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Tales From Beyond The Enchanted Prong Hills

The Baron Of Dried Fruits


Page 5


"Listen," said Tetley, "Perhaps we can help each other here. We both need the same thing. You need a prince to stick on your back and do your actual saving, rescuing and shopping, and I need one to defeat the evil Baron Shagnasty."
"But where are we going to get one? No ordinary prince will do. We need a Prince Of Fresh Fruit."
"We'll make one."
"What with?"
"Fresh fruit of course."
"Make a prince out of fresh fruit?" scoffed Crappalot, "You're not on acid, are you? The prince never approved of acid. He thought the world was a bewildering enough place without it."
"No, I'm perfectly serious," said Tetley, "Think about it, a water melon for his body, a pineapple for his head. We can use bunches of bananas for his arms and legs and make his eyes, nose and mouth out of cherries, a lychee and a slice of lemon."
"But how would it work? How could it move?"
"Someone would have to operate it."
"Your rear half."
"My what?"
"The actor inside you who makes your hind legs move."
"What are you talking about?"
"Look, if I unzip your underbelly," said Tetley feeling Crappalot's underside.
"Excuse me!"
Tetley undid the zip and Crappalot's hind quarters became unattached from his front half. They stood up straight to reveal a small man wearing the back end of a pantomime horse in a trouser-like fashion.
"Hello, ducky," he said brightly.
Then a small opening appeared in Crappalot's chest from which popped a pair of hands which pulled the horse's head off to reveal . . . a slightly larger man.
"Hello, sweetie," said this man in a similar manner to the first.
"Who the bloody hell are you?" exclaimed Crappalot.
"I'm Nigel," said the head.
"And I'm Simon," said the rear, "We're your actors."
"You mean I'm a pantomime horse?"
"Yes," said Tetley, "Simon normally has his hands round Nigel's waist. So instead of doing that, he could stick them up through your back and manipulate the prince that way."
"But how did you know I was a pantomime horse?" gasped Crappalot.
"Well, as chamberlain one of my duties is to organise the castle pantomimes," explained Tetley, "When you've been in show business as long as I have you get to be able to spot these things."
"Well bugger me into next Wednesday!" said Crappalot.
"I think we have a feasible plan here," said Tetley, "This calls for a beer!"
"We've got a beer named aft . . ." began the landlord.
"Watch it," warned Tetley.

Tetley quaffed a pint of beer whose name shall not be divulged and set off for the green grocers at the far end of the narrow Street Of Toast. Presently he returned with a large bag full of fresh fruit from which the noble Prince Vitamin C was to be reconstructed.
He emptied the bag on the floor and selected a large water melon into which he gouged a large hole. He tore another hole in Crappalot's back through which Simon was able to push his arms. Then he put the water melon over Simon's arms and placed a pineapple on top which Simon could manipulate with his hands. With bananas pinned to the side and smaller fruits making up his facial features the prince looked convincingly like an untidy pile of fruit on the back of a pantomime horse.

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The Baron Of Dried Fruits
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