The Tale of Melon City, Explanation, Line by Line, Meaning of Difficult Words, English CBSE Class 11 NCERT Snapshot Chapter 8


(Explanation and Meaning of difficult words)

Author – Vikram Seth


Word Meaning
Just One who does and likes justice
Placid Calm
Proclaimed Ordered
Triumphally A sign of victory, Majestically
Major thoroughfare Main road
Edify Improve, Make pleasant,
Spectator Onlookers, Visitors
Poetic Devices
In the city of which I sing Alliteration
Would span the major thoroughfare Alliteration

I am narrating this poem about a city whose King favoured justice and he remained calm. The King ordered that a big gate or arch be constructed in the city. This will be symbol of his victory. This arch was to be constructed on the main road of the city. The King thought that it will improve beauty of the city for all residents and visitors.




Word Meaning
Workmen Workers, Labours
Rode down Walked through
Built too low Its height was very less
Poetic Devices
The workmen went and built the thing. Alliteration
The workmen went and built the thing. Repetition
They did so since he was the King. Alliteration

The workers obeyed orders of the King. They went to the site and constructed the arch. After it was completed the King went there to inaugurate it. The King walked on the main road and through the arch. Many residents of the city had gathered there to see their King. They were happy to see their King. The crown of the King touched bottom of the arch because its height was less. The crown fell down from the head of the King.



Word Meaning
Frown Expression of anger
Disgrace Insult
Gallows Structure for hanging a person
Led out Brought
Passed the King Came before the King
Poetic Devices
He passed the King. He gave a shout, Repetition
‘O King, it was the workmen’s fault’ Alliteration

An expression of anger appeared on the face of the King. The King said that it an insult to him that his crown had fallen down. He ordered that the chief builder should be hanged. Structure for hanging was made and a rope was tied to it. The chief builder was brought before the King. The chief builder said that it was not his fault. The workmen had not constructed it properly.



Word Meaning
Halt Stop
Proceedings Activities

The King ordered to stop hanging of the chief of builder. He believed in justice. His face had become more calm now. He ordered that instead of the chief builder, all the workmen should be hanged. The workmen were surprised at this new order. The requested the King to listen to their plea. They said the mason had made bricks of wrong size..




Word Meaning
Summon To call, To order to be present
Quivering Shivering, Trembling

The King orders to call the masons. The masons came and stood in front of the King. They were trembling because of fear. They said that they did not make any mistake. It is the fault of architect.



Word Meaning
His Majesty Words used for the king or someone of high authority
Ordain To order
Amendments Changes
Plans Designs

The King ordered that the architect should be hanged. The architect reminded one small thing to the King. He said that the King had made some changes in the design made by him.




Word Meaning
Saw red Became very angry suddenly
Lost his head Become upset and lose one’s calm
Tricky Complicated, Not easy to decide
Counsel Advisor
Poetic Devices
The King heard this. The King saw red. Repetition
In fact he nearly lost his head; Alliteration
He said, ‘This is a tricky thing. Alliteration
The wisest man in this country.’ Alliteration

After listening to the architect the King suddenly became very angry. Actually he became so upset that he almost lost his calm. But he was a justice loving and calm King so he quickly controlled himself. He said that this situation was very complicated. I need to consult a wise person. Please call the wisest person of this country.




Word Meaning
Nay Rather
Quavering Shaking, trembling
Culprit Defaulter, Wrong doer
Banged Collided
Poetic Device
He could not walk and could not see, Repetition
Truly, the arch it was that banged Alliteration

The wisest man of the country was found and brought before the King in his Royal Court. Actually he was very week. He could neither walk nor see. So he had to be carried to the Royal Court. He was considered wisest person because he was the oldest person. He said in a trembling voice that the culprit must be hanged. Actually the ach had struck against the head of the King, so the arch should be hanged.


Word Meaning
Scaffold Platform for hanging someone
Councillor Minister
Mused Thought carefully
Restless Impatient,
Mutter To speak in a low voice
Poetic Device
When suddenly a Councillor said Alliteration
What touched your head, Your Majesty?’ Repetition
Restless, was muttering aloud. Oxymoron

A platform for hanging of the arch was made and the arch was brought upto that platform. Suddenly one of the ministers said that we should not hang the arch. It has touched the head of the King. Thus it has blessed the King. The King carefully thought about it. In the meantime the crowd had become impatient. Everyone was talking slowly. But collectively their voice had become loud.


Word Meaning
Perceived Understood
Assembled Gathered
Consideration Thought, Aspect
Finer points Minor aspects
Poetic Device
The King perceived their mood and trembled Alliteration
And said to all who were assembled Alliteration
Of finer points like guilt. The nation Oxymoron
Wants a hanging. Hanged must be Alliteration

The King understood the mood of the crowd that it wanted the culprit to be hanged. The King became excited and equally eager. To all the people who had gathered there, he said that we should postpone the minor aspect of finding out the guilty. The country wants that somebody should be hanged. So we must immediately hang someone.


Word Meaning
Noose The rope for hanging someone
By and by Within short period of time,
Decree Order
Royal Decree Order of the King
Poetic Device
The noose was set up somewhat high. Alliteration
Each man was measured by and by. Alliteration

A rope was put up on the platform. It was set up a bit high. Each person present there came to the noose to measure one’s height. But height of only one person was found to be equal to that of the noose. That person was the King himself. Therefore as per the order of the King of the country, he was hanged.


Word Meaning
Unruly Agitated, Angry
Against the Crown Against the King
Poetic Device
Long live the King!’ the Ministers said. Alliteration
Long live the King! The King is dead. Irony

The ministers thanked themselves that they could find a person to hang. Otherwise the agitated people of the town would have revolted against the King. They said that may the King live for long time. They again said that may the King live for long time. And the King is dead.


Word Meaning
Dilemma Difficult situation, Problem
Pondered Thought carefully
Sent out Moved,
Heralds Announcers, Messengers
Proclaim Announce, Declare
Poetic Device
They pondered the dilemma; then, Alliteration
They pondered the dilemma; then, Assonance
The next to pass the City Gate Repetition

The ministers thought about the difficult situation because of the death of King. They were very practical person. They quickly thought of a solution. They asked messengers to move around the country. By the orders of the former King, they were ordered to make an announcement in the public. The order was that the first person to enter the city will select the King of the city. This was the custom of their city. The order further declared that a new person will be made King in a big ceremony.


A man crossed the gate of the city to enter into the city. He was a fool. The guards stopped him. They asked him who should become the King of this city. The man replied ‘a melon’. He liked melons. So to every question this was his answer.


Word Meaning
Reverently With lot of respect
Poetic Device
Crowning a melon. Then they led Assonance

The minister told the melon that it was their new King. They put the crown on it. The ministers with lot of respect carried the melon to the throne. They put it on the thrown.



Word Meaning
Years and years ago Many years ago, Long time ago
On account of Because
Rejoice Be happy
Poetic Device
This happened years and years ago. Repetition
How did this happen?’, they say, ‘Well, on Alliteration
Account of customary choice. Alliteration

This event or story had occurred a long time ago. Many outsiders ask people of the town why a melon is their King. How did a melon become your King. They reply that it is because of the custom of the town to choose a king. That customs was decided by our King.


Word Meaning
Liberty Freedom, Independence
Laissez faire Not concerned, Accept whatever is happening
Poetic Device
With us, for who are we to say Alliteration
What he should be as long as he Repetition
Leaves us in Peace and Liberty?’ Alliteration

The people said they are OK if their King is a melon. We are not bothered who is our king if we are not troubled and our freedom is not disturbed. The principle of accepting whatever has happened was in the mind of the people.



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