The Tale of a Custard the Dragon by Ogden Nash
About the Poet- The Tale of Custard the Dragon is written by Frederic Ogden Nash (August 19, 1902 – May 19, 1971). He was an American poet well known for his light verse, of which he wrote over 500 pieces. With his unconventional rhyming schemes, he was declared the country’s best-known producer of humorous poetry.
Poem- 'The Tale of a Custard the Dragon'
Belinda lived in a little white
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
And the little grey mouse, she called her 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
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
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
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
And Blink said Week!, 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
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
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!
But Mustard fled with a terrified yelp,
Ink trickled down to the bottom of the household,
And little mouse Blink was strategically mouse hold.
But up jumped Custard, snorting like
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
No one mourned for his pirate victim
Ink and Blink in glee did gyrate
Around the dragon that ate the pirate.
Belinda still lives in her little
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
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.
Summary of the Poem- The Tale of a Custard the Dragon
The tale of custard the dragon is a ballad. It is a humorous poem about a cowardly dragon named custard. Custard is a pet of Belinda, a little girl who lives in a little white house with her pets. She had a black kitten named ink, a grey mouse named blink, a yellow dog mustard and a cowardly dragon custard. The poet says that all of them are very brave except the dragon. Others were described as brave and are compared with animals like bear, tiger or lion but the dragon is very timid. He always demands a safe place for himself. All the other characters make fun of him.
But one night they are surprised by the entry of a pirate in the house. All of them get frightened and start hiding here and there. But to everyone’s surprise, the dragon not only tackles him but also eats him up. As all of them are saved by custard, they thank him. But at the end, they realize that they used to make fun of the dragon because of his being timid. So, all of them suddenly start saying that they are braver and could have handled the situation in a much better way. Here the poet has tried to say that sometimes a timid person is the actual hero in the toughest situations of life
Difficult Word Meanings
Mustard: a yellow coloured
Spikes: thin pointed surface
Scales: Thin bony plates protecting the skin of fish and reptiles.
Underneath: situated directly below
Fire place: An outdoor structure of brick, stone or metal for an open fire
Dagger: A sharp knife
Chased: hunt, follow
Tickled: stroke, here it means to tease
Percival: A knight in King Arthur’s court
Giggled: to laugh
Weeck: Here it is the sound made by the mouse
Nasty: bad or unpleasant
Pirate: A person who robs ship in the sea
Winda: it is used for window
Pistol: a handgun
Cutlass: a short sword with a curved blade
Paled: turn yellow due to fear
Yelp: a short sharp cry
Trickled: here, run
Mouseholed: here it is the hole where the mouse lives
Snorting: make a sudden explosive sound
through one’s nose
Dungeon: underground prison
Clatter Clank: sound of hard object falling on each other
Jangling squirm: sound of hard object falling on each other
Robin: A bird
Gaped: stared with mouth wide open
Grog: a drink
Flagon: a container made of silver in which drink is stored
Gobbled: swallowed hurriedly
Embraced: to hug
Mourned: feel sorrow for the death of someone
Flustered: upset or confused
Important Questions with answers
Q1. Why did Custard cry for a nice safe cage? Why is the dragon called “cowardly dragon”?
Ans:- Custard cried for a nice safe cage because he is coward and timid. All the pets taunt him.
He was called “cowardly dragon” because he was a coward and all the animals laughed at him.
Q2. “Belinda tickled him, she tickled him unmerciful…” Why?
Ans:- Belinda tickled him unmercifully because this was her usual way of teasing and making fun of custard for his timidity.
Q3. How did Custard the dragon fight against and eat up the pirate?
Ans:- Custard the dragon fought against the pirate very ferociously and gobbles the pirate.
Q4. Give a description of the appearance of the pirate.
Ans:- The pirate had a black beard and one of his legs was of wood. Further, his intention was not good.
Q5. Why did Belinda cry for help?
Ans:- Belinda cried for help as she saw the pirate with pistols in his hands and a sword in his teeth.
Q6. Why did Belinda and her pets tease Custard?
Ans:- Belinda and her pets tease Custard because he was coward and timid.
Q7. Give a brief description of Belinda’s dragon.
Ans:- Custard the dragon, had big sharp teeth and spikes on the top of his body and scales underneath. His mouth was like a fire place and his nose was like a chimney. He was a timid dragon.
Q8. What did the pirate do when the dragon faced him?
Ans:- When the dragon faced the pirate, the pirate fired two bullets, but they did not hit him.
Q9. Where did Belinda live? Name her pets.
Ans:- Belinda lived in a little white house.
The pets were a little black kitten, a little grey mouse, a little yellow dog and a dragon.
Q10. What did Ink and Blink do when Belinda cried for help?
Ans:- The Ink and Blink ran away and hide themselves when Belinda cried for help after seeing the pirate.
Q11. How did the Custard prove that he was a brave dragon?
Ans:- By gobbling the pirate up, Custard proved that he was a brave dragon.
Q12. How was Custard dragon received after he had killed the pirate?
Ans:- After the danger
is past, everyone begin to boast again about their courage and Custard agrees
that everyone is also braver than him. But none everyone knows the fact as who
is brave and who is a coward.
Q13. Who were the pets of Belinda? Enlist with their nicknames.
Ans:- Belinda’s pets were a little black kitten, a little grey mouse, a little yellow dog and a
dragon. The nicknames of the above pets were-
Q14. What is a ‘Ballad’?
Ans:- A ballad is a poem or song narrating a story in short stanzas.