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How did the king take it? The architect reminded the King that he (the King) had made some changes in the plans when they were showed to him and the King seemed to have forgotten it. The King got very angry and almost lost his head to rage. 2 marks What sort of king ruled over the state? What did he proclaim? The king who ruled over the state was just and placid. He proclaimed that an arch should be constructed over the major thoroughfare in the city in order to benefit the spectators. Who was held responsible for the disgrace? How did he/ they react to it? What do you learn about the king? The ‘chief of builders’ was held responsible for the disgrace when the King’s crown fell under the low arch. He reacted angrily and ordered the offender to be hanged at the gallows. We learn that the king had an ego. He was stubborn and short tempered. Comment upon the criteria of selection of the wisest man and the quality of counsel he offered? The wisest man, according to the King’s courtiers was carried to the court. He could neither walk nor see. He was very old and hence was selected. The counsel he offered was that since the arch had banged the King’s crown off, so the arch should be hanged. This was a very ridiculous and absurd suggestion. Why did the king need some counsel and from whom? Do you think the man was really the wisest one? Give a reason for your answer. The King needed a counsel from the wisest man in the country. He needed a counsel when the architect blamed the King himself for having forgotten that he had made changes in the plans. This made him very angry. The wise man was not really the wisest one as he could not choose the right culprit. What does the comment of the councillor about the arch reveal about himself and the King? As soon as the arch was led to the gallows for hanging, the councillor commented on how they could hang so shamefully the arch that touched his head. The comment reveals that he was a clever man and very cunningly persuaded the King to change his mind. The King being fickle minded himself, argued to postpone the consideration of finer points like guilt. Why did the King give into public demand? The king gave into public demand because the crowd by now, had become restless and was muttering and grumbling loudly. He was a foolish king and gullible too. His motive was to move on quickly with the hanging to satisfy his public. What was the result of the King’s thoughtless order? The thoughtless order given by the King was that the tallest man who would fit into the noose would be hanged. The result was that the King himself was hanged by Royal Decree as he was the tallest man around. Why did the ministers feel relieved? Do you think their elation was justified? The ministers felt relieved because if they had not found someone, the unruly town might have turned against the crown. The elation was more ironical because now the town was actually without a crown as the King was hanged due to his own foolishness. How was the new ruler of the state selected?
The new ruler of the state was selected when an idiot, who was the first man to pass the City Gate, was given the privilege to choose the next king. He immediately chose the ‘melon’ as the King as it was his standard answer to all questions. So, the melon was crowned as the King. How did the people and ministers react to the selection of ‘a melon’ as the new ruler? They reverently carried the melon to the throne and placed it there. If, years later they were asked to explain how the melon became their King, they would reply that it didn’t matter to them who was the King as long as he left them in peace and liberty. What do you mean by the principles of ‘Laissez faire’? Did they apply in the state ruled by the melon king? Yes, the principles of ‘Laissez faire’ applied to the state ruled by the melon king. The principles meant that the state had the policy of allowing private business to develop without government control. Describe the features of the arch that was ordered to be built by the King? The arch was ordered to be constructed in a way that it would triumphantly span over the major thoroughfare of the city and edify the spectators there. What happened when the King rode down the thoroughfare? The king rode down the thoroughfare after the arch was completed but just as he was under the arch; his crown hit it and fell down. The arch was perhaps built too low or the king was too tall. What was the King’s reaction when the crown fell? He said that it was a disgrace and that the chief of builders should be punished for making the arch too low. 4 marks O king, you do not realize The bricks were made of the wrong size a) Who said these words? The words were spoken by the workmen when the king ordered them to be hanged. b) Who was at fault now? The workmen put the blame on the masons for making the bricks of the wrong size. c) Who got into trouble because of wrong size of bricks? The masons got into trouble because the workmen put the blame on them. The masons defended themselves by saying that the architect had planned everything wrongly. Hence, he was to be blamed.
The king said, ‘this is a disgrace’ The chief of builders will be hanged The rope and gallows were arranged a) What was a disgrace? The fact that the King’s crown fell off as the arch was low, made the king remark that it was a disgrace and that the arch was faulty and defective. b) Why would the chief of builders be hanged at the gallows? The chief of builders was to be hanged because he was responsible for building the defective arch.
c) Who was hanged eventually and why? Eventually it was the King who was hanged because the chief of builders, the workmen, the mason, the architect, all started blaming each other, which made the public restless. Therefore, the King ordered the tallest man to be hanged in order to pacify the restlessness amongst the public. He came out to be the tallest man and he himself got hanged.
But in a quavering voice, he said ‘the culprit must be punished’ Truly the arch it was that banged The crown off, and it must be hanged a) Whose voice was quavering? The voice of the old wise man, who was lame and blind, was quavering when he spoke. b) In this case, who was found to be the culprit and why? The wise man blamed the arch to be the culprit because it had knocked off the King’s crown and hence he suggested that it should be hanged. c) Why was the culprit spared and who was hanged? The arch was spared because the councillor asked the king how they could hang so shamefully, something that had touched his head. Eventually the king was hanged because the public got restless and wanted a decision. In the city of which I sing There was a just and placid king The king proclaimed an arch should be Constructed, that triumphantly Would span the major thoroughfare a) Name the poem and the poet. The name of the poem is ‘The Tale of the Melon City’ and the poet is Vikram Seth. b) What kind of a king ruled over the state? The king who ruled over the state was just and placid. He was fair to all and was complacent and unassuming. c) What was the aim behind getting an arch constructed? What happened to it? The aim of getting the arch built on the major thoroughfare was to edify the spectators there, i.e. he wanted to benefit the onlookers spiritually. As the king rode the arch, it hit his crown and his crown fell.