By Vikram Seth
About the Author
Vikram Seth is an Indian novelist and poet. He has written several novels and poetry books. He has received several awards including Padma Shri, Sahitya Akademi Award, Pravasi Bharatiya Samman, WH Smith Literary Award and Crossword Book Award.
Vikram Seth was born on 20 June, 1952 in Kolkata, West Bengal. His father, Premnath Seth, was an executive of Bata Shoes and his mother, Leila Seth, a barrister by training, became the first female Chief Justice of Delhi High Court.
He studied at St. Michael’s High School, Patna and at the The Doon School in Dehradun. He also studied at St. Xavier’s High School, Patna. Later he moved to London and studied Philosophy, Politics and Economics at Corpus Christi College, Oxford. He then pursued a Ph.D. in Economics at Stanford University. After graduating from Doon, Seth went to Ton bridge School, England to complete his A-levels.
Having lived in London for many years, Seth now maintains residences near Salisbury, England, where he is a participant in local literary and cultural events, having bought and renovated the house of the Anglican poet George Herbert in 1996, and in Jaipur, India.
Vikram Seth has published six books of poetry and three novels. In 1986, Vikram Seth wrote The Golden Gate, his first major work. The publication of A Suitable Boy, a 1,349-page novel, propelled Seth into the public limelight and won the WH Smith Literary Award in 1993. An Equal Music, published in 1999, deals with the troubled love life of a violinist. He was awarded the commander of the order 3 of the British Empire CBE on February 2001.
In 2006, he became a leader of the campaign against Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, a law against homosexuality. His mother has written about Seth’s sexuality and her coming to terms with it in her memoir.
The tale is humorous even though it is unrealistic and unbelievable. It ridicules the king, the ministers, the wise men and the common people. All of them behave foolishly. No one of them applies his brain. The tone of the poem is satirical.
It is a humorous poem which shows how stupid the king, the ministers and the people of a certain kingdom were. It was, in fact, a kingdom of fools. Once the king ordered the construction of an arch over the main street to impress the onlookers. The arch was made. When the king rode down the thoroughfare, his crown was knocked down. The king at once ordered that the chief of builders should be hanged. While being led to the gallows the victim shouted that the fault lay with the workmen. The king called the proceedings to a halt and ordered that the workmen should be hanged instead. The workmen blamed the masons who in turn blamed the architect. The architect pointed out that it was the king himself who had made certain amendments in the plans. This put the king in a tricky spot and he called for advice from the wisest man. The old man said the culprit was the arch as it had knocked off the king’s crown, so it must be punished. The Councillor expressed his view that something which had touched the king’s head could not be put to so much disgrace. So ultimately the king set aside consideration of guilt and looked for a man who would fit the high noose. The only one tall enough was the king who finally was hanged. It was just as well that this happened as the public might have rebelled against him. The ministers then announced that the person who passed the City Gate next would choose the ruler. An idiot was questioned and he replied that a melon should be the king. Thus the melon was crowned and carried to the throne. People did not bother much about who or what their king was. They only wanted that they should be left to do whatever they desired.
Summary in Points
1. Once there was a king who was just and cool headed.
2. One day the king ordered to construct an arch over the main highway.
3. Soon the arch was built. The next time when the king rode through it, his crown banged the side of the arch and fell from his head.
The ‘peace-loving’ king lost his peace in an instant and ordered to hang the chief of the builders.
4. When the rope and gallows were arranged and the culprit was led to the gallows, the innocent chief of the builders cried out that he was not guilty and placed the blame upon the workmen.
5. The king was very wise, too, so he asked to halt the hanging and ordered to hang the workmen.
6. The workmen were brought to the gallows to be hanged. The crowd watched the proceedings. When they were under the gallows, the workmen cried out that the fault was not theirs! They blamed the masons who made the wrong bricks.
7. Again the king had to halt and decide. When the mason was brought to the gallows, he put the blame on the architect who made the plans. Well, the mason escaped and the architect was called to the gallows.
8. The architect was smarter than the rest of him. He was so bold that he blamed the king for having made a little changes in the plan that he drew for the arch. Everyone turned to the king.
9. The king saw that he had brought him into chaos. Being wise, he ordered his men to bring the wisest man to advise him. They found a man who was so old that he could neither walk nor see. They thought he was the wisest and carried him to the king.
10. The wise man opinioned that the king was not guilty, but the arch. Having knocked the king’s crown, the arch was to be hanged now.
11. Well, a wise man is to be respected. The king, having made a narrow escape, ordered the arch be hanged.
12. While being carried to the gallows, the arch didn’t cry out for help, but someone else remarked it was unjust. How can you hang an arch that touched the king’s crown! The crowd listened.
13. The king saw all eyes turning to him once again for it was his turn again and this time it would fix him forever.
14. An idea struck the king’s brain and it was soon decided that anyone whose height matches that of the noose (noose is the rope that hangs the culprit),would be hanged. Everyone was brought to the gallows, his height was checked with the noose but none so accurately fitted as the one whose turn was the final one and the unfortunate one was, again, the king! The king was hanged. The ministers were thankful that someone at last had been found to be hanged. They shouted, “Long live the king! The king is dead”.
15. The ministers heaved a sigh of relief after hanging the king but a new crisis was encountered – who will be the next king?
16. Ministers and councillors came to this decision – the next man who passed the city gate will choose the king and there came that man, an idiot. The guards stopped him and asked whom he chose the next king and his reply was – a melon, because it was his standard answer to all questions. He liked melons so much.
17. A melon was soon brought to the throne and was declared king.
Short Answer Type Questions
Q1. What did the king order to be built? What happened when it was built?
Ans. The king ordered to build an arch across the major thoroughfare of the city as a symbol of triumph—a kind of victory monument. The workmen built it but it was too low. When the king rode under it, his crown struck against it and fell down.
Q2. Why did the King order the chief of builders to be hanged?
Ans. One day the King was riding down the thoroughfare. The arch was so low that it struck against the crown. The crown fell off. The King was angry at this disgrace. He held the chief of builders responsible for this and ordered him to be hanged?
Q3. What did the chief builder say when the king ordered him to be hanged?
Ans. The chief builder said that it was not his fault that the arch had been made low. He said it was the fault of the workmen.
Q4. What did the workmen say in their defence when the king ordered them to be hanged?
Ans. The workmen said that the bricks had been made of the wrong size. Thus it was the fault of the masons and it was they who should be hanged.
Q5. How did the masons save themselves from being hanged?
Ans. They put the blame on the architect and thus saved themselves from being hanged.
Q6. How did the architect plead his case before the king?
Ans. The architect said that the king himself had made some changes in the planning of the arch. Thus it was not his fault that the arch was low.
Q7. What was the King’s reaction when the architect blamed him for the incident?
Ans. When the architect blamed the King for the incident he was confused and nearly lost control over himself. However, being a just and placid King, he said that it was an intricate matter and he need someone’s advice. He ordered to bring to him the wisest man in the country.
Q8. What suggestion did the wise man give to the king?
Ans. At the King’s command the wisest man was found and brought, rather carried, to the Royal Court. In fact, he was so old that he could neither walk nor see. He said that the culprit must be punished. He held the arch responsible for hitting the crown violently and causing it fall. So, according to him, the arch was the real culprit.
Q9. How did the arch escape punishment?
Ans. As advised by the wisest man, the arch was held responsible for hitting the crown and led to the scaffold. Suddenly a councillor said that it would be a shameful act to hang the arch that touched His Majesty’s head. The king thought it was true and spared the arch.
Q10. Describe the circumstances which led to the hanging of His Majesty?
Ans. The crowd was getting restless as the hanging was being delayed. Sensing their mood, the king said that someone must be hanged immediately, as the nation wanted it. A noose was set up. It was somewhat high. Each man was measured turn by turn. There was only one man who was tall enough to fit in the noose, and it was the King. So His Majesty was hanged.
Q11. What was the problem confronted by the Ministers? How did they solve it?
Ans. After hanging of His Majesty the Ministers were confronted with the problem of finding a ruler for their state. To solve this problem they followed their old custom. The heralds were sent out to proclaim that the next person who passes the City Gate would choose the ruler of their state.
Q12. How was a melon crowned as the king of the country?
Ans. The ministers decided that the first man to pass the city gate would choose the ruler of the state. This man happened to be an idiot. When he was asked, he said, “A melon.” Thus a melon was crowned as the king of the country.
Q13. What are the principles of ‘Laissez- faire’?
Ans. ‘Laissez-faire is French for leave alone. It also means the doctrine of avoiding government interference in business. So these principles worked well in the melon city “when a melon’ was made the king and that did not interfere the lives of his subjects. They were happy till the king let them live in peace and liberty.
Q14. What is the significance of phrase just and placid used for the king?
Ans. The phrase ‘just and placid’ is significant because the king in the course of the story turns out to be the opposite of this phrase which means who does justice and can’t be easily excited but the king is quite opposite, whimsical and easily influenced. His exaggerated sense of justice caused even his own death. He used to lose his temper even over a small incident. He was too good to be of any use.
Q15. How according to you, can peace and liberty be maintained in a state?
Ans. It is the duty of the rulers to maintain peace and liberty in the state. There should be rule of the law. Everybody should be equal before the law. The rulers should be wise and just. There should be no exploitation of one class by the other.
Q16. Give examples of humour and irony from the poem ‘The Tale of Melon City’.
Ans. The king takes the bumping off his crown by the arch as a disgrace and summons the builder to be hanged. They go on accusing one another which results in the hanging of the king himself. An idiot chooses the next king. He names a Melon. The crowning of a Melon with respect and ceremony sounds quite humorous and ironical. The irony is that the people care little if they were ruled by a foolish man or a Melon.
Q17. What message does it convey?
Ans. Vikram Seth gives a message that how by thoughtless action people choose irresponsible government and the whole kingdom would turn into a farce. People need to be wise and careful in choosing their governments which in turn should be responsible and transparent to the people.
Long Answer Type Questions
Q1. Describe the circumstances leading to the hanging of the king.
Ans. The king found himself in a difficult situation after hearing the architect’s argument. He said that it was an intricate matter and he needed someone’s advice. He ordered to bring to him the wisest man in the country. The wisest man was found and brought to the Royal Court. He said that the arch was the real culprit. It impudently hit the crown which fell off. So the arch must be hanged. Suddenly a councillor said that it would be a very shameful act to hang the arch that touched His Majesty’s head. It seemed true to the king. He was at a loss what to do. Meanwhile, he saw the crowd was getting restless and they wanted a hanging. So he declared that someone must be hanged. The noose was set up. It was somewhat high. Each man was measured turn by turn. But there was only one man who was tall enough to fit in the noose, and it was the king. His Majesty was, therefore, hanged by Royal Decree.
Q2. How does a melon become the ruler of the State?
Ans. After the hanging of the King, the Ministers are confronted with the problem of choosing the ruler of the state. They follow their old custom. They send out the heralds to proclaim that the next to pass the City Gate will choose the king. An idiot happens to pass the City Gate. The guards stop him and ask him to decide who should be the king. The idiot replies, “A melon”. Actually that is his pet answer to all questions since he likes melons. The Ministers crown a melon and place their Melon king reverently at the throne. So the melon becomes the ruler of the State. The people are quite happy with their Melon king because he does not interefere in their affairs.
Q3. Suggest a few instances in the poem which highlight humour and irony.
Ans. The poem is full of humour and irony from the beginning to the end. There is a king who has a triumphal arch built on the major road of his city. But the same triumphal arch bangs his crown off. The king wants to punish the guilty but in the end gets himself hanged. The king is dead but the ministers make proclamations in the name of the king. All these are examples of irony. And there is humour in the description of each character. The king, the ministers, the wisest man of the city, the councillor and ‘melon idiot’ are all fools. In fact, it is a kingdom of fools. Nothing could be more humorous than a melon being crowned and carried to the throne reverently.
Q4. What impression do you gather of a state where the king was just and placid?
Ans. It was a kingdom of fools. No one in the state had any sense. The king wanted to hang someone because his crown had hit against the arch and fallen down. The king wanted to consult a wise man. The ministers brought a man to the king. He said that the real; culprit was the arch and must be hanged. The king allows himself to be hanged because no other man is tall enough to fit the noose. The king is dead but the ministers make declarations in the name of the king. An idiot says that a melon should be the ruler of the state. The ministers crown a melon and set it down on the throne. Thus we see that it was truly a kingdom of all fools.
NCERT Solutions For Class 11 English Snapshots The Tale of Melon City
QUESTIONS FROM TEXTBOOK SOLVED
A. Reading With Insight
Narrate ‘The Tale of Melon City’ in your own words.
‘The Tale of Melon City’ runs like folk tale. The city is called Melon City because its ruler is a melon. There is a curious tale around it. Once a fair and gentle king ruled over a state. He got an arch built across the thoroughfare. As he passed under the low arch it struck his head and he lost his crown. He thought it a disgrace and ordered the chief of builders to be hanged. The chief lay the blame on the workmen. The workmen were surprised. They said that the bricks were made of wrong size. So the masons were thought guilty. The masons shifted the blame on the architect. The architect put the blame at the king’s door as he had amended his original plan.
The king sought a wise man’s counsel. He held the arch guilty and ordered it to be hanged. A councillor objected to it as it had touched the king’s head. The people became restless. They wanted to see someone hanging. Only the king’s head could fit. the noose. So he was hanged. It was now announced that the next man who passed the City Gate would choose the king. An idiot came. He suggested ‘A melon’. So melon was crowned the king. He was taken to the throne. He was called melon king.
What impression would you form of a state where the king was just and placid*?
The State where the king was just and placid’ seems to be a backward region full
of ignorant fools and ruled by a whimsical king. The king considers himself to be the custodian of people and gets an arch erected for their spiritual upliftment. The king’s word is a command and unwritten law. The whole process of changing judgement on the appeals of the victims appears as a mock-trial. The Ministers and Councillors seems to be selfish. They advise the king to serve their own ends, though they appear to flatter the king and seem dedicated to the state. The common people are uneducated and ignorant fools. They need mental as well as spiritual upliftment. They are fun loving. In their quest for fun, they can cross all limits. If deprived of fun, the unruly mob can rebel against the crown. They do not bother whether the king is a man or a melon. They want there personal freedom, free business and peaceful lives.
How according to you, can peace and liberty be maintained in a state?
Various people advocate various means of maintaining peace and liberty in a state.
Some are in favour of dictatorship while others favour democracy. I think the best course lies in good governance. Whatever is well-administered is most fruitful for the citizens as well as the rulers. It ensures peace and liberty to the common man. A strong state, in itself, is safe against any external threat. Dedicated rulers, enlightened citizens and proper law enforcing agencies can establish peace and harmony in the state. Narrow considerations based on region, religion, caste etc. should be discouraged because these are potent threat to internal security as they fuel dissensions among the people. Free expression of opinions must be allowed but respect for law and order be observed. People should be conscious of their privileges and rights as well as duties and responsibilities. This is the only way to maintain peace and liberty.
Suggest a few instances in the poem which highlight humour and irony?
‘The Tale of Melon City’ is full of instances of humour and irony. The just and placid
king got an arch built to ‘edify’ spectators. The king’s riding under low arch and losing his crown also creates humour. The way the accused appeal to the king and shift the blame on others is quite funny. The unstable behaviour of the king also creates humour. The self-defence of the architect is a masterpiece. He holds the king himself responsible for the disgrace as he had ‘made certain amendments’ to his original plan. The king’s anger and inability to act calmly create humour.
The criteria for selection of the wisest man is quite ironic. It is assumed that wisdom comes with age. Being blind he does not know that an arch cannot be hanged. Others have eyes, yet they follow his advice and take the arch to the gallows. How ironic it is! The king wants to keep the crowd in good humour and orders that someone be hanged. Only the king is tall enough to fit the noose. What an irony! The king is hanged by his own order. The custom of naming the next king seems equally ridiculous. The idiot who passes by the City Gate suggests “melon” to be the next king. People who think only of their own interests do not bother whether the king is a man or a melon.
MORE QUESTIONS SOLVED
A. Short Answer Type Questions
What sort of king ruled over the state? What did he proclaim?
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.
Why did the king ride down the thoroughfare and what was the result?
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.
Who was held responsible for the disgrace? How did he /they react to it? What do you learn about the king?
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.
What argument did the architect advance in self-defence? How did the king take it?
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.
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.
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.
Comment upon the criteria of selection of the wisest man and the quality of counsel he offered.
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.
What does the comment of the councillor about the arch reveal about himself and the king?
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.
Why did the king succumb to public demand?
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.
What was the result of the King’s thoughtless order?
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.
Why did the Ministers feel relieved? Do you think their elation was justified?
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.
What opinion do you form of the King’s Ministers on the basis of their actions after the King’s death?
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.
What ‘custom’ of the citizens is referred to in the tale? How did the Ministers decide to observe it?
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.
How was the new ruler of the state selected?
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.
What does the selection process of the new ruler of the state reveal about the ministers and the people?
How did the people and ministers react to the selection of ‘a melon’ as the new ruler?
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.
B. Long Answer Type Questions
How did the accused try to shift the blame on others? How far did they succeed?
The chief of builders was the first one to be held guilty. He shifted the blame on the workmen. The workmen were surprised but did not lose their reasoning power. They told the king he had forgotten the fact that the bricks were made of the wrong size. Swayed by their rational argument, the masons were summoned. They trembled with fear, but shifted the blame on the architect who was responsible for planning and erecting the arch. The king ordered the architect to be hanged. The clever architect reminded the king that he had forgotten one small thing. He had made certain amendments to plans when the former had shown them to the latter. This clearly meant that he held the king responsible for the mishap. The king became very angry and lost” his capacity of clear judgement. He called it a tricky thing and sought the advice of the wisest man in the country. Thus each accused succeeded in shifting the blame on others.
What impression do you gather about the king from ‘The Tale of Melon City’?
The just and placid king appears quite ruthless as he becomes ‘placider’ and decides to have all the workmen hanged instead of the chief of builders. His wobbling mind and capricious nature is indicated by the frequent changes in his decision. He is easily swayed by arguments and seems fickle-minded. He seems to be eager about public welfare and gets an arch constructed across the thoroughfare to edify them. The whimsical king is easily outwitted by the clever architect. The king loses his head in a fit of anger. In order to save his skin, he seeks the advice of the wisest man in the country. The king wants to keep the public in good humour. He is quite observant and judges the mood of the masses correctly. His lack of foresight proves to be his doom. The height of the noose fits only his neck. He foolishly becomes a victim of his own order. He wants to prevent a public revolt but pays for the public amusement with his blood. Thus he is a short-sighted crank with muddled reasoning power.
What do you think makes ‘The Tale of Melon City’ interesting and edifying?
As the title indicates the poem tells a story about Melon City—a city named after its ruler. It is quite interesting and edifying to learn how the country got a melon as its ruler. In short, it was on account of customary choice. The people relate the story of a just and placid king who was hanged by his own Royal Decree.
What the king did for the people and how he held the trails of the accused both are quite amusing. The clever arguments of the accused to save their lives are equally interesting. The king feels the pulse of the people who want to see a hanging. He knows how mischievous an angry mob can be and hence orders that someone must be hanged immediately. The irony of the situation is that only the king is tall enough to fit the noose.
The practical-minded ministers resort to the age-old custom to choose the next ruler. The idiot’s choice is approved of in the name of custom. The people are indifferent to the fact that their ruler is a melon not a man. The behaviour of pragmatic ministers and equally selfish, foolish and mean people seems quite funny and interesting. It is instructive too. A wise man should avoid the company of fools.
“The poem mocks the process of fair trial and proper judgement.” How far do you agree with the statement?
The poem is a severe indictment of the age-old custom of delivering justice by word of mouth of the kings. There was a time when the King’s word was considered divine and whatever he uttered was law. A just and placid king was expected to protect the innocent and punish the quality. However, the process of trial and the ever-changing judgement’s make a fun of the whole process of fair trials and considered awards. This is evident from the statements of the accused who try to save their lives by holding others responsible for the guilt. The King’s capriciousness and inability to see through the thin veil of their arguments make him an object of ridicule rather than a dispenser of divine justice. Hence, we agree hilly with the above statement.
Comment on the ending of the poem ‘The Tale of Melon City’. What bearing does the ending have on the title of the poem?
Comment on the title of the poem ‘The Tale of Melon City’.
The ending of ‘The Tale of Melon City’ is quite significant. It has a direct bearing on the title. The ending of the poem reveals that the incidents took place long ago. It throws fight on the old custom of the state to choose their new ruler. Confronted with the dilemma, the ministers took the easy way out. The person who passed the City Gate next was to name the king. It happened to be an idiot who gave the standard answer “a melon” to every question. So the melon was crowned the king,
carried to the throne and respectfully set down there. The people are not at all ashamed to have a melon as their king. They say that if the king rejoices in being a melon, that’s all right with them. They find no fault with him as long as he leaves them to enjoy their peace, freedom and free trade. The capital city is called Melon City after the king. Thus the ending throws light on the selfish nature of the people and their belief in old customs. It also explains the title.
MCQ Questions for Class 11 English Snapshots Chapter 8 The Tale of Melon City with Answers
The ministers were foolish to ask an idiot about their next King. Do you agree?
(d) Not clear from the poem
Answer: (a) Yes
Do you think that the King took his ‘notion of justice’ too far?
(a) No, he did what a just King would do
(c) Yes, he lost his life in the process
(d) Can not determine
Answer: (c) Yes, he lost his life in the process
What sort of principles seem to thrive in the state?
(b) Laissez faire
Answer: (b) Laissez faire
What sort of perception does the public hold for their chosen King after so many years?
(a) They don’t like him
(b) They are enraged
(c) They like him very much
(d) They have no problem whatsoever
Answer: (d) They have no problem whatsoever
Who was chosen as the new King?
(a) A minister
(b) A horse
(c) A melon
(d) A sword
Answer: (c) A melon
Who was to choose the next King?
(a) The next to pass the City Gate
(b) The Ministers
(c) The public
(d) The heir of the deceased King would be the king by rule
Answer: (a) The next to pass the City Gate
How was the public demand fulfilled?
(a) By voting
(b) By the King’s discretion
(c) By measuring height one by one
(d) By the councillors’ decision
Answer: (c) By measuring height one by one
After all the considerations and discussions, the crowd was getting _______.
Answer: (a) restless
Who according to the counsel was the culprit that was brought before the King?
(a) The King
(b) The crown
(c) The arch
(d) The chief of the builders
Answer: (c) The arch
According to the architect, who made the amendments?
(a) The King
(b) The chief of the builders
(c) He himself
(d) The masons
Answer: (a) The King
Who did the chief of builders blame?
(a) The public
(b) The architect
(c) The masons
(d) The workmen
Answer: (d) The workmen
“This is a disgrace.” What was a disgrace?
(a) Poorly built arch
(b) Unenthusiastic crowd
(c) Crown being stroked
(d) None of the above
Answer: (c) Crown being stroked
Q1. “The Tale of the Melon City” is written by __________.
- Amitav Ghosh
- Arundhati Roy
- Vikram Seth
- Idries Shah
Q2. How does the writer describe the King?
- Just and placid
Q3. What did the King order to be constructed?
- An arch
- A tomb
- A building
Q4. What was the purpose of the construction ordered by the King?
- To continue a legacy
- To solidify the King’s rule
- To improve viewers morally
- To carry out a ritual
Q5. What happened when the King rode down the thoroughfare?
- The crowd cheered
- No one was impressed
- The King’s crown fell
- Not mentioned
Q6. Why did the King’s crown fall?
- Because the arch was built too low
- Because he lost his balance
- Because the crown was heavy
- Because he was attacked
Q7. “This is a disgrace.” What was a disgrace?
- Poorly built arch
- Unenthusiastic crowd
- Crown being stroked
- None of the above
Q8. What order did the King give after the incident?
- He ordered workmen to be hanged
- He ordered to hang the chief of builders
- He ordered to summon the architect
- He ordered to gather all people
Q9. Who did the chief of builders blame?
- The public
- The architect
- The masons
- The workmen
Q10. What reason did the workmen give to the King?
- Instructions given were wrong
- Time provided was less
- Bricks were of the wrong size
- Changes were made at the last point
Q11. According to the architect, who made the amendments?
- The King
- The chief of the builders
- He himself
- The masons
Q12. Listening about his own hanging, who did the King call for?
- The oldest man in the country
- The wisest man in the country
- The wisest minister in his administration
- All the people
Q13. Who according to the counsel was the culprit that was brought before the King?
- The King
- The crown
- The arch
- The chief of the builders
Q14. Why was it shameful to hang the arch’?
- Because it was innocent
- Because it was non-living
- Because it was newly built
- Because it had touched the King’s head
Q15. After all the considerations and discussions, the crowd was getting _______.
Q16. What was the public demand that the King sought to fulfill?
- They wanted no one to be hanged
- They wanted a hanging
- They wanted the arch to be demolished
- The wanted a new king
Q17. How was the public demand fulfilled?
- By voting
- By the King’s discretion
- By measuring height one by one
- By the councillors’ decision
Q18. Finally, who was tall enough to reach the noose?
- The chief of the builders
- The architect
- Someone from the crowd
- The King
Q19. Who was to choose the next King?
- The next to pass the City Gate
- The Ministers
- The public
- The heir of the deceased King would be the king by rule
Q20. Who passed the City Gate?
- An old wise man
- An idiot
- A beggar
- A child
Q21. Who was chosen as the new King?
- A minister
- A horse
- A melon
- A sword
Q22. Why did the idiot reply the way he did?
- Because he liked melons
- Because he rode horses
- Because he knew how to use sword
- Because he grew melons
Q23. What sort of perception does the public hold for their chosen King after so many years?
- They don’t like him
- They are enraged
- They like him very much
- They have no problem whatsoever
Q24. What is most important to the public of the state?
- Their peace and liberty
- How the state is ruled
- Their wealth
- Their involvement in state decisions
Q25. What sort of principles seem to thrive in the state?
- Laissez faire
Q26. After reading “The Tale of the Melon City”, what opinion do you form of the King?
- He was a just King
- He was a rule abiding King
- He was a foolish King
- He was a wise King
Q27. Do you think that the King took his ‘notion of justice’ too far?
- No, he did what a just King would do
- Yes, he lost his life in the process
- Can not determine
Q28. What impression do you form of the crowd of the state?
- They were of no good
- They were supportive of their King
- They were indifferent who was throned
- Both (A) and (C)
Q29. The ministers were foolish to ask an idiot about their next King. Do you agree?
- Not clear from the poem
Q30. What is the genre of “The Tale of the Melon City”?
- Both (B) and (C)
Answer key for Class 11 English Snapshots Book Chapter 8 – The Tale of Melon City