The Storyteller (1987) s01e09 Episode Script

The True Bride

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.
Trolls come at the bottom of the list of people you'd want as friends.
They are revolting, trolls.
They can't even stand each other.
The Troll in this story had a daughter and she left home straight off.
In her place, the Troll found an orphan a young girl, to wait on him hand and foot.
But this girl had more in store than to do for a troll.
Oh, no.
She had a destiny.
Now, Anja had no father and mother, and the Troll was the other.
So she obeyed him, cruel though he was.
But one thing the Troll could not abide was obedience.
Of course, if she didn't obey him, woe betide her.
I should have said, trolls are always contradicting themselves.
And the Troll liked to contradict himself with a heavy stick.
It made a horrid sound as it flew through the air and onto the poor girl's back.
Blue, he contradicted on her back, black and blue.
I'm off without.
Inside this sack are being 20 pounds of feathers.
Strip them and pack them before I come back.
Yes, sir.
And remember, I'm being allergic to feathers.
A single one upsets my nose a-quivering, and a-quaking a-shimmying and a-shaking, and I don't like it! Be thank you to me and full of grate.
That's impossible! - By herself.
That's not fair.
- I know.
She plucks and cleans and packs and packs but still the feathers fill the room, still the feathers fight the sacks.
Don't be frightened.
I've come to help you.
- Where have you come from? - From your thoughts.
"Is there no one in the wide world to take pity on me?" you thought.
Well, there is.
And here I am.
Now, you're tired.
I cannot.
The Troll is my father and mother, since I have no other.
- I must obey him.
- Trust me.
Thus persuaded, Anja lay down and fell into a slumber.
And when she woke, what a sight, what a wonder.
Thank you, thank I've recurred.
Yes, sir.
You've done it! Have you done them all? I'm gast and flabbered.
I'm founded dumb.
- Was that a smile? - No.
No, sir.
I don't like smiles.
Get to bed without your supper.
Arise and wakey.
I'm having another job for you.
So, observe this pond.
Deep, you'd say.
And you'd be right.
Depth aplenty.
Drain it.
Drain it with your spoon.
And if I be recurring and find a drop of water if I so much as get my footsie wet heaven help me.
Lion, my spoon is full of holes.
You're tired, my little.
- Lie down and sleep awhile.
- No, I dare not for my lord, the Troll will beat me with his terrible stick.
Lie down.
And then the Lion pad-padded to the pond and drank and drank and drank his fill and long before sunset had drunk it dry.
Well? I'm recurred.
Is the pond dry? - Yes.
- Yes? Yes, it is! How abstractly infuriating! Are we sure? You may laugh, but the Troll's fall cost the poor girl dear.
That night, she could not sleep for the colours on her back from the contradiction stick.
All night she sobbed from its blacks and blues.
And come the morning, the wicked Troll has another task, worse than before.
All dry, you think all finished.
You'd be wrong.
Now you can build me a palatial.
All the bits, all the pieces by nightfall, miss.
Hours later, she's moved one rock a few inches.
Dear Lion, but now even you cannot help me.
I'm to build a palace by nightfall, full of rooms and riches.
You're tired, my little.
Why not rest awhile? I cannot.
I dare not.
Sleep, rest.
And sleep she does, lying down beside him.
And as she dreams, such magic! How have you done this? I know.
I know I've not done as you asked.
How beautiful! Dear, oh, dear.
The palace is here, but Anja didn't do it.
There is being a contradiction and when there's being a contradiction, we have to speak with our friend.
- Don't you think? - I don't know.
Very probably.
Certain, in fact.
Absolutely rageous! A whole palace in one day.
This is more like it for an important troll.
Chicken, good.
Yes, sir.
And what about sherry? Is there a celery for wine? Go and be seeing.
Try that door.
I can't reach.
- Let me fetch a light.
- A troll can see perfectly clarified.
Lion, quick! The Troll's in terrible trouble.
I know.
Poor Troll.
No father nor mother, and he was my other.
Not poor, my little, but wicked and cruel.
I made the palace.
I also made the door.
I hated that Troll.
He was bad through and through.
- Yes.
- So then what? Then our girl has a palace all to herself.
What a transformation! For the first time in her poor life, Anja feels wonderful.
And when word spreads of a lovely thing alone in a grand palace they flock to her, the suitors, in droves.
; Prince La-di-da of here, Prince La-di-da of there.
But they're a trifle too much la, or a little too much di and occasionally plain da.
And a year goes by, until one morning she stands sighing at her window and who's this? He looks up.
She looks down.
He smiles.
She smiles.
Little fish swim up and down her back.
And suddenly, each day she wants flowers in her room flowers at her table, flowers for her hair.
And gradually, smiles turn to words.
And words turn to whispers.
And whispers turn to kisses.
It's love.
- She falls for the gardener? - Why not? She was a servant turned princess.
Why not a gardener turned prince? You are my true bride.
Am I? Then let no one else ever kiss your cheek.
Never ever.
"Never," he says.
"Never ever.
" But I'm sorry.
Hurt lurks, pain prowls, sorrow simmers.
Why? What happens? Does the Troll come back? Oh, no! No.
Well, yes, in a manner of speaking.
Yes, he does.
Anja's wedding day is beckoning.
Her beloved sets off one morning, the long journey to the village.
He has appointments with the tailor and the barber and the shoemaker.
Spruced up, he's going to be.
- Won't you come? - No.
There is my trousseau to sew and you mustn't see it.
But I'll count the minutes until you are home.
And she does.
She counts the minutes.
Counts them into the hour when the lamps must be lit.
Counts them as fear curdles her stomach.
Counts the minutes as they turn into days as the tears begin to come.
One, two, three - Where was he? - No one knew.
And Anja could stand it no longer.
She set out alone in search of her sweetheart.
Until one day she finds herself wandering in the snow.
Lost and dejected.
And without a word, the Lion sets Anja on his back and starts off bounding through the snow, huge strides, impossible speeds over cliff and cavern, crevasse and chasm, cave and canyon helter-skelter to a far-off land.
And there, in sight of a town, the Lion sets her down.
Now you must go.
Take these.
Inside there are gifts.
- Use them wisely.
- Thank you, dearest Lion.
And Anja walks on, carrying the three gifts.
My beloved! My darling! She cries, and the rider looks at her, tips his hat smiles politely, and continues on his way.
Please, wait.
"No!" she cries.
But it can't be! - The Troll.
- It can't be.
He's dead.
And then she sees a pigtail, a diamond earring a hint of silk at the throat.
It's not the Troll.
It must be, it can't be, but it must be his daughter! It is the Troll's daughter.
Twice as ugly, twice as foul.
And she's riding off with her beloved.
Anja's dumbfounded.
How? And what's happened to her darling? He's forgotten her.
She's searched the world for him and he's forgotten her! He's gone off with a trollop! But then her resolve strengthens.
"I am the true bride, and he my beloved!" And off she sets, determined.
On her way to the town, she meets a man who tells her about the Troll's daughter, the Trollop.
She went to visit her dad but he'd disappeared.
She met a handsome prince and brought him back to her castle.
He's under a spell.
- They're betrothed.
- That Trollop's so greedy.
Sees gold, she wants it, silver, she snatches it.
She collects handsome men like ornaments.
"My ornamen," she calls them.
So instructed, Anja hurries to the town a scheme forming, a plan.
That's being lovely prettiness.
- I need it.
- Madam.
I'm descending.
Is there a cost involved? I'm expecting it's a gift for your queen.
- How kind and thank you.
- It's magic, Your Majesty.
It cannot be sold, only exchanged.
Exchanged? For what? Be more clarified.
A night with your betrothed.
With my new ornamen? Rageous! Then you must keep what is yours and me what is mine.
- Good day, Your Highness.
- No, back.
A night with my ornamen? And he's very sweetheart.
How generous I'm being for such a small magic.
Yes, all right.
Yes! The bargain is struck.
The True Bride to spend a night with her beloved.
"Alone," she thinks, "Once alone, he'll know me.
" My love? My dearest, it's me, your true bride.
- But he wouldn't wake.
- Please wake up.
Couldn't wake, and how could he? For in the cup by his bed was a sleeping herb.
Lasts all night until morning.
What can our girl do? The bargain's been kept.
The first gift wasted.
What can she do, but try again? Impossibly, magically, coin after coin drops to the ground.
The Trollop can't believe it.
I can't believe it.
Quick, the Trollop wants the deal struck.
And once again, a night with the beloved swapped for the endless gold pieces.
That night, the same story.
Whispers the True Bride.
But to no avail.
As for the Prince himself, his days are vague.
His nights dreamless.
Stop him and ask him his thoughts, what would they be? "Oh!" Or "Well" The Trollop has rubbed away his past with her wicked spell.
He hasn't heard his true love singing the night through, weeping in the morning.
"Oh!" he says.
"Well" But the prisoners have.
Their eyes blinking in the black, their ears sharp.
Yes, they've heard the clink of gold.
But also the True Bride's lament.
So the next day, when the Prince is walking the ramparts they call out to him.
Your Honour.
How can you sleep at night with the beauty sitting by your bed? "Beloved," she calls you, and "dearest.
" "Your true bride," she cries.
- "I am your true bride.
" - When do you hear these things? All night.
He's heard nothing.
Who is his true bride? He's very confused.
And you see, he sleeps so deeply.
Every night he has his drink, then sleeps so deeply.
I'm being so impatient for a new toy.
Let me see.
So meable.
So agreeable.
I need more.
And the deal is struck.
And that night, Anja arrives for her vigil the final gift gone.
Will you never wake? Don't cry.
What? - My darling! - Not there.
I promised, you see.
- Not on my cheek.
- Me.
You promised me! And with that she kissed him and the Trollop's spell over him fell away, and his head cleared.
Such a tender kiss, such sweetness of cheek.
My true bride.
He whispers.
At the very same moment, in the vaults of the castle a strange thing happens, very odd.
Come back! My goldies! My silknesses! My die-dies! Too late, they've gone, they're away the lovers running home, together.
"After them! Get them back! Hurry!" And in her rage, the Trollop closes on them, nearer and nearer until she must surely catch them.
But look.
She can't believe it.
Look who's here.
On his back they clamber and off he speeds, bounding barren lands huge strides, impossible speeds, over cliff, cavern, crevasse, chasm cave and canyon, helter-skelter, home! - They made it.
- Yes, they made it.
Thank you, Lion, and inside, lock the door, catch up their breath.
They light a fire and exchange their stories and in between, hugs and all the while, kisses.
The Lion tosses back his proud mane and pads away, leaving the lovers.
- But not before a final task unseen.
- What? Who have we forgotten? The Trollop.
Where is she? I don't know.
Miles away, over cliff and cavern, crevasse and chasm No.
By the time the True Bride and her beloved settle down to sleep she's arrived at the palace.
Once inside, she sniffs for them her nostrils twitching and heaving, planning her revenge.
There! Her nose tells her.
And stealing up, she hears their voices clear and unsuspecting, behind the door.
And from that day, our lovers lived peacefully.
Babies came to bless them and the sun forever shone and they kept a statue of the Lion, whom they both called the Thought Lion.
They told their children he could come alive in an instant if he wanted to or if they ever needed him.
But the children found that hard to believe.