Knights At Odd
A very long time ago, when the woods were gray-green and
the flowers wereówell, colorful, the sky was sky-blue, and I was happy with the
way that the world was happy with meóat least I would have, had I been alive
then; when knights in dented armor and dented shields wielding dented swords
roamed the land in search ofówell, I never figured out, exactly, what they
were looking foró, there was once a particularly odd knight who happened
to be at odds with another particular odd knight. And when knights are at odds,
the odds are that at some odd moment, by all odds, the odds and ends of the
knightís armory will be testing each otherís metal, with the odds-on favorite at
These two particular knights had a long-standing feud,
something that had been fed and stoked for a long time with no profitable
production. Now the trouble with feuds is sometimes they lead to jousts. Now
jousts are something that are fun and safe, as long as both of the knights are
experienced. Just the other day, a beastly accident occurred when a barmy knight
poked somebodyís eye out with a lance. They really ought to make sure those
chaps donít know their stuff before letting them loose with such dangerous
So anyway, one of those knights was saddled, very unfortunately,
with the name of Sir George, while another had a benevolent granddaddy
graciously bestow the name of Sir John upon him. Now Sir George was a nice sort
of chap. He played straight, he fed his horses, and he only made faces at the
girls occasionally. Sir John, on the other hand, kept aces up his sleeves at all
possible moments (the ticklish bit was when he didnít have a sleeve), didnít
feed his horses (though why not feeding nonexistent horses would be a crime is
beyond me), and made faces whenever he saw the girls (though it may have been
due to the fact that his only experiences with girls had been bad ones. When he
was seven, a girl had thrown a stone at him, a fact he resented. When he was
twelve, a girl had kicked him in the shins, a fact he resented (especially since
it was when he was trying to kiss her). When he was seventeen, a girl had turned
him down for a date, a a fact which he no longer resented, since she had taken a
bad fall and scarred her face horribly).
One day, Sir George went for a
ride on a beautiful horse from his stable, taking only himself along for the
ride. Suddenly he met, wonder of wonders, an enemy more ticklish than Sir John.
It was Baron von Doe, a formidable enemy indeed.
It so happened that the
Baron more or less caught Sir George with an iron-fisted glove, and before Sir
George was aware of the fact, he was being held for ransom. Now being held for
ransom is not all that itís cut out to be. Itís quite an exhilarating
experience. First, the exciting, heart-shopping action of the capture, and then
the enjoyable experience of seeing your friends wriggle and squirm before
reluctantly spilling forth enough dough to set you free. As I said, itís quite
an experience, and it only gets better the more frequently it occurs.
thus it was that Sir George was not terribly put out of sorts by being captured.
It is even said by some malicious fiends (among whom, it is said, are some of
his friends), that Sir George went riding for the sole purpose of being
captured, but I disagree. Sir George simply couldnít be capable of doing
such a thing.
Sir George rode behind the Baron until they reached the
Baronís noble castle, a magnificent castle covering many thousands of square
inches. Sir George was thrown into his dungeon, and lo and behold! Sir John was
also a prisoner.
Sir Georgeís countenance fell. He was disappointed. It
ruined a pleasurable experience to be thrown into the same mess as Sir
"Hallo," Sir George said
"Howís the food?"
"He shouldnít charge so much."
was silent. The problem with being silent during a conversation is that it
leaves you vulnerable to interpretation. The other party might interpret your
silence as an assent, dissent, or simply as an insult.
Sir John didnít
take it as an insult. It was an insult. He threw down his gauntlet. Sir
George stared at the fallen gauntlet absently. Sir John nudged the gauntlet with
his boot. Sir George stared thoughtfully. Sir John kicked the gauntlet. Sir
George rubbed his chin.
"Dash it all! Donít you see the
Sir John gestured impatiently towards the fallen, nudged, and
"Oh, please sir, don't address me; Iím not your
"What do you mean?"
"I donít pick up things that people
"Is that an insult?"
"A statement of fact, my dear
Now, if there is anything more degrading than being called "my dear
man," I must admit that it is being called "my dear boy." Sir John did not care
to be precise as to which he was called. He threw down his other gauntlet. Sir
George stared at it absently.
"Blast it all! Pick up the
Sir George stared thoughtfully.
"Iím tempted to spit
you right here and now!"
Sir George rubbed his chin.
sword," he said, "I just had an excellent idea."
Now if there is anything
that absorbs Sir Johnís interest more than fighting, itís an idea.
is it?" he asked eagerly.
"Iíve thought of a way to put the rope over the
dear Baronís eyes."
And if there is anything more interesting to Sir John
than an idea, it would have to be an impractical joke.
George blinked one eye impassively. "Itís simple," he said. "We refuse to be
ransomed. All we have to do is get a few more knights to join us, and why, weíll
eat the Baron out of lock, stock, and castle!"
"By your sword! That
is an idea!"
Sir George slowly shook his head. "No, no," he said,
"that wouldnít work. Iím afraid the Baron simply wouldnít tolerate
"But he doesnít have any choice!" Sir John said excitedly. He
was rather caught up in the idea. "I can see his big fat face getting all
"Heíd refuse in turn," Sir George said.
Sir John continued
excitedly. "Why, I can just see him, dejectedly walking away from the castle,
while weóhey, wait a minute, whose castle would it be, anyhow?"
of starvation," Sir George continued.
"And then the Baron
would add two more skulls to his collection."
I was just saying that the Baron probably wouldnít give us any food. You know,
turn and turn about."
"Nonsense! Heís bound by the rules of knightly
"Refusing to be ransomed would free him from his knightly
Sir John looked at him distastefully. "Who ever listens to
anything you say?"
When their friends came (none too quickly,
either) to ransom them, Sir John refused to be ransomed. Sir George went
willingly, and once he, his friends, and Sir Johnís disappointed friends were
riding home, Sir George allowed himself one chuckle before subduing to a silent
True to Sir Georgeís prediction, the Baron had a simple solution
to dealing with knights who would not be ransomed. In a simple matter of weeks,
Sir John was gracing the pile of skeletons behind the Baronís castle.
thus the knights at odd (which actually should be knights at even, since two is
an even number), were now a knight odd. And Sir George rode contentedly through
the countryside, ransoming and being ransomed, and having a jolly old
Farewell, dear sir, and I hope you come again tomorrow, when I tell
a tale that breaks many a fair damselís heart, and brings a tear to many a kind
© 2007-2017 Zack Reynolds. All rights reserved.