The Tale of Melon City Summary in English by Vikram Seth

The Tale of Melon City Summary in English and Hindi Pdf. The Tale of Melon City is written by Vikram Seth.

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The Tale of Melon City Summary in English by Vikram Seth

About the Poet Vikram Seth

Poet Name Vikram Seth
Born 20 June 1952 (age 67 years), Kolkata
Education Corpus Christi College, St. Michael’s High School
Nominations National Book Critics Circle Award for Autobiography
Awards Padma Shri, Sahitya Akademi Award
Vikram Seth - the tale of melon city summary in english class 11
Vikram Seth

The Tale of Melon City Theme

‘The Tale of Melon City’ by Vikram Seth is a satire about a king, his ministers and the kingdom. The king has been ironically called lawful. But in reality, he stretches justice too far. Due to this quality of his character, one day he himself is hanged. The ministers also are a group of fools who decide an odd way to choose the next king. An idiot announces that a melon should be the king and people inhesitatingly crown a melon as their king. People also do not bother who their king is as long as they enjoyed their freedom.

The Tale of Melon City About the Characters

The King: He has been mockingly portrayed as just and quiet. But in reality he was not an intelligent person, and did not have any decision taking ability. Because of his foolishness he had to lose his life.

The Architect: He was a smart person who is able to frustrate the king. When his turn came to be hanged, he pointed out .something which put the king in a tricky situation and made him angry.

The Wisest Man: He is very old. He can neither walk properly nor see well. He is picked up by the council of ministers to give a wise decision to the king. But unfortunately the decision given by him was not wise at all.

The Idiot: He is a man of low intelligence and does not art rationally. His advice is asked for choosing the king. Without thinking, he says a melon should be made the king, as he was very fond of melons.

The Tale of Melon City Summary in English

The King Orders an Arch to be Built
This story is about a city whose king was lawful’ and gentle. He orders an arch (curved structure) to be built which would become a symbol of his triumphs and accomplishments. The arch would be constructed on the main road and it would inspire and motivate the people who would see it. As per the orders of the king, the arch was built. The king rode down the main road to inspire others.

The King Loses his Crown and Gets Angry
The arch was built too low and the king’s crown fell down when it struck the arch. It was a disgrace for him. He ordered that the chief of builders should be hanged for this mistake. The arrangements for the hanging were made. The chief of builders was called.

The Blame Game Begins
The chief of builders pleaded that it was not his mistake; it was rather the workmen’s fault. So the king stopped the hanging of the chief builder. He ordered that all the workmen must be hanged instead. The workmen claimed that the bricks used were not of the right size. So the masons were called. They were trembling in fear. The masons in turn blamed the architect for a wrong design.

The King Gets Stuck in a Tricky Situation
The architect was called. The king ordered that the architect must be hanged. The architect reminded the king that he himself had changed the original plan of the arch when it was shown to him sometime back.

The king realised that the blame had shifted to him. It was a tricky situation. The king withdrew for consulting some wise people. He asked for the wisest man in the country. The wisest man was chosen on the criteria that he should be very old.

The person chosen could not walk or see properly and he was carried there by other people. The wisest man said in a shaking voice that the culprit should be punished. He announced that it was the arch which banged against the crown, so it should be hanged.

The Nation Wants a Hanging
The arch was being taken for the hanging when one of the councillors said that the arch actually touched the royal head with respect. The king agreed, but the crowd was getting restless and wanted a hanging. Perceiving the situation, the king ordered that someone must be hanged, guilty or not.

A loop of rope was set up quite high and each man was measured to its height. Only one was tall enough to reach it and that was the king himself. So the king was hanged. The ministers heaved a sigh of relief that someone was hanged or else the crowd might have turned against them.

The Dilemma
The ministers now faced the dilemma that the country had no king. They followed their old custom and sent out messengers to proclaim that the next person who would pass the city gate would choose the next king. After some time, an idiot passed the gate and the guards stopped him.

When they asked him to name the king, the idiot said ‘a melon’. This was his standard answer to all the questions as he was very fond of melons.

The Melon King
After the answer given by that idiot, a melon was made the king of the city. The ministers respectfully carried the melon to the throne and set it down on the king’s throne.

This happened long ago. If you now ask the people why their king appears to be a melon, they reply that it is a customary choice. It makes no difference to them if their king is a melon. They are happy because the king doesn’t interfere in their lives. They live in peace and harmony.

The Tale of Melon City Chapter Highlights

  • Once there was a king of a city who pretend to be lawful and gentle.
  • The king ordered construction of an arch over the main road in the city to motivate the people.
  • Soon the arch was built. When the king rode through it, his crown hit the top of the arch and it fell from his head.
  • As it was a disgrace for the king, he lost his temper instantly and ordered the chief of builders to be hanged.
  • The chief of builders cried out that he was not guilty and blamed the workmen.
  • So the workmen were brought to be hanged.
  • The workmen cried out that it was not their fault. They blamed the masons who made the bricks of the wrong size.
  • The masons were brought, but they blamed the architect who had made the plans.
  • The architect was smarter; he told the king that he was forgetting that he himself had made some changes in the plans when they were shown to him.
  • Everyone turned to the king. The king realised that he had brought this onto himself, He said that in this tricky situation he needed some advice from the wisest man in the country.
  • People of the kingdom were equally foolish; so they brought a very old man presuming him to be the wisest man.
  • The wise man was of the opinion that the king was not guilty, but the arch was guilty, so the arch should be hanged.
  • While the arch was being taken to be hanged, a Councillor remarked that the arch touched the king’s crown respectfully, so it should not be hanged.
  • The nation wanted a hanging. So the king asked for the loop of rope to be used for the hanging to be set high and anyone whose head reached it would be hanged.
  • One by one all the people were measured but nobody reached its height except the king himself, as he was the tallest. So, as per the royal order, the king himself was hanged.
  • Now a new crisis arose: who would be the king?
  • The ministers decided that the next man who passed the City Gate would choose the king and then they sent out messengers to tell everyone about this.
  • An idiot, who was fond of melons, happened to pass the gate first. The guards asked him about who should be the king to which his answer was, ‘A melon’.
  • So a melon was nafned the king and was crowned in a proper ceremony. The people were happy to have a melon as king as long as it left them in peace and at liberty.

The Tale of Melon City Word Meanings

placid – even-tempered
notion – concept
proclaimed – announced officially
arch – gate structure with a circular top
triumphally – delightfully
span – pass over
thoroughfare – main road
edify – enlighten
spectators – people standing
he lost his crown – his crown struck the arch and fell down
frown – expression of displeasure
gallows – structure on which criminals are hanged
proceedings – activities
placider – calmer
summon – call
quivering – trembling
architect – planner
do ordain – order
amendments – changes
saw red – became angry
lost his head – lost control over his emotions
counsel – advice
nay – no
quavering – shaky
culprit – offender
banged – hit
scaffold – a raised wooden platform used for hanging
mused – thought carefully
muttering – talking in low voices
consideration – thinking
noose – a loop of rope with a knot used for hanging criminals
standard – fixed
decree – order
unruly – uncontrollable
crown – ruler
pondered – thought over
dilemma – perplexing situation
heralds – messengers
enforced – implemented
with due ceremony – ceremonially
by and by – one after another
customary – natural
rejoice – feels great joy
liberty – freedom
laissez faire – the policy of leaving things to take their own course

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