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NCERT Solutions for Class 11 English Hornbill Snapshots Chapter 8:The Tale of Melon City

Composed by Vikram Seth, the poem has been taken from the book named 'Mappings'. The poem presents the humorous story of a city with a melon appointed as the King.

The poem begins with the incident, which catalyses the future humorous situation. The King of a city commissions an arch that would span the main road of the city. The arch would attract visitors to come and visit the city. On the orders of the King, the city builders constructed the arch. After the arch was built, the King, in order to "edify spectators", decided to ride across underneath the arch. Due to the arch's low height, the King's crown was knocked off of his head. Disappointed by such a disgraceful event, the King decided to punish the chief of builders and ordered him to be hanged.

A gallow and rope was arranged for the punishment to be carried out, and the chief builder was brought to the King. The chief builder told the King that it was the workmen's fault and should be punished instead. The King then decided and ordered for the workmen to be hanged, and on their arrival, they shouted it is the fault of the masons. When the masons were summoned, they blamed the architect, who in the end shifted the blame on the King since he had made adjustments to the arch's design. Upon hearing, the King was enraged and sought the counsel of the wisest man in the country. In a series of discussions, the wisest man, along with the ministers, announced that only the King is fit to be hanged, and it is done so. After the King's death, they gave an "idiot" the chance to elect the new King, and he chose a melon.


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