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Summary of The Tale of Melon City
Once there was a justice-loving and cool-headed king. He decided to get an arch built over the main highway. His motive was to benefit and improve the onlookers, both mentally and morally.
The workers built the gate. They dared not disobey the king. The king rode down the highway to show himself to the people. It so happened that his crown hit against the low-built arch, and was lost. The king was very angry. He took it as an insult. He decided to hang the chief of builders. All arrangements were made for the execution. The chief of builders was taken past the king. He told the king that he was innocent. He put the blame on the workmen.
The king put off the hanging for a while. Being just and serious, he forgave the builder and ordered the hanging of all the workmen. The workers passed on the blame to the brickmakers who had made the bricks of the wrong size. The king then sent for the masons who stood to tremble with fear. They blamed the architect for the low arch. And now it was the turn of the architect to suffer hanging. The architect too had a point in his defence. He reminded the king of the change he himself had made to the plans. The king heard this and turned pale. He was in a dilemma. So, he declared that the case was complicated and he needed some consultations. He sent for the wisest man in the country. A very old and experienced man was presented before the king. He suggested that the king should punish the culprit and, in this case, the arch itself was that guilty thing. The arch was taken towards the gallows. But suddenly, a courtier or minister spoke in favour of the march saying that they could not hang the arch because it had touched the sacred head of the king.
The king agreed with his minister. But by now, the crowd was in a rebellious mood. They wanted some action, a hanging. So, to please the public, the king said that somebody should be hanged whether he was guilty or not. So, a noose was set up. But it was somewhat high. Many people were measured but only the king was found tall enough to fit the noose. And he was, therefore, hanged.