Summary of The Tale of Melon City by Vikram Seth

Vikram Seth (20th June 1952) is an Indian novelist, children’s writer, travel writer and poet. He has received several awards like the Padma Shri, Prabashi Bharatiya Samman, Crossword Book Award. “Mappings”, “ The Frog and the Nightingale” and “Beastly Tales” are two of his notable works in poetry and “A Suitable Boy”, “The Golden Gate” and “An Equal Music” are some of his well known novels.

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In Brief:
“The Tale of Melon City” by Vikram Seth is a satire about a king, his ministers and the kingdom. The poem shows the stupidity of the king and his kingdom. Once the king, ordered his ministers to build an arch over the main street to impress visitors and tourists. The arch was constructed. When the king was returning from boulevard, the arch knocked down his crown. The king was furious and ordered immediately the execution of the builders of the arch.
When the builders were taken to the gallows, they shouted out that the workmen were at fault. The king stopped the proceedings and asked his men to hang the workmen. The workmen then shouted out that the masons were to be blamed. The masons in turn blame the architect. The architect points out that the king had made some amendments in the plans. The king is trapped and put into a tricky situation; he therefore calls his wisest man for advice. The wise man says the culprit is the arch which knocked of the king’s crown so it should be punished. The king then looked for a man who was tall enough to fit the noose. None but the king was fit and ultimately he was hanged. The ministers then announced that anybody who passes the City gate would choose the next ruler. An idiot was asked and he said a melon. Consequently, a melon was crowned and the people of the kingdom did not worry about who or what their king was. They only wanted to do what their heart desires.

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