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Tales From Beyond The Enchanted Prong Hills

The Baron Of Dried Fruits

Mike

Page 6



  

"Behold the Prince Of Fresh Fruit!" said Tetley triumphantly admiring his handiwork.
"Errrrrmmmm," said Crappalot craning his neck round to view his new rider, "Not wishing to play the devil's advocate .  ."
"Yes?" said Tetley.
"Maybe it's just that I'd got to know him better than anyone else, but I seem to recall him being, erm, just a smidgen less fruity."
"Well, yes. But as any actor worth his salt knows," said Tetley, "we don't need to go for perfect accuracy on the visual front. The final portrayal will depend on Simon's skills, and remember his performance was so convincing that even you didn't know you were a pantomime horse. Take it away, Simon!"
Suddenly, the prince sprang to life.
"Good people of Farnsborough's kingdom," spoke the animated prince in his eloquent cultured voice.
Crappalot's ears pricked up in astonishment.
"Let us take up arms," continued the prince, "against that loathsome baron who has the audacity to terrorise the fair Princess Daughter with his odious comestibles."
"Your highness!" exclaimed Crappalot, "'Tis you!"
"None other, worthy mount," said the fruity prince, "And now to matters of consequence. Baron Shagnasty!"
"Someone call my name?" said a stranger who had just walked in the door.
"You are Baron Shagnasty?" said the prince.
"At your service, sir," said Baron Shagnasty amiably.
"Then kindly bring forth your head that I may slice it from your nefarious person."
"I say, that's a bit rum, old fruit. Whom do I have the pleasure of addressing and from whence do I derive this accusation of nefariousness?"
"I, sir, am Prince Vitamin C of the Plains of High Tea, and you are a bounder, cad and a foul smelling botty belch guffed from Satan's own rectum," said the prince haughtily. "I intend to see to it that you desist this outrageous behaviour you have been perpetrating towards Her Royal Highness Princess Daughter of Farnsborough's Kingdom."
The baron's previously agreeable expression turned to one of irritation.
"I think," he began, "that a gentleman's courting is his own business, don't you?"
"Courting?" exclaimed the prince, "I hardly call bombarding a distinguished member of the royal family with these vile items of dehydrated vegetable matter of yours an act of courtship. And I would add that you are no gentleman."
"Au contraire," countered the baron loftily, "Back on the Ninth Of Nov, the offering of a small gift of dried pulses, laughing diabolically then running away is considered an honourable means of gaining the affections of a lady of good virtue. Or, to put it in the vernacular appropriate to this establishment - the chicks really go for it."
"Not here they don't," said the prince, "In Farnsborough's Kingdom dried pulses are considered obscene, immoral and an affront to human dignity."
"He's right," said Tetley, "Since the trouble they caused during the Terrible Trouser Blight, dried pulses have been banned throughout the kingdom."
"What's the Terrible Trouser Blight?" said the baron.
"Wooooohhh," said Tetley gravely, "terrible, terrible times."
The landlord who had been listening to this conversation suddenly turned pale, dropped a glass he was cleaning and made the sign of the cross. Other conversations in the tavern ceased abruptly.
"Suffice it to say," the king's chamberlain continued, "we don't want to see the likes of those times again. Your intentions may have been honourable but I think it would be best if you were just to pack up your pulses and take them back to the Ninth Of Nov."

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