Once on a dark winter’s day, when the yellow fog hung so thick and heavy in the streets of London that the lamps were lighted and the shop windows blazed with gas as they do at night, an odd looking little girl sat in a cab with her father and was driven rather slowly through the big thoroughfares. She sat with her feet tucked under her, and leaned against her father, who held her in his arm, as she stared out of the window at the passing people with a peculiar old-fashioned thoughtfulness in her big eyes. She was such a little girl that one did not expect to see such a look on her small face. It would have been an old look for a child of twelve, and Sara Crewe was only seven. The fact was, however, that she was always dreaming and thinking odd things and could not herself remember any time when she had not been thinking things about grown-up people and the world they belonged to. She felt as if she had lived a long, long time. At this moment she was remembering the voyage she had just made from Bombay with her father, Captain Crewe. She was thinking of the big ship, of the Lascars passing silently to and fro on it, of the children playing about on the hot deck, and of some young officers’ wives who used to try to make her talk to them and laugh at the things she said. Principally, she was thinking of what a peculiar thing it was that at one time one was in India in the blazing sun, and then in the middle of the ocean, and then driving in a strange vehicle through strange streets where the day was as dark as the night.

She found this so puzzling that she moved closer to her father.

“Papa,‘ she said in a low, mysterious little voice which was almost a whisper,”papa.”

What is it, darling?‘ Captain Crewe answered, holding her closer and looking down into her face.

What is Sara thinking of?‘

A Little Princess, Frances Hodgson Burnett

Read the passage above carefully and then answer the questions. Remember to write your answers in full sentences, taking care with spelling and punctuation.

1. What is the weather like in London?

 2. How old is Sara Crewe?

 3. Who is travelling with her?

 4. What does Sara Crewe look like?

5. What does the word ‘puzzling’ mean? Look at the word in the text to help you.

 6. Did Sara Crewe live in India? Use words from the text to support your answer.

 7. Why does Sara ‘move closer to her father’?

 8. What is Captain Crewe like as a person? Look at the way he speaks to Sara.

9. ‘What is Sara thinking of?’ Write down what Sara must be thinking and feeling. Use your imagination to help you

Look at the following words taken from ‘A Little Princess’ and select their correct meaning from the list of options.

Circle the correct option.


  • (n) = noun
  • (v) = verb
  • (adj) = adjective

1. Voyage (n)

a) An old person

b) A long trip by the sea

c) A planet

2. Peculiar (adj)

a) Strange

b) Tall

c) Pretty

3. Fog (n)

a) A storm

b) A thick cloud

c) A fire

4. Vehicle (n)

a) A type of drink

b) An old shoe

c) A thing used for transport


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