Thursday, August 12, 2010

The Bristol Renaissance Faire's Guilde of St. Lawrence Babysits A REAL DUCK

(Photo by Phoole Fave and Super-Genius Ivan Phillips.)

All the best people I know have been receiving discouraging news lately, and we've all been feeling a bit run down by the oppressive heat and humidity, and by oppressive oppressors. So I thought I would just mention that if you visit the Dirty Duck Inn at the Bristol Renaissance Faire, of which the Guilde of St. Lawrence are proprietors, and you do so in the late afternoon, you may encounter AN ACTUAL DUCK.

Last Saturday, in my guise as Jane the Phoole, well-dressed blurter of idiocies and occasional wisdoms, I was tooling around in the wake of some powerful Counties: the Earl of Leycester and the Countesses of Sussex and Warwick were there, and a servant of the Sussex household colloquially known as "Pie Boy" because he is content to be paid for his services in pies; and I'm too addled to recall who else was in the company, but there we were, idly sauntering to the North end of the city close to day's end.

We were hard by the Inn, and the Earl said, "Let's go frighten the lower classes -- they never get to see us up close." This sounded fun, so we breached the innyard and caused a conflagration of shocked and terrified bows and curtsies and other abasings, which, I can tell you, always warms the cockles.

And then, out from under a countertop, a white duck slapped his way out onto the cobbles directly in front of our little raiding party. He had bright orange webbed feet and a little Doc-Emmett-Brown tuft of feathers puffing out the back of his head, as if his little duck brain had exploded, and he tilted his head around, exactly as if animated by Nick Park, quizzically assessing all of us as we guffawed in surprise.

"Where is the innkeeper?!" thundered the Earl, and Master Peter Cabot leapt handily over a table and presented himself in a sweeping reverance (I seem to recall -- though of course in my memory now, the whole episode has turned into a Very Exciting Short Film with dramatic music and tight edits and heightened drama, so it's possible that didn't actually happen).

"How, fellow, didst thou come by this duck?" asked the flustered Earl. (Small animals and large birds of all kinds are a tremendous laff-riot novelty with the visiting nobility on Progress at Bristol, you may have gathered by now.)

And calmly as anything, Master Cabot replied, quietly, "Why, my Lord Earl, God hath provided us with this duck."

And for some reason, that struck us all as the Funniest Thing Anyone Ever Said Ever, and we fell about laughing, the duck surveying us with mute wonderment the while.

After I have pretended to be a functioning adult in modern society for a while longer, I will have more amusing little anecdotes with which to distract you, but I hope you have enjoyed this duck tale in the meantime.

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