Narrate the ‘Tale of Melon City’ in your own words.

Once upon a time there was a king. He was just and peace-loving. He proclaimed to construct an arch spanning the main thoroughfare, to improve the onlookers morally and mentally. Soon, the labourers set to work and the arch was constructed.

One day the king was riding down the thoroughfare. The arch was very low. His crown struck against the arch and fell off. There was an unpleasant look on the calm face of the King. He felt dishonoured and decided to hang the chief of builders. All the arrangements were made for the hanging.

The chief of builders said in his defence that it was the labourers’ fault. The king stopped the proceedings for a while and decided to have all the labourers hanged. The labourers said that the size of the bricks was wrong. The masons were summoned. They lay the blame on the architect. The King ordered to hang the architect. The architect reminded the King that he had made certain amendments to the plans when they were shown to him. Thus, the architect indirectly put the blame on the King.

The King was confused to hear the architect’s argument. He said that it was an intricate matter and he needed someone’s advice. He ordered to bring to him the wisest man in the country. The wisest man was found and brought to the Royal Court. He was so old that he could neither walk nor see. He said that the arch was the real culprit. It was the arch that had hit the crown violently and it fell. So, the arch must be hanged. The arch was led to the scaffold. Suddenly, a Councillor said that it would be a very shameful act to hang the arch that touched His Majesty’s head.

In the meantime the crowd was getting restless. Sensing their mood, the King said that someone must be hanged since the nation wanted a hanging. The noose was set up. It was somewhat high. Each man was measured turn by turn. There was only one man who was tall enough to fit in the noose and it was the King. So, His Majesty was hanged.

The Ministers heaved a sigh of relief that they were able to find someone, otherwise the unruly crowd might have risen in revolt. Now, they were confronted with the problem of choosing the ruler of the state. They followed their old custom.

They sent out the heralds to proclaim that the next to pass the City Gate would ’choose the King. An idiot happened to pass the City Gate. The guards asked him who was to be the king. The idiot replied, “A melon.” Actually that was his pet answer to all questions as he liked melons. The Ministers crowned a melon and placed their Melon king reverently at the throne.

This happened long long ago. Now, when someone asks the people how is it that their King appears to be a melon, they say that if His Majesty takes delight in being a melon, that is all right with them. They have no right to say what he should be as long as he leaves them in peace and liberty. It seems that the principles of Laissez fair were well established in that state.

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