Subtitles section Play video Print subtitles Hello. We're off. We've done everything... I put down the tents, everything else is packed away, my Lord's off to the next tournament. Nice to see you though. Before we go, let me tell you one final story... [Music] Once upon a time, not long ago and not far away, there lived a young man who god and fortune had blessed for he was handsome, he was quick-witted, he was loved by his neighbours, he was a regular attender at the church but most of all he was rich. He had a great farm, a beautiful house, stables for the horses, servants to run around after him. He didn't have to do a thing for himself. But he felt that he lacked one thing: he lacked a wife Now it just so happened that his eye had fallen on the daughter of a local farmer and he found an excuse in a market to engage in conversation with this farmer and asked if he might pay a visit to the farmer and his wife to court their daughter. Well of course the farmer was thrilled to bits! The most eligible bachelor in the county, one of the richest young men? This suited the farmer very, very well so he invited the young man round to meet his daughter that very evening. The farmer ran home. 'Wife, wife!' he said, 'fantastic news! That young man, the unmarried one, the richest bachelor in the county, he wants to come and pay court to our daughter! We must make preparations, he's on his way tonight'. Well, the wife was a little surprised at the short notice but dutifully she ran around and tidied up the house. Then she began cooking a sumptuous feast. The daughter, meantime, washed herself as one as she could, brushed out her long lustrous hair and then took out her best dress and beat it with a stick until it was as clean as possible, perfumed herself with scented water and dressed herself. Meanwhile the farmer went around to the local alewife and purchased from her a barrel of her finest ale. Now I have to say this was very, very special stuff. She had a reputation throughout the county. This ale was flavoured with herbs and honey and nothing compared in taste to it. That evening as the sun set there was a tap at the door and sure enough it was a young man. The farmer opened the door, introduced the young man to his wife and then ushered him in so that he could meet their daughter. While the young man was very impressed for their daughter was to give her a due very, very beautiful and looked very well enough in her fine dress. The young man went to sit down and the farmer offered him the best seat at the table and then the wife started to bring out dishes of food. It was a feast fit for a king! Everything, each dish was better than the last. 'Well,' the young man thought, 'this was fantastic'. He had never eaten such fine food but what made it even better was the farmer bought out a jug of ale and this ale was the best ale that this young man had ever tasted in his life. He couldn't believe it! Well, the young man fairly quickly got it into his mind that he was going to ask the farmer a certain question that very evening and so he turned the conversation around to the idea of proposals and the farmer took the hint. Seeing that perhaps the young man wants some private time with him and his wife the farmer sent his daughter to take the jug to the larder to fill it up with more ale and, dutiful daughter that she was, off she went to do that. When the daughter got into the larder she looked at the barrel and where the barrel sat there was a shelf just above it, a rickety old thing, and on that shelf there was a hammer. Well she looked at the shelf, she looked at the hammer and she thought to herself, 'if I was to marry that young man and we were to celebrate our wedding and then come here for the face and he was to come in here with a jug to fill it up with ale from a barrel that was placed here and he was to lean forward and just touch that shelf, the hammer on that shelf would fall off and hit him on the back of the head! He would be killed by the blow! I would be a wife and a widow all in the space of one day!' And with that a big fat tear rolled down her cheek and then another and another and another until she sat on the floor crying her eyes out. Well, the farmer gave her a bit of time but then began to become concerned about why his daughter had not returned so he sent his wife to find her the wife went into the ladder and was presented with the sight of her daughter sat on the floor crying her eyes out. 'Daughter, what's the matter with you?' cried the farmer's wife. 'Oh mum,' said the daughter, 'terrible, terrible news. If I was to marry that young man and on our wedding day we would have come back here to my father's house and then that my young man, my new husband, was to come in here with a jug to fill it up with ale so we could drink a toast to our future happiness and as he went forward to feel the jug if that shelf moved slightly that great heavy hammer there would fall off hit him on the head, break his neck, and I would be a wife and a widow all in the space of one day!' And with that she cried even harder. Well, the farmer's wife looked at the shelf and the hammer. She looked at the position of the barrel. She leant forward and looked up and she realised that her daughter was right. A tear rolled down her cheek and she thought of the disaster that was going to happen when they were wed. Then another tear and another tear, another tear, until she too collapsed on the floor crying her eyes out. Well, by now the farmer was getting a little bit irritated at the uh the ladies in his house delaying him so much. So he made his excuses to the young man and he went to the larder to see what on earth was keeping them. Well when he opened the door to the larder, what did he see his wife and his daughter sat on the floor crying their eyes out. 'What on earth is the matter with you?' We're trying to sort out that young man's marriage to our daughter and you're sat in here crying!' 'Oh husband,' said the wife, 'come and look at this.' And with that she pointed to the shelf where the hammer sat directly above the barrel full of ale. 'If our daughter was to marry that lovely young man and he was to come in here on their wedding day after the ceremony at the church to fill a jug with ale to take it back to top everybody's cups before making a toast to their future happiness together... if that shelf would've moved, that hammer would fall it would catch him on the back of the head and break his neck. Our daughter would be a wife and a widow all in the space of one day! A tear rolled down his cheek. Then another, then another and another until he too sat on the floor crying his eyes out. The young man waited on his own for what seemed like a polite amount of time but he began to fear that some dreadful accident had befallen everybody in the larder and that perhaps he ought to go and see if he could assist. So he went to the door of the larder and he opened the larder door. And when he looked inside what did he see? The farmer, his wife and their daughter sat on the floor crying their eyes out. 'What... what's the matter?' said the young man, 'what... what's wrong?' 'Oh son,' said the farmer, 'terrible, terrible business. If my daughter was to marry you and on your wedding day you were to come down here with a jug to fill it up with ale so you go back to toast your future happiness with your wife and your new family and you to lean forward that hammer up there on that shelf if that were to slip and fall it would strike you on the back of the head. It would break your neck! My beautiful daughter, she would be a wife and a widow all in the space of one day! The young man looked at the hammer. He tried the shelf and indeed the shelf was very rickety. He looked at the position of the barrel of ale and then he reached up to where the hammer was he took the hammer, felt its weight which was substantial, and then put it on the floor. 'There,' he said, 'if I was to come in here now to fill up a jug with ale and that hammer were to fall, the worst that might happen to me is that it might stub my toe. You three really are the three silliest people I've ever met in my life. I'm not going to marry your daughter. I'm going to leave this place, I'm going to travel out tomorrow to see if I can find in the space of three days three people who are more silly than you. And if I can, I will marry elsewhere. But if I discover that you are not the three silliest people in the county then I will return and I will marry your daughter'. And with that the young man left. Next day the young man got up he had his servant saddle one of his horses and off he rode to see if indeed he could find three people more foolish than the people in his village. Well, as he was riding along he looked ahead and on the road ahead he could see just by the side of the road a cottage, an old and tumbled down place. As he got closer, however, he could see something very, very strange for it appeared to him that there was a cow on the roof of the cottage. As he got closer he could see that quite clearly it was indeed a cow gazing out rather mournfully from the roof of this cottage a roof of thatch with patches of grass growing on it and as he got even closer still he could see around the neck of the cow there was a rope a halter and this rope snaked its way up the roof and then disappeared into a hole at the top of the roof that he assumed was the uh chimney. Sensing that something strange was going on the young man got off his horse and went to the door of the cottage and uh knocked on the door. The door opened and a sweet and kindly silver-haired old lady peered out. 'Can I help you young man?' she said. 'Well,' said the young man, 'I think perhaps mam it is me that can help you, for it looks to me like the local youths have played a trick on you and they've placed your cow upon your roof.' 'Oh no,' said the sweet old lady, 'no, no, no young man... you are much mistaken! I... I did that myself this morning'. The young man looked puzzled. 'Ah,' she said, 'well let me explain. The roof, the thatch on my cottage you can see is old and worn and in places great tufts of grass have started to grow. The pasture where I normally feed my cow is a distance of some mile away so every morning I must walk the cow to the field so that he can eat grass before I walk him back again in the evening. Well I thought to myself I would save myself the bother and instead the cow could eat the grass on the roof, that way the roof will be somewhat strengthened and my cow will be fed without me having to walk'. 'Very well,' said the young man, 'but did it not occur to you that the cow might fall off the roof?' The old lady looked at the young man. 'Oh you must take me for an idiot! Of course I thought of that. Well that is why the cow has a rope about its neck. The rope goes down through the vent in the roof and I've tied the other end of the rope around my waist so that if the cow falls I can haul up on the rope and stop the cow falling'. The young man was just about to explain why this plan might not work when there was a rather baleful 'MOOOO-UH' from outside. And sure enough the cow fell. Now the old lady was caught completely by surprise instead of grabbing hold of the rope to steady the cow in its fore she was dragged across the floor of her cottage and into the fireplace. And then the cow which by now had fallen from the roof stood up and started walking towards where his normal pasture was... as it did so the rope tightened again and the poor old lady was hauled up and up through the vent in the roof of her cottage, down across the dirty thatch, into the mud outside and was then being dragged along the road. Well the young man acted very quickly, drew his knife, chased after her, cut through the rope, grabbed the rope and tied the cow to a nearby tree stump and then took the poor old lady back into her house where fortunately he discovered that she hadn't broken any bones and managed to clean her up a bit, before going back to his own horse mounting and going on his way. 'That woman, for all her years and all her experience,' thought the young man 'is one of the silliest people I've ever met. Pffh' The young man continued on his way and uh by now the light was starting to fade so he'd been riding for many, many hours. He thought to himself 'well, I don't really want to go home. I know what, I'll just ride down into the next town and I'll stay at the inn there, I've stayed there many times before'. And so that's what he did. He rode into the next town, which seemed to be very crowded, and went to the local inn there. He knocked on the door... the landlord of the inn let him in. 'Come in sir, come in... oh it's you sir! You're always welcome here'. 'Excellent,' said the young man, 'could I possibly trouble you for a room for the night?' 'Oh sir,' said the landlord, 'I wish I could help you but well it's it's market day sir! Every room in my inn is taken and I don't suppose you'll find a room anywhere else.' 'Oh dear,' said the young man. The landlord thought to himself for a moment. 'I might be able to help you sir. One of my guests, a very, very rich businessman, has a room that has a spare bed in it. I can have a word with him and perhaps if you come to an arrangement with him about the room he will offer you the use of that bed. If that suits you sir?' 'Thank you very much,' said the young man. And so the landlord went and spoke with this man of business and came back said, 'he agrees... if you cover the cost of the room you're more than welcome to stay. He'll be very, very quiet and make sure that he doesn't disturb you'. And with that the young man went to get something to eat and then went upstairs to his bed and fell asleep. In the morning, when the young man woke up, he woke to a very strange sound. It was the sound of the door to the room that he was staying in opening and the sound of somebody running across the room, then a silence, then a thud outside and a groan, and then the sound of somebody running around, running up the stairs and opening the door. And this series of sounds repeated itself so at first the young man wondered if he might be having a dream. But when he opened his eyes this was the sight that greeted him. He looked over towards where the window was where there was light coming into the room and there hanging up in the window on a couple of pins was a set of hose much like these, these ones that I'm now repairing. They were hung up in the window with the top opened as wide as possible. The young man heard the sound of somebody coming up the stairs in the door opening and there stood in the doorway was a man in his shirt. He looked to the window sized up the hose in the window and then he ran towards him as fast as he could and leapt at them legs first. He missed. He fell straight through the window, plummeted to the ground, hit it with a thud and groaned before running around opening the door very quietly and repeating the action again. Well the young man was amazed, he didn't know what was going on. So the next time the door opened and the man stood there the young man said, 'stop... stop! What are you doing my friend?' 'Sorry if i've disturbed you i'm i'm the uh man of business uh i had higher of this room, you very kindly offered to pay for it and uh i didn't want to disturb you this morning but yesterday at marketplace i purchased a pair of joined leg hose but I've never worn them before and I wasn't too sure how to put them on. So I thought I'll hang them in the window where it's light and then i can sort of jump into them and that way i won't disturb you'. 'Come and sit down,' said the young man, and he sat the man of business down on the edge of his bed. 'Let me show you'. He went to the window, he plucked the hose off the hooks and then showed the man of business how to put them on. He stood in his fine new pair of hose and was very pleased. 'Thank you!' he said, 'thank... ooh... they're very comfortable and I can still move. How wonderful! And they're fashionable. Thank you very much indeed young man. Thank you for helping me out'. And with that, the young man dressed himself and left, thinking to himself, 'it's strange... old age and experience, and now intelligence and skill in business... there are no safeguards against silliness' and he went on his way. The young man rode for the space of the next day, back and forth around the county, talking to various people. But truth be told, everybody that he engaged in conversation with had very little to say for themselves. But he had determined that this is what he was going to do. By the end of the second day, as it was drawing dark, he was riding along a road by the light of the moon when ahead he saw a town. 'I shall have to stay there tonight,' he said, 'before I complete my labours next day'. So he rode towards the town which was surrounded by an old wall and been there since the times of the romans. The young man approached on horseback and as he did he saw that the crowd were gazing into the pond, the pond outside the town gate and looking into it and murmuring to each other and clearly they were very concerned about something. 'I wonder if I can help them,' thought the young man. So he rode over and hailed them. 'Hello friends... you seem to be in some consternation. Can I be of any assistance?' 'Ooh,' they said, 'well I don't know, this is a disaster of the first order. Something terrible has happened!' 'Oh dear,' said the young man, 'what... how can I help?' 'The moon! The moon has fallen from its orbit and now resides in our pond. Look, you can see it there on the surface of the pond! What are we going to do? We must get the moon out somehow. That's why we brought our rakes. We're hoping we can rake at the moon and then perhaps lever it up and then use a catapult or something that could throw it back into the air.' The young man was very confused. 'What?' he said. 'But... the moon,' he said looking up into the sky where you could see the moon quite clearly, 'the moon is still there, look! I can see it! Plain as the nose on your face.' 'No, no, no, no, no,' said the townspeople, 'the moon is there, the moon lies in our pond. We must find some way of rescuing it or it will be dark forever. But the young man was very confused. 'Friends,' he said, 'friends... I promise you the moon is still in its rightful place in the heavens'. And at that the mood turned rather ugly. The townspeople turned on him brandishing their rakes.