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Summary of the Tale of Melon City

Last updated date: 23rd Apr 2024
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The Tale of Melon City summary, a Vikram Seth poem, is a witty jab at powerful people. The poet has mocked the notion that it makes no difference to people who their ruler, king, or head of state is, as long as he allows them to live in peace, freedom, and, most importantly, in their minds.

Summary of The Tale of Melon City

The summary of Chapter 11 The Tale of Melon City tells the story of Melon City's generous but foolish king, who once ordered the public to build an arch in the city. The King's crown fell while passing through that arch, and he decided to hang the person responsible for the incorrect arch's design.

Summary of The Tale of Melon City in English

Long ago, the land was ruled by a righteous and gentle king. The king had publicly declared that an arch should be built to cross a public highway in a win-win situation for spiritual observers.

The workers went there and built an arch, as per the king's orders. The king rode down the highway, lighting up the audience. Because the arch was so low, the king lost his crown beneath it. The gentle king's brows were intertwined. He referred to it as a disgrace and declared that the builder would be hanged.

The master of the builders was thrown out and a rope was hung around his neck. "My lord, it was the workers' fault," he yelled as he passed the king. The king ordered that the proceedings be halted and that all workers be hanged instead. The workers were astounded, and the king claimed that he had not noticed that the bricks were the wrong size. The king directed that stonemasons be summoned. The cutters were delivered there. The architect was blamed by stonemasons for the faulty design, and the king ordered that he be hanged. When the architect showed the king the plans, he told him that he had made significant progress. When he heard this, the king became enraged and was unable to act peacefully

As a good and gentle king, he recognised that it was a difficult decision and sought advice. He directed that the most intelligent man be brought into the royal court. The wisest man had reached the age where he could no longer walk or see. As a result, he had to be transported there. In a trembling voice, the wise man said that the arch should be punished because it was an arch that removed the crown, so it had to be hung. The scales were then used to weigh the arch. The counselor then saw how they could hang something that had come into contact with the king's head.

The king deliberated for a long time. The crowd, on the other hand, was not at ease this time. The king was acutely aware of their emotions. He urged those gathered to postpone the discussion of good points as an example. The people want someone to be hanged, and they want it now.

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 had 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 the city became known as 'Melon City' ever since. When asked how their master had turned into a melon, the people said it was by customary choice. It was appropriate for them if the king was pleased with himself for being a watermelon. They would not ask him to take any business as long as he left them in peace and freedom, allowing them to continue their private businesses without government interference. This is the story that the people of this city tell those who inquire about the meaning of their city's name.


Finally, here is a synopsis of The Tale of the Melon City. It is included in the Snapshots English book for Class 11. The Tale of the Melon City summary demonstrates that to rule a city, a king must be intelligent and human enough to understand his people's needs and emotions; otherwise, his subjects will not obey him. Even after having Melon as their king, the people of Melon City were happy because their King did not disturb their peace and happiness, which is what a proper king should do instead of issuing foolish orders to maintain the city's law.

FAQs on Summary of the Tale of Melon City

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

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.

2. How did the Melon ascend to the throne of Melon City?

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.

3. What impression would you have of a state ruled by a 'just and placid' King?

To be 'just' means to treat everyone equally and fairly in one's dealings, whereas to be placid means to maintain a calm and composed demeanor or to not lose one's cool easily. A monarchy ruled by a 'just and placid' King must provide a safe haven for its citizens. The people would have complete faith in their King, and evil would receive what it deserved. There would be equality, and no one would be looked down upon. People in the state would be content, and no one would go to bed hungry. As a result, a 'just and placid' King would ensure a high standard of living for all.

4. Provide a few examples from the poem that demonstrate humor and irony.


Eg i. Who will be the King? 'Decide!' the idiot exclaimed. 'A melon,' the idiot replied.

      ii. The Minister crowning a melon said, 'You are now our King.'


Eg i. His calm expression was marred by a frown.

    ii. The King lives!' Ministers stated. 'The King is alive and well!' 'The King is no longer        alive.'

5. In your own words, narrate 'The Tale of Melon City.'

"The Tale of a Melon City" is a poem that tells the story of how the city found its new King, a melon. As the story progresses, their King orders the construction of an arch, which turns out to be too low. It struck the King's head, causing his crown to fall off. The King deemed it dishonorable and ordered that the chief of builders be hanged. The chief of builders blamed the laborers, who in turn blamed the bricks. The mason who blamed the architect is sentenced to death by the King. The architect is summoned to the Royal Court, where he indirectly blames the King for the incorrectly constructed arch. The placid King becomes enraged and demands that the wisest man in the country be summoned to the Royal Court. They brought the wisest man, who was so old he couldn't see or walk. He believes the arch should be hanged. When the arch is about to be executed, one of the ministers says it would be a shame to punish something that had touched their mighty King's head. Everyone, including the King, agreed. The crowd became agitated, and the King threatened them with a hanging. As a result, a noose was hung, and the one who fit it was hanged. All of them were measured one by one, but only the King fit. When they find someone to execute, the ministers breathe a sigh of relief. As a result of customary choice, the next person to pass through the City gate would choose the new King, and the next person to pass through it would be an idiot who wanted a melon to be their King. The melon was crowned with pomp and circumstance, and the town lived happily ever after without interruption or interference.

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