NCERT Class 8 English It So Happened Chapter 5 ‘Princess September’: Notes and Solutions (Free PDF)

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NCERT Class 8 English It So Happened Chapter 5 'Princess September'

NCERT Class 8 English It So Happened Chapter 5 ‘Princess September’ is a story by Somerset Maugham. The story is set in the Far East in the kingdom of Siam. It is about 9 Princesses, their pets, and their parents. To know how the story unfolds, refer to the summary section of the blog. Thereafter expand your English vocabulary by learning word meanings. After that, you get NCERT solutions to questions in Chapter 5 ‘Princess September’. Let’s start learning!!

Also Read: Story Writing Format for Class 9 to 12

Chapter 1Chapter 2Chapter 3Chapter 4
Chapter 5Chapter 6Chapter 7Chapter 8

Summary of NCERT Class 8 English It So Happened Chapter 5 ‘Princess September’

Princess September receives a dead parrot as a gift from the King, unlike her sisters who get beautiful parrots. But a magical little bird appears in her room and sings her beautiful songs. They become friends, and the bird even visits his father-in-law sometimes.

September’s sisters, jealous of her special bird, convince her to put him in a cage for his safety. However, the little bird loses his spirit and refuses to sing. He longs for freedom and the beauty of the outside world.

Torn between love and concern, September finally releases the bird back into the wild. He promises to return and sing for her, even though it means he might never be hers alone.

September learns a valuable lesson about love and freedom. She keeps her window open, welcoming the bird back whenever he chooses. Unlike her sisters who remain selfish and closed-off, September grows beautiful and kind, eventually marrying the King of Cambodia.

Also Read: Summary Writing: Samples, Format, Tips, Skills

Source: Animated Gyan

Important Words and Phrases and Their Meanings

In this section, we have a list of important words and phrases with their meanings in NCERT Class 8 English It So Happened Chapter 5 ‘Princess September’.

SiamA place in Thailand
OrientalThe eastern part of the world. It includes the countries of the Far East
HandyEasily available
Maids of HonourHelpers attending to the Princess of the kingdom
I dare sayI accept
PerchSitting place of a bird
Put their heads togetherMake decision after discussing among themselves
OminouslySuggesting that something worse is about to happen
PopPush or put
AlightedCame down
SnaresTraps for catching animals or birds
ProwlingSilent movement

Also Read: Essay on Importance of the English Language

Chapter 1Chapter 2Chapter 3Chapter 4
Chapter 5Chapter 6Chapter 7Chapter 8

NCERT Solutions Class 8 English It So Happened Chapter 5 ‘Princess September’

In this section, we have important questions and answers under the Comprehension Check and Exercise sections of NCERT Class 8 English It So Happened Chapter 5 ‘Princess September’.

Comprehension Check I (Page No. 38)

Ques 1. How many daughters did the royal couple have?

Ans: The royal couple had 9 daughters whose names were after months of the calendar year.

Ques 2. Why were they named after the months of the year?

Ans: As the Queen of Siam was unable to remember names the King named their daughters after months of the year. 

Ques 3. The King had a peculiar habit. What was it? Why is it called peculiar?

Ans: The King had a peculiar habit of distributing gifts on his birthday instead of receiving gifts. On one of his birthdays, he gifted a green parrot in a golden age to each of his nine daughters.

This habit of the King was considered peculiar because traditionally people receive gifts on their birthdays and do not give away gifts. 

Ques 4. (i) What was Princess September’s reaction to the loss of her parrot?

(ii) What was her mother’s reaction to it?

(iii) What do the reactions indicate about the nature and temperament of each?


(i) When Princess September lost her parrot she burst into tears. She was so disturbed by the parrot’s death that nobody was able to console her, even her Maid of Honour.

(ii) Princess September’s mother ridiculed her daughter’s grief. The mother said that she was weeping unnecessarily. She also asked the Maid of Honour to put September to sleep without dinner.

(iii) From Princess September’s reaction, it is evident that she was a simple-hearted and sensitive girl. Whereas, the mother’s reaction explains her unsympathetic manner. 

Ques 5. What pulled the Princess out of her gloom?

Ans: A tiny bird pulled the Princess out of her gloom. After the demise of her parrot, she always lay in her room weeping uncontrollably. One fine day, while she was weeping, she saw a little bird come into her room and start to sing. Seeing the beautiful bird, she came out of her grief. 

Ques 6. How did the Maids of Honour come to know that the Princess and the bird had become intimate friends?

Ans: The next morning, when the Princess’s Maids of Honour brought her breakfast, they saw her in a happy mood. They noticed the songbird eating rice from the Princess’s hand and bathing in her saucer. Then, the little bird sang a lovely song, and the Princess liked it. This made them think that the two had become close friends.

Ques 7. The new bird was full of new songs but the old parrots always repeated themselves. What did they say?

Ans: The parrots would constantly say ‘Pretty Polly’ and ‘God save the King’ in seven Oriental languages.

Ques 8. What is the King’s opinion about his Councillors? Why did he form that opinion?

Ans: The King noticed that the parrots were saying two phrases over and over again – ‘God save the King’ and ‘Pretty Polly’ in seven different Oriental languages. This made him think of his Councillors, who also repeated the same things in various ways. It made the King think less of his Councillors, as they seemed to babble about the same things repeatedly.

Ques 9. (i) The eight Princesses made an offer to Princess September. What was it?

(ii) Why, in your view, did they do it?


(i) The eight Princesses offered Princess September to gift her a beautiful yellow and green parrot in lieu of her singing bird. All the eight sisters decided to buy the parrot from their pocket money. 

(ii) Princess September’s sisters made her the offer because they were jealous of her singing bird, who sang a new song every day. The sisters were unhappy because their parrots always seemed sad and repeated the same thing again and again. 

Ques 10. What did the sisters advise the Princess to do about her bird?

Ans: The sisters were extremely envious of Princess September’s singing bird. They gave her wicked advice, telling her to keep the bird in a cage, warning that otherwise, it might fly away forever.

Comprehension Check II (Page No. 43)

Ques 1. In the following sentence elaborate on the parts given in italics. ‘Under the circumstances’, it was ‘a very unfortunate remark’ for the bird to make.


‘Under the circumstances’: After Princess September’s sisters gave her advice about the singing bird, she became very worried. She feared that the little bird might forget her and grow fond of someone else, causing her to lose her beloved pet.

a very unfortunate remark’: When the little bird returned, he explained that he almost didn’t come back that night because his father-in-law was hosting a party, and everyone wanted him to stay. However, he returned because he felt that the Princess might be worried if he didn’t come back on time.

Ques 2. (i) What did Princess September do to ensure the safety of her pet?

(ii) How did the bird react to it?


(i) To ensure the safety of her pet, Princess September put the singing bird inside a cage.

(ii) The bird disliked being caged as he felt like he was being jailed. He believed that he had been enslaved. Owing to this, the bird gradually stopped eating and singing. 

Ques 3. Why did the bird refuse to be taken out in her cage?

Ans: When the Princess agreed to let the bird out of its cage every day, it declined her genuine offer. To the bird, being let out of the cage was not the same as flying freely in nature. The rice fields, the lake, and the willow trees would appear differently when seen through the bars of a cage, which would not be as enjoyable as the true freedom the princess was trying to offer.

Ques 4. (i) What persuaded Princess September to give the bird his freedom again?

(ii) How did the bird react to it?


(i) The next morning, the Princess noticed the bird was almost lifeless. It had stopped eating and singing altogether, and its eyes remained closed. Seeing this, the Princess was convinced to offer the bird its freedom once more.

(ii) The bird felt really happy. It flew off to faraway places, but promised to come back and sing for the Princess whenever she wanted.

Ques 5. Princess September kept her window open day and night.

(i) How did it help the bird?

(ii) How did it help the Princess herself?


(i) Princess September always left her window open, day and night. This allowed the little bird to enter her room and leave whenever it pleased.

(ii) Leaving the window open all the time gave the Princess fresh air and sunlight. This made her look more beautiful because she enjoyed the benefits of nature.

Ques 6. The eight sisters kept their windows shut. How did it affect them?

Ans: The eight sisters who always kept their windows closed grew up to be very ugly and unpleasant. Eventually, they were married off to the King’s Councillors in exchange for a pound of tea and a Siamese cat.


Ques 1. Are the sisters unkind and cruel? Find evidence in the text to support your idea.

Ans: Yes, the sisters were indeed cruel and unkind. When they saw that Princess September’s bird could sing while their own parrots could only repeat phrases, they became upset. They even offered to buy her green and yellow parrots instead. When she refused, they convinced her to cage the bird, knowing it would hurt him. After she did so, the bird stopped singing and eating. When she asked her sisters for advice, they told her to be strong and that if the bird died, it would be ungrateful. They even said that if it died due to stubbornness, it would deserve it. When she set the bird free, they mocked her and said it would never return. All of these actions show that they were truly cruel and lacked compassion.

Ques 2. Which, to you, is the most important idea in this story, and why?

(i) importance of music

(ii) value of freedom

(iii) beauty of nature


(ii) value of freedom

(ii) The story highlights the value of freedom as its central idea. It emphasises that freedom is a fundamental right for all living beings and should not be taken away. When the little bird in the story is deprived of its freedom, it loses its happiness and becomes sad in captivity. It stops eating and singing, showing that life’s beauty lies in being free and not confined. The story suggests that in a closed environment, any living creature tends to lose its vitality and creativity.

Source: Magnet Brains
Chapter 1: The Best Christmas Present in the World
Chapter 2: The Tsunami
Chapter 3: Glimpses of the Past
Chapter 4: Bepin Choudhury’s Lapse of Memory
Chapter 5: The Summit Within
Chapter 6: This is Jody’s Fawn
Chapter 7: A Visit to Cambridge
Chapter 8: A Short Monsoon Diary


Q1. Who is the author of the story ‘Princess September’ in NCERT Class 8 English It So Happened Chapter 5?

Ans: The story is an abridged version of the same story by Somerset Maugham

Q2. To which kingdom did Princess September belong?

Ans: The princess belonged to the Siam Kingdom.

Q3. Is CBSE Notes Class 8 English accurate?

Ans: Subject experts have tried their best to create accurate notes and answer all questions correctly. 

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