'Custard The Dragon And The Wicked Knight' by Ogden Nash

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Guess what happened in the little white house
Where Belinda lived with a little grey mouse,
And a kitten, and a puppy, and a little red wagon,
And a realio, trulio, little pet dragon.This dragon was a shy one, for ever getting flustered,
So they said was a coward and they called him Custard.
He had eaten up a pirate once, but then
He went back to being to being a coward again.Custard the dragon felt comfortable and cozy,
His breath wasn't fiery, just flickery and rosy,
And he lay with his head on his iron dragon toes,
Dreaming dragon dreams in a happy dragon doze.Belinda sang as she went about her housework,
Blink the mouse was busy with her mousework,
Ink the kitten was laundering her fur,
And teaching the little dog Mustard to purr.Belinda's song, as she wiped the dishes bright,
Was all about Sir Garagoyle, the wicked, wicked Knight.
His castle's on a mountain, above the edelweiss;
Its gates are solid iron, its walls are solid ice;
And underneath the cellar is the dismalest of caves,
Where he keeps the captive maidens he has carried off as slaves.Ink, Blink and Mustard joined their voices three:
'We're not cowardly like Custard, we're courageous as can be.
So hush you, Belinda, hush you, do not fret you.
We promise that Sir Garagoyle shall never, never get you.'
Then - just as Ink was complimenting Blink -
'That', said a voice, 'is what you think!'Belinda dropped the dishes on the floor,
For there was Sir Garagoyle, coming in the door.
You could tell he was wicked, for he reeked of roguery,
He was like an ogre, only twice as ogre-y,
He was twice as big as a big gorilla,
And covered with armour like an armadilla -
Armour on the front of him, armour on the back,
And every inch of it thunderstorm-black.
Ink got gooseflesh, Blink was terror-laden,
And Mustard yelped that he was not a maiden.
Blink fled downstairs, Ink fled up,
And underneath the sofa went the pup.Sir Garagoyle pounced with panther speed
And carried off Belinda on his snorting steed.
He plied his spurs with a cruel heel;
He was in a hurry for his evening meal,
His favourite meal, of screws and nails
And rattlesnake tongues and crocodile tails.Custard was roused from his quiet dreams
By the pitiful sound of Belinda's screams.
'To horse!' he cried. 'Brave friends, to horse!
We must organise a Rescue Force!'
Said Mustard, 'I'd show that wicked knight -
But I've got a toothache and I couldn't bite.'Said Ink, 'I can hardly stir my stumps;
I'm afraid that I'm coming with mumps.'
Said Blink, 'If only I were feeling brisker...!
But I'm weakened by an ingrowing whisker.''Alas,' said Custard, 'alas, poor Belinda!'
He sighed a sigh, and the sigh was a cinder.
'her three brave bodyguards are powerless as she,
And no one to rescue her but chickenhearted me.
Well,' said Custard, 'at least I'm in the mood
To be the toughest chicken that was ever chewed.'As he thought about Belinda and Sir Garagoyle
Everything inside him began to boil.
He sizzled and simmered and he bubbled and he hissed,
Then he whooshed like a rocket through the evening mist.With headlight eyes and spikes a-bristle
He pierced the air like a locomotive whistle,
Then swooped from the sky as grim as fate
And knocked on Garagoyle's fearsome gate.Sir Garagoyle rose at Custard's hail:
He was chewing a screw and swallowing a nail.
He called, 'You can hammer all night and day,
But you might as well take yourself away.
My gates are iron and my walls are ice,
And I've woven a spell around them thrice,
And if by chance you should break in,
I'll lay you open from tail to chin.'He thought to frighten the dragon to death,
But Custard blew like a blowtorch breath.
He was a small volcano with the whooping cough,
And like molten lava the gates flowed off!
He blew another breath, and the icy walls
Came a-splashing down in waterfalls.Sir Garagoyle spluttered like a sprinkler-wagon,
'A knight can alwayd beat a dragon!'
'Pooh!' said Custard. 'How you rant!
A true knight could, but a wicked knight can't
'Have at you then!' Sir Garagoyle roared,
And he rushed at Custard with his deadly sword.Twice Custard parried those fierce attacks,
Then he swung his tail like a battle axe.
>From helm and breastplate down to spur
It flattened that unworthy Sir.
His armour crumpled like thin tinfoil,
And that was the end of Garagoyle.Custard rushed like a tidal wave
Down, down, down to the dismal cave
Where Belinda lay in chains, a slave -
Chains too strong to chop or hack,
But he sawed them through with his spiky back.
Belinda was too weak to speak her thanks,
But she managed to pat his scaly flanks.Now, Custard was a flyer of great renown,
He was able to fly while sitting down,
So home he soared with wings a-flap,
And Belinda sitting in his lap.
Ink, Blink and Mustard were in a happy tizzy,
They danced around Belinda till they made her dizzy,
Then they looked at Custard and they gave a shout:
'There's a rabbit in the kitchen and he won't get out.
He's eaten all the carrots and he's starting on the peas,
And you're just in time to eject him, please!'Custard said, 'You know my habits;
You know I've always been afraid of rabbits;
So if this fierce fellow won't depart in peace,
Eject him yourself or call the police.'
'Oh', jeered Ink and Blink and Mustard,
'What a cowardly, cowardly, cowardly Custard!'
'I agree', said Custard; 'and I add to that
Craven, poltroon, and fraidy-cat.
I've learned what a nuisance bravery can be,
So a coward's life is the life for me.'
Belinda kissed him and said, 'Don't fret,
A cowardly dragon makes the nicest pet.'

Editor 1 Interpretation

Custard the Dragon and the Wicked Knight: A Masterpiece by Ogden Nash

If you are a lover of poetry, then you must have come across "Custard the Dragon and the Wicked Knight" by Ogden Nash. This classic poem is a masterpiece of literature that has stood the test of time, captivating readers of all ages with its witty humor, brilliant wordplay, and vivid imagery. In this 4000-word literary criticism and interpretation, we will delve deep into the world of Custard the Dragon and the Wicked Knight, exploring the themes, language, and style of this beloved piece of poetry.

The Plot of Custard the Dragon and the Wicked Knight

At its core, Custard the Dragon and the Wicked Knight is a story about courage and cowardice, friendship, and betrayal. The poem takes us on a journey to a medieval kingdom, where a brave and ferocious dragon named Custard lives with his friends, Belinda the cow, and the other animals in a cozy and comfortable home. Life is good in the kingdom, and they all live happily until a wicked knight named Sir Percival arrives, seeking to challenge Custard to a fight.

At first, Custard is terrified and runs away, leaving his friends to face the wicked knight alone. However, as the battle wages on, Custard eventually finds the courage to return and face Sir Percival, defeating him with ease. In the end, we learn that Custard was never really a coward, but rather a peaceful dragon who chose not to fight unless it was necessary.

The Themes of Custard the Dragon and the Wicked Knight

One of the central themes of the poem is the idea of courage and cowardice. We see this theme play out through the character of Custard, who initially runs away from the wicked knight but ultimately finds the courage to face him. This theme is particularly powerful because it teaches us that bravery is not about being fearless but rather about facing our fears even when we are afraid.

Another important theme of the poem is the idea of friendship and loyalty. We see this theme in the way that Custard's friends, Belinda the cow, and the other animals, stand by him even when he runs away. This theme is important because it reminds us that true friends are always there for us, even in the toughest of times.

The theme of betrayal is also present in the poem, as we see Sir Percival, who is supposed to be a knight, turn on Custard and his friends. This theme is important because it shows us that not everyone is trustworthy, and we should always be mindful of who we trust.

The Language and Style of Custard the Dragon and the Wicked Knight

One of the things that make Custard the Dragon and the Wicked Knight such a delightful read is Ogden Nash's use of language and style. The poem is written in a playful and whimsical style, with a rhyming scheme that gives it a sing-song quality. This style is perfect for the subject matter of the poem, which is light-hearted and fun.

Nash's use of language is also a highlight of the poem. He uses vivid imagery to bring the medieval kingdom and its inhabitants to life, describing Custard as having "spikes upon his tail" and "fangs about his jaws." Nash's choice of words is also clever and humorous, with lines like "Belinda tickled him, she tickled him unmerciful" and "Puff, puff!" indicating Custard's fear and anxiety.

The Significance of Custard the Dragon and the Wicked Knight

Custard the Dragon and the Wicked Knight is significant for several reasons. Firstly, it is a timeless classic that has stood the test of time, appealing to readers of all ages. The poem's themes of courage, friendship, and loyalty are universal and resonate with readers across generations.

Secondly, the poem is significant because of its use of language and style. Nash's playful and whimsical style, combined with his clever use of language and imagery, make the poem a joy to read and a perfect example of how poetry can be both entertaining and meaningful.

Finally, the poem is significant because of the way it teaches us about bravery and facing our fears. Custard's journey from a scared dragon to a courageous one teaches us that bravery is not about being fearless but rather about facing our fears and doing what is right, even when it is difficult.


In conclusion, Custard the Dragon and the Wicked Knight is a masterpiece of literature that has captivated readers of all ages for decades. The poem's themes of courage, friendship, and betrayal are universal and resonate with readers across generations. Ogden Nash's use of language and style is both playful and whimsical, making the poem a joy to read. If you haven't read Custard the Dragon and the Wicked Knight, then you are missing out on one of the greatest poems of all time.

Editor 2 Analysis and Explanation

Poetry Custard The Dragon And The Wicked Knight: A Timeless Tale of Friendship and Bravery

If you're a fan of children's literature, you've probably heard of Ogden Nash's classic poem, "Custard the Dragon and the Wicked Knight." This timeless tale of friendship and bravery has been captivating young readers for generations, and it's not hard to see why. In this 2000-word analysis, we'll take a closer look at the poem's themes, characters, and literary devices, and explore why it continues to be a beloved favorite among children and adults alike.

The poem tells the story of Custard, a cowardly dragon who lives with a group of animals in a cozy cottage by the sea. Custard is content to spend his days eating marshmallows and avoiding any kind of danger, but his friends, a brave little girl named Belinda and a wise old owl named Fraidy, have other ideas. When a wicked knight comes to town and threatens to harm Belinda, Custard must find the courage to stand up to him and protect his friends.

One of the most striking things about "Custard the Dragon and the Wicked Knight" is the way it subverts traditional fairy tale tropes. In most stories, the dragon is the villain, a fearsome creature to be defeated by the brave knight. But in this poem, the dragon is the hero, and the knight is the villain. This reversal of roles is not only refreshing but also sends a powerful message about the importance of looking beyond appearances and stereotypes.

Another theme that runs throughout the poem is the idea of courage. Custard is initially portrayed as a cowardly creature, but as the story progresses, he finds the strength to stand up to the wicked knight and protect his friends. This message of bravery and standing up for what is right is an important one for children, who may face their own challenges and fears as they navigate the world.

The characters in "Custard the Dragon and the Wicked Knight" are also memorable and well-drawn. Custard is a lovable protagonist, with his love of marshmallows and his endearing cowardice. Belinda is a spunky and resourceful young girl, who is not afraid to stand up to the wicked knight. And Fraidy, the wise old owl, provides a voice of reason and guidance throughout the story.

The wicked knight, on the other hand, is a classic villain, with his black armor and his cruel intentions. He is a stark contrast to the warm and friendly animals who live in the cottage by the sea, and his presence serves to highlight the importance of kindness and compassion.

One of the things that makes "Custard the Dragon and the Wicked Knight" such a joy to read is the way it uses language and literary devices to create a vivid and engaging world. Nash's use of rhyme and rhythm gives the poem a musical quality, and his playful use of language creates a sense of whimsy and fun. For example, when Custard is first introduced, Nash writes:

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.

This description is both humorous and vivid, and it immediately draws the reader into the world of the poem.

Nash also uses repetition to great effect in the poem. The phrase "realio, trulio" is repeated throughout the story, creating a sense of continuity and familiarity. And the refrain "Oh, the dragon is a gentle friend" reinforces the idea that Custard is not a fearsome monster but a lovable and loyal companion.

In addition to its literary merits, "Custard the Dragon and the Wicked Knight" is also a visually stunning poem. The illustrations by Lynn Munsinger are colorful and whimsical, and they perfectly capture the spirit of the story. From Custard's toothy grin to the wicked knight's menacing scowl, the characters are brought to life in a way that is both charming and memorable.

In conclusion, "Custard the Dragon and the Wicked Knight" is a classic children's poem that continues to captivate readers of all ages. Its themes of friendship, bravery, and looking beyond appearances are as relevant today as they were when the poem was first published in 1936. And its playful use of language and vivid imagery make it a joy to read aloud. Whether you're a parent looking for a bedtime story or a teacher looking for a classroom read-aloud, "Custard the Dragon and the Wicked Knight" is a timeless tale that is sure to delight and inspire.

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