NIOS Class 10 English Chapter 25 Once Upon a Time, Explanation (For CBSE, ICSE, IAS, NET, NRA 2022)

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By: – Gabriel Okara


1. Once upon a time … shut on me.

  • The poet tells his son about the behaviour of people in the past and in the present, in the olden days and in the modern world. He remembers a time when people had true feelings for one another.
  • They would laugh from the heart and meet one another with genuine feeling. But today in the modern, busy world people often greet each other without any warmth in their handshake.
  • They greet each other with a smile or a laugh that does not reach their eyes or warm their hearts. When they say ‘come again’ to a guest they don՚t really mean it, they only say it to be polite.
  • According to the poet, people these days are often interested in meeting people only if they are rich, powerful, successful or famous, and do not value or respect those who have no wealth or position.

2. So I have learned … when I was like you.

  • We begin to learn this as we grow up and behave according to the situation, we are in.
  • We learn this behaviour so well that our natural behaviour slowly disappears, and in each different situation we behave in the way that is considered appropriate for that situation.
  • The poet says that he behaves very differently in the office, compared to the way he behaves at a party, or on the street. And none of these different faces that he puts on is his natural self or his real face.
  • The poet feels sad that like other adults in today՚s world he has forgotten how to be a natural person.
  • The poet has a deep desire to go back to the innocence of childhood. He is dissatisfied with his own changed self. He thinks that his son՚s genuine laughter can teach him how to express his feelings honestly.
  • He wants to relearn how to behave in a natural way. He wants to get rid of the falseness in his behaviour that makes his laugh unpleasant, because he laughs with his lips and teeth and not with his eyes and heart.


Re-arrange the following Jumble Sentences:

1. God helps/themselves/those who/help.

2. all/is not/that glitters/gold.

3. pen/is/sword/mightier than.

4. vessel/makes/an empty/much/noise.

5. fools/to/rush/angels/fear/in where/tread.

6. can be/deceptive appearances.

7. sun/while the/shines/make hay.

8. stone/gathers no/rolling/moss.

9. Necessity/invention/mother/is the/of.

10. you/sow/so you shall/As/reap.

11. the eye/of the/beholder/beauty/is in.

12. deaths/Cowards/their/die many/times before.

13. architect/Every man/of is the/his destiny.

14. in hand is/worth two in/A bird/the bush.

15. A/a straw/drowning/clutch at/man will.


1. God helps those who help themselves.

2. All that glitters is not gold.

3. Pen is mightier than sword.

4. An empty vessel makes much noise.

5. Fools rush in where angels fear to tread.

6. Appearances can be deceptive.

7. Make hay while the sun shines.

8. Rolling stone gathers no moss.

9. Necessity is the mother of invention.

10. As you sow, so you shall reap.

11. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

12. Cowards die many times before their deaths.

13. Every man is the architect of his destiny.

14. A bird in hand is worth two in the bush.

15. A drowning man will clutch at a straw.

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