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CBSE Class 10 English First Flight The Tale of Custard the Dragon Poem Summary & Notes

The Tale of Custard the Dragon

Chapter 7 of the Class 10 English Book, ‘First Flight’, comprises a poem, The Tale of Custard the Dragon, by Ogden Nash. Ogden Nash crafted this poem in the traditional ballad style, designed to recount a compelling narrative. Ballads typically weave tales of bravery or valor. Here’s a simple summary & detailed explanation of the poem – The Tale of Custard the Dragon

CBSE Class 10 English The Tale of Custard the Dragon Summary

This humorous ballad tells the story of a girl named Belinda and her pets. This funny poem tells the story of a girl named Belinda and her pets. She has a black kitten named Ink, a grey mouse named Blink, a yellow dog named Mustard, and a scared dragon named Custard. The poet describes each of these characters in a fun way. He thinks all of them are brave except for Custard the dragon. But Custard proves him wrong when he saves everyone from pirates attacking Belinda’s house.

The Tale of Custard the Dragon – The Poem

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Explanation:

The opening stanza introduces us to Belinda, a young girl residing in a small white house. Inside, she shares her home with various pets: a tiny black kitten, a small grey mouse, and a genuinely mythical creature—a dragon. Additionally, a little red wagon sits within the house.

In the next part, the poet tells us what Belinda named her pets. She called the little black kitten “Ink” and the small grey mouse “Blink.” The sharp, yellow dog was named “Mustard.” Interestingly, the dragon got the name “Custard,” which might suggest he’s not as brave as the others. However, sometimes appearances can be deceiving, as events later unfold.

The poet vividly portrays the dragon’s appearance and traits in the third stanza. He mentions the dragon’s large, sharp teeth, which give him a fearsome countenance. The dragon’s skin is described as pointed at the top and covered in scales underneath, adding to his intimidating presence. The poet compares the dragon’s mouth to a fireplace, symbolizing his strength and power. The dragon’s nose is also likened to a chimney, from which smoke emerges when he breathes fire. The stanza concludes with a description of the dragon’s pointed toes, emphasizing their sharpness by comparing them to knives.

In the fourth stanza, the poet delves into the characters of the poem, highlighting their courageous nature. Belinda is likened to a fearless group of bears in her bravery. Ink and Blink are portrayed as remarkably bold, capable of intimidating even the strongest adversaries, like lions. The little yellow dog, Mustard, exhibits bravery akin to the ferocity of a tiger’s anger. However, Custard stands out for his contrasting nature. Despite his imposing physical form as a dragon, he is depicted as timid, often seeking refuge in the safety of a cage, crying for comfort.

In this stanza, the poet illustrates the interactions between Belinda and her other pets with the dragon. Belinda is depicted as playfully teasing the dragon, tickling him in a rather rough manner. Additionally, Ink, Blink, and Mustard collectively nickname him Percival, as a joke, drawing parallels to the legendary King Percival, who, despite being perceived as brave, allegedly fled from battle. They poke fun at the dragon by calling him Percival, laughing at his perceived timidity. The poet describes how they mock the dragon further by encouraging him to sit in the little wagon, thereby reinforcing his sense of cowardice.

In the sixth stanza, the poet describes Belinda’s laughter as so hearty that it seems to echo throughout the entire house, shaking its very foundations. Even the mouse joins in the laughter, adding to the cacophony with its playful squeaks. Both Ink and Mustard join in teasing the dragon, poking fun at his timid nature by questioning his age and mocking his pleas for the safety of a cage.

In this stanza, as everyone is engrossed in mocking the dragon, they are startled by an unsettling noise that fills the air. It becomes evident that an intruder has breached the sanctity of the house when they spot a pirate scaling the window. In this tense moment, the dog responds with a bark, and the cat adds its vocal protest with a meow. Belinda’s fear is palpable as she cries out in alarm at the sight of the pirate, overwhelmed by the sudden threat to their safety.

In this part, the poet describes the pirate’s scary look. The pirate holds guns in both hands and has a sharp blade in his mouth. He also has a black beard and a wounded leg, making him appear very dangerous and ready to cause harm to the house.

In the ninth stanza, the poet describes the reactions of the pet animals and Belinda upon encountering the pirate. Belinda, overcome with fear, turns pale and desperately cries out for help, realizing the direness of the situation. To her dismay, the very pets she believed to be brave proved unable to assist her. Mustard, the dog, initially cries but soon flees in fear, abandoning Belinda. Similarly, Ink, the kitten, scurries away to hide in the depths of the house, seeking refuge from the impending danger. Meanwhile, Blink, the mouse, exhibits quick thinking, darting to safety within his mouse hole, cunningly evading the threat posed by the pirate.

In the tenth stanza, the poet highlights the dragon’s unexpected display of bravery. While the other pets flee to save themselves, the dragon emerges. With a fierce determination, he lunges at the pirate, emitting a powerful noise akin to an engine revving. The forceful movement of his tail creates a resounding clatter, reminiscent of an iron rod striking prison walls. Moving with agility, he approaches the pirate, reminiscent of a robin bird swooping down to attack its prey.

In this stanza, the poet describes the pirates’ reaction to the dragon’s sudden intervention. Initially taken aback by the dragon’s boldness, the pirate stares in astonishment. Seeking solace, the pirate takes a sip of wine from his pocket flask. In a desperate attempt to defeat the dragon, the pirate fires two bullets, but they miss their mark. Grabbing the opportunity, Custard, the dragon, swiftly eats up the pirate, leaving no trace behind.

In this part, the poet tells us that everyone was amazed when the dragon ate the pirate. They all felt happy and relieved. Belinda hugged the dragon, and Mustard licked him to say thank you for saving them. Nobody felt sad about the pirate. Ink and Blink were so happy that they danced around the dragon in circles.

In this stanza, the poet reflects on how the true measure of bravery became evident after the pirate incident. Each pet offers excuses for their inability to confront the pirate directly. Mustard, the dog, admits that he would have been twice as brave as the dragon if he hadn’t been overwhelmed by nervousness and confusion. Ink and Blink boast that they would have been three times braver than the dragon. They find it hard to believe that the dragon accomplished such a heroic feat and saved them all. Despite their praises, the humble dragon quietly listens and agrees that everyone else must be braver than him.

In the final two stanzas, the poet echoes the opening lines of the poem, emphasizing the newfound understanding of the dragon’s bravery following the incident. Despite the undeniable display of courage, none in the house are willing to acknowledge it, each clinging to their own perceived bravery. The poet observes that life resumes its normal course, with everyone except the dragon being hailed as brave. Despite the undeniable evidence of his valor, the dragon continues to be labeled as a cowardly creature in the eyes of the others.

We trust that this summary of the CBSE Class 10 English First Flight Poem “The Tale of Custard the Dragon” has provided you with a quick grasp of the poem. Stay connected with GK Publications for the latest updates on CBSE and study materials. Explore sample papers and question papers from various years to enhance your preparation for the Board Exams.

Related Resources:
https://www.gkpublications.com/cbse-class-10th-2024-chapter-and-topicwise-english-language-literature-solved-papers-by-career-launcher/?aff=arushi

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