NCERT Solutions for Class 10 English Chapter 9 - The Tale Of Custard The Dragon [Poem]

Page / Exercise

Chapter 9 - The Tale Of Custard The Dragon [Poem] 132

Solution 1

The characters in the poem are Belinda, a little black kitten, a little grey mouse, a little yellow dog, a dragon and a pirate.


Belinda and the pirate do not have any pet names. The pet names of the animals are as follows:


Black kitten- Ink

Grey mouse-Blink

Yellow dog-Mustard

Dragon- Custard

Solution 2

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.


Solution 3

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.


Solution 4

The other similes used in the poem are:

Sharp as mustard.

Mouth like a fireplace.

As brave as a barrel full of bears.

As brave as a tiger in a rage.

Snorting like an engine.

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


Besides similes the poet has also made use of another poetic device 'repetition'.

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', 'Weeck', 'growled', 'meowch'.


Solution 5

The poet describes the dragon as having big sharp teeth. He has spikes on his back and scales on his belly. His mouth is compared to a fireplace as being a dragon he may breathe fire. His nose may serve as a vent for the smoke he exhales since it is compared to a chimney. The claws on his toes may be sharp; hence the poet compares them to daggers.


Solution 6

The rhyme scheme of the first three stanzas are as follows:

 Stanza 1: aabb

Stanza 2:ccdd

Stanza 3:eeff


Solution 7

Some images used in the poem are:

  • 'As brave as a barrel full of bears'

  • 'As brave as a tiger in a rage'

  • 'Clashed his tail like irons in a dungeon'

  • 'He went at the pirate like a robin at a worm'
Solution 8

On the outset, 'The Tale of Custard the Dragon' may seem like a   light- hearted poem written in a ballad form. On closer reading, we find that it is a profound poem which gives us an insight into human behavior


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 showcasing their faintheartedness, the pets continue to brag about their so called bravery. Custard, being humble and kind-hearted, refrains from teasing them and humours them in a good spirit.


The poem comments on the fact people may be deceptive and there is more to them than what meets the eye. The poet put across his message in a humorous manner and has used various poetic devices like similes, repetition, and onomatopoeia to add to the humor in the poem.


Solution 9

This is another humorous, lighthearted poem by Ogden Nash that tells a story.

 Adventures of Isabel

 Isabel met an enormous bear, Isabel, Isabel, didn't care; The bear was hungry, the bear was ravenous, The bear's big mouth was cruel and cavernous. The bear said, Isabel, glad to meet you, How do, Isabel, now I'll eat you! Isabel, Isabel, didn't worry. Isabel didn't scream or scurry. She washed her hands and she straightened her hair up, Then Isabel quietly ate the bear up. Once in a night as black as pitch Isabel met a wicked old witch. The witch's face was cross and wrinkled, The witch's gums with teeth were sprinkled. Ho, ho, Isabel! The old witch crowed, I'll turn you into an ugly toad! Isabel, Isabel, didn't worry, Isabel didn't scream or scurry, She showed no rage and she showed no rancor, But she turned the witch into milk and drank her. Isabel met a hideous giant, Isabel continued self reliant. The giant was hairy, the giant was horrid, He had one eye in the middle of his forehead. Good morning, Isabel, the giant said, I'll grind your bones to make my bread. Isabel, Isabel, didn't worry, Isabel didn't scream or scurry. She nibbled the zwieback that she always fed off, And when it was gone, she cut the giant's head off. Isabel met a troublesome doctor, He punched and he poked till he really shocked her. The doctor's talk was of coughs and chills And the doctor's satchel bulged with pills. The doctor said unto Isabel, Swallow this, it will make you well. Isabel, Isabel, didn't worry, Isabel didn't scream or scurry. She took those pills from the pill concocter, And Isabel calmly cured the doctor.

Here is another ballad with a somber undertone. It is writer by Sir William Watson

The Ballad of Semmerwater

Deep asleep, deep asleep,

Deep asleep it lies,

The still lake of Semmerwater

Under the still skies.


And many a fathom, many a fathom,

Many a fathom below,

In a king's tower and a queen's bower

The fishes come and go.


Once there stood by Semmerwater

A mickle town and tall;

King's tower and queen's bower

And the wakeman on the wall.


Came a beggar halt and sore:

"I faint for lack of bread!"

King's tower and queen's bower

Cast him forth unfed.


He knock'd at the door of the eller's cot,

The eller's cot in the dale.

They gave him of their oatcake,

They gave him of their ale.


He has cursed aloud that city proud,

He has cursed it in its pride;

He has cursed it into Semmerwater

Down the brant hillside;

He has cursed it into Semmerwater

There to bide.


King's tower and queen's bower,

And a mickle town and tall;

By glimmer of scale and gleam of fin,

Folk have seen them all.


King's tower and queen's bower,

And weed and reed in the gloom;

And a lost city in Semmerweater,

Deep asleep till Doom.