NCERT Solutions For Class 10 English
The Tale of Custard the Dragon Explanation
The Tale of Custard the Dragon is a humorous poem written by Ogden Nash. It is written in ballad form. It narrates a story about Custard the Dragon. The Dragon is teased for being a coward but later he proves brave as he saves the lives of those who used to look down upon him. The poem gives us an impression that the ones who talk much about their bravery may turn out to be cowards. On the other hand, the ones who are teased for their cowardice might actually turn out to be the bravest among all. Despite displaying their timidity, the pets continue to brag about their so-called bravery. Custard, being humble and kind-hearted, abstains from teasing them and humours them in a good spirit. Thus, the poem makes the point that what our eyes see may be deceptive that the reality may be something else.
The Tale of Custard The Dragon
Main Attractions of The Poem
➡ Belinda lived in a little white house with a little black Kitten and a little grey mouse, a little yellow dog and a little red wagon and above all a cowardly dragon. The name of the little black kitten was Ink, and the name of the little grey mouse was Blink. What’s more, the little yellow dog was called Mustard and the dragon was coward whom Belinda called Custard.
➡ Custard the dragon had enormous sharp teeth, spikes over him and scales underneath. His mouth was like a chimney, his nose was like a fireplace and he had blades on his toes.
➡ Belinda was as valiant as a barrel brimming with bears. Ink and Blink chased lions down the stairs. Mustard was as brave as a tiger in anger. However, Custard sobbed for a nice safe cage.
➡ Belinda tickled him unmercifully. Ink, Blink and Mustard impolitely called him Percival. They all sat giggling in the little red wagon at the fainthearted dragon.
➡ Belinda laughed till she shook the house, Blink said’ “Week!”, which is laughing for a mouse, Ink and Mustard rudely asked his age. At the point, Custard continuously sobbed for a decent safe cage.
➡ All of a sudden, they heard a frightful sound. Mustard snarled, and they all glanced around. “Meowch!” cried Ink, and “Ooh!” cried Belinda, for there was a pirate moving in violently.
➡ The pirate had a gun in his left hand and also one in his right hand. Moreover, he held in his teeth a cutlass brilliant; his facial hair was dark, one leg was wood. Plainly the pirate wanted no great.
➡ Belinda withered and cried for help, Mustard fled with a scared cry, Ink streamed down to the bottom of the household, and little mouse Blink deliberately mouseholed.
➡ However, Custard, the dragon gathered his courage and bounced up roaring like a motor, waving his tail like irons in a prison. With a rattle and a bang and a clattering squirm, he went at the pirate like a robin at a worm.
➡ The pirate frightened. He gaped at Belinda’s dragon and then swallowed some grog from his pocket flask and discharged two bullets from his guns, yet they didn’t hit. The custard was outrageous. He ate him every bit.
➡ Belinda embraced him, Mustard licked him. Nobody grieved for his pirate injured individual. Ink and Blink gyrate in happiness around the dragon that ate the pirate.
➡ Belinda still lives in her little white house, with her little black kitten and her little grey mouse and also, her little yellow dog and her little red wagon and above all her cowardly dragon which continues sobbing for a decently protected cage.
The Tale of Custard The Dragon Summary
This is a humorous poem in which Custards the dragon saves the lives when a pirate threatens Belinda and her pet animals.
Belinda lived in a little white house with her pet animals which included a little black cat, a little grey mouse, a little yellow dog, and a little pet dragon. This animal family had also a little red wagon. While the cat, the mouse, and the dog were amusing animals, the dragon was extremely weakling and coward. The dragon would always sob for a pleasant safe enclosure. Custard, as Belinda would call his dragon seemed to be, notwithstanding, a savage-looking creature. He had huge sharp teeth, spikes on its back scales underneath. His mouth resembled a chimney, his nose like that of a stack, and his toes like daggers.
The animals would always boost their bravery. Belinda was as valiant as a barrel loaded with bears. The little cat and the mouse would chase the lions down the stairs. Mustard, the dog was as brave as the tiger in wrath.
Belinda tickled the dragon savagely saying that it was a Percival. At this, every other animal laughed to their souls’ fill. All of sudden an awful solid was heard, and a pirate was seen holding two guns in two hands and a knife in his mouth. It was the certain test to the strength of the so-called valiant creatures. The dog yelped and fled away. The cat meowed and ran to security. The mouse ran deliberately to its opening. The poor dragon was left alone to confront the anger of the pirate.
The dragon gathered the courage, roared like an engine, clashed his tale and clattered. The pirate felt horrified, took an alcohol drink and fired the dragon twice. The dragon was outraged and he gobbled the pirate every bit. The other animals watched the scene from a distance. They now came running and embraced the dragon. They did not give up the stake of bravery and provided many pretences of their running from the spot. The dragon was now expected to give air to himself. But to the surprise of all, he again cried for the nice fine cage. The animals kept living together ever since this episode.
2. Why did Custard cry for a nice safe cage? Why is the dragon called “cowardly dragon”?
Answer: Custard cried for a nice safe cage because he was seemingly a coward.
Custard is called ‘cowardly dragon’ because he is the only one in the house who is seemingly fainthearted. Belinda is compared to a barrel full of bears, Ink and Blink can chase lions and Mustard is as brave as a tiger in rage. Custard, true to his name, seemed soft and wobbly at heart.
3. Why is the dragon called cowardly dragon?
Answer: The dragon is very powerful and ferocious and could beat even the hardest core enemy, still it prays for a nice safe cage for its safety. That is why he is called a cowardly dragon.
4.“ Belinda tickled him, she tickled him unmerciful…” Why?
Answer: Unlike other dragons, Custard was a frightened little soul. Belinda, well aware of this fact, tickled him mercilessly because she was sure he would never hurt her. Belinda may have also been extremely fond of her pet, so she may have tickled him out of affection.
5. Do you find The Tale of Custard the Dragon to be a serious or a funny poem? Give reasons to support your answer.
Answer: At the very outset, ‘The Tale of Custard the Dragon’ may seem like a funny poem written in a ballad form. On closer reading, we find that it is a profound poem which gives us an insight into human The poem gives us an impression that the ones who boast about their bravery may turn out to be cowards. On the other hand, the ones who are teased for their cowardice might actually be the bravest among all. Despite displaying their timidity, the pets continue to brag about their so-called bravery. Custard, being humble and kind-hearted, abstains from teasing them and humours them in a good spirit. The poet put across his message in a humorous manner and has used various poetic devices like similes, repetition, onomatopoeia and refrain to add to the humour in the poem.
The Tale of Custard the Dragon: Literary Devices
Q.No.1 What is the rhyme scheme of the poem?
Answer: The rhyme scheme of the first three stanzas are as follows:
Stanza 1: AABB
Stanza 2: CCD
Stanza 3: EEFF
Q.No.2 Pick out the similes used in the poem?
Answer: The similes used in the poem are:
i) Clashed his tail like iron in a dungeon.
ii) Sharp as mustard.
iii) Mouth like a fireplace.
iv) As brave as a barrel full of bears.
v) As brave as a tiger in a rage.
vi) Snorting like an engine.
Vii) He went at the pirate like a robin at a worm.
Q.No.3 What images does the poet use in the poem?
Answer: Some images used in the poem are:
i) Had big sharp teeth.
ii) Mouth like a fireplace.
iii) As brave as a barrel full of bears.
iv) As brave as a tiger in a rage.
v) Clashed his tail like irons in a dungeon.
vi) He went at the pirate like a robin at a worm.
Q.No.4 Which line / Stanza is used as a refrain in the poem?
Answer: Refrain refers to a recurring line or a stanza or even a word sometimes with a slight change. In ‘ The Tale of Custard The Dragon’ the first and ninth stanzas are repeated at the end of the poem.
Q.No.5 Discuss other poetic devices used in the poem?
Answer: Besides similes, the poet has also made use of other poetic devices such as repetition, alliteration and onomatopoeia.
In the entire first stanza, the word ‘little’ is repeated to emphasize the fact that everyone living in the house including the house itself was ‘little’.
Another poetic device used is alliteration, where words that begin with letters belonging to the same sound group are used in quick succession to create a repetition of similar sounds in the sentence:
Belinda was as brave as a barrel full of bears
Custard cried for a nice safe cage.
With a clatter and a clank
Gaped at Belinda’s dragon and gulped some grog.
The poet has also used Onomatopoeia, in which the sound of a word is very close to the sound it is meant to depict:
‘Clatter’, ‘clank’, ‘jangling’, ‘growled’.
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