NCERT Textbook - The Letter Class 10 Notes | EduRev

Literature Reader Class 10

Class 10 : NCERT Textbook - The Letter Class 10 Notes | EduRev

 Page 1


CBSE
22
3 3
UNIT UNIT
Fiction
F.3    The Letter
By Dhumaketu
1. Look at the picture of the old man given below:
Working with your partner note down the feelings of the old man.
_______________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________
2. Can you think of reasons for these feelings? Discuss with your partner and note 
down possible reasons.
_______________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
Page 2


CBSE
22
3 3
UNIT UNIT
Fiction
F.3    The Letter
By Dhumaketu
1. Look at the picture of the old man given below:
Working with your partner note down the feelings of the old man.
_______________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________
2. Can you think of reasons for these feelings? Discuss with your partner and note 
down possible reasons.
_______________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
CBSE
Fiction
3. Now read the story given below. Your teacher will use a variety of techniques for 
different parts of the story e.g.
Silent reading
One student reading aloud to the whole class
Students reading in small groups
Dramatised reading in small groups
1. In the grey sky of early dawn stars still glowed, as happy memories light up a life that is 
nearing its close. An old man was walking through the town, now and again drawing his 
tattered clothes tighter to shield his body from the cold and biting wind. From some 
houses came the sound of grinding mills, and the sweet voices of women singing at 
their work, and the sounds helped him along his lonely way. Except for the occasional 
bark of a dog, the distant steps of a workman going early to work, or the screech of a bird 
disturbed before its time, the whole town was wrapped in deathly silence. Most of its 
inhabitants were still in the arms of sleep, the sleep which grew more and more 
profound on account of the intense winter cold; for the cold used sleep to extend its 
sway over all things even as a false friend lulls his chosen victim with caressing smiles. 
The old man, shivering at times but fixed of purpose, plodded on till he came out of the 
town-gate on to a straight road. Along this he now went at a somewhat slower pace, 
supporting himself on his old staff. 
2. On one side of the road 
was a row of trees, on the 
other side the town's 
public garden. The sky 
was darker now and the 
cold more intense, for the 
wind was blowing straight 
along the road, on which 
they fell like frozen snow, 
only the faint light of the 
morning star. At the end of 
the garden stood a 
handsome building of the 
newest style, and the light gleamed threw the crevices of its closed doors and windows. 
1
3. Beholding the wooden arch of this building, the old man was filled with the joy that the 
pilgrim feels when he first sees the goal of his journey. On the arch hung an old board 
with the newly painted letters "Post Office." The old man went in quietly and squatted on 
•
•
•
•
1 Beholding : taking a look at; seeing
23
Page 3


CBSE
22
3 3
UNIT UNIT
Fiction
F.3    The Letter
By Dhumaketu
1. Look at the picture of the old man given below:
Working with your partner note down the feelings of the old man.
_______________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________
2. Can you think of reasons for these feelings? Discuss with your partner and note 
down possible reasons.
_______________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
CBSE
Fiction
3. Now read the story given below. Your teacher will use a variety of techniques for 
different parts of the story e.g.
Silent reading
One student reading aloud to the whole class
Students reading in small groups
Dramatised reading in small groups
1. In the grey sky of early dawn stars still glowed, as happy memories light up a life that is 
nearing its close. An old man was walking through the town, now and again drawing his 
tattered clothes tighter to shield his body from the cold and biting wind. From some 
houses came the sound of grinding mills, and the sweet voices of women singing at 
their work, and the sounds helped him along his lonely way. Except for the occasional 
bark of a dog, the distant steps of a workman going early to work, or the screech of a bird 
disturbed before its time, the whole town was wrapped in deathly silence. Most of its 
inhabitants were still in the arms of sleep, the sleep which grew more and more 
profound on account of the intense winter cold; for the cold used sleep to extend its 
sway over all things even as a false friend lulls his chosen victim with caressing smiles. 
The old man, shivering at times but fixed of purpose, plodded on till he came out of the 
town-gate on to a straight road. Along this he now went at a somewhat slower pace, 
supporting himself on his old staff. 
2. On one side of the road 
was a row of trees, on the 
other side the town's 
public garden. The sky 
was darker now and the 
cold more intense, for the 
wind was blowing straight 
along the road, on which 
they fell like frozen snow, 
only the faint light of the 
morning star. At the end of 
the garden stood a 
handsome building of the 
newest style, and the light gleamed threw the crevices of its closed doors and windows. 
1
3. Beholding the wooden arch of this building, the old man was filled with the joy that the 
pilgrim feels when he first sees the goal of his journey. On the arch hung an old board 
with the newly painted letters "Post Office." The old man went in quietly and squatted on 
•
•
•
•
1 Beholding : taking a look at; seeing
23
CBSE
Fiction
24
the veranda. The voices of two or three people busy and their routine work could be 
faintly heard threw the wall. 
4. "Police Superintendent," a voice called sharply. The old man started at the sound, but 
composed himself again to wait. But for the faith and love, that warmed him, he could 
not have borne the bitter cold. 
5. Name after name rang out from within as the clerk read out the English addresses in the 
letters and flung them to the waiting postmen. From long practise he had acquired great 
2
speed at reading out the titles - Commissioner, Superintendent, Diwan Sahib , 
Librarian - and in flinging the letters out. 
6. In the midst of this procedure a jesting voice from inside called, "Coachman Ali!"  The 
old man got up, raised his eyes to heaven in gratitude and stepping forward put his 
hands to the door.
7. "Gokul Bhai!"  
8. "Yes who is there?" 
9. "You called out coachman Ali's name didn't you. Here I am I have come for my letter."
10. "It's a mad man, sir, who worries us by calling everyday for letters that never come," said 
the clerk to the postmaster. 
11. The old man went back slowly to the bench on which he had been accustomed to sit for 
five long years. 
12. Ali had been a clever shikari. As his skill increased so did his love for the hunt, till at last it 
was as impossible for him to pass a day without hunting as it is for the opium-eater to 
forgo his daily portion. When Ali sighted the earth-brown partridge, almost invisible to 
other eyes, the poor bird, they said, was as good as in his bag. His sharp eyes saw the 
hare crouching. Even when the dogs failed to see the creature cunningly hidden in the 
yellow brown scrub, Ali's eyes would catch the sight of his ears; and in another moment 
it was dead. Besides this he would often go out with his friends, the fishermen. 
13. But when the evening of his life was drawing in, he left his old ways and suddenly took a 
new turn. His only child, Miriam married and left him. She went off with a soldier into his 
regiment in the Punjab, and for the last five years he had no news of this daughter for 
whose sake alone he dragged along a cheerless existence. Now he understood the 
meaning of love and separation. He could no longer enjoy the sportsman's pleasure 
and laughter at the bewildered terror of the young partridges bereft of their parents. 
14. Although the hunter's instinct was in his very blood and bones, such loneliness had 
come into his life since the day Miriam had gone away, that now, forgetting his sport, he 
would become lost in the admiration of the green cornfield. He reflected deeply, and 
2 Diwan Sahib : a senior government official
Page 4


CBSE
22
3 3
UNIT UNIT
Fiction
F.3    The Letter
By Dhumaketu
1. Look at the picture of the old man given below:
Working with your partner note down the feelings of the old man.
_______________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________
2. Can you think of reasons for these feelings? Discuss with your partner and note 
down possible reasons.
_______________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
CBSE
Fiction
3. Now read the story given below. Your teacher will use a variety of techniques for 
different parts of the story e.g.
Silent reading
One student reading aloud to the whole class
Students reading in small groups
Dramatised reading in small groups
1. In the grey sky of early dawn stars still glowed, as happy memories light up a life that is 
nearing its close. An old man was walking through the town, now and again drawing his 
tattered clothes tighter to shield his body from the cold and biting wind. From some 
houses came the sound of grinding mills, and the sweet voices of women singing at 
their work, and the sounds helped him along his lonely way. Except for the occasional 
bark of a dog, the distant steps of a workman going early to work, or the screech of a bird 
disturbed before its time, the whole town was wrapped in deathly silence. Most of its 
inhabitants were still in the arms of sleep, the sleep which grew more and more 
profound on account of the intense winter cold; for the cold used sleep to extend its 
sway over all things even as a false friend lulls his chosen victim with caressing smiles. 
The old man, shivering at times but fixed of purpose, plodded on till he came out of the 
town-gate on to a straight road. Along this he now went at a somewhat slower pace, 
supporting himself on his old staff. 
2. On one side of the road 
was a row of trees, on the 
other side the town's 
public garden. The sky 
was darker now and the 
cold more intense, for the 
wind was blowing straight 
along the road, on which 
they fell like frozen snow, 
only the faint light of the 
morning star. At the end of 
the garden stood a 
handsome building of the 
newest style, and the light gleamed threw the crevices of its closed doors and windows. 
1
3. Beholding the wooden arch of this building, the old man was filled with the joy that the 
pilgrim feels when he first sees the goal of his journey. On the arch hung an old board 
with the newly painted letters "Post Office." The old man went in quietly and squatted on 
•
•
•
•
1 Beholding : taking a look at; seeing
23
CBSE
Fiction
24
the veranda. The voices of two or three people busy and their routine work could be 
faintly heard threw the wall. 
4. "Police Superintendent," a voice called sharply. The old man started at the sound, but 
composed himself again to wait. But for the faith and love, that warmed him, he could 
not have borne the bitter cold. 
5. Name after name rang out from within as the clerk read out the English addresses in the 
letters and flung them to the waiting postmen. From long practise he had acquired great 
2
speed at reading out the titles - Commissioner, Superintendent, Diwan Sahib , 
Librarian - and in flinging the letters out. 
6. In the midst of this procedure a jesting voice from inside called, "Coachman Ali!"  The 
old man got up, raised his eyes to heaven in gratitude and stepping forward put his 
hands to the door.
7. "Gokul Bhai!"  
8. "Yes who is there?" 
9. "You called out coachman Ali's name didn't you. Here I am I have come for my letter."
10. "It's a mad man, sir, who worries us by calling everyday for letters that never come," said 
the clerk to the postmaster. 
11. The old man went back slowly to the bench on which he had been accustomed to sit for 
five long years. 
12. Ali had been a clever shikari. As his skill increased so did his love for the hunt, till at last it 
was as impossible for him to pass a day without hunting as it is for the opium-eater to 
forgo his daily portion. When Ali sighted the earth-brown partridge, almost invisible to 
other eyes, the poor bird, they said, was as good as in his bag. His sharp eyes saw the 
hare crouching. Even when the dogs failed to see the creature cunningly hidden in the 
yellow brown scrub, Ali's eyes would catch the sight of his ears; and in another moment 
it was dead. Besides this he would often go out with his friends, the fishermen. 
13. But when the evening of his life was drawing in, he left his old ways and suddenly took a 
new turn. His only child, Miriam married and left him. She went off with a soldier into his 
regiment in the Punjab, and for the last five years he had no news of this daughter for 
whose sake alone he dragged along a cheerless existence. Now he understood the 
meaning of love and separation. He could no longer enjoy the sportsman's pleasure 
and laughter at the bewildered terror of the young partridges bereft of their parents. 
14. Although the hunter's instinct was in his very blood and bones, such loneliness had 
come into his life since the day Miriam had gone away, that now, forgetting his sport, he 
would become lost in the admiration of the green cornfield. He reflected deeply, and 
2 Diwan Sahib : a senior government official
CBSE
Fiction
25
came to the conclusion that the whole universe is built up through love and that the grief 
of separation is inescapable. And seeing this, he sat down under a tree and wept 
bitterly. From that day he had risen each morning at 4'oclock to walk to the post -office. 
In his whole life he had never received a letter, but with a devout serenity born of hope 
and faith, he persevered and was always the first to arrive.
15. The post office, one of the uninteresting buildings in the world, became his place of 
pilgrimage. He always occupied a particular seat in a particular corner of the building, 
and when the people got to know his habit they laughed at him. The postmen began to 
make a game of him. Even though there was no letter for him they would call out his 
name for the fun of seeing him jump up and come to the door. But with a boundless faith 
and infinite patience, he came everyday, and went away empty-handed. 
16. While Ali waited, peons would come for their firms' letters and he would hear them 
discussing their masters' scandals. These smart young peons in their spotless turbans 
and creaking shoes were always eager to express themselves. Meanwhile, the door 
would be thrown open and the post-master, a man with a face as sad and as 
inexpressive as a pumpkin, would be seen sitting on his chair inside. There was no 
glimmer of animation in his features; such men usually prove to be village 
schoolmasters, office clerks or postmasters. 
17. One day, he was there as usual and did not move from his seat when the door was 
opened. 
18. "Police Commissioner!" the clerk called out, and a young fellow stepped forward briskly 
for the letters.
19. "Superintendent!" Another voice called. Another peon came. And so the clerk, like a 
worshipper of Vishnu, repeated his customary thousand names. 
20. At last they had all gone. Ali got up too and saluting the post-office as though it housed 
some precious relic, went off. A pitiable figure a century behind his time. 
21. "That fellow," asked the post-master "is he mad?" 
22. "Who, sir? Oh, yes," answered the clerk "no matter what the weather is he has been 
here everyday for the last five years. But he doesn't get many letters." 
23. "I can well understand that! Who does he think will have time to write a letter everyday?" 
24. "But he is a bit touched sir. In the old days he committed many sins; and maybe he shed 
some blood within sacred precincts and is paying for it now," the postman added in 
support of his statement. 
25. "Mad-men are strange people," the postmaster said. 
Page 5


CBSE
22
3 3
UNIT UNIT
Fiction
F.3    The Letter
By Dhumaketu
1. Look at the picture of the old man given below:
Working with your partner note down the feelings of the old man.
_______________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________
2. Can you think of reasons for these feelings? Discuss with your partner and note 
down possible reasons.
_______________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
CBSE
Fiction
3. Now read the story given below. Your teacher will use a variety of techniques for 
different parts of the story e.g.
Silent reading
One student reading aloud to the whole class
Students reading in small groups
Dramatised reading in small groups
1. In the grey sky of early dawn stars still glowed, as happy memories light up a life that is 
nearing its close. An old man was walking through the town, now and again drawing his 
tattered clothes tighter to shield his body from the cold and biting wind. From some 
houses came the sound of grinding mills, and the sweet voices of women singing at 
their work, and the sounds helped him along his lonely way. Except for the occasional 
bark of a dog, the distant steps of a workman going early to work, or the screech of a bird 
disturbed before its time, the whole town was wrapped in deathly silence. Most of its 
inhabitants were still in the arms of sleep, the sleep which grew more and more 
profound on account of the intense winter cold; for the cold used sleep to extend its 
sway over all things even as a false friend lulls his chosen victim with caressing smiles. 
The old man, shivering at times but fixed of purpose, plodded on till he came out of the 
town-gate on to a straight road. Along this he now went at a somewhat slower pace, 
supporting himself on his old staff. 
2. On one side of the road 
was a row of trees, on the 
other side the town's 
public garden. The sky 
was darker now and the 
cold more intense, for the 
wind was blowing straight 
along the road, on which 
they fell like frozen snow, 
only the faint light of the 
morning star. At the end of 
the garden stood a 
handsome building of the 
newest style, and the light gleamed threw the crevices of its closed doors and windows. 
1
3. Beholding the wooden arch of this building, the old man was filled with the joy that the 
pilgrim feels when he first sees the goal of his journey. On the arch hung an old board 
with the newly painted letters "Post Office." The old man went in quietly and squatted on 
•
•
•
•
1 Beholding : taking a look at; seeing
23
CBSE
Fiction
24
the veranda. The voices of two or three people busy and their routine work could be 
faintly heard threw the wall. 
4. "Police Superintendent," a voice called sharply. The old man started at the sound, but 
composed himself again to wait. But for the faith and love, that warmed him, he could 
not have borne the bitter cold. 
5. Name after name rang out from within as the clerk read out the English addresses in the 
letters and flung them to the waiting postmen. From long practise he had acquired great 
2
speed at reading out the titles - Commissioner, Superintendent, Diwan Sahib , 
Librarian - and in flinging the letters out. 
6. In the midst of this procedure a jesting voice from inside called, "Coachman Ali!"  The 
old man got up, raised his eyes to heaven in gratitude and stepping forward put his 
hands to the door.
7. "Gokul Bhai!"  
8. "Yes who is there?" 
9. "You called out coachman Ali's name didn't you. Here I am I have come for my letter."
10. "It's a mad man, sir, who worries us by calling everyday for letters that never come," said 
the clerk to the postmaster. 
11. The old man went back slowly to the bench on which he had been accustomed to sit for 
five long years. 
12. Ali had been a clever shikari. As his skill increased so did his love for the hunt, till at last it 
was as impossible for him to pass a day without hunting as it is for the opium-eater to 
forgo his daily portion. When Ali sighted the earth-brown partridge, almost invisible to 
other eyes, the poor bird, they said, was as good as in his bag. His sharp eyes saw the 
hare crouching. Even when the dogs failed to see the creature cunningly hidden in the 
yellow brown scrub, Ali's eyes would catch the sight of his ears; and in another moment 
it was dead. Besides this he would often go out with his friends, the fishermen. 
13. But when the evening of his life was drawing in, he left his old ways and suddenly took a 
new turn. His only child, Miriam married and left him. She went off with a soldier into his 
regiment in the Punjab, and for the last five years he had no news of this daughter for 
whose sake alone he dragged along a cheerless existence. Now he understood the 
meaning of love and separation. He could no longer enjoy the sportsman's pleasure 
and laughter at the bewildered terror of the young partridges bereft of their parents. 
14. Although the hunter's instinct was in his very blood and bones, such loneliness had 
come into his life since the day Miriam had gone away, that now, forgetting his sport, he 
would become lost in the admiration of the green cornfield. He reflected deeply, and 
2 Diwan Sahib : a senior government official
CBSE
Fiction
25
came to the conclusion that the whole universe is built up through love and that the grief 
of separation is inescapable. And seeing this, he sat down under a tree and wept 
bitterly. From that day he had risen each morning at 4'oclock to walk to the post -office. 
In his whole life he had never received a letter, but with a devout serenity born of hope 
and faith, he persevered and was always the first to arrive.
15. The post office, one of the uninteresting buildings in the world, became his place of 
pilgrimage. He always occupied a particular seat in a particular corner of the building, 
and when the people got to know his habit they laughed at him. The postmen began to 
make a game of him. Even though there was no letter for him they would call out his 
name for the fun of seeing him jump up and come to the door. But with a boundless faith 
and infinite patience, he came everyday, and went away empty-handed. 
16. While Ali waited, peons would come for their firms' letters and he would hear them 
discussing their masters' scandals. These smart young peons in their spotless turbans 
and creaking shoes were always eager to express themselves. Meanwhile, the door 
would be thrown open and the post-master, a man with a face as sad and as 
inexpressive as a pumpkin, would be seen sitting on his chair inside. There was no 
glimmer of animation in his features; such men usually prove to be village 
schoolmasters, office clerks or postmasters. 
17. One day, he was there as usual and did not move from his seat when the door was 
opened. 
18. "Police Commissioner!" the clerk called out, and a young fellow stepped forward briskly 
for the letters.
19. "Superintendent!" Another voice called. Another peon came. And so the clerk, like a 
worshipper of Vishnu, repeated his customary thousand names. 
20. At last they had all gone. Ali got up too and saluting the post-office as though it housed 
some precious relic, went off. A pitiable figure a century behind his time. 
21. "That fellow," asked the post-master "is he mad?" 
22. "Who, sir? Oh, yes," answered the clerk "no matter what the weather is he has been 
here everyday for the last five years. But he doesn't get many letters." 
23. "I can well understand that! Who does he think will have time to write a letter everyday?" 
24. "But he is a bit touched sir. In the old days he committed many sins; and maybe he shed 
some blood within sacred precincts and is paying for it now," the postman added in 
support of his statement. 
25. "Mad-men are strange people," the postmaster said. CBSE
Fiction
26
26. "Yes. Once I saw a postman in Ahmedabad who did absolutely nothing but make little 
heaps of dust. And another had a habit of going to the river bed in order to pour water on 
a certain stone everyday!"
27. "Oh! That's nothing" chimed in another. "I knew one madman who paced up and down 
all day long, another who never ceased declaiming poetry and a third who would slap 
himself on the cheek and then begin to cry because he was being beaten."   
28. And everyone in the post office began to talk of lunacy. All working class people have 
the habit of taking periodic rests by joining in general discussion for a few minutes. After 
listening a while, the postmaster got up and said, "It seems as though the mad live in a 
world of their own making. To them perhaps we too appear mad. The mad-man's world 
is rather like the poet's, I should think!"
29. He laughed as he spoke the last words, looking at one of the clerks who wrote           
indifferent verse. Then he went out and the office became still again. 
30. For several days Ali had not come to the post-office. There was no one with enough 
sympathy or understanding to guess the reason, but all were curious to know what had 
stopped the old man. At last he came again; but it was a struggle for him to breathe and 
on his face were clear signs of approaching end. That day he could not contain his 
impatience. 
31. "Master Sahib", he begged the post-master, "have you a letter from my Miriam?"
32. The postmaster wanted to get out to the country, and was in a hurry.
33. "What a pest you are, brother!" he exclaimed.
34. "My name is Ali," answered Ali absent-mindedly.
35. "I know! I know! But do you think we've got your Miriam's name registered?"
36. "Then please note it down, brother. It will be useful if a letter should come when I am not 
here." For how should the villager who had spent three-quarters of his life hunting know 
that Miriam's name was not worth a pice to anyone but her father?
37. The postmaster was beginning to lose his temper. "Have you no sense?" he cried. 
38. "Get away! Do you think we're going to eat your letter when it comes?" and he walked off 
hastily. Ali came out very slowly, turning after every few steps to gaze at the post office. 
His eyes were filled with tears of helplessness, for his patience was exhausted, even 
though he still had faith. Yet how could he still hope to hear from Miriam?
39. Ali heard one of the clerks coming up behind him, and turned to him.
40. "Brother!" he said.
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