Astride his trusting steed, the great war-horse England, the much celebrated knight pondered, thinking of the great victories at Dorylaeum and Jerusalem, wondering what life would now bring upon his return home. He had signed on as anon.crusader, persuaded by his good friend Sir Gawain (he who sought the holy grail, anon.Indiana), the rescuer of damsels, the answer to fair maiden’s dreams, the man who’d clasped a thousand bosoms, 6′ 6″ and athletic too. His polished lance, cut from sturdy oak in Sherwood, held aloft, adorned with the colours of a hundred ladies who had paid homage to his nights , tributes to his success. George, the knight bachelor, lifted his visor, the red plume on his helmet streaming out in the wind, the slain dragon an emblem on his jupon.
The small Saxon bootshine boy polished the shining armour nervously, aware that towering above him was the legend of match.com. It was April 23rd, he had planned to end his membership, things had seemed quiet recently, dragons were fewer and those that were left were largely visitors from Japan their cameras held between their claws, the Christians seemed more intent upon fighting amongst themselves, and the modem had been strangely silent.
He dialled upon his Saxonphone, there was a message ! Could this be the call he was waiting upon, a last adventure to end in happiness ? He gazed at the runes scratched out on the screen, and the words spelled out a message……
To: anon.crusader (firstname.lastname@example.org) From: anon.indistress
Knight in shining armour needed to rescue me and satisfy my dreams. Held captive by the dragon Harriet. No smokers. Brain to match basinet. I am slender and curvy, blue-eyed and blonde. Activity partner needed urgently.
George yanked sharply upon the reins, dug his spurs deep into England’s side (who muttered something about writing to an Animal Welfare group if he did that again). His shield, decorated with a baton sinister and a gift from the Burger King (it came with a Western Whopper), held close to his side, he pointed the destrier to the west.
He rode purposefully across the countryside, slaying beasts where’er he found them (lions, unicorns, double-headed eagles, and even topping the odd fleur-de-lys), and being chased furiously by wardens from the National Parks. He stopped but once, at Taco Bell, when hunger briefly overtook him.
All day he rode, intent upon his mission, across hill and dale, and through the great forests of redwood, until at last he came to the spot where destiny awaited.
The castle stood atop a small hill, its bleak grey walls and battlements a landmark upon the countryside. Hanging from the window near the summit of a tower was a sheet, upon which were scrawled the words “England, I have need of thee !”. A small white face peered from the window, the hair shining gold in the evening sunlight, the lips red and inviting. Desire, for that was her chosen name, waited anxiously and hopefully, knowing that one day the knight of her dreams would come.
Sitting on a rocking chair beneath the gatehouse, guarding the rusting portcullis and old drawbridge, sat the dragon Harriet (anon.scales).
An old Harley-Davidson, well-kept and polished carefully over the years by the long tail, stood nearby, still ready to roar into action at one strong kick.
Spying her knight in shining armour breaking from the woods Desire let out the immortal cry……. “My God Harry, here’s England ! And Saint George !”
Unsheathing his sword, St. George addressed the dragon thus, “What wicked deeds I do hear of thee. With this trusty sword I must slay thee and release the fair maiden from her tower.”
The dragon, Harriet, raised a weary eye. She had been ill in recent weeks, her temperature had fallen to below ignition point. She was breathing deeply, but the smoke barely left the blue nostrils. She sneezed, and England bucked beneath a hail of sparks.
“You wish to save a maiden fair ? But what of me, kind sir ? For since my husband ran off in search of the maid of Orleans (anon.jofarc) I have raised this wench alone. What has she done for me ? Suitors, I have seen many, though none have stayed beyond the night. How can “huggable” compare with petite or cute, or forty-plus-something with young and vibrant ?.
Each visitor has sat and talked, exchanged the memories, then climbed the stairs with her. I have been kicked from rock to well, as the villagers have mocked my form come each rogation day. “
St. George paused, and gazed upon the lonely form. Her big brown eyes were really quite appealing, and she did flutter her wings in a most unusual way.
He raised his sword, then returned it to its sheath, reaching slowly for his silver hip flask (engraved “a gift from match.com for filling in every survey form we have sent you”). He unscrewed the cap gently and carefully poured a potion of petrol (unleaded, for was she not really a green dragon ?).
He gazed at Harriet, then raised his eyes to the tower to look upon Desire, the maiden he had ridden hard and far to rescue.
Desire fluttered her eyes, pouted her lips, and leaned forward from the window, her form becoming ever more evident to George’s vision.
“Oh George ! You must rescue me ! Only you can answer my hopes and make my dreams come true. The others were but naught, I have only eyes for thee.”
George slowly raised his visor, had not Sir Lanceolot told him of similar words (?), his gaze drifted back again to Harriet. Harriet sipped slowly at her drink, the colour came back to her cheeks, her scales regained their glow, and the smoke from her nostrils slowly turned to the flickering flames, reminding George of quiet firesides and warmer evenings.
Dismounting the horse that had served through many battles, he walked slowly over to Harriet and placed his arms around her, lifting her gently to the Harley. He mounted this new metallic horse, kicked it into life, its roar more fierce than any dragon.
He looked at Desire.
“England may well hath need of you”, he cried, “but I have found my Lady !”
And together they rode off into the sunset, leaving Desire, with her horse, still waiting for her dream to come true.
——————————————————————————– Copyright: David Hopcroft 1997
She sat beneath the old green oak, clad in tights and shortest cloak A picture of beauty to greet the morn Robina hood of lasting fame, unto Sherwood finally came A light that sparkled with the dawn.
They looked and glanced, they sat entranced A bedraggled band of men For each had groped and each had hoped But she’d spurned the lot of them.
What ? merry Men ? They look so pale ! Why recount a doleful tale ? So gathered from the forest floor, In cooking pot that bubbles, to vanish all their troubles .. Magic mushrooms by the score !
They each sat down to drink a fill, old Wat himself and Scarlet Will, Their eyes lit up ! They were elated ! Jumping from the ground they danced around In manner unco-ordinated.
With arms upraised, their eyes were glazed She led them from their hidden den With a little mocking, showed them some black stocking … Followed on her merry men !
Where our heroine has an encounter upon a bridge …..
Coming soon to clearing green, separated by a stream Robina found moss covered log to cross Forth with footstep that was fleet, felt the clout of heavy feet Look-ed up, gave a cry ! Set her foot upon the moss
Crossing from the further shore, a giant from those days of yore She gazed again and with a sigh .. Fluttering her eyes, to his surprise Cried out aloud “A man, oh my !”
Took an arrow from her quiver, felt her body give a shiver “Give way my friend and let me pass” As thoughts are dreams, or so it seems, “We could make hay within yon grass”
His laugh became a great guffaw, voice let out a mighty roar, “You judge me wrong, my pretty chick” For in his imagination, no room for discrimination, “To have me you must pass my stick”
“Lets see your stave, you churlish knave” She cried with much excitement And with a laugh, took out his staff And saw her disappointment.
He turned his cap, and raised his bat And called for her to pitch Though he was frightening, she struck like lightening, And dumped him in the ditch
So maidens fair in seeking men, have hopes excited by the pen, Yet such imagination cannot be a sin Just as Yuletide every year, often brings forth a little tear When packaging flatters much the gift within.
In which our heroine finds her wishes unfulfilled …..
Love in waiting hath pre-empted, she would surely soon be tempted, So to curb instinct’s desire Journeyed in this month of May, to Fountains Abbey for to pray, Confess herself to Tuck the Friar.
Yearning of her body felt, knew that heart soon would melt Behind the curtain’s velvet screen A voice so deep, she could not sleep Woken from her dreams, was missing, imagination for the kissing
Coming soon to Abbey’s gate, hoped that she could plot a fate, Cast eyes upon sweet mouth that spoke, Share a smile, then dwell awhile, Determine should he become her bloke.
This Saxon maid was not afraid, Pressed her lips close on the curtain, Pushing hard against the thread, felt the form of merry head, Pecked his cheek, she was certain.
His vows forgotten, heart that had been downtrodden, Drove the Friar to try his luck, Abandoned he her confession, time to give another lesson ! Cried, “I am your man, just call me Tuck !”
Reputation to be made, cri-ed out our fair maid, “My Friar, I hear that you are merry !” Throwing up her pretty head, pouting forth lips so red “Give me your love, I’ll be your cherry !”
Now Tuck was of the very few, who could make the wonder brew, “Ah, but your cheeks, they seem so pale” In its time yeast had fermented, barley, hops; so she consented To sup upon his finest ale !
She sipped from finest crystal glass, he gulped upon his mug of brass, She sips again, whilst he refills, Drips of ale from the barrel, fall upon Holy apparel, As Tuck turneth pale at the gills.
Tho’ he were large and quite a brute, she was small, even cute, The brew it weaved its strangest spell, Her emotions stronger, could wait no longer, Into his arms she gently fell.
Hoped upon her annointment, with a gush of Holy ointment, Felt his warmth, wished for more To unify this appointment. Suddenly, more disappointment …. She could hear familiar snore !
In which the desires of age are partly to be met …..
Slumber alone beneath the oak, snuggled in that small green cloak, A winter that became a mockery, The letter that she wanted most, shot from an arrow in the post, To say that she had won her man in lottery !
Alas, the prize it did not come, Spring followed now with winter done Still there was no real hunk Body it became quite frail, lacking sustenance from male, Withering of cur-ved trunk
But April with its showers nourished, and her body duly flourished Hopes and wishes were soon sighs Blossoming of trees in May, felt that she could have her day Girded up those green clad thighs
Merry men were not beaten, having of more fungus eaten Packed their bags with more supplies Journeyed forth to some village, not to rape or indulge in pillage Trading magic potions in disguise
Emerging from the darkened wood, led by their Robina Hood Unto a hamlet ‘neath a hill Dancing in a twirling dress, a girl with face that was so fresh A form that beckoned with a will
Robina’s heart with sorrow filled, had age her beauty finally killed ? Such were her feelings, and she grieved Then the maiden gaily skipping, became a victim of her tripping Wait … eyes were mistaken, the mind deceived.
Underneath that petticoat, sight she saw put lump in throat, Wishing she’d not been uncouth For legs once clothed were now exposed Revealing fairest flower of youth.
For where the world yields not man, you must take what you can Heart cries out so full of joy, “Summer’s come, Spring has passed, and now, oh now, at long last I’ve found my very own toy boy.”
A moment then of some suspicion, could such a union yield fruition ? Asked she for reason of his clothing. “‘Tis my penance from a Squire, I dipped iron in daughter’s fire, And he made me Marion for my roving !”
So the lad kept his disguise, revealed he only to her eyes And then only in some shady glade The mushroom men this secret kept, and often while they had slept Marion his reputation made.
In which our heroine makes her choice ……….
As this story still is told, my memory does not grow cold Stole from the rich, thieved from the poor Robbed the barons of their riches, merry men she had in stitches When even taxmen lost their britches
So it was in her annoyance, Robina announced with much flamboyance No longer would she a maiden tarry, Ready riches soon were given, jewellery and fine linen, It was the Sheriff she would marry !
Down the aisle, walked with a smile, Soldiers side by side with archers. Sheriff dressed in finest white; legs in green were quite a sight Folks they came from all the marches.
In those early days of flower power, the act which is the finest hour He fastened a ring within her nose Belly bulging, somewhat indulging, Sank he down to kiss her toes
Hearken now ! The great crusader, better surely now than later Back from all those business trips abroad …. Saving Jerusalem for glory ….. nobody believes that story ! ‘Twas maidens who had known his silvered sword !
Riding high upon great steed, soon to fill his last deed Coming fast to castle gate Its Great King Dick, but wait a tick … The hero has arrived too late !!