The Tale of Melon City | Vikram Seth | Class XI | Snapshots | English |
One day, the king decides to get an arch build to show his victory to his minions and subjects and to address his spectators from there, if needed. Following his orders, the workmen go there and build that arch but too low. One of the days, while going past that arch, the king’s crown collides with that lowly-built arch and falls down. All this makes king filled with fury and rage. Therefore, he sends for the chief of the builders and orders him to be hanged in front of all the people for his blunder. Even the ropes and the gallows are arranged to execute all this. But before he is hanged, he justifies himself and advocates his innocence adding that it is the fault of workmen who had built that arch not his.
For a moment, his hanging comes to a halt. The king ponders and summons all the workmen so that they can be hanged. Whey they are produced before the king, they declare themselves at faultless. They pass on the blame to the masons who made those bricks of wrong size and shape which led to the building of improper arch.
Once again, the hanging comes to a standstill. The king ponders once again and calls all the masons and order his minions to hang them one by one. The masons stand trembling over there but soon, one of them, passes on the blame to the architect.
Later on, the architect is summoned who holds the king responsible for making amendments at the eleventh hour. Now, the king, himself gets trapped in dilemma. He orders his minions to find out the wisest man of the city who can counsel them to come out of that tricky thing. Soon, the wisest man is found who advises the king to hang the arch which led to the falling of king’s crown but soon contradicted by others.
Now the crowd gets restless and wants the hanging as early as possible. Perceiving their mood, finally, the king comes out with an idea that whosoever fits, from the crowd, in the noose, made for hanging, will be hanged by royal decree. All of them are measured one by one but there is only one who fits in that noose i.e. the king himself. So, he is hanged without any objection made by him.
Now they decide that the first one who passes by the city gate, will choose the king and this will be enforced with due ceremony. An idiot passes the gate therefore he decides that the melon will be the king of this city. His decision is followed and the melon is made the king.
Now, if one inquires the people of this city about the melon being the king, they seem peaceful and satiated. According to them, they can enjoy more in the kingship of melon than any human being. You may also read The Summer of the Beautiful White Horse, The Address, Ranga’s Marriage, Albert Einstein at School , Mother’s Day, The Ghat of the Only World, Birth, The Tale of the Melon City
Q1. What was the order given by the king? Why?
Ans. The King was a just and placid man who ordered the architects to build an arch so that he could edify the spectators from there and interact with them. But they made it too low which led to falling of his crown.
Q2. How was the arch made? What made the king angry?
Ans. When the king ordered the architects to build an arch, they went and made it too low that it hit the crown of the king. Therefore the king got and angry decided to penalise the guilty.
Q3. How did the workmen, masons and chief of builders justify themselves in front of the king?
Ans. When the king proclaimed that the guilty would be punished. All of them came to the king and started blaming one another. The workmen said it was the fault of the masons whereas the masons put the blame on the chief of builders.
Q4. What was ironical about the decision made by the wisest man of the city?
Ans. The wisest man of the city was called on the instructions of the king to be counselled. When he came, he advised the king that the arch should be hanged instead of anybody else as it touched his head. His foolish decision made him a laughter stock among others.
Q5. What arrangements were made to hang the guilty? Who was hanged ultimately?
Ans. A noose and some gallows were arranged to hang the guilty. Moreover, it was proclaimed that whosoever fits in the noose, set up for hanging, will be hanged by royal decree. There was one man so tall who fitted that noose that was the King himself. He was hanged ultimately.
Q6. Who chose the next king of the city? How?
Ans. After the king’s death, it was mandatory to choose a king to rule the town. Therefore, as per the customs, heralds were sent to proclaim that whosoever passes the city gate first, will choose the king of that kingdom. An idiot went passed who had a standard answer of all the questions that was ‘Melon’. On asking, he said that melon should be the king of this town. Therefore a melon was made the king of the town.
Q7. Why did the other ministers feel relieved?
Ans. The ministers took a sigh of relief when the king was hanged. Had it not been done so, the unruly town could have turned against the king and killed them. They expressed their pleasure when the proceedings were over and they had no fear left.
Q8. What does the selection process reveal about the people of that town?
Ans. Selecting a melon as a king seems ridiculous. The decision made by the people reveals that they were only worried about the internal peace, freedom and businesses nothing else. It shows their sheer ignorance, selfishness and pessimistic approach.
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