Lady Marigold


PEASANT: Oy, there, lady!
LADY MARIGOLD: Greetings to you, Tom! My horse Willow needs a shoe.
PEASANT: Aye, I'll set right to it.
LADY MARIGOLD: See that you give her a carrot.
PEASANT: A carrot?
LADY MARIGOLD: Or an apple.
PEASANT: Willow's a bit of a fruit-lover, eh?
LADY MARIGOLD: Or vegetables.
PEASANT: What an absurd horse!
LADY MARIGOLD: You called my royal horse absurd?
PEASANT: Hast ears?
LADY MARIGOLD: Forsooth, my good man! She's a better horse than you've seen.
PEASANT: I'll admit that, milady, but VEGETABLES?
LADY MARIGOLD: YOU eat carrots.
PEASANT: Well...
PEASANT: Oh, as you wish. But, milady...
PEASANT: I 'aven't got any carrots.
LADY MARIGOLD: Nor apples?
PEASANT: Nor apples.
LADY MARIGOLD: Why don't you try broccoli?
PEASANT: If I don't 'ave apples, what makes you think I'll 'ave broccoli?!
LADY MARIGOLD: She likes broccoli.
PEASANT: I don't really care WHAT she likes, I'm just a blacksmith! I just forge her shoes!
LADY MARIGOLD: Very well then. Haste, my good man.
NARRATOR: And so the peasant Tom went about his work, and he forged a better shoe than had ever been forged before. For as Tom was bending the metal over the anvil, his eyes were on Lady Marigold as she stood idly by talking to the horse and promising it carrots. (here the peasant burns his finger since he is not watching) And in Tom's heart there arose a feeling he had never felt before. Could it be... love? Tom dismissed such notions and affixed the shoe to Willow's foot.
PEASANT: All done, milady.
LADY MARIGOLD: Here's a farthing.
(out of the shadows peers an ominous figure)
Come, Willow. We are going to the market.
PEASANT: To get carrots?
NARRATOR: And so Lady Marigold rode to the market astride Willow. Meanwhile, in the Royal Palace, the Price Regent was anxiously awaiting the return of his betrothed, as he had promised her earlier that he would go riding with her.
PRINCE: Where is that blasted woman?!
MILO: How should I know, Sire?
PRINCE: Milo, dash it, you're my blasted helper-person! You bally well SHOULD know!
HERALD: (blows trumpet)
MILO: This could be her now.
HERALD: Oh no!!! (drops trumpet off battlements)
HERALD: My trumpet!
PRINCE: YOU FOOL! Go and pick up your trumpet immediately!
HERALD: Of course, Sire.
NARRATOR: And so the herald went to pick up his trumpet.
SERVANT: (opens door) The Lady Marigold!
PRINCE: What about her?
(Lady Marigold enters)
SERVANT: She's here, Sire.
PRINCE: Oh! Well, let her in!!
MILO: Look, Sire.
PRINCE: Oh, hello, betrothed.
LADY MARIGOLD: Greetings, Your Highness.
PRINCE: Is that all!? Just "greetings"? Where have you been?!
LADY MARIGOLD: I've been having Willow shod.
PRINCE: What on earth made you go and do that?
PRINCE: That was a good horse!
LADY MARIGOLD: She still is!
PRINCE: You blinking shot that horse!
LADY MARIGOLD: My lord, I did no such thing!
PRINCE: You just said-
MILO: I think you misunderstand Her Ladyship, Sire.
PRINCE: What?!
MILO: Her Ladyship had the horse SHOD, Sire. Not SHOT, as you seem to believe.
LADY MARIGOLD: Quite correct.
MILO: (smiles satisfactorily)
SERVANT: (opens door) Sir Godfrey!
(Godfrey enters)
PRINCE: He couldn't be here! I didn't hear the trumpet!
HERALD: My trumpet is broken, Sire! Look!
PRINCE: Who broke it?
HERALD: Well- the rock did.
PRINCE: What rock?
HERALD: The rock outside your castle, Sire.
PRINCE: Have the rock hung!
HERALD: Very good, Sire. Now about the matter of this trumpet-
HERALD: I was wondering if I could trouble you-
PRINCE: No! I hate trouble! I've got enough troubles as it is!
SIR GODFREY: What's all this?
PRINCE: Ah, Sir Godfrey! Just the man I wanted to see.
SIR GODFREY: Your herald's trumpet appears to be malfunctioning, my liege.
PRINCE: A rock broke it.
LADY MARIGOLD: If Your Highness would excuse me, I am going to my room.
PRINCE: Oh, hello.
LADY MARIGOLD: No, goodbye.
(Lady Marigold leaves)
HERALD: Now, about this trumpet...
PRINCE: Sir Godfrey, this herald is a plague to my soul. What should I do about him?
SIR GODFREY: You should fix his trumpet, Sire. Or have him hanged for being such a nuisance.
PRINCE: Hmmm...
SIR GODFREY: And what is this story he's feeding you about a rock breaking his trumpet? My liege, rocks do not break trumpets! This man is obviously lying in the hope that you will, out of your kind and generous spirit, give him money to fix his trumpet!
PRINCE: (gradually realizes) Oooohh! I see now! This blighted herald has been playing
upon my generosity like a stringed instrument!
HERALD: I play trumpet, Your Highness. Not stringed instruments.
PRINCE: Trumpet shmumpet! You shall be hanged for your deceit!
MILO: Along with the rock?
PRINCE: Yes, hang the both of them!
HERALD: But, Your Majesty, I speak truth! Besides, what would you do without a herald?
MILO: He does have a point, Sire.
PRINCE: Well, hrm yes, I hadn't thought of that...
SIR GODFREY: Now he is playing upon your sympathy. My lord, it would not be difficult to obtain a new herald.
PRINCE: Oh, of course! Hang this blasted herald!
HERALD: You'll have to fix the trumpet whether I live or die, Your Highness!
PRINCE: Hang the trumpet too!!! I'm fed up with all this cock-a-ninny chicanery!
MILO: That was a good one, Sire.
PRINCE: Thank you, Milo. Expect a pay bonus.
NARRATOR: And so the next morning at daybreak a group of people assembled in the town square to witness the hanging.
EXECUTIONER: Behold the royal mandate of His Highness the Prince: One herald, one trumpet, and one boulder, to be hung by the neck until dead.
HERALD: But my trumpet hasn't got a neck!
EXECUTIONER: Well, erm...
MAN: Yes it has! Right behind the bell!!
HERALD: And how do you know so much about trumpets?
MAN: I'm applying for your old position.
(HERALD is stunned)
WOMAN: What about the rock?
WOMAN: It hasn't a neck!
HERALD: She's right.
EXECUTIONER: Well, of course it has! Why else would the Prince have decreed it be HUNG by the neck? Hmmm?
MAN: Well she IS right. Look at it! Where do you suppose its neck would be?
EXECUTIONER: Ummm... (begins hesitantly pointing at random spots which could be the neck, but deciding otherwise each time)
MAN: You see? Boulders don't HAVE necks!
CROWD: (agrees)
EXECUTIONER: There's got to be some way...
HERALD: I know! (addresses crowd) Good citizens! Is any one of you a sculptor?
(indecisive murmuring)
SCULPTOR: (deep voice) I am.
(hush on crowd)
HERALD: Do you think you could sculpt a neck into this boulder?
SCULPTOR: Nay, good herald. I am but a sculptor of clay.
HERALD: Oh drat.
EXECUTIONER: It was a good idea though.
HERALD: Thanks.
EXECUTIONER: No, we shall just tie the rope around the rock, and then call that part of the rock its neck.
CROWD: (agrees)
HERALD: Hang on!
EXECUTIONER: Right. (begins to slip noose around herald's neck)
HERALD: I mean hold on!!
HERALD: I've had another idea just occur to me.
MAN: Well?
HERALD: Read that mandate again.
EXECUTIONER: One herald, one trumpet, and one boulder, to be hung by the neck until dead. That's it, to the letter.
HERALD: Good citizens, do any of you bear the noble name of Harold?
(several citizens raise their hands)
HERALD: You see, good executioner, which of us heralds are you going to hang?
CROWD: (appreciative murmuring)
EXECUTIONER: Erm, I hadn't thought of that... I assume you, of course.
HERALD: Why me and not that good sculptor over there?
(herald folds his arms satisfactorily)
Because YOU were the only herald in the Prince's palace.
HERALD: Does the mandate specifically SAY it COULDN'T be the sculptor?
SCULPTOR: My impetuous herald, you sully my good name! I have done nothing against the crown or my country!
HERALD: I am sure of it, my friend. I selected you specifically for that reason, to show to this executioner the foolishness of his mandate.
(sculptor nods in understanding and appreciation)
EXECUTIONER: But how are we to know which herald to hang?
MAN: I think I have it!
HERALD: Speak, man!
MAN: Since the mandate doesn't specify a specific herald, as long as A herald is hung, the mandate will have been followed.
CROWD: (approves)
EXECUTIONER: Which of you heralds volunteers to be hanged?
(lengthy silence)
Oh, dear me... This is a bit of a quandary.
WOMAN: Does anyone have ANYTHING they wouldn't mind hanging?
SECOND MAN: Hang on!
EXECUTIONER: We can't just yet.
SECOND MAN: I mean... I've just realized something!
SECOND MAN: I've got a troublesome chicken!
CROWD: (pshaws)
EXECUTIONER: A troublesome chicken?! That's no help!
MAN: Hang on! (executioner is about to say something) What do you mean?
SECOND MAN: Well, she's been starting to peck at the other chickens...
MAN: No, no, no, I understand she's troublesome! Why do you bring up this chicken?
SECOND MAN: For eggs! That's why I bring up any of my chickens!
HERALD: This good peasant is wondering why did you MENTION this troublesome chicken?
SECOND MAN: Only that I wouldn't mind hanging it, that's all.
EXECUTIONER: But is it a herald?
MAN: (suddenly inspired) Have you named it yet?
SECOND MAN: Actually, y-
MAN: Of course you haven't! And what better name for it than Harold?
HERALD: Genius!
SECOND MAN: But it's a girl chicken!! You can't name a girl chicken Harold!
MAN: How do you know it's a girl chicken? There's guy chickens that look like girl chickens! I seen plenty!
SECOND MAN: She lays eggs!!
MAN: Well, of course he lays eggs! If you were a guy chicken what looked like a girl chicken, and all the other chickens what looked like you were laying eggs, you'd lay eggs too, just to fit in!
HERALD: You miss the point. Go get your troublesome chicken Harold.
SECOND MAN: Its name is Sylvia!
MAN: Don't talk nonsense! Go get Harold! We're doing you a favor here!
SECOND MAN: (grumblingly obliges)
SECOND MAN: Here's Sylvia.
MAN: (quickly correcting) Harold!
CHICKEN: Squawk!!
EXECUTIONER: Does the chicken have a neck?
SECOND MAN: Of course! All chickens have necks! Everyone knows that!
EXECUTIONER: Well, that's settled then. Bring the chicken here.
NARRATOR: And so the Harold was hung -- Harold the troublesome chicken, that is -- along with a trumpet and a large boulder. The three offenders were to remain in the town square for a week to warn the peasants against treachery to the crown. Meanwhile, back at the Royal Palace, Lady Marigold was in her chambers confiding in her maid Susan.
LADY MARIGOLD: ...didn't even know I was there! He just stood there babbling about a herald's trumpet and a rock! He didn't say two words to me except "You SHOT your horse?!" I told him this morning I was going to get her shod, didn't I? Well, didn't I?
MAID: Yes, milady.
LADY MARIGOLD: And I was only getting Willow shod so we could go riding, as he promised me we would today. But no, I come in, and what does he do? Say "Oh THERE you are dearest! Come, let us go riding as I promised!"? No! He says "Oh, hello, where have you been?" like he hadn't even expected me! Hundreds of Princes in the world, and I have to get betrothed to a scatterbrained idiot!
MAID: Er, His Highness the Prince does seem to have behaved in an insensitive manner, milady, but-
LADY MARIGOLD: Insensitive! I'll say! He specifically promised me in so many words "I will go riding with you tomorrow," and considering he promised that yesterday, today is the day he should have gone riding with me! But he had Business Matters to attend to! As soon as that foul oaf Sir Godfrey entered the room, I could not have dragged a word out of him had I been a wild boar!
MAID: Milady, if you were a wild boar, I doubt you would even be in this situ-
LADY MARIGOLD: You know what I mean.
MAID: Perhaps His Highness DID have pressing business to attend to, milady.
LADY MARIGOLD: Yes he did! Riding with me! Is that selfish? It sounds a little selfish, now that I think about it, asking him to go riding with insignificant little me when he has matters of State to deal with. But a ROCK?! When's the last time a rock and a trumpet have ever had a significant role in matters of State?!
MAID: If I recall correctly, milady, the Israelites once defeated the Midianites with nothing but trumpets and rocks, under the leadership of Gideon.
LADY MARIGOLD: Well, you don't recall correctly. They weren't rocks, they were jars and torches.
MAID: Of course, milady, I recall it now: Gideon, with an army of only 300 men-
LADY MARIGOLD: Yes, I know the story well, but I fail to see how it applies to us. We have no Midianites oppressing us! Nor, I don't suppose, do we have an enemy at all! The Prince could only have been sidetracked, and all too easily I might add, by a trivial matter.
MAID: It may be best not to cast assumptions upon His Highness the Prince.
LADY MARIGOLD: His Highness the Prince! Pah! His Miserableness the Harebrained Idiot is more like it! No, I'll cast assumptions upon him! I'll cast more than that upon him if necessary!
MAID: It seems you are not fond of the Prince Regent, milady.
LADY MARIGOLD: Yes, and it seems that the worm is not fond of the early bird. Any more understatements?
MAID: (crestfallen) No, milady. I am sorry.
(pause; softening of Lady Marigold's features)
LADY MARIGOLD: Oh, so am I, dearest Sue. I spoke in haste. I am caught up in emotional turmoil over the thought of living the rest of my life with a man who has a feather for a brain. I did not mean to insult you.
MAID: Fret not, milady, I knew you did not mean to wound me. Your mind is troubled.
LADY MARIGOLD: Oh, that's a relief! You are not offended?
MAID: No, milady, I want only your happiness.
LADY MARIGOLD: Dearest Sue! (beat) Oh, but speaking of my happiness, what am I to do? Were I a physician, I would give my happiness just four days to live!
MAID: The wedding is so soon, milady?
LADY MARIGOLD: Yes. Four days from now, in this very palace, I shall be joined in matrimony to the world's only remaining dodo bird!The Compendium

© 1998-2024 Zach Bardon
Last modified 7.19.2019
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