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Tales From Beyond The Enchanted Prong Hills

The Baron Of Dried Fruits


Page 4


One of the best places to be jolly was the local hostelry, The Jolly Jugs, where jollifying beverages were dispensed by the jolly red bearded landlord, Landlord.*
And it was into this tavern that an unjolly patron trotted in order to rectify his predicament. His hooves clipperty cloppertied up to the bar where he selected two precarious looking barstools and plonked his huge equine buttocks thereupon. A shake of his head which one time would have waved a glorious silky sable mane in a shimmering cascade of elegance, now had no effect on the shabby tangled mophead which now clung wretchedly to his mange-ridden neck. With a sad sigh he leaned on his elbows upon the bartop and snorted dolefully.
"What can I do for you, then?" said Landlord sympathetically.**
"Whisky," said Crappalot, the erstwhile faithful steed of Prince Vitamin C, for it was none other than he.
"We've got a whisky named after you," said Landlord hopefully. He fetched a small bottle of Miserable Horse single malt whisky and plonked it on the bar.
"Please spare me," sighed the horse.
"Sorry," said Landlord.
And then into the tavern came another sorry looking soul. This poor fellow looked as if he had the weight of the world on his shoulders. This poor fellow looked as if he'd been given an impossible task such as finding a dismembered prince, sticking it back together and getting it to perform some heroic deed.
The chamberlain took a stool at the bar and looked at the woe begotten horse.
"Why the long . . .?"
"A-ah!" cautioned Crappalot, "We're not doing that joke. Mike only uses original material."
"Is that why his stories are so shite?" said Tetley.
"Probably," said Crappalot, "I think he's running out of ideas."
"Yes, this one certainly isn't as funny as the others."
"Let's hope it's his last."
"I mean, what's so amusing about a miserable horse going into a bar and ordering a drink?"
"Indeed, and why would anyone want to read about me having to stick a fruit crusading prince's head back on his corpse and getting him to defeat an evil baron?"
"You mean Prince Vitamin C?" said Crappalot, his ears suddenly pricking up,
"The king wants you to recover the prince?"
"Yes," said Tetley, "A totally impossible task, but that's what he wants."
"You know," sighed Crappalot with a distinct air of nostalgia, "The prince and I go back a long way. I could talk to you all day about the adventures we've had: the kingdoms we've saved, the damsels we've rescued, the shopping we've done, and all with nothing but fresh fruit. We were a team, a great team. He'd do the actual saving, rescuing and shopping and I'd do all the neighing, snorting and clipperty cloppertying. Have you ever seen me clipperty clopperty?"
"Well, no," said Tetley, "I've only just met you."
"Then allow me demonstrate."
And thus, Crappalot clipperty cloppertied about the tavern in a thoroughly horsey manner.
"The prince could never quite get it right," he said as he retook his stools, "no matter how many coconuts he used. So I always had to do it. Pretty impressive, eh?"
"Er, yes."
"Ah, great times," sighed the horse, "We were the best."

*The king often drank here and had bestowed an appropriate name on him.

**Note how valiantly I resisted the temptation to slip in the "Why the long face?" joke.

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The Baron Of Dried Fruits
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