Summary of the Tale of Melon City

The Tale of Melon City summary, a Vikram Seth poem is a humorous joke on influential people. The poet has ridiculed the idea that it does not matter to people who their ruler, their king, or the head of their country is, as long as he allows them to live in peace, freedom and especially in their minds.

The Tale of Melon City Summary

Chapter 11 The Tale of Melon City summary presents the story of a generous yet foolish king of Melon City who once orders the public to build an arch in the city. While passing through that arch, King's crown fell down, and he decides to hang the person responsible for the wrong arch's design. The king orders to execute builder for this mistake but the builder pleads and puts the blame on mason. Mason blamed someone else and so on. In the end, the king orders to execute himself for justice and the next day a "Melon" becomes the new king of the city. After this, the town got its new name The Melon City.

The Tale of Melon City Summary in English

Long ago, there was a righteous and gentle king who ruled over the land. The king had publicly declared that an arch should be constructed that would cross a public highway in a win-win situation for the benefit of spiritual observers.

Obeying the king's orders, the workers went there and built an arch. The king rode down the highway to illuminate the audience. Since the arch was so low, the king lost his crown under the arch. The gentle king's eyebrows were woven together. He called it a disgrace and announced that the builder would be hanged.

A rope was hung, and the master of the builders was thrown out. As he passed the king, he shouted, "My lord, it was the workers' fault." The king suspended the proceedings and ordered that all workers be hanged instead. The workers looked amazed and said the king that he did not see that the bricks were made to the wrong size. The king ordered that stonemasons be called there. The cutters were brought there. Stonemasons blame the architect for faulty design, and the king issued an order for the architect to be hanged. The architect told the king that he had already made a lot of progress in the plans when he showed it to the king. Upon hearing this, the king became furious and could not do anything peaceably.

Being a good and gentle king, he saw that it was a tough decision and needed some advice. He ordered that the smartest man be brought into the royal court. The wisest man was too old to walk or see. So he had to be taken there. The wise man said in a trembling voice that the arch should be punished as it was an arch that removed the crown, so it had to be hung. The arch was then weighed on the scales. The councillor then saw how they could hang something that touched the king's head.

The king thought deeply about it. This time, however, the crowd was not at peace. The king paid close attention to their feelings. He urged the people gathered there to postpone the discussion of good points as a case. The people want someone to be hanged, and that too it was urgent.

The noose was set to a certain height. Each man tried to fit the noose. Only one man was tall enough to fit it. That man was the king. So he was suspended by the royal law. Ministers felt satisfied that they have found someone hanged. Otherwise, the unruly city might rebel against the king. They cried out: “Long live the king!”

Since the king was dead, ministers with enlightened minds sent messengers to announce in the name of his (former) emperor that the next one to pass through the City Gate would elect a ruler for their country. It was their custom and their rites were kept with due respect. A fool passed by the gate of the city. The guards asked him to decide: “Who will be the King?” The fool answered “melon” because it was his usual answer to all the questions.

So the Melon was crowned king and ever since the city came to be known as 'Melon City'. When asked how their master had become a melon, the people replied that it was a matter of customary choice. If the king felt happy for being a watermelon, it was right for them. They would not ask him to take any business as long as he left them in peace and freedom and allowed them to continue their private business without government control. This is a story that the people of this city tell those who ask them the reason for the name of their city.


So to conclude, this is the summary of The Tale of the Melon City. It is given in Snapshots English book of Class 11. The Tale of the Melon City summary shows that to rule a city, a king needs to be smart and human enough to understand his people's needs and emotions, otherwise, people won't obey him. Even after having Melon as their king, people of Melon City were happy because their King doesn't disturb their peace and happiness and this is what a right king should do instead of giving foolish orders to maintain the law in the city.

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

Q1. Who was hanged at last in the Poem The Tale of Melon City?

Ans. After so much discussion and confusion, the wise man advised the king that anyone who gets fit in the noose (made to hang the culprit) must be hanged. The king ordered the same. It was found that only the king was tall enough to fit in that noose and that is why the king was hanged at last in the poem The Tale of Melon City.

Q2. How did the Melon become the King of Melon City?

Ans. According to the rule, after the demise of the King of the Melon City, the royal court announced that the first person who will enter through the arch of the city will decide who will be the next king of the throne. A mad man enters the next day, passing the arch. He only knows one answer to all the questions and i.e “melon”. After he told Melon, the royal court decided to make the Melon fruit the king of Melon City.