English Language & Literature

Poem 10: The Tale of Custard, The Dragon

Class 10

Revision Notes

The Tale of Custard, The Dragon

‘The Tale of Custard, the Dragon’ is a funny poem that tells the story of a little girl Belinda and her pets.
Belinda lives with her little pets – a kitten, a mouse, a dog and a dragon, in her little house. Belinda and all her pets except the dragon have been described as very brave creatures. But the dragon is so coward that it is always looking for the safety of a cage.

This is a story of a girl Belinda, who had some strange pets. They had queer names. She called the black kitten ‘Ink’, the little grey mouse as Blink, the yellow dog as ‘Mustard’ and the cowardly dragon ‘Custard’. Belinda’s, kitten, mouse and dog were very brave but the dragon was a coward. One day, a pirate came armed with a pistol into their house. Except the dragon, Custard, all others were terrified of the pirate. Custard attacked the pirate and gobbled him up. Belinda then embraced him, while Mustard licked him. Even after this brave incident, Custard did not give up his cowardly ways. He still kept on crying for a safe cage.

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.

Explanation: In the first stanza of the poem, the characters of the poem are introduced. They are : Belinda, who lived in a little white house with her pets and a wagon. Her pets include a black kitten, a little grey mouse, a little yellow dog and a little 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.

Explanation: Belinda called her little black kitten as Ink and her little grey mouse was called Blink. The colour of the dog was as sharp and yellow as mustard. Her dragon was called Custard. He was not brave like other pets but a coward.

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.

Explanation: This stanza describes the dragon, Custard’s physical appearance. He carried all the features of a dragon that could make him powerful, scary and brave. It had big sharp teeth and spikes on its back that could easily scare anyone away. Custard also had the ability to spit fire which made his mouth like a fireplace and thus his nose became a chimney. His toes were so pointed and sharp, that it could cut anything like a dagger.

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.

Explanation: This stanza describes all the members of the house. Belinda as brave as many bears combined together into one. Ink and Blink had the power to chase away someone as strong as a lion. The bravery of Belinda’s dog is compared to that of a tiger. But Custard was just opposite to his physical appearance. He was not at all brave, but he always looked 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.

Explanation: Belinda tickled the dragon quite cruelly to make it laugh. The dragon was named Percival by Ink, Blink and Mustard. Seeing the dragon react to the tickling, made all of them laugh and they laughed sitting in the wagon at the 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.

Explanation: Belinda laughed a lot at the dragon. She laughed so loudly that it appeared that the house was shaking due to her laughter. Blink, the mouse said, ‘Week’ which is the giggling sound of the mouse. Ink and Mustard asked the dragon’s age to make fun of him as he always behaved like a kid. But Custard, the dragon, only wanted a nice safe cage for himself.

Suddenly, suddenly they heard a nasty sound,
And Mustard growled, and they all looked around.
Meowh! cried Ink, and ooh! cried Belinda,
For there was a pirate, climbing in the winda.

Explanation: When all the members were busy making fun of Custard, suddenly there came an unpleasant sound from the house. Mustard, the dog growled and looked around it for the sound. Ink cried ‘Meowch’ and Belinda cried ‘Ooh’ when they all saw a pirate, climbing the window of the house to rob it.

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.

Explanation: The pirate looked very dangerous as he was carrying many weapons with him. He had pistol in both his hands. He also held a sharp blade between his teeth. He had black beard and a wooden leg. His looks and gesture made it quite clear that he meant to harm the house and the people living in it.

Belinda paled, and she cried Help ! Help !
But Mustard fled with terrified yelp,
Ink trickled down to the bottom of the household,
And little mouse Blink strategically mousehold.

Explanation: When Belinda looked at the pirate, she turned pale with fear and cried loudly for help. All her brave pets fled from the place. Mustard cried and ran away. Ink silently went to the bottom of the house and Blink very smartly disappeared in a mouse hole, leaving Belinda all alone.

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.

Explanation: When all the pets hid themselves, it was the coward dragon, Custard, who came to their rescue.
He jumped in front of the pirate and made huge sounds like an engine, in anger. He moved his tail and made clattering sounds like an iron rod striking the walls of a prison in a dungeon. Making all these dangerous sounds, he followed the pirate like a robin who follows a worm to eat it.

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.

Explanation: The pirate was shocked to see Belinda’s dragon. He gaped at him and drank some wine from a bottle that he carried in his pocket. The pirate then took out his pistol and fired two bullets at Custard. But he failed to hit him and Custard was unharmed. Then Custard swallowed the whole of the pirate, without leaving any trace of him.

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.

Explanation: Everyone was surprised to see Custard eating the pirate. There was joy all over the house. Belinda embraced him to express her gratitude for saving everyone. Mustard licked the dragon to show his love. Everyone celebrated the death of the pirate. They were all happy. Ink and Blink started dancing around the dragon out of happiness.

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.

Explanation: After the pirate incident, it was quite clear who was brave and who was coward. But, Mustard gave an excuse for his cowardice and said that he would have been twice as brave as Custard if he had not got nervous; when the pirate came. Ink and Blink said that they would have been thrice as brave as the dragon. They started giving excuses for their running away. The humble dragon accepted that he was the most coward of all and everyone was braver than him.

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.

Explanation: Same as stanza 1

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: Same as stanza 4


Mouth like a fireplace
Belinda was as brave as a barrel
Snorting like an engine
Dashed his tail like irons in a dungeon
Went at pirate like a robin at the worm.

Suddenly, suddenly they heard
She cried Help! Help!

And he held in his teeth.

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