The Tail of Melon City

Recently, I was lucky to read “The Tale of Melon City” by Vikram Seth :

In the city of which I sing
There was a just and placid King.

The King proclaimed an arch should be
Constructed, that triumphally

Would span the major thoroughfare
To edify spectators there.

The workmen went and built the thing.
They did so since he was the King.

The King rode down the thoroughfare
To edify spectators there.

Under the arch he lost his crown.
The arch was built too low. A frown

Appeared upon his placid face.
The King said, ‘This is a disgrace.

The chief of builders will be hanged.’
The rope and gallows were arranged.

The chief of builders was led out.
He passed the King. He gave a shout,

'O King, it was the workmen's fault'
'Oh!' said the King, and called a halt

To the proceedings. Being just
(And placider now) he said, ‘I must

Have all the workmen hanged instead.’
The workmen looked surprised, and said,

‘O King, you do not realise
The bricks were made of the wrong size.’

‘Summon the masons!’ said the King.
The masons stood there quivering.

‘It was the architect...’, they said,
The architect was summoned.

‘Well, architect,’ said His Majesty.
‘I do ordain that you shall be

Hanged.’ Said the architect, ‘O King,
You have forgotten one small thing.

You made certain amendments to
The plans when I showed them to you.’


The King heard this. The King saw red.
In fact he nearly lost his head;

But being a just and placid King
He said, ‘This is a tricky thing.

I need some counsel. Bring to me
The wisest man in this country.’

The wisest man was found and brought,
Nay, carried, to the Royal Court.

He could not walk and could not see,
So old (and therefore wise) was he —

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’.

To the scaffold the arch was led
When suddenly a Councillor said —

‘How can we hang so shamefully
What touched your head, Your Majesty?’


‘True,’ mused the King. By now the crowd,
Restless, was muttering aloud.

The King perceived their mood and trembled
And said to all who were assembled —

‘Let us postpone consideration
Of finer points like guilt. The nation

Wants a hanging. Hanged must be
Someone, and that immediately.’

The noose was set up somewhat high.
Each man was measured by and by.

But only one man was so tall
He fitted. One man. That was all.

He was the King. His Majesty
Was therefore hanged by Royal Decree

‘Thank Goodness we found someone,’ said
The Ministers, ‘for if instead

We had not, the unruly town
Might well have turned against the Crown.’

‘Long live the King!’ the Ministers said.
‘Long live the King! The King is dead.’

They pondered the dilemma; then,
Being practical-minded men,

Sent out the heralds to proclaim
(In His [former] Majesty’s name):

‘The next to pass the City Gate
Will choose the ruler of our state,

As is our custom. This will be
Enforced with due ceremony.’

A man passed by the City Gate.
An idiot. The guards cried, ‘Wait!

Who is to be the King? Decide!’
‘A melon,’ the idiot replied.

This was his standard answer to
All questions. (He liked melons.) ‘You

Are now our King,’ the Ministers said,
Crowning a melon. Then they led

(Carried) the Melon to the throne
And reverently set it down.

This happened years and years ago.
When now you ask the people, ‘So —

Your King appears to be a melon.
How did this happen?’, they say, ‘Well, on

Account of customary choice.
If His Majesty rejoice

In being a melon, that’s OK
With us, for who are we to say

What he should be as long as he
Leaves us in Peace and Liberty?’

The principles of laissez faire
Seem to be well-established there.

I was deeply inspired by the poem and it’s ideas and thus, decided to write a sort of sequel to it myself. Here it goes :

In the city of which I sing, 
The principles of laissez-faire

Were established as firm
As the King's chair.

The King, A just 
And placid melon,

Loved his people,
And his melons.
 
One fine day,
When all was gay,

The King was nowhere
To be discovered. 

The guards searched
And searched the kingdom

Through, 
Even under the archway,

But to no avail.
The Courtiers then proclaimed, 

In the name of the late Melon,
Whosoever passed through

The city gates,
Shall decide the ruler 

Of this pretty place.
A tiny creature,

Who purred and purred
Passed through the gates.

The guard asked the 
Cat, "Who is to be the king

, Say". The cat replied,
"Meow", as that was 

All should could say.
The courtiers thought for 

Days, at large,
And finally mischarged,

The cat was to be crowned the King,
After all.

A grand ceremony was announced,
The King pounced and bounced

And bounced.
Days passed,

When one fine day,
The guards ventured

Out under the Archway,
To meet the King,

On his birthday.
But behold, 

What they saw,
They could not believe,

Your Majesty was savoring
a melon. Surprised,

and thrilled,
The guards exclaimed,

"The King is untamed,
he has eaten and shamed,

The long lost King,
What a shame!"

The guards took the King
Without any fling,

To the the royal courthouse.
The courtiers deliberated,

And deliberated through,
And finally blew

Out the decree, 
That the King must be hanged,

And hanged, he was. 

I hope you liked it and will continue to read my content.

Thank you.

4 Comments

  1. PABLO PICASSO

    Sooo good. That is one great piece of art.

    Regards, Sanskriti

    On Tue, Feb 18, 2020, 8:01 PM Friendly Bloggerman wrote:

    > sarthakaggarwal9516 posted: ” Recently, I was lucky to read “The Tale of > Melon City” by Vikram Seth : In the city of which I sing There was a just > and placid King. The King proclaimed an arch should be Constructed, that > triumphally Would span the major thoroughfare To edify spe” >

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sarthaksempai'sfan

      This was very good sempai please teach me too. You are the best. Please post daily 🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏 🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏 🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏 🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏 🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏 🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Sarthaksempai'sfan

      This was very good sempai please teach me too. You are the best. Please post daily 🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏 🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏 🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏 🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏 🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏 🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏

      Like

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