Thinking About the Poem – The Tale of Custard the Dragon NCERT Solutions (Page 132)
Q1. Who are the characters in the poem? List them with their pet names.
Ans. There are six characters described in the poem.
(i)There is a girl and her name is Belinda.
(ii) There is a black kitten. His pet name is Ink.
(iii) There is a little grey mouse. His pet name is Blink.
(iv) There is a little yellow dog and his pet name is Mustard.
(v) There is a pet dragon. He is called Custard.
(vi) There is a pirate who is killed and swallowed by the dragon.
Q2. Why did Custard cry for a nice safe cage? Why is the dragon called the “cowardly dragon”?
Ans. Custard, the dragon was not conscious of his strength. He was constantly worried about his safety. He always cried and begged for a nice safe cage in case he was in danger.
Outwardly, the dragon had big sharp teeth. He had spikes on the top and scales underneath. He spat fire and his mouth looked like a fireplace. He looked very ferocious and strong. Unfortunately, he was not conscious of his power and strength. He swallowed the pirate but couldn’t convince himself that he was not a coward.
Q3. “Belinda tickled him, she tickled him unmerciful…” Why?
Ans. Belinda didn’t have a good opinion of Custard, the dragon. He was thought to be a coward who was always worried about his safety. Therefore, Belinda always mocked and tickled Custard. She taunted him for his cowardice and was quite merciless in tickling, taunting and troubling him.
Q4. The poet has employed many poetic devices in the poem. For example: “Clashed his tail like iron in a dungeon”—the poetic device here is a simile. Can you, with your partner, list some more poetic devices used in the poem?
|1. And the little yellow dog was sharp as Mustard
|2. Mouth like a fireplace
|3. Chimney for a nose
|4. Belinda was as brave as a barrel full of bears
|5. Mustard was as brave as a tiger in a rage
|6. But up jumped Custard snorting like an engine
|7. Clashed his tail like irons in a dungeon
|8. He went at the pirate like a robin at a worm
Q5. Read stanza three again to know how the poet describes the appearance of the dragon.
Ans. In the third stanza, the poet describes the appearance of the dragon, Custard. The custard had big sharp teeth. He had spikes on the top of him. There were scales underneath. His mouth spat fire and looked like a fireplace. His long nose resembled a chimney. And he had `daggers’ on his toes.
Q6. Can you find out the rhyme scheme of two or three stanzas of the poem?
Ans. The rhyme scheme of all the stanzas is the same.
The rhyme scheme is: aa, bb
Q7. Writers use words to give us a picture or image without actually saying what they mean. Can you trace some images used in the poem?
Ans. Writers, particularly poets, use words to give us a picture or image without actually saying what they mean. Some words that give such images are in the poem:
(i)realio, truly, little pet dragon
(ii)Custard the dragon
(iii)Chimney for a nose
(iv)daggers on toes
Q8. Do you find ‘The Tale of Custard the Dragon’ to be a serious or a light-hearted poem? Give reasons to support your answer.
Ans. Basically, Ogden Nash’s, ‘The Tale of Custard the Dragon’ has been written for children. It is a humorous poem. The poet tries to create a light-hearted atmosphere through the use of words and sounds which may tickle the young readers. All pet names Ink, Blink, Mustard and Custard are funny names.
However, the poet gives quite a serious message. The poem highlights that outwardly strength and power may not convince cowardly people like Custard that they are not cowards. Self-confidence and self-respect are the traits which Custard, the dragon lacks in him.
Q9. This poem, in ballad form, tells a story. Have you come across any such modern song or lyric that tells a story? If you know one, tell it to the class. Collect such songs as a project.
Ans. A ballad is a story told in verse or poetry. A ballad is simply a narrative poem or song. Rudyard Kipling’s ‘The Ballad of East and West’, William Butler Yeats’ `The Ballad of Moll Magee’ and Ezra Pound’s ‘Ballads of the Goodly Fere’ are some of the famous ballads written in verse.