SEBA Class 10 English Question Answer|Chapter-8| The Tale of Custard the Dragon

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SEBA Class 10 English Question Answer|Chapter-8| The Tale of Custard the Dragon

SEBA Class 10 English Question Answer|Chapter-8| The Tale of Custard the Dragon Notes covers all the exercise questions in Assam Board SEBA Textbooks. The SEBA Class 10 English Question Answer provided here ensures a smooth and easy understanding of all the concepts. Understand the concepts behind every chapter and score well in the board exams.

About the poet Ogden Nash

Frederic Ogden Nash was born on August 19, 1902 in New York. He was well known for his light verse. Nash wrote over 500 pieces of comic verse. The best of his work was published in 14 volumes between 1931 and 1972. When Nash was not writing poems, he made guest appearance: on comedy and radio shows and toured the United States and the United Kingdom, giving lectures at colleges and universities. Nash was regarded respectfully by the literary establishment, and his poems were frequently anthologised. Nash was best known for surprising, pun like rhymes, sometimes with words deliberately misspelled for comic effect. Ogden Nash died on May 19th, 1971.


The poem The Tale of Custard the Dragon, written by Ogden Nash is a light-hearted ballad.

It narrates the tale of a cowardly dragon, Custard, who is picked on and mocked by all the other residents of the house, be it Belinda or her little black kitten, Ink. Even her tiny grey mouse, Blink and her little yellow dog, Mustard, make fun of Custard. So while the others told tales of their valor and paraded their bravado, Custard was a coward, who kept crying for a cage to keep his skin safe. This lasted for quite some time until one night a real pirate climbed up through the window. But then all the fake bravado vanished in a whiff and it was Custard who rose up to the challenge and finished the pirate, gobbling him up in a jiffy.

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

Ans. There are five characters in this poem, namely, a girl called Belinda, a little black kitten called Ink, a little grey mouse called Blink, a yellow dog called Mustard and a dragon named Custard. 

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

Ans. Custard cried for a nice safe cage because he was too scared to stay out in the open. Custard was called ‘cowardly dragon’ because though he was the largest and fiercest looking of them all, but at heart he was a scared dragon who wanted a cage to keep him safe.

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

Ans. Custard, for all his size and fierce looks was a cowardly dragon and so all the other inmates of the house made fun of him. Belinda too joined in the fun and her way of teasing him was to tickle him continuously without mercy.

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. In the entire poem, the poet has made use of many poetic devises. Some of them are:

  1. Similes: mouth like a fireplace; as brave as a barrel full of bears; as brave as a tiger in a rage, clashed his tails like irons in a dungeon; went at the pirate like a robin at a worm.
  2. Repetition: repetitive use of the word “little in the first stanza to emphasize how everything from the house to Belinda to her pets were all little.
  3. Poetic liberty with spellings: real and true have been spelt as realio and trulio for effect; window has been spelt as winda” as it rhymes with ‘Belinda”.
  4. Alliteration: “Custard has “clashed’ his tail with a ‘clatter and a ‘clank”; the pirate gaped’ at the dragon and ‘gulped some “grog”.
  5. Irony: Belinda calling the dragon, who they consider to be a coward, Percival – the name of a legendary knight of King Arthur.

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

 Ans. The poet describes Custard the dragon as having big sharp teeth, with spikes on top and underneath his body. His mouth is equated to a fireplace by the poet and his nose is said to resemble a chimney. Moreover he has dagger like nails on his toes. Thus all in all, Custard is described as outwardly ferocious looking.

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

Ans. The thyme scheme of all the stanzas is aabb, except the thirteenth stanza which has a rhyme scheme of aabbcc.

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. Some images used in this poem are: As brave as a tiger in a rage, clashed his tails like irons in a dungeon, went for the pirate like a robin at a worm, etc.

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 ‘The Tale of Custard the Dragon’ is a light hearted one. Although it teaches us not to make fun of others and prejudge them, but it does so in a very light-hearted and humorous manner.

The elements that contribute to make this poem funny are: The hefty and ferocious looking dragon who fears for his life and wants to live in a cage; the trio of the little mouse, dog and cat who parade themselves and their bravado before the dragon, and dare to make fun of a creature so much stronger than themselves; finally the way the trio runs out of bravado when real danger strikes and the way they try to defend themselves by cooking up false stories after the danger is averted makes for a very amusing read.

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.

Ans. Some English ballad songs are Shape of my heart and I want it that way by the Backstreet Boys and Take a Bow sung by Madonna. Most Hindi Bollywood numbers are love ballads. (Among old poems The Rime of the Ancient Mariner and The Nightingale by Samuel Taylor Coleridge, both qualify as ballads.)

Additional question with answers 

1. What is a ballad?

Ans. A ballad is a song or poem that tells a story.

2. Where did Belinda live? Describe her companions.

Ans. Belinda lived in a little white house.

Her companions included a little kitten called Ink and a little mouse called Blink, both of whom had the guts to chase lions down the stairs. She also had a little dog called Mustard who was as brave as an angry tiger and a cowardly dragon called Custard, who wanted a cage to keep his hide safe.

3. How does the poet describe the bravery of Belinda and her companions?

Aus. The poet describes Belinda to be as brave as many bears pul together, Ink and Blink were so brave that they could chase lions down the stairs, and Mustard was as courageous as an angry tiger, Only Custard, the dragon, is said to be a coward who wanted a cage to lock himself safely in.

4. Describe the pirate as mentioned by the poet. 

Ans. The pirate held a pistol in his left hand and another in his right and also had a cutlass, held tightly between his teeth. His beard was black, and one of his legs was wooden.

5. Describe the reaction of Belinda and her companions when they saw the pirate.

Ans. As soon as she saw the pirate, Belinda lost all colour and bega to shout for help; Mustard, the dog was so scared that he gave a terrified whelp and ran away from the scene; Ink, the cat disappeared to the bottom corner of the house, while Blink, the mouse hid himself in his hole. Custard was the only member who displayed a rare show of bravery and advancing towards the pirate, gobbled him up in an instant.

6. Whr was Custard? What did the pirate do when he saw Custard?

Ans. Custard was Belinda’s pet dragon who was considered to be cowardly by all.

When the pirate saw Custard he was obviously stunned by his ferocious looks and stared at him with his mouth open. To soothen his nerves he pulled out his wine bottle and had a few gulps. Having mustered up some courage he fired two shots from his gun at Custard, but the bullets did not hit him and he cooly proceeded to eat up the pirate.

7. After Custard ate up the pirate the others displayed two kinds of reactions one after the other. What were they?

Ans. After Custard ate up the pirate Belinda gave him a hug, Mustard

the dog licked him with love, and Ink and Blink, the cat and the mouse, danced around Custard with happiness and in praise of his bravery. However they soon changed their tune, and, but for Belinda, all said that they could have been even braver than Custard if they had not been so agitated and confused. Custard humbly agrees that everyone is braver than him and things go back to as they were before the arrival of the pirate.

1A letter To God
2Nelson Mandela (A Long
Walk To Freedom)
3Glimpses of India
IITea From Assam
4Madam Rides the Bus
5A Tiger in the Zoo
7The Ball Poem
8The Tale of Custard the Dragon
1The Midnight Visitor
2A Question of Trust
3Footprint without Feet
4The Hack Driver

Reference to the Context:

1. “Belinda tickled him, she tickled him unmerciful, Ink, Blink and Mustard, they rudely called him Percival.” 

(i) From which poem are these lines taken? Who is the poet? 

Ans. These lines are from the poem The Tale of Custard the Dragon. The poet is Ogden Nash. 

(ii) Who is ‘him’ in these lines?

Ans. In the given lines ‘him’ is Custard, Belinda’s pet dragon. 

(iii) Why did Belinda tickle him?

Ans. Everyone teased Custard for being a coward. Tickling him unmercifully was Belinda’s way of teasing him.

(iv) Who are Ink, Blink and Mustard? 

Ans. Ink is a cat, Blink is a mouse and Mustard is a dog-they are all inmates of Belinda’s house.

(v) Why do they call ‘him’ Percival?

Ans. They all believe Custard to be a coward. By calling him Percival, who was Kind Arthur’s brave knight, they are being rude to him.

2. “But up jumped Custard, snorting like an engine, Clashed his tail like irons in a dungeon.” 

(i) From which poem are these lines taken? Who is the poet? 

Ans. These lines are from the poem The Tale of Custard the Dragon. The poet is Ogden Nash. 

(ii) Why did Custard jump up?

Ans. Custard jumped up at the sight of the pirate who had entered the house through the window.

(iii) Where was everyone else? 

Ans. Belinda was crying for help, Mustard had run away terrified, Ink had disappeared to the bottom corner of the house and Blink had hidden in his hole.

(iv) What did Custard do after this? 

Ans. Custard went after the pirate like a bird goes after a worm, and ate him up whole.

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