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The Tale of Melon City Question Answer
By- Vikram Seth
Short Answer Type Questions
1. Why does the king order an arch to be constructed over the public road?
Ans. The cool-headed king got an arch gate constructed over the public road. He hoped to enlighten and uplift the onlookers morally.
2. What annoyed the king as he rode down that thoroughfare?
Ans. As he rode down the road, his crown struck against the low-built arch. It was thrown off and lost. This enraged the king.
3. ‘This is a disgrace’, said the king. How did he react?
Ans. The low-built arch hit against the king’s crown which fell to the ground and was lost. The king took it as an insult. He ordered the chief of builders to be hanged.
4. The king, in this poem, is just and placid. Why does he then lose his temper? Does he carry his notion of justice too far?
Ans. The king was known to be calm and cool-headed. But that was a blatant lie. He lost his temper soon. Being just, he ordered the guilty person or thing to be hanged. But he was an utter fool. He carried his notion of justice too far. In doing so he had invited his own hanging.
5. How did the chief of builders, the workmen and the masons save their lives?
Ans. The chief of builders passed on the blame to the workmen. The workers in order to save their lives blamed the brick makers and the masons. The masons put the blame on the architect for the low arch.
6. How did the architect turn the tables on the king himself?
Ans. The architect was presented before the king to face conviction. But he reminded the king of the changes made by the king himself in the building plan. The king became nervous. He said he would consult the wisest man in the state on the issue.
7. Who on the old wise man’s advice was led to the gallows? Why had the proceeding to be halted?
Ans. The old man was considered wise on the basis of his age. He advised the king to hang the arch itself which had thrown the crown off the king’s head.
8. How did the king save his own skin when the architect turned the accusing finger at him?
Ans. The architect blamed the king himself for making faulty changes in the original building plan. The king found himself cornered. So he declared that he would seek the advice of the wisest man in the state on that tricky issue.
9. How did circumstances lead to the execution of the king himself?
Ans. On the wise man’s advice, the king ordered the arch to be executed. But a councillor defended the arch. The people, however, were restless. They demanded action and hanging. So a noose was set up to hang somebody. The king alone was tall enough to fit the noose. Hence, the king himself had to be hanged.
10. What opinion do you form about the king from the story?
Ans. This story highlights the foolishness of a so-called calm and just ruler. The king carried his notion of justice too far. He not only lost his own life but also gave the chance to another fool, a melon, to occupy the throne.
11. What custom was enforced to get a new ruler?
Ans. The state custom to find a new ruler was very funny. The first person to pass the city gates was to choose the ruler of the state. The idiot who passed by liked melons. Soon his suggestion, a melon was put on the throne.
12. Comment on the calibre of the king, his ministers, the people and the customs of the state.
Ans. All the characters in the story are block-headed. The king was crazy and brainless. The ministers followed the old custom blindly and set a melon on the throne. The custom to choose the ruler was just silly. The people, at large, were no good. They demanded a hanging even if it was their own king. They did not mind who the king was, as long as they could live peacefully.
13. Why have the king’s ministers been described as practical-minded men? What is ironical about the description?
Ans. The ministers were in a hurry to find a new ruler. They lacked practical wisdom when they followed the old custom. They detained a fool and asked him to name the new ruler. What an irony!
14. How was the new king of the state finally selected and crowned?
Ans. The old custom was followed while selecting a new ruler. The first person to pass by the city gate was asked to name the king. That idiot, being fond of melons, named melon for the royal seat. And a Melon was crowned and set up on the throne.
15. Why do the common people accept the melon-king without any protest?
Ans. The common people valued their peaceful living and freedom more than the quality of the king. It mattered little for them whether the king was wise or foolish, so long as he did not harass the people.
Long Answer Questions
1. Narrate ‘The Tale of Melon City’ in about 100 words. What message does it convey?
Ans. The king of that nameless state was known to be just and cool-headed. But truly speaking, he was foolish, crazy and brainless. Once he got constructed an arch above the public road for the mental and moral improvement of the onlookers. One day as he rode down that highway, the low-built arch hit the king’s crown.
The angry king decided to hang the culprit. He summoned the builders, the workers, the masons, the architect to undergo punishment. They all passed on the blame to each other. On the old wise man’s advice, the arch itself was to be hanged. But a councillor saved it. But somebody had to be hanged.
The king alone was tall enough to fit the noose which was set very high. He was hanged. As per the custom, whosoever passed the city gates first, had the honour of naming the next king. That day a fool was the first person to pass by the gates and he was asked to choose the king. He spoke only one-word “Melon” to all the questions and the Melon was crowned. The common people had no say in the selection. They only wanted to live in peace and liberty.
2. The king was just and placid. How did he carry his notion of justice a bit too far?
Ans. The king was known to be cool-headed, fair and just. But he was, in fact, a fool with a wavering mind. He foolishly thought that the victory gate would improve the people morally and mentally. He lost his temper when his crown fell off his head under the arch of low height.
He at once ordered hanging for the builder, the workers, the masons and the architect. He carried his sense of justice a little too far. He agreed to hang the arch itself. He finally ordered his own hanging. The story is humorous and ironical.
3. How does a melon become the ruler of the state? Why are the people happy with him?
Ans. The king who never applied his own brain went by what others said. When the people demanded somebody to be hanged, the king had to pay a heavy price for his foolishness. He himself was taken to the gallows. According to the state custom, the new ruler was to be chosen by the first person who passed by the city gates.
That day an idiot happened to pass by the gates who said “Melon” to any question which people asked him. And the ministers followed the custom mindlessly. They brought a melon and crowned it as their new ruler. The people raised no objection. They only wanted to live in peace and liberty. They accepted the melon king who followed the policy of non-interference in whatever the people did.