It is a country in the north where days are short and nights are long.
Saint Peter asked the old lady for a piece of cake. The lady behaved miserly and kept decreasing the size of the cake. At last she did not give him anything to eat.
He cursed her and made her a woodpecker.
The woodpecker bores the hard and dry wood to get its food.
No, she would not have done this. On the contrary, she would have given him a large piece of cake to make him happy with the greed to get a handsome return.
No, it is an imaginative story. It is a legend. The third stanza of the poem is very important.
A legend is a story from ancient times about people and events. The title of the poem tells that it is a legend. The poet himself says that ‘I don’t believe it is true’.
The poem is a story of an old woman. She is asked by Saint Peter for alms who has become weak because of fasting and travelling. But her greed forces her not to give him anything. He becomes angry and makes her a woodpecker who bores hard, dry wood to get food. Her clothes are burnt to ashes and she is left with a cap on her head. She continues boring into hard wood for her little food.
Earth-hearth, done-one, lay-away, another-over, flat-that, faint-saint, form- worm, food-wood, same-flame.