Q. Who are the characters in the poem? List them with their pet names.
|A black kitten||Ink|
|A little grey mouse||Blink|
|A little yellow dog||Mustard|
|A little dragon||Custard|
Q. Why did Custard cry for a nice safe cage? Why is the dragon called the ‘cowardly dragon’?
Ans. Custard, the dragon, had big sharp teeth. He had spikes on the top of his body and scales underneath. His mouth was like a fire place and his nose was like a chimney. There were daggers on his toes. Such a creature is supposed to be very strong and ferocious. But, in fact, he was a coward. That is why he is called cowardly. Since he is coward he cries for a nice safe cage to hide there in case of any danger.
Q. Belinda tickled him, she tickled him unmerciful. Why?
Ans. Belinda tickled him severely because this was her way of teasing and making fun of Custard for his cowardliness.
Q. 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 poetic devices used in the poem?
Ans. The poet has used a number of similes in the poem. For example:
- mouth like a fireplace
as brave as a barrel full of bears
as brave as a tiger in a rage
snorting like an engine like a robin at worm
- The repetition of the consonant ‘l’ in ‘little’, ‘in’ the first stanza gives rise to alliteration.
- There is use of irony in Ink, Blink and Mustard calling Custard ‘Percival’. Custard is described as a coward while Percival was one of King Arthur’s legendary knights of the Round Table. He is most famous for his involvement in the quest for the Holy Grail.
Q. Read stanza three again to know how the poet describes the appearance of the dragon.
Ans. Custard, the dragon, had big sharp teeth. He had spikes on the top of his body and scales underneath. His mouth was like a fireplace and his nose was like a chimney. He was a coward.
Q. Can you find out the rhyme scheme of two or three stanzas of the poem?
Ans. The rhyme scheme of the first two stanzas is the same, i.e., aa, bb.
Q. Writers use words to give us a picture or image without actually saying that they mean. Can you trace some images used in the poem?
Ans. Some of the images are used in describing the image of Custard, the dragon and that of the pirate. There are also images in stanza 10 where Custard’s fight against the pirate is described.
Q. Do you find ‘The Tale of Custard the Dragon’ to be a serious or a light-hearted poem? Give reasons for your answer.
Ans. The poem ‘The Tale of Custard the Dragon’ is a humorous ballad close to a parody. The names of Belinda’s pets are funny. The way Custard gobbles up the pirate is also amusing. Ink, Blink and Mustard make fun of Custard for his cowardice and boast of their bravery. But they run away when they see the pirate. But still they try to prove themselves braver than Custard.