Another submission from Mike Franklin.
I shall keep this preamble short for I fear that great moments in history should be recalled without recourse to explanation. Relax, dear reader, for the tale I tell is one of mighty deed.
Once, in days of old when knights were bold and rode around the country saving damsels in distress there was a little man. Now I mean little not just small but really really little. He may have been the smallest fully grown man alive. Anyway you see what I mean? He was tiny.
Despite being both vertically and horizontally disadvantaged (if you say it that way he won’t feel bad about being diminutively sure–)
This little guy was out in the country one day and heard a cry for help. Quickly he ran to see what he could do. Again he heard the cry it sounded like a young woman yelling for help, and she must be just on the other side of the bushes just in front of him. Without a thought for his own safety the little fellow thrust the bushes aside and ran toward the sound of her cry.
He felt himself falling and the next thing he knew he was all wet. Literally in over his head so to speak. This was one time when size didn’t matter really. He pushed his way to surface and looked around. It was quite easy to see what had happened. The bushes were on the edge of an embankment that surrounded a large lake. Fortunately for him (and the the screaming woman) he was an excellent swimmer.
An a ear drum shattering scream actually boarding on a high pitched bellow brought him back to the situation at hand. Not ten feet away was a very wet young lady one arm extended hand grabbing the air as she the sound she was making turned into a gurgles. This was do to the large amount of water that rushed into her mouth as her head sank below the surface of the lake.
Now I’ve already told you that our small friend was an excellent swimmer so it was nothing for him to swim to the spot where she had disappeared and grab her hand which was still above the water and swim the few feet to shore.
Once out on the edge of the lake the job became a little more difficult as the more of this full sized young woman he managed to get out of the water the harder it became to move someone so much bigger than himself. Being the kind of guy he was though he gave it his all and managed to get out of the water far enough to allow him to turn her head to the side, and by applying his feet to The middle of her back he got her to start breathing again.
Soon she was able to bring herself clear out of the water. Pulling her hair back out of her face she was amazed to see her benefactor was this little fellow standing before her.
His lack of stature did nothing to diminish her gratitude. She insisted that he must come home with her and receive his just reward from her father. Her father was no less a personage of course than the local king.
On the way back to the castle a large troupe of horsemen found them walking along the road. They were quite naturally the king’s men sent out to search for his daughter. The king (clever fellow) had known something was wrong when her horse had returned without her.
That evening the king held a banquet to honor our intrepid hero. At the banquet in front of the entire court the little fellow was declared an official hero of the realm by royal proclamation. As befits a hero of the realm the king granted him anything his heart desired. All he had to do was say it and the king promised he would devote all the resources of the realm to granting him his wish.
One all consuming ambition had always been his most ardent desire. This one thing was all in the world he wanted. So quite naturally upon hearing the king’s speech he eagerly said “I want to be a knight”. The silence was as instant as was total. What would the king do?
Everyone in the room knew the impossibility of such a request. The physical aspects of the profession of knighthood alone precluded our hero from the job. The king was between his speech and a hard place. The entire court and through them the entire land had or soon would, hear how the king had said: “This courageous man contained with in him courage so great as to be legendary”. The king had said all that and more. After all kings are politicians too.
As any good public servant will tell you there is a time to fulfill a promise and another time. Clearly this was another time, or was it? We have already established that this king was a clever fellow. What he did next proves it. Remembering his “Master At Arms” William Fite. He called for him and said I want you to train this man for knighthood keep me advised of his progress. The master at arms replied yes my lord. As he led our hero away to the training hall the king said to the princess see I told we could work it out. Then he uttered that now famous phrase: “where there’s Will there’s a way”.
Will was to have a few problems of his own however. Just to begin with where was he to find armor and weapons for a diminutive knight in training? Well he thought, perhaps this little fellow won’t be able to learn the required skills. As the days passed however he discovered that our small hero gave one hundred and ten percent in his efforts to learn the skills of knighthood.
The little fellow had aced the chivalry exams and likewise the protocol test. and it was time for weapons training. Will went to the king an said: “Sire: (They talked that way, the king wasn’t really his dad.) We have no weapons of a size suitable for this man.” So the King ordered the royal blacksmith to make weapons and amour for the small knight with a big heart. Our hero threw himself into the arms training with if possible even more effort and enthusiasm. So much did he practice that in record time he had completed his training.
The king (who had followed the little knight’s progress) knew that even though this little man was small he had even won sword duels by virtue of his speed and daring. There still remained one problem. He could not joust or even go about the countryside without a trusty steed. A great search though out the kingdom found that there was not one single horse small enough for the job.
Kings have a way about them though. So the king assumed all of his kinglyness and said to the royal groom: ” find him a mount, or I shall find a new royal groom, for I insist that all my servants have heads. If you get my meaning.” The royal groom did indeed understand exactly what the king meant. Quite naturally he put a great deal of thought and effort into solving the problem. The solution the groom provided was unique. No horse or animal even close to a horse could be found in all the realm for the smallest knight.
So the groom trained an animal large enough to carry the the little champion dressed in his battle armor. As fate would have it the animal turned out to be a large dog. Now this large dog was also extremely ugly. But he could carry the little knight, and was very intelligent and quickly learned all the tactics of the war horse. In addition he liked the little knight and a bond formed between them. So not only did our miniature hero have a mount but a loyal companion as well.
Naturally everyone was pleased especially Will Fite, the Master at Arms, and his friend the groom. . They now felt Their heads were quite a bit more secure. There was a great celebration, at the very height of which our hero slipped away to begin his quest. His quest was of course to become the greatest knight in the realm. Saving fair maidens, keeping the peace and all that.
It went well for our little friend as he went about the country side doing knightly good deeds. In fact his reputation grew and grew. Some say it was even bigger than he was. (That wouldn’t have to be very big.) Spring was over, summer passed, and autumn was mostly gone. The other knights had headed back to the kings castle for the winter. Even the dragons were hibernating. (They don’t like the cold you know.) Our fellow was still at it though, doing the things that no one else wanted to do. They needed done you see. He was just that kind of a guy. At long last after seeing to it that a peasant’s daughter got the pigs promised her for her dowry even our hero knew it was time to call it a season.
In order to get to the kings palace he had to cross a high mountain pass. It was late autumn and if you have lived even near the mountains you know what that means. It means the possibility of snow is more than a possibility.
Out little knight true to form was right in the thick of it. The snow I mean. All across the high mountains the travelers and peasants were seeking shelter. In every Inn and house someone would as he or she fought to close the door against the wind and snow be heard mumbling, grumbling or rumbling: “Never saw it snow like this so early” or “Worst blizzard since 98” or something like that. In the midst of it all rode our little knight. He and his trusty steed were a site the like of which had never been seen before. Nor has any site even remotely resembling them ever been seen since. I can tell you that without fear of being wrong.
Our hero pressed on because he had to. To stop would be to die. No one would even know where to look they would freeze solid. It was beginning to look s though that would be the fate of this small doer of good deeds and his trusty steed. when through the swirling snow he saw a faint glimmer of light. Turning in that direction he urged his trusty steed on. With what was their last reserve they reached the source of that light. Our hero stumbled through the door of the Inn. The inn keeper told him there was no more room. “Please!” said the littlest knight. “We shall perish in this storm.” “Look” said the inn keeper, no room means no room I couldn’t fit another person in here.” “I will stay in the stable” said the knight. “You think all these people walked bub, the stables full too.” said the inn keeper. Sadly the little knight went out and climbed on his steed. He was so sad that he forgot to shut the door. The Inn Keeper went to shut the door just as our hero swung into the saddle. He looked and looked again. He then called out:
WAIT!…Wait! I will find you some place to stay.
“I just can’t turn a Knight Out on a Dog like this.”