top of page
For 2024 Board Exam
CBSE Competency Based Questions:
Class 10
Class 12

The Tale of Custard the Dragon | NCERT Solution | Class X

Updated: Apr 23, 2022

Lesson Architecture
  • Theme

  • Stanza-wise Explanation

  • NCERT Solution

  • Extra Questions

Theme:

  • The poem is in the form of a ballad that tells the story of a cowardly dragon.

  • The poem also showcases the heroic and chivalric act of bravery by a seemingly coward Dragon.

  • The poem teaches us the lesson that we should not consider anyone insignificant and small. Even a seemingly insignificant person/animal can be of great help when occasion rises.

  • People who are unassuming and make no proud proclamations, prove their worth when the occasion demands.

Stanza-wise Explanation


Stanza 1

Belinda lived in a little white house,

With a little black kitten and a little grey mouse,

And a little yellow dog and a little red wagon,

And a realio, trulio, little pet dragon.


Vocabulary:

  • Belinda: Belinda is a lady who lives in a little white house with her four pets.

  • Wagon: a carriage for carrying goods.

  • realio: here it means 'really'

  • trulio: here it means 'truly'

  • dragon: a large aggressive animal with wings and a long tail

Paraphrase: There was a little girl by the name Belinda who used to live in a little white house with her four pets-namely Ink( a black kitten) , Blink ( a grey mouse) Mustard ( a yellow dog) and Custard ( a little dragon).

Stanza 2

Now the name of the little black kitten was Ink,

And the little grey mouse, she called him Blink,

And the little yellow dog was sharp as Mustard,

But the dragon was a coward, and she called him Custard.


Vocabulary:

  • Mustard: a yellow coloured flower.

  • Coward: a fearful person/animal

Paraphrase: In this paragraph we are introduced to the names of Belinda's pets. Ink was a little black kitten, Blink was a little grey mouse, Mustard was a little yellow dog who was as sharp as Mustard and the little pet dragon was very scared and fearful and was called Custard by Belinda.

Stanza 3

Custard the dragon had big sharp teeth,

And spikes on top of him and scales underneath,

Mouth like a fireplace, chimney for a nose,

And realio, trulio daggers on his toes.


Vocabulary:

  • spikes: thin and sharp

  • Scales: thin plates of hard material that cover the skin of many fish and reptiles.

  • fireplace: an open space for a fire in the wall of a room

Paraphrase:

Custard the dragon is covered in scales with spikes on top and has enormous sharp teeth. He is capable of breathing out fire from his mouth like a fireplace and his nose is like a chimney through which the smoke comes out. His toes are so sharp like a dagger.


Stanza 4

Belinda was as brave as a barrel full of bears,

And Ink and Blink chased lions down the stairs,

Mustard was as brave as a tiger in a rage,

But Custard cried for a nice safe cage.


Vocabulary:

  • barrel full of bears: Belinda' bravery is equal to a cluster of bears.

  • tiger in a rage: When a tiger becomes angry.

  • safe cage: Safe cage refers to dragon's desire to take shelter inside a protected cage.

Paraphrase: Belinda's bravery is presumed to be as good as a cluster of bears. Ink and Blink were also bold enough to chase lions down the stairs. The dog also appeared to be as brave as an angry tiger. But ironically, the big-sized dragon was very timid and always wanted a safe heaven in the form of a protected cage.


Stanza 5

Belinda tickled him, she tickled him unmerciful,

Ink, Blink and Mustard, they rudely called him Percival,

They all sat laughing in the little red wagon

At the realio, trulio, cowardly dragon.


Vocabulary:

  • tickled: to touch on a sensitive part of the body intended to make someone laugh.

  • Percival: Sir Percival was one of King Arthur's most loyal knights.

Paraphrase:

Belinda used to tickle him in order to cause him discomfort and make him feel uneasy. Ink , Blink and Mustard were rude to the dragon and called him Percival as he was very soft and honest. They made fun of cowardly dragon by sitting in the little red wagon.


Stanza 6

Belinda giggled till she shook the house,

And Blink said Weeck! which is giggling for a mouse,

Ink and Mustard rudely asked his age,

When Custard cried for a nice safe cage.


Vocabulary:

  • shook the house: Belinda's laughter echoed her house.

  • Weeck : sound made by the mouse.

  • nice safe cage : Custard used to demand protection for himself in the form of a safe cage.

Paraphrase:

Belinda used to laugh so loudly that her laughter echoed the whole house. Blink-the mouse- made a weeck sound-which is equivalent to giggling. Ink and Mustard made fun of Custard and asked his age whenever Custard demanded a safe cage in which he could lock himself up and be safe.


Stanza 7

Suddenly, suddenly they heard a nasty sound,

And Mustard growled, and they all looked around.

Meowch! cried Ink, and ooh! cried Belinda,

For there was a pirate, climbing in the winda.


Vocabulary:

  • Pirate: a robber who attacks ships to steal.

  • Winda: Here it means 'window'.

Paraphrase:

While Ink and Mustard were busy in making fun of Custard, they heard a nasty sound outside. Mustard barked at him and Ink meowed and Belinda cried ooh because they all became very scared of the pirate who was seen to be climbing on the window.


Stanza 8

Pistol in his left hand, pistol in his right,

And he held in his teeth a cutlass bright,

His beard was black, one leg was wood;

It was clear that the pirate meant no good.


Vocabulary:

  • cutlass bright: a bright sword

  • one leg was wood : the pirate was handicapped.

Paraphrase:

He was carrying a pistol in his left and right hand and a bright sword in his teeth. His beard was black and on of his legs was made of wood. His approach indicated that he meant no good to Belinda and her pets.


Stanza 9

Belinda paled, and she cried Help! Help!

But Mustard fled with a terrified yelp,

Ink trickled down to the bottom of the household,

And little mouse Blink strategically mouseholed.


Vocabulary:

  • terrified yelp: give a sudden short cry

  • trickled down: here run.

  • household: at the end of the house.

  • mouseholed: the hole where the mouse lives.

Paraphrase:

Belinda became pale with fear and cried for help. Mustard ran away with terrifying yelping sound. Ink left towards the end of the house. And Blink-the little mouse- in a planned manner went inside the mouse hole.


Stanza 10

But up jumped Custard, snorting like an engine,

Clashed his tail like irons in a dungeon,

With a clatter and a clank and a jangling squirm,

He went at the pirate like a robin at a worm.


Vocabulary:

  • snorting like an engine: Custard started making loud sound like an engine.

  • irons in a dungeon : chains of the prisoners make sound when they strike one another in underground prison.

  • clatter and a clank : types of sound produced by metals when they strike one another.

  • jangling squirm : Sound of objects when they fall on one another.

Paraphrase: Snorting like a full-throated engine and lashing his tail like chains in a dungeon, Custard attacks the pirate like a robin ( a type of bird) does at a worm.


Stanza 11

The pirate gaped at Belinda’s dragon,

And gulped some grog from his pocket flagon,

He fired two bullets, but they didn’t hit,

And Custard gobbled him, every bit.


Vocabulary:

  • gulped some grog: the pirate swallowed some drink .

  • pocket flagon : the pirate swallowed drink from the container inside his pocket.

  • gobbled : swallowed.

Paraphrase:

The pirate was staring at Custard and swallowed hastily some drinks from the container kept in his pocket. He then fired two shot at Custard. But the bullets missed their mark and Custard ate up the pirate bit by bit.


Stanza 12

Belinda embraced him, Mustard licked him,

No one mourned for his pirate victim.

Ink and Blink in glee did gyrate

Around the dragon that ate the pirate.


Vocabulary:

  • embraced: hugged

  • mourned: feel sad for the death of the pirate.

  • glee: happiness

  • gyrate: dance.

Paraphrase:

After the death of the Pirate, Belinda hugged Custard, Mustard licked him. On the other hand, no one felt sad for the death of the victim Custard. Out of happiness Ink and blink started dancing around the dragon that ate up the pirate.


Stanza 13

But presently up spoke little dog Mustard,

I’d have been twice as brave if I hadn’t been flustered.

And up spoke Ink and up spoke Blink,

We’d have been three times as brave, we think,

And Custard said, I quite agree

That everybody is braver than me.


Vocabulary:

  • flustered : to become nervous/confused.

  • up spoke : spoke up

Paraphrase:

Their gratitude gave way to self-promotion. Mustard said that he would have been twice as brave had he not been flustered by the sudden appearance of the pirate. Ink and Blink said that they would in fact have been three times as brave. Custard showed his calm and maturity by saying that he knew that everybody was braver than him.


Stanza 14

Belinda still lives in her little white house,

With her little black kitten and her little grey mouse,

And her little yellow dog and her little red wagon,

And her realio, trulio little pet dragon.


Paraphrase:

There was a little girl by the name Belinda who used to live in a little white house with her four pets-namely Ink( a black kitten) , Blink ( a grey mouse) Mustard ( a yellow dog) and Custard ( a little dragon).


Stanza 15

Belinda is as brave as a barrel full of bears,

And Ink and Blink chase lions down the stairs,

Mustard is as brave as a tiger in a rage,

But Custard keeps crying for a nice safe cage.


Vocabulary:

  • barrel full of bears: Belinda' bravery is equal to a cluster of bears.

  • tiger in a rage: When a tiger becomes angry.

  • safe cage: Safe cage refers to dragon's desire to take shelter inside a protected cage.

Paraphrase: Belinda's bravery is presumed to be as good as a cluster of bears. Ink and Blink were also bold enough to chase lions down the stairs. The dog also appeared to be as brave as an angry tiger. But ironically, the big-sized dragon was very timid and always wanted a safe heaven in the form of a protected cage.


Thinking About the Poem ( page 132)


1. Who are the characters in this poem? List them with their pet names.

Ans: The characters in this poem are Belinda, a little black kitten, a little grey mouse, a little yellow dog and a little pet dragon.


a little black kitten is called Ink.

a little grey mouse refers to Blink.

a little yellow dog is Mustard

a little pet dragon is called Custard.


2. Why did Custard cry for a nice safe cage? Why is the dragon called “cowardly dragon”?


Ans: Custard felt secured inside a protected cage as he was timid in nature.


Dragon is timid in nature. He felt scared every time and wanted to cage himself to feel secured all the time. Therefore, he is referred to as ''cowardly dragon''.


3. “Belinda tickled him, she tickled him unmerciful...” Why?

Ans: Belinda tickled him unmercifully because Custard was neither protesting at others when they were making fun of him nor did he try to retaliate those who laughed at him.


4. The poet has employed many poetic devices in the poem. For example: “Clashed his tail like iron in a dungeon” — the poetic device here is a simile. Can you, with your partner, list some more such poetic devices used in the poem?


Ans: Some poetic devices being used by the poet are the following:


Simile:

  • the little yellow dog was sharp as Mustard...

  • Belinda was as brave as a barrel full of bears

  • Mustard was as brave as a tiger in a rage.

Metaphor:

  • Chimney for a nose

  • daggers on his toes

Repetition:

  • Suddenly, suddenly they heard a nasty sound....

  • With a little black kitten and a little grey mouse, And a little yellow dog......

Refrain:

'And her realio, trulio little pet dragon' has been repeated several times in the poem.


Alliteration:

  • Belinda was as brave as a barrel full of bears “b” sound is repeated.

Transferred Epithet:

  • Terrified yelp.

Onomatopoeia:

  • And Blink said Weeck!

  • And Mustard growled.

  • Mustard with a terrified yelp

  • With a clatter and a clank and a jangling squirm.

5. Read stanza three again to know how the poet describes the appearance of the dragon.

Ans: The dragon has big sharp teeth with spikes on top of him and scales underneath. His mouth was like a fireplace and his nose was like a chimney. His toes were as sharp as daggers.


6. Can you find out the rhyme scheme of two or three stanzas of the poem?

Ans: The rhyme scheme is aabb, ccdd, eeff.


7. Writers use words to give us a picture or image without actually saying what they mean. Can you trace some images used in the poem?


Ans: The following are the instances of images used in the poem:

  • the dragon's mouth like a fireplace.

  • the dragon's nose like a chimney

  • Belinda being as brave as a barrel full of bears.

  • Custard going at the pirate like a robin at a worm.

  • Custard lashing his tail like chains in a dungeon.


8. Do you find The Tale of Custard the Dragon to be a serious or a light-hearted poem? Give reasons to support your answer.


Ans: The poem is a light-hearted poem as the poet has given an account of animals in a funny and comical manner. The dragon who is supposed to be fierce and terrifying has been projected to be timid . The exaggeration that has been used in the description of Belinda, her pets and the pirate give us the indication of this poem being light-hearted. An animal as fearful as a dragon has been described to be looking for a safe cage whereas the mouse, the cat and the dog are portrayed as braver than the custard. So the plot lends a humorous effect to the whole architecture of the poem.


9. This poem, in ballad form, tells a story. Have you come across any such modern song or lyric that tells a story? If you know one, tell it to the class. Collect such songs as a project.


Note: Students can do a research on the topic and write down their viewpoints.


Recommended Reading

<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<< End>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>


Commentaires


English With A Difference (englishwithadifference.com).png

Hi, thanks for stopping by!

We have insatiable passion for Literature & Language and to empower English learners to build up a rock solid foundation. 

Let the lessons come to you.

Thanks for subscribing!

  • Instagram
  • YouTube
bottom of page