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5 EXTERIOR - DAY

A village. Sound of chanting of Latin canon, punctuated by short, sharp cracks. It comes nearer. We see it is a line of MONKS ala SEVENTH SEAL flagellation scene, chanting and banging themselves on the foreheads with wooden boards. They pass a group of villagers who are dragging a beautiful YOUNG WOMAN dressed as a witch through the streets. They drag her to a strange house/ruin standing on a hill outside the village. A strange-looking knight stands outside, SIR BEDEVERE.

FIRST VILLAGER: We have found a witch. May we burn her?

ALL: A Witch! Burn her!

BEDEVERE: How do you know she is a witch?

ALL: She looks like one. Yes, she does.

BEDEVERE: Bring her forward.

They bring her forward - a beautiful YOUNG GIRL (MISS ISLINGTON) dressed up as a witch.

Witch And Bedevere

WITCH: I am not a witch. I am not a witch.

BEDEVERE: But you are dressed as one.

WITCH: They dressed me up like this.

ALL: We didn't, we didn't!

WITCH: This is not my nose, It is a false one.

BEDEVERE takes her nose off.

BEDEVERE: Well?

FIRST VILLAGER: ... Well, we did do the nose.

BEDEVERE: The nose?

FIRST VILLAGER: And the hat. But she is a witch.

ALL: A witch, a witch, burn her!

BEDEVERE: Did you dress her up like this?

FIRST VILLAGER: ... Um ... Yes ... no ... a bit ... yes... she has got a wart.

BEDEVERE: Why do you think she is a witch?

SECOND VILLAGER: She turned me into a newt.

BEDEVERE: A newt?

SECOND VILLAGER (After looking at himself for some time): I got better.

ALL: Burn her anyway.

BEDEVERE: Quiet! Quiet! There are ways of telling whether she is a witch.

ARTHUR and PATSY ride up at this point and watch what follows with interest

ALL: There are? Tell up. What are they, wise Sir Bedevere?

BEDEVERE: Tell me ... what do you do with witches?

ALL: Burn them.

BEDEVERE: And what do you burn, apart from witches?

FOURTH VILLAGER: ... Wood?

BEDEVERE: So why do witches burn?

SECOND VILLAGER (pianissimo): ... Because they're made of wood...?

BEDEVERE: Good.

PEASANTS stir uneasily then come round to this conclusion.

ALL: I see. Yes, of course.

BEDEVERE: So how can we tell if she is made of wood?

FIRST VILLAGER: Make a bridge out of her.

Villagers

BEDEVERE: Ah ... but can you not also make bridges out of stone?

ALL: Ah. Yes, of course ... um ... err ...

BEDEVERE: Does wood sink in water?

ALL: No, no, It floats. Throw her in the pond. Tie weights on her. To the pond.

BEDEVERE: Wait. Wait ... tell me, what also floats on water?

ALL: Bread? No, no, no. Apples .... gravy ... very small rocks ...

ARTHUR: A duck.

They all turn and look at ARTHUR. BEDEVERE looks up very impressed.

BEDEVERE: Exactly. So... logically ...

FIRST VILLAGER (beginning to pick up the thread): If she ... weighs the same as a duck ... she's made of wood.

BEDEVERE: And therefore?

ALL: A witch! ... A duck! A duck! Fetch a duck.

FOURTH VILLAGER: Here is a duck, Sir Bedevere.

BEDEVERE: We shall use my largest scales.

He leads them a few yards to a very strange contraption indeed, made of wood and rope and leather. They put the GIRL in one pan and the duck in another. Each pan is supported by a wooden stave. BEDEVERE checks each pan then ... ARTHUR looks on with interest.

BEDEVERE: Remove the supports.

Two PEASANTS knock them away with sledge hammers. The GIRL and the duck swing slightly but balance perfectly.

Witch And Duck

ALL: A witch! A witch!

WITCH: It's a fair cop.

ALL: Burn her! Burn her! Let's make her into a ladder.

The VILLAGERS drag the girl away, leaving ARTHUR and BEDEVERE regarding each other admiringly.

BEDEVERE: Who are you who are so wise in the ways of science?

ARTHUR: I am Arthur, King of the Britons.

BEDEVERE: My liege ... forgive me ...

ARTHUR looks at PATSY with obvious satisfaction.

ARTHUR: Good Sir knight, will you come with me to Camelot, and join our number at the Round Table?

BEDEVERE: My liege, I am honored.

ARTHUR steps forward, drawing his sword, with a slight hint of difficulty

ARTHUR: What is your name?

BEDEVERE: Bedevere, my Liege.

ARTHUR: Then I dub you ... Sir Bedevere ... Knight of the Round Table!


<-- Scene 4 | Scene 6 -->


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