Mist. Several seconds of it swirling about. silence possibly, atmospheric music. SUPERIMPOSE “England AD 787”. After a few more seconds we hear hoofbeats in the distance. They come slowly closer. Then out of the mist comes KING ARTHUR followed by a SERVANT who is banging two half coconuts together. ARTHUR raises his hand.
ARTHUR: Whoa there!
SERVANT makes noises of horses halting, with a flourish. ARTHUR peers through the mist. CUT TO shot from over his shoulder: castle (e.g. Bodium) rising out of the mist. On the castle battlements a SOLDIER is dimly seen. He peers down.
SOLDIER: Halt! Who goes there?
ARTHUR: It is I, Arthur, son of Uther Pendragon, from the castle of Camelot. King of all Britons, defeater of the Saxons, sovereign of all England!
SOLDIER: Pull the other one!
ARTHUR: I am… And this my trusty servant, Patsy. We have ridden the length and breadth of the land in search of knights who will join our court at Camelot.. I must speak with your lord and master.
SOLDIER: What? Ridden on a horse?
SOLDIER: You’re using coconuts!
SOLDIER: You’ve got two empty halves of coconuts and you’re banging them together.
ARTHUR (Scornfully): So? We have ridden since the snows of winter covered this land, through the kingdom of Mercea.
SOLDIER: Where did you get the coconuts?
ARTHUR: Through … We found them.
SOLDIER: Found them? In Mercea. The coconut’s tropical!
ARTHUR: What do you mean?
SOLDIER: Well, this is a temperate zone.
ARTHUR: The swallow may fly south with the sun, or the house martin or the plover seek warmer hot lands in winter, yet these are not strangers to our land.
SOLDIER: Are you suggesting coconuts migrate?
ARTHUR: Not at all. They could be carried.
SOLDIER: What? A swallow carrying a coconut?
ARTHUR: Why not? SOLDIER: I’ll tell you why not … because a swallow is about eight inches long and weighs five ounces, and you’d be lucky to find a coconut under a pound.
ARTHUR: It could grip it by the husk …
SOLDIER: It’s not a question of where he grips it, It’s a simple matter of weight - ratios … A five-ounce bird could not hold a one pound coconut.
ARTHUR: Well, it doesn’t matter. Go and tell your master that Arthur from the Court of Camelot is here.
A Slight pause. Swirling mist. Silence.
SOLDIER: Look! To maintain air speed velocity, a swallow needs to beat its wings four hundred and ninety three times every second. right?
ARTHUR (irritated): Please!
SOLDIER: Am I right?
ARTHUR: I’m not interested.
SECOND SOLDIER (who has loomed up on the battlements): It could be carried by an African swallow!
FIRST SOLDIER: Oh yes! An African swallow maybe … but not a European swallow. That’s my point.
SECOND SOLDIER: Oh yes, I agree there …
ARTHUR (losing patience): Will you ask your master if he wants to join the Knights of Camelot?!
FIRST SOLDIER: But then of course African swallows are non-migratory.
SECOND SOLDIER: Oh yes.
ARTHUR raises his eyes heavenwards and nods to PATSY. They turn and go off into the mist.
FIRST SOLDIER: So they wouldn’t be able to bring a coconut back anyway.
SECOND SOLDIER: Wait a minute! Suppose two swallows carried it together?
FIRST SOLDIER: No, they’d have to have it on a line.
Stillness. Silence again.