The Storyteller (1987) s01e07 Episode Script

Sapsorrow

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.
Beginning, as I do, at the beginning, and starting, as I must, at the start let me show you fate through the round of this ring.
The girl whose finger fits this ring, she'll become queen.
The law decrees it.
"What a lucky girl, " you might think.
Oh, no.
A king had three daughters.
Two were bad, one was good.
Long without a wife, the King's only joy had been the joy of the proud father.
But the girls were growing up.
Soon, there would be suitors.
Soon, the palace would be empty.
"I must find myself a wife to comfort me," he thinks.
The wedding ring passed on from queen to queen, finger to finger since any could remember.
Only when the ring fits, can the King marry.
She who wishes to wed our King must come forward and try the ring! - The lucky bride will want for nothing.
- He can't do that! Why, he's too old to be getting married.
He ought to be dying shortly.
- I don't think he's too old.
- What? What's she wittering on about? I know what will happen.
Some harpy will step forward, and the ring will fit, and they'll get married.
And then he'll die and she'll get everything.
That's what'll happen! The more the sisters sulked at the prospect of a stepmother the viler they were to Sapsorrow, their sister.
When their father set off to find his bride they teased, taunted, and tormented her.
They starved her.
"You're too fat!" they'd say, stealing from her plate.
- They're vile, those sisters.
- Indeed.
But they reckoned without her friends the creatures who lived in Sapsorrow's pockets under her bed, perched on her chair.
When she went to her room, she'd find berries and all kinds of nuts and fruits.
Delicious things.
- Daddy, we missed you! - We cried every night.
Are our eyes bloodshot? They are, I know.
- No bride, then? - No.
The ring was a cruel shape.
None could wear it.
- It's fate.
- It's not intended.
- Perhaps.
I don't know.
- You don't need a wife when you've got us.
- Don't we love you enough, Daddy? - I know.
Where's your sister? Who knows? Flirting with the guards! Stuffing herself! No.
Next! It's bound to fit someone eventually.
How disgusting.
I mean, we should be queens, actually.
- Together.
- I know.
I mean, what if the ring were to fit you? Or me? Then what? - That's enough.
- Too late! Can't you control these women? Get them out of here! He wouldn't want to marry us.
But then, he couldn't marry anybody.
Which is even better! Come on.
Look, it's hopeless.
- You try.
You've got fat fingers.
- I have not.
It's stuck! It's completely stuck! Do something! - What? - All the blood's getting stuck! Look, it's swelling.
- Can I help? - Help me.
No, go away.
Go on.
Let her.
She's better than you at these things.
Hello? Is everybody all right? - Fine, Papa.
- What was all the hue and cry? Hue and cry, Daddy? There were cries coming from this room.
I heard them.
- Pick it up.
- Well? And then little Sapsorrow does a thing she will long regret.
Obediently, she bends and oh, folly she stoops and oh, rash! She picks up the royal ring and slips it on for safe keeping.
What? I know.
Where's your mother's ring? - She was playing with it, Father.
- Yes.
We didn't want to sneak.
- I wasn't.
- She wasn't.
- Stay out of it, you.
- Little one? - I wasn't.
- That's not fair! What's that on your finger? No! Not on your ring finger.
It fits! Yes.
It fits.
No sooner done, no sooner said, the news is a fire in the palace sweeping the corridors.
The ring fits the King's daughter! I cannot marry my father.
But you cannot ignore the law.
But we cannot ignore the law.
You cannot marry your father! But I cannot shame the King.
But you cannot marry your father! - But the ring - Is the ring is the ring.
Sire, it is the law of the land.
The ring fits your child's finger.
You must marry her.
Then I should cut off my finger.
Why did you play with the ring? Why did you tamper with it? The ceremony.
When must it take place? As soon as the preparations allow.
Then first find me a dress of the palest silk the colour of the moon.
I will not wed till I have it.
Very well.
We will find this dress.
The princess, in her woe plans a plan and schemes a scheme.
" To find such a gown will take time "and, meantimes, you must all help me.
" Beautiful.
But now I must have one of sparkling silver like the stars.
For my trousseau.
Sire, where would we find such a dress? Do as she bids.
All in silver, sparkling with stars.
And off again went the King's men scouring the land for such a dress.
And all the while, in Sapsorrow's room another garment is being made more marvelous, more magical.
Beautiful.
Just like the stars.
Sire, the council wait on you, your people grow impatient.
When do you marry? Daughter? This gown is for the wedding feast the first one for the procession.
But now I must have one for the church.
Gold, it should be.
Gold as the sun.
Bring me such a dress and the next day we shall wed.
Gold she says, all gold, like the sun.
Bring her such a dress, they shall be married on the morrow.
Gold.
So spoiled! And while the tailors cut cloth spun with pure gold Sapsorrow stayed shut up in her room.
She never appeared.
Only her creatures flying in slithering out, busy, busy, scurrying about.
- Princess? - Yes? I have here a dress such as none before has seen of gold.
Dazzling! A hundred hands have sewn it.
It is what I asked for.
Very like the sun.
Then we must marry on the morrow.
We must.
We marry on the morrow.
They can't! They can't get married.
Well, the law says they must.
And the girl has the three gowns she asked for.
No, the ring fits.
The feast is prepared.
Married on the morrow.
Listen, bells toll.
The streets fill.
Only Sapsorrow stays silent in her room.
Your Highness, come out.
The King awaits you.
Yes, it's Sapsorrow.
A strange thing of fur and feathers for such has been the secret work of the past weeks.
This creature.
There she is, the ill-fated princess hurrying away, her past discarded her future who knows? Two years later, a poor creature of fur and feathers tended geese in a king's garden and scrubbed the pots in his kitchen.
So, that's the princess! Princess of slops, yes, princess of peelings, perhaps.
Princess of the kitchen floor, certainly.
And one day this princess meets a prince.
Where's the cook, do you know? You don't know? Can you speak? Never mind.
Give the cook a message, will you? Tonight there's a great ball at the palace.
I've seen the menu and want goose added.
He knows how I like it.
Roast goose with orange, baked in pastry.
- What's that look? - It's a look.
If there was a tax on looking, we'd all be beggars, Sire.
What's your name? No name.
They call me the Straggletag.
Well, Miss Straggletag you don't stare at princes.
It's not polite in one so low or one so ugly.
Why eat geese? They don't harm you.
I happen to like geese.
So do I.
That's why I don't eat them.
Pass on my message, and take that for your manners.
Roast goose with orange.
A dozen.
That night they sat, the geese twelve cold stares on the royal table while around them many danced many daughters wore their mother's pearls.
And the prince was there handsome, admired separate.
Parents looked on and hoped but the prince stood and smiled, but did not dance.
Until, late, unannounced, mysterious, a woman enters in a dazzling gown, pale silk, like the moon.
And what could he do, the prince, but walk towards her? What could he do but lead her to the floor? And they danced.
It was meant.
As left to right, morning to night, dark to light they belonged.
But when the music stops Wait, I don't know your name.
Wait! Oh, my dears the prince is left mystified, excited, tingling! He's hooked, line and sinker.
- The prince has sent down for clean towels.
- Where is everybody? Upstairs.
They're all busy.
Another ball so soon, we've bare recovered from the last one.
Thing.
You go, then.
You sent down for towels? I hope they're clean.
I'm sorry.
Do I disgust you? You amaze me.
Look cats chase mice, hens lay eggs.
And what does that mean? It means some things have to do with other things.
I have nothing to do with you.
You don't disgust me because I don't think about you.
- I see.
- Now, go away.
And keep below stairs.
And stop gawping! No, he can't see for the feathers, this prince he can't see for the fur.
That night, the second ball beauties come and beauties go dances are danced, but the prince stands alone.
Hoping, staring at the great doors.
But nothing.
No sign.
Then, a hush then a dividing of the room and there she is in a dress sparkling with silver, like the stars.
- I must go.
- Don't.
Please.
- I think of nothing but you.
- I find that hard to believe.
It's true.
I can't sleep.
Where do you live that I might find you? I live where hens catch mice and cats lay eggs.
What? Please, don't go.
- What's the matter? - What? You look so sad.
No one, no one else in the whole palace, in the whole kingdom speaks to me like this.
Are you in love? Is that the problem? You couldn't possibly understand what I'm feeling.
Or are you worried you might only love your sweetheart for her beautiful gowns? Were she in the humblest rags, were she the poorest, absolutely - For you see, my darling has eyes like - Yes? They're perfect.
A voice like it's perfect.
It's not her gowns.
How can you possibly understand? - Then you should marry her.
- I want to.
I want to, but I can't find her.
I see.
I have a problem like yours.
What advice would you give me? Well, I don't know your beau.
What's he like? - Handsome, rich.
- Really? Proud.
You see, when I think about him it makes my head hurt, and my tummy ache and my skin tingle, and my heart - do little somersaults.
- Me, too.
Me, too! Oh, yes, we're in love! - And it's terrible.
- Oh, I don't think I'm in love.
No, you're definitely in love.
Little somersaults? Tingling skin? Definitely Straggletag! Where the devil have you got to? I have to go.
Yes, and listen, don't tell anyone we've spoken.
As you wish.
It's just, you know.
Prince and Straggletag! Prince and Straggletag.
Oh, yes, the prince is lovesick, all right.
Even before it's dark, he's there on the terrace in front of the ballroom.
"Tonight," he shivers.
"I'll see my love tonight.
.
" She still hasn't come, and this is the last of them.
Could I please have the dishes? Look at this one! What's the hurry? Meeting a sweetheart? That's why the prince is still waiting.
She hasn't finished the dishes.
It's wonderful but bells toll, evenings end.
Next day, a proclamation rings out around the palace: "The prince will marry the girl who fits the golden slipper.
" Yeah.
"Well," she thinks "what was true of the finger is true of the foot.
" She was cursed by the ring.
Can she be blessed with the slipper? There's a queue now, but it fits nobody.
I might try.
You never know.
You? You've got feet like a Yorkshire pudding! I have not! And what about our little beauty? - Are you gonna try? - I might.
So, up she goes and, blow me who's trying on the royal slipper? I think, if I just I've done it! It fits! - That's absurd.
- It fits! - You're not the one.
- I am.
It fits! Look! I claim this handsome prince for my husband! According to the proclamation the prince must marry the woman who can wear the golden slipper.
Princess Badsister.
Princess Badsister.
- From? - From faraway.
From faraway.
Daughter of? Of nobody.
We have no parents, you see.
Mummy died a long time ago and Daddy died last year.
- He was ancient.
- Princess Badsister of Faraway daughter of Nobody.
She will marry the prince on the morrow.
Hurray! Now, can I just take this silly shoe off, please? - Why? - it doesn't match.
And it's a teensy-weensy bit tight.
Just a pinch.
Ouchy-wouchy! In fact, I think I may just have to have a tiny baby-scream.
Sister do you think you could possibly help me to take this lovely slipper off my footsie-wootsie because I am going to have to scream very loudly shortly and I think my leg is turning a little bit on the maroon side.
It is.
Get this shoe off my foot! Sire, I claim my right to try the slipper.
Ladies, darling, I think, not creatures.
- What is it? - Get it out of here.
Get rid of it.
- She's called Straggletag.
- So? May I? Very well.
- It fits? - It can't! It does fit.
Will you keep your promise? Don't be ridiculous! You can't marry that thing! Yes.
I'll marry you.
I'll keep my promise.
Sapsorrow! My princess.
It's you.
"Darling, darling," they repeated to each other.
"Dearest, dearest.
" And what the prince didn't know, he very soon did.
They talked and talked, explaining this and explaining that stories of rings, stories of fur and feathers.
And they wept for her dear father smiled for poor Straggletag, forgave the bad sisters danced for a day without going away, and Well, after that they were so out of breath they lay down and slept.
And, glory be, if I don't wake them soon, they'll never get wed!