The Tale of Melon City Class 11 English Notes
Please refer to The Tale of Melon City Class 11 English Notes and summary provided below. The following summary and solved questions have been designed as per the latest syllabus and books issued by CBSE, NCERT, and KVS. By going through and learning the below notes for Class 11 English you will be able to understand the entire chapter and easily solve questions in your exams. Also, refer to the Class 11 English Chapter Summary for all chapters in your textbooks.
Class 11 English The Tale of Melon City Summary and Questions
The following The Tale of Melon City Class 11 English Notes and questions answers will help you to easily learn the entire chapter. You will be able to solve all questions in upcoming Class 11 English exams and score better marks
The poem The Tale of Melon City is a narrative poem about how a melon, following a custom, was chosen to become the king of a state. It narrates in an amusing tone the events leading to such a situation when no other but a melon was coroneted as the king.
The poem begins with the description of a just and peace loving king ruling an ancient state. Once the king planned to construct an arch, spanning the main thoroughfare. The purpose of the arch was to improve the onlookers morally and provide aesthetic joy to them. The plan of the king was executed immediately.
One day the king was passing by the side of the thoroughfare. The arch was constructed very low so that the king’s crown struck against it and fell off. Immediately the king responded negatively. He felt dishonored. He decided to hang the chief of builders holding him responsible. Necessary arrangements were made for the hanging.
The chief of builders in his defence shifted the responsibility to the laborers. On hearing so, the king adjourned the proceedings for a moment, and then decided to have all the laborers hanged. According to the laborers, it all happened due to faulty size of the bricks. So, the king summoned the masons. They, in their turn, put the blame on the architect. The king decreed to hang the architect. The architect reminded the king that he had made certain amendments to the plans when they were shown for his approval. In a way, the architect indirectly put the blame on the king. The argument of the architect left the king completely confused. Considering the matter to be intricate, the king sought the advice of a wise man. He ordered to bring to him the wisest man in the country.
The king’s men could find out the wisest man and, accordingly, he was brought to the court of the King. He was so old that he could neither walk nor see. According to the old man, the real culprit was the the arch. It was the arch that hit the crown violently and it fell off. So, the arch was to be hanged. The arch was led to the scaffold. At that time, a councilor said that it would be very shameful act to hang the arch that hit the king’s head.
The crowd was getting restless. In order to appease the mass, the king commented that someone must be hanged as it was the public demand. The noose was set up. It was somewhat high. Each man was measured turn by turn. Interestingly, there was one man who was tall enough to fit in the noose, and it was the King. So, his majesty was hanged.
The ministers heaved a sigh of relief that they were able to find someone, otherwise the crowd might have risen in revolt. Now the issue came up as to who would be the king of the state. The old custom was invoked. They sent out the heralds to proclaim that the next to pass the City Gate would choose the King. An idiot happened to pass the City Gate. The idiot was asked who was to be the king. The idiot uttered Melon. Actually that was his pet answer to all questions since he liked melons. The ministers coroneted a melon and placed the melon king reverently at the throne.
All these events took place long long ago. Now when someone asks the people how is it that their King appears to be a melon, they reply that if His majesty takes delight in being a melon, which is all right with them. They have no right to say what he should be as long as he leaves them in peace and liberty. It seems that the principles of non-interference are well established in that state.
- The Tale of Melon City is a story in verse. The tale is humorous even though
- It is unrealistic and unbelievable. It ridicules the king, his ministers, the wise men and the common people.
- All of them behave foolishly. Not one of them applies his brain. The tone of the poem is satirical.
- The just and placid king behaved rashly like a fool. He got an arch gate constructed above the highway for the enlightenment of the onlookers.
- He hit his crown against the arch. He ordered hanging for the guilty. But he changed his orders quite soon until he ordered his own execution.
- The new ruler was chosen foolishly by an idiot. He was asked to name the new king. He loved melons. So he pronounced melon at once—and the melon was crowned king.
- The people had no interest in who ruled over them provided they were not harassed.
Question: What does the comment of the councillor about the arch reveal about himself and the king?
Answer: It shows the councillor’s sycophancy and the King’s capriciousness. The councillor, an expert in the art of flattery, checked the king from an absurd action, through an argument that appeared logical. The thoughtless king mused over it.
Question: Why did the king succumb to public demand?
Answer: The king noticed that the crowd of spectators had become restless and people were muttering aloud. He judged their mood. He trembled to think of the consequences if they were deprived of the fun of watching someone being hanged. So, in order to save his skin, he ordered that someone be hanged immediately.
Question: What opinion do you form of the King’s Ministers on the basis of their actions after the King’s death?
Answer: The Ministers believed in tradition and ceremonies. They shouted in one breath, ‘Long live the king! The king is dead’. They were practical-minded men. They knew that the throne could not be left unoccupied. The crown being a symbol of power, someone must be crowned as king.
Question: What ‘custom’ of the citizens is referred to in the tale? How did the Ministers decide to observe it?
Answer: It is their custom to choose the new ruler of their state. Whoever passed the City Gate first of all the next day, would choose the ruler of the state. This method of random choice excluded dynastic rule as well as conspiracies. The Ministers decided to observe it with proper formality.
Question: What sort of king ruled over the state? What did he proclaim?
Answer: The king was fair and gentle. He seemed to be interested in the welfare of the masses. So he proclaimed that an arch should be constructed which should extend across the major thoroughfare. He hoped that it would improve people’s mind on looking at it.
Question: Why did the king ride down the thoroughfare and what was the result?
Answer: The king rode down the thoroughfare to edify spectators there. Since the arch was built too low, he lost his crown under it. A frown appeared on his mild face and he called it a disgrace.
Question: Why did the king need some counsel and from whom? Do you think the man was really the wisest one? Give a reason for your answer.
Answer: The king got confused by the architect’s clever self-defense. So, he needed the advice of the wisest man in the country. The man selected was so old that he could neither walk nor see. He was not really the wisest one as wisdom does not necessarily come with age. His advice proves his worthlessness.
Question: Comment upon the criteria of selection of the wisest man and the quality of counsel he offered.
Answer: The criteria was that wisdom comes with grey hair. The old man they selected could not walk or see. He spoke in a trembling voice. The advice he offered was absurd. A lifeless object cannot be deprived of life by hanging it.
Question: How was the new ruler of the state selected?
Answer: The Ministers sent out messengers to declare that the next man to pass the City Gate would choose the ruler of their state. An idiot happened to pass the gate. When asked to decide who was to be the king, he replied, “A melon.” This was his standard answer to all questions. The Ministers declared that a melon would be their new ruler.
Question: What does the selection process of the new ruler of the state reveal about the ministers and the people? Or How did the people and ministers react to the selection of ‘a melon’ as the new ruler?
Answer: The selection process seems quite ridiculous. It also shows how ignorant masses stick to traditions and clever ministers go on be fooling them. They are more worried about their own peace, freedom and business affairs than the ruler. This shows how selfish, self-centred and ego-centric they are.
Question: What was the result of the King’s thoughtless order?
Answer: The king ordered that someone be hanged immediately. So the noose was set up somewhat high. Each man was measured one by one. Only one man was found tall enough to fit the noose. He was the king. He was hanged by the royal order. Thus the king paid with his life for his thoughtless order.
Question: Why did the Ministers feel relieved? Do you think their elation was justified?
Answer: The Ministers felt relieved that the public’s eagerness to watch a hanging had been satisfied. They expressed their pleasure by saying that they found someone for hanging. They believed that if they had failed to do so, the unruly town might have turned against the king. Their elation is misplaced. The king had to lose his life to keep the public in good humour.
Question: Who was held responsible for the disgrace? How did he /they react to it? What do you learn about the king?
Answer: The chief of builders was field responsible for the disgrace and ordered to be hanged. The chief called it the workmen’s fault. The king ordered to have all the workmen hanged. The workmen looked surprised but they blamed the wrong size of bricks for it. This shows the king’s fickle mindedness.
Question: What argument did the architect advance in self-defence? How did the king take it?
Answer: The architect reminded the king that he had made certain amendments to the original plans of the architect He suggested that it was the fault of the king himself. On hearing it, the king became so angry that he nearly lost his ability to act sensibly or calmly.
Question: The king was just and placid. How did he carry his notion of justice a bit too far?
Answer: 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.
Question: How does a melon become the ruler of the state? Why are the people happy with him?
Answer: 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.
Question: Narrate ‘The Tale of Melon City’ in about 100 words. What message does it convey?
Answer: 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.