Monday, 9 April 2018

The Elders

So, anyway, a rumour flew around the village that a dragon was on the loose. The elders got together and the senior elder asked, “What shall we do? What shall we do?”
One of the younger elders (for there were such things back in days of yore) asked, “Why do you say everything twice?”
The senior elder replied, “I don’t. I don’t. I was just -"
“There you go again, see!”
The senior elder looked non-plussed. One of the other elders, who was not as elderly as the senior elder but older than the younger elder said, “Look, we’re wasting time here. There’s a dragon running amok on the outskirts of the village and -"
“Running where?” asked one of the other elders who was not as elderly as quite a few of the older elders but a bit older than most of the younger elders and considered a middle aged elder.
“Amok. You know... uh, kind of wayward, out of control, frenzied, in an unrestrained manner with no.... no, err... forward planning.”
“Oh, right, yeah,“ said the youngest elder. “Sounds about right for a dragon. They ain’t that up on strategy.”
“Yes, but out of control dragons are not good for the village,” said the senior elder. “What shall we do? What shall we do?”
“Dragons? With an ‘S’? There’s more than one?” The middle-aged elder said.
“No... no. Just one. It was a figure of... look, we’re wasting time here. What shall we do? What shall we do?”
“I’ve an idea,” said one of the elders who wasn’t really an elder because he was still only sixteen but, with wisdom beyond his tender years, had been elected as a teenage elder.
“An idea?” the senior elder said, his eyebrows arching involuntarily. "What's that then?"
"Uh... it's an original thought, a sort of -"
"I know that! I meant, what is it, this idea of yours?"
“Oh, right. Well, why don’t we get some of the peasants to go down the street and beseech George to come to our aid?”
“Do what?” several elders said in unison.
“Get George to come -"
“No... beseech. What’s that?”
“Beseech? Uh... ask. It means ask... like urgently.”
“Why didn’t you say that then?” said the middle-aged elder?
“I dunno... because... well because, I’m only a teenage elder and if I use words like ‘beseech’ it gives me gravitas.”
“Isn’t that a song?”
“A song? What... gravitas?”
“No! I’m only a teenage elder... by Wheatus?”
“You what?”
“Teenage Dirtbag.”
“Oh yeah... right.”
The senior elder looked perplexed. “We’re wasting time. The dragon will be upon us. I say that we do as our teenage elder suggests and beseech George to help. It's an original idea for such a young elder.”
So, the elders organised four peasants to go to George’s house and beseech him.
George was chilling when the urgent door knocking started. For years, after many battles as a warrior with his trusty lance, Ascolon, across the Middle East, George had forsaken the life of a warrior and decided to be a trainee Saint. He realised it could be quite a lucrative profession after his good mate Patrick had taken up the challenge to strive for sainthood. Patrick was now revered for banishing serpents and snakes from the island across the water and was not far off sainthood. George needed a similar act of bravery that also showed him as a commanding presence. A break was needed.
Ascolon was gathering dust in the corner. Life was at an all time low. The knock on the door was about to change that.
George strode across the straw strewn floor and flung open the door.
“Who are you?” he asked, as he laid eyes on the ragtaggle quartet that stood on his threshold.
“We are but four peasants from the village who have come to... be seek... err, bysch... beezeash...” The lead peasant turned to his comrades. “What was that fancy word?”
“I think it was ‘beseech, Jezz,” said one of the group.
“Oh, yeah. Thanks,” the lead peasant said. He turned back towards George. “Uh... yeah. We’ve come to beseech you on behalf of the village.”
“Beseech me? For what?”
“Err... oh yeah. There’s a dragon running amok, toasting our sheep and frazzling our pigs."
“Frazzling your pigs? Is that a euphemism?”
“A ufo what?”
“Never mind. A dragon you say? But surely dragons are mythical creatures, figments of the imagination. A dragon that toasts sheep and frazzles pigs? That’s not the way of the dragon.”
“Ain’t that a fillim?” one of the peasants said.
“Course it ain’t a fillim cos fillims ain’t been invented yet, stoopid,” Jezz said. “Anyway, I read about dragons in books, so they exist. Like in them holy books where bushes catch fire and the seas part. If it’s in a book it’s kosher.”
George rubbed his chin. He was dubious but he saw an opportunity.
“Peasants, men of the soil, beseech no more. I am suitably beseeched. Fetch my trusty steed.”
“Steed?” said one of the peasants. “What’s that?”
“My horse, Shergar, you ignoramus. Fetch him and saddle him for battle. You... whatsurname... Jezz, prepare my armour and dust off Ascolon. I go to war!”
“Uh, I’m not that comfortable with war,” Jezz said.
George rose to his full height, his nostrils flaring. “Comfortable! Comfortable! Do you -"
“Err, why are you saying everything twice,? Jezz asked.
George looked down his nose and ignored the interruption. “This is not about comfort. The dragon cometh, breathing fire, a desire to dominate our village, take our livestock, change our way of life. Are you an Englishman, Jezz? You and your peasants? If you are, you rise up, you grab Ascolon and you defend what is your heritage. Now, out of my way all ye who are faint-hearted.”
With his armour in place and Ascolon tucked firmly to his saddle, George rode purposefully to confront the dragon.
There, on the edge of the village, stood the giant scaley creature, it’s nostrils expelling plumes of flame that consumed the brushwood instantly.
George clicked his heels and Shergar strode forward, his proud head high, his eyes intent and gleaming. The dragon roared, his long neck waving his head high above the approaching George.
As they got closer George dismounted, looked at Shergar and winked. “Odds on old chap? Distract this scaley-backed intruder who woudst change our existence. Oh.... and don’t go disappearing on me!” He grabbed Ascolon and strode forward.
The blast caught George by surprise. A flamethrower of hot yellow sparks enveloped him.
“Shit!” The metal armour suddenly reached temperatures that were going to boil George alive. He pulled off his visor and just managed to avoid another jet of flame from the dragon. He rolled across the moorland towards the shrubb. As quickly as he could he removed his breastplate and armoured leggings. If you are going to defend your land sometimes you have to do so in your Calvin Kleins.
The dragon roared. Shergar reared. It distracted the dragon for a moment. George ran towards the dragon. The dragon hesitated, a moment’s doubt. It had never encountered resistance from one man in his underpants. It was all conquering, roasting the sheep and frazzling the pigs of Europe. George grabbed Ascolon and took aim. Shergar took off at speed, distracting the monster. George threw Ascolon. It caught the dragon in the eye.
“That’s for Hastings, sucka. Welcome to our Village.”