Kezia made and he asked her what the matter was. Was she again watching a bad dream?


“Oh,” said the little girl, “my head’s on your heart. I can hear it going. What a big heart you’ve got, Father dear


Kezia replied to her father that she had placed her head on her father’s heart and she could hear his heart beat. And she complimented her father that he had a big heart. So Kezia is showing her love for her father as she had realized that her father also loved her.  




The Little Girl Summary

‘The Little Girl’ is the story of a little girl, Kezia who misunderstood her father’s strictness and usually remained scared of him. She kept a distance from him, whenever he would be at home. She considered him to be as big as a giant. She would often get nervous and stutter while talking to him. She longed for his love and affection like her neighbour Mr Macdonald.


Once she was kept indoors as she was affected by cold. Her grandmother suggested that she make a gift for her father’s birthday next week. They decided that Kezia would make a pincushion for him. Kezia made a beautiful pin-cushion; but she accidentally made a mistake. She filled it with bits of paper that's




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