Here we are providing NCERT Solutions for Class 11 English Snapshots Chapter 8 The Tale of Melon City. Students can get Class 11 English The Tale of Melon City NCERT Solutions, Questions and Answers designed by subject expert teachers.
The Tale of Melon City NCERT Solutions for Class 11 English Snapshots Chapter 8
The Tale of Melon City NCERT Text Book Questions and Answers
Narrate ‘The Tale of Melon City’ in your own words.
Once, an impartial and mild-mannered King commissioned an arch to be built. After it was built, the king rode through the street and as he was crossing below the arch, his crown fell off as the arch was built too low.He felt that this was a dishonour and sentenced the chief of builders to be hung to death but the builder pleaded that it was not his fault but of the workers. The workers blamed the masons and the masons blamed the architect. The architect said that it was the king who had made certain changes in his plans. Hearing which, the king was infuriated.
He called for the wisest man in the country. The wisest man said it was the arch that had thrown the crown off, and it must be hanged but a councillor said that it would be a disgrace to hang something that touched the honourable head. By then, the crowd became restless and stated grumbling. The king noticed their mood and announced that the country wanted to see an execution and ordered for someone to be hanged immediately.
The loop in the rope was made ready and the people were measured, one by one, to see who would reach the noose. Finally, the man who reached the noose was the king himself and was hanged. After his execution, they spread the word that the next person to cross the city gate would decide the ruler of the kingdom. But the next man who crossed the city gate was a fool.
The guards asked him to decide who ought to be the king. The fool replied it ought to be “a melon”. The ministers crowned a melon and accepted it as their king. Now when the people are asked about their king being a melon, they say that the decision was because of “customary choice”.
What impression would you form of a state where the King was ‘just and placid’?
The “just and placid” king was ruinous for the good of the state, and for himself. He was so mild-mannered that the people of the land influenced his decisions. The structural defect of an arch cost the king his life, and the people, the loss of a ruler. In his effort to be fair, he let go all the people who pleaded innocence and, being placid, he let himself be hung for no fault of his.
The people of the land, as foolish as their king, let a fool decide that a melon was to be crowned as the king and the people crowned it as their ruler. A state, if governed by factors other than reason, is likely to be doomed.
How, according to you, can peace and liberty be maintained in a state?
- judicious decisions (not being swayed by crowds)
- respect for authority
- democracy, not stupidity
- respect for hierarchy
- respect for reason
Suggest a few instances in the poem which highlight humour and irony.
The poem is a light-hearted satire on the “just and placid” king. In his effort to be fair and mild-mannered, he invites his own doom. An arch was built and the king rides down the street “to edify spectators there”. When his crown was knocked off, a “frown appeared on his placid face”.
The king was easily placated by the offenders and the blame travelled from one person to the next, until it reached the king. The architect blamed the “placid” king, he “saw red” and “nearly, lost his head”. Living up to his reputation for being just, the king called for the wisest man.
The wise man was “carried to the Royal Court” as he could neither walk nor see. This served as the yardstick for wisdom. He ‘wisely’judged that the arch be hanged. The councillor disagreed as it would be disrespectful to hang something that had touched the royal head. The mild king called for an execution, guilty or not, to appease the crowd. This led to his execution. The “practical-minded” ministers found someone, if only the king, to be hanged to avoid the citizens turning “against the Crown”. They saved the crown by sacrificing the king.
They made another foolish proclamation that the next person that passed through the city gate would decide the next king. The idiot who crossed the gate chose a melon as the king and the ministers crowned it. The people of the land, proud of their “customary choice”, glorified their ‘melon king’ as he let them live in “peace and liberty”. The practice of letting the people do as they pleased suited them.
‘The Tale of Melon City’ has been narrated in a verse form. This is a unique style which lends extra charm to an ancient tale. Find similar examples in your language. Share them in the class.(Answers may vary.)
Some examples of ancient and other tales that have been narrated in verse form in other languages include:
The Illiad- This is a long Greek Epic poem written in verse form by the famous Greek poet Homer, which describes the war that took place between the Greek and Trojan empires for the kingdom of Troy. Considered one of the most popular events in Greek mythology, this epic portrays the siege of Troy which lasted for over 10 years and ended with the Greeks emerging victorious.
Paradise Lost – This is a famous long Epic poem in blank verse written by the 17th century English poet John Milton. This narrates the first story from the book of Genesis in the Bible. The epic depicts the relationship between God and man in the Garden of Eden, followed by the temptation of Adam and Eve by Satan to eat the forbidden fruit, which led to the fall of man.
Night of the Scorpion – This poem written by Indian Jewish poet Nissim Ezekiel narrates a more recent story about a family in an Indian village. A child observers how their mother is stung by a scorpion and people try everything they can to help her fight the pain and fight death. Despite all attempts of medicine and prayer, she continues to struggle. However, in the morning she miraculously recovers, and is praised for her maternal courage of protecting her children from suffering a similar fate.