The Storyteller (1987) s01e02 Episode Script


When people told themselves their past with stories explained their present with stories foretold the future with stories the best place by the fire was kept for The Storyteller.
What? What's the matter? I don't want you to even look at it or say its name but there is a huge, and when I say huge I mean bigger than huge I mean hugenormous, and this is no laughing matter I'm talking about a thing beginning with "S" and with several revolting black What are you going on about? You don't mean this little spider? Hey! Come back! Have you killed it? Yes.
- Promise? - Promise.
I popped it between my fingers.
Come and see.
It's quite a mess.
They're foul.
They don't even know the meaning of the word "bone.
" What a noodle you are.
Frightened of a little thing.
You're frightened of rats.
Everyone's frightened of rats.
They're rat-ish.
That's normal.
Why? Have you seen a rat? - You're shuddering.
- So are you.
And now it's getting dark.
I don't like the dark, either.
Come here and bark a bit.
What shall we do until morning? I could tell you the story of the boy who set forth to learn what fear was.
- You mean, he didn't know? - No.
He wasn't frightened of rats or bats or cats or things beginning with "S"? No.
A rare boy.
The second son of the second cousin of my second wife's second niece who died and left her husband, a tailor two sons, the one good the other, good for nothing.
And he was called Fearnot.
Be off with you! You good for nothing! What time do you call this? Don't know, Dad.
What time do you call it? Lord give me patience.
Have you got the buttons? - What buttons? - The buttons I sent you out for.
Do you know, Dad, I completely forgot them buttons.
Tell the truth, I stood and played under my sweetheart's window.
- She's a lovely.
- Did you hear that? He forgot.
Never fear, I'll go back.
And forget again.
You go, Son.
- I'll go in the morning.
- The morning's no use.
Go now.
I would, but the dark comes and I don't like the forest.
It's all shadows.
There's trolls in there, and dragons.
Let me go.
I don't mind shadows, and I never saw a dragon.
Be off with you, then.
What are you going for? Don't tell me.
To see dragons.
- No.
- Buttons! Buttons.
So off goes Fearnot to fetch buttons but the village bullies watch his skip and his gormless grin.
He's right for ragging.
Oh yes, they'll fetch him a fearful fright.
Are you a troll? I am a wurdle.
Only twice as bad.
Never mind.
- I want your bag of buttons.
- Sorry, they're for my dad.
Give them to me or I'll mutton you.
Mutton me? I'll give you a right flummox.
That doesn't sound very nice.
Give me the buttons.
Very well.
And back he goes, our boy, to his dad's house full of tales of a wurdle, only twice as bad, and sorry about the buttons and, "Did you know a wurdle has three voices?".
And the father sets him outside with 40 shillings in a purse, and tells him to go off and learn something.
Fearnot considers this.
He's always wanted to know how to shudder.
The knack of it has eluded him.
He'll set forth to learn what fear is with nothing to guide him but a bag of shillings a fiddle, and a fool's errand.
Good day, young man.
Now, isn't this a lucky meeting.
Good day, sir.
I can tell by the gleam in your eye, you have a sweetheart.
- I do, sir.
- And what's her name? I don't know.
Well, what's a name? Mine's Mckay, but I don't mind it.
Mine's Fearnot.
"And there you go," as me poor mother would say.
- Have you got a mother? - I'm afraid I don't.
Well, we all had one once and that's the main thing.
- Now, your sweetheart, is she dark or fair? - Dark, sir.
- Like Arabia.
- Like Arabia? Happy day! And a happy day it is for you, young man for in this bag, I have a scarf of silk direct from the shores of Araby.
Here, I insist you take it.
And may you learn a name with it.
Thank you, mister.
And it's because you're such a fine fellow, I'm only going to ask you to pay me what I paid for it.
- A double Persian.
- How much is that? - How much you got? - 40 shillings.
Nothing like that.
Barely half.
Less than two-thirds.
I'd like the scarf because I've set forth to learn things, you see.
And to learn a name is something.
But I'll give you all I have if you could learn me what fear is.
You will give me 40 shillings if I can frighten you? Gladly.
"I see," said the blind man.
Let me think.
Shut your eyes.
- Is something the matter? - No.
Just give me a minute.
What do you reckon that is, at your throat? I don't know, sir.
A knife? And a sharp knife.
Slit a hair clean in two.
That's marvellous.
- Slit a throat without touching the sides.
- That's a good knife, then.
It certainly is, and will do for you, young man unless you part with your bag of shillings.
I can't do that, for I must learn what fear is and I'm not frightened of you, Mr.
You're a friend.
We're friends.
Goodness, I'm sure we are.
Let me take you down the lane, where I think I can arrange a little case of the shudders for you.
Follow me.
Where do we go? To a pond by a hedge, by a field, by a mill, by a town.
And in that pond is a fearful sight.
So fearful, think what fearful is and add 10.
- And shall I shudder? - No question.
If you survive.
And off they went a most fanciful peregrination until they came to a pond by a hedge, by a field, by a mill, by a town.
As they arrived with day ending they saw folk rushing from the mill still dusted with flour, and would not stop to swap words but shouted, "Be clear before dark falls!" "Beware the pond!" And other such unwelcomes.
Here? Is this where I'll learn to shudder, Mr.
Mckay? The trick is you must plunge into the pond and fear will swim up to greet you.
It's a treat.
Will you join me? No, thanks.
I must retire and get us beds for the night.
You must sleep after a good fright.
- Good luck.
- Thank you.
Now, this green pond is not all welcome cool and water lilies.
Deep in its green deep is a terrible thing and it peers up through the green and sees a pair of feet.
It's a man.
Oh, dear.
Oh, dear.
So there he is, our man, Fearnot dangling his feet in the pond, waiting to shudder wondering how, when all of a sudden, and who would believe it the water begins to gather and froth and swirl.
And blow me if a ring of sad beauties don't appear eyes closed and melancholy.
These are the sisters of the deep and their dance is a welcome to drowning.
"Come in, come in," they seem to say.
And Fearnot looks on, enchanted by their loveliness.
Then he does what he always does when this mood takes him.
Now why do the village folk avoid this pretty scene? Why do men tremble as night falls and the moon gleams its silver on the pool? Because, my dearie-os, my darlings these are the daughters of the terrible thing water in their veins, water in their eyes.
They have but two tasks; To drown men and to drown women.
"Come in, come in," they seem to say.
"Come in and sip our bitter beer.
"Come in and meet our master" Do you know who I am? I don't think so.
You're not a wurdle.
Some sort of terrible thing? Exactly.
These are my pretties.
They tempt young men like you and I drown them.
Why? Because.
But first, give me your bird.
Its song is so beautiful.
I can't do that.
I have to make it.
Where does the singing come from? - These holes.
- Let me try.
You must learn to play.
But your bird where does its song come from? The song? Far away.
- Ireland.
- Which direction? Over there.
Many lefts and many rights.
Ireland? I'll go there.
That way, you say? That's it.
Make it sing some more and then I'll go.
And our boy plays some more until the creature leaves his daughters and his green pool, and his endless drowning and heads off in search of Ireland and the bird that sings.
And he lives there still, for all I know.
What a hero! Not one feast, but 20 78 gifts, four offers of marriage and much playing of the fiddle.
By morning, Mr.
Mckay, self-appointed manager of heroes and historian of Fearnot's exploits has noted details of the whereabouts of trolls and terrors and dragons, and demons, and untold, unsolved mysteries.
Thus commissioned, the two companions set off and it isn't till late the following afternoon, heads still muddled by cider that Fearnot remembers to clap the tinker's ears retrieve his 40 shillings, and ask him where they're heading next.
Well, I have the route to a fine terror, but I must have reward.
I have promised you my shillings when I shudder.
But given me only your fist, which I liked not.
One little misunderstanding, and I am thrashed for me pains.
Compare us.
You are blessed with great courage I am cursed with a little cunning.
I cheat for trifles, while you can move mountains.
Is that fair, I ask you? I'm sorry.
Take my money.
- I've offended you.
- No.
I shall struggle on for nothing.
We go to yonder castle, where none survive a night.
So I will learn to shudder at last.
Now, this castle they approach is a graveyard of hopes.
The king driven out, the rooms abandoned only fools seek shelter there.
For this is a troubled land and bad holds court.
Look, there it is on the horizon a place brooding.
Wait here.
I should take things with me.
Take a sword.
- Take two.
- These three things are enough.
Or not, as the case may be.
And they leave 75 of my gifts, should I not return.
Do not leave them here, for you know how it is with me.
I'll be forced to steal them and desert you.
Have a little courage, Mr.
Godspeed, Fearnot.
All lovely.
A little courage, Mr.
There's only half here.
Where's the rest of me? That's more like it.
Now, how about a game? Why not? I have all night.
He has all night! Can you play skittles? - I'll try.
- He'll try.
He better had.
These are definitely not my legs! Too short by half.
You'd better win, precious or you'll find yourself half the man you were.
What size legs are those? I don't know.
No gout? - Corns? Blisters? Foot rot? - No! Good.
I could do with those.
Me first, I reckon.
Eight! Not bad on borrowed legs.
Bowl well, precious.
Careful! Don't want them pegs damaged.
You won't mind, sir but your ball is not smooth enough for me.
Nine! You cheated.
No, sir.
I swapped a little courage for a little cunning, that's all.
Now look at me! All very well, my friend but it doesn't help me with the shuddering.
All lovely.
Fearnot, for lack of a fright settles down for the night.
But what's this? Mr.
Mckay? Mister is it all up with you? So cold.
You were my first and only friend.
My friend, and now so cold.
Let me warm you a little.
That's better.
See, have I not warmed you? Fearnot? Come nearer, demon, and I'll cut off your head and then there will be three parts to marry.
- What? - I know it's not you.
- It is me! - Dead again, are you? - No.
- Don't come closer.
Please, I'm terrified, I came with my little courage to find you and it's quite used up.
How many gifts did I leave? I only counted 74 to begin with and I ate two.
Well, two-and-a-half but there's still plenty.
What's the name of my true love? How can I know if you don't? - Then it is you.
- But of course it's me! - And you came in to find me? - It's my lot.
I try to break the mould and be decent, and I gets a knife waved at me - Shut up and come here and hug me.
- No.
But hug him he did, and full of glee they searched the castle from top to toe.
And behind the farthest door of the highest floor they found a room and in that room was gold.
Such goldness, they might have thrown it out of the window for a week and still be swamped.
And they shared it half and half and a bit for luck, and never have two men danced more nor merrier.
And from a distance, you would have seen the castle shake off its grey drab and sunbathe.
So he never learnt to shudder? The fact of the matter is that Fearnot asked such questions of the tinker all the way home.
"Why haven't I learnt to shudder? "What can I tell my father?" and so on.
And the tinker pointed to their gold and said "Are there not sufficient riches that you must be frightened as well?" And so they went on.
Fearnot complaining of fearing not, him muttering until they arrived at last at the gate of Fearnot's house.
- We must say goodbye then.
- You must meet my family.
Families don't like me.
Of course they will.
You're my friend.
You must come in.
As me dear old mother used to say: "Leave them while they want you to stay.
" No, thank you.
- What's this for? - You must give that to your father.
That's right, for I have not learnt to shudder.
Goodbye, Mr.
Goodbye, friend.
It's you! At last! Come quick! She's swooned since she heard you'd gone.
Nothing will revive her.
- I don't know her name.
- Lidia.
Look! Would you look at that! My sweetheart.
- What's happened? - Lidia, you've done it! - Done what? - You've taught me! I've been so far, so long and all it needed was the thought of losing you to teach me what fear was.
I shuddered! And so the boy who set forth to learn what fear was learnt it at home.
And he married his sweetheart with her name and all and never left again.
Mckay told me that story a long time ago when I was very young and I didn't know the half of it.