ARTHUR and BEDEVERE in the depths of a dark forest with an old blind SOOTHSAYER. He lies in a broken down old woodsman’s hut.
ARTHUR: And this “Enchanter”; of whom you speak, he has seen the grail?
The SOOTHSAYER laughs forbiddingly, adding to the general spookiness of this encounter.
ARTHUR: Where does he live?
He stares into the blind eyes of the OLD MAN.
ARTHUR: Old man … where does he live …
SOOTHSAYER: He knows of a cave … a cave which no man has entered.
ARTHUR: And … the Grail … The Grail is there?
The BLIND MAN laughs again to himself.
SOOTHSAYER: There is much danger … for beyond the cave lies the Gorge of Eternal Peril which no man has ever crossed.
ARTHUR: But the Grail … where is the Grail!?
SOOTHSAYER: Seek you the Bridge of Death …
ARTHUR: The Bridge of Death? … which leads to the Grail?
The OLD MAN laughs sinisterly and mockingly. They look down and he is gone. They stand up. Suddenly behind them is a noise. They turn sharply in the door of the little hut is a cat. It miaows and is gone. They slowly back out of the hut. As they touch the doorposts they just flake away into dust. The whole hut is rotten. It collapses.
Spooky music. They are thoroughly shaken, and they begin to hear noises of people moving in the forest around them. They start to back cautiously away from the hut, suddenly there is heavy footfall behind them. They turn in fear and:
Sudden CUT TO BIG CLOSE-UP of a frightening black-browed evil face.
TALL KNIGHT OF NI: Ni!
ARTHUR and BEDEVERE recoil in abject fear. PATSY rears up with coconuts.
ARTHUR (to PATSY): Easy … boy, easy …
ARTHUR peers into the darkness.
ARTHUR: Who are you?
SIX VOICES FROM DARKNESS: NI! … Peng! … Neeee … Wom!
An extraordinary TALL KNIGHT in all black (possibly John with Mike on his shoulders) walks out from the dark trees. He is extremely fierce and gruesome countenance. He walks towards KING ARTHUR and PATSY, who are wazzing like mad. (Salopian slang, meaning very scared. almost to the point of wetting oneself, e.g. before an important football match or prior to a postering. Salopian slang meaning a beating by the school praeposters. Sorry about the Salopian slant to this stage direction - Ed.)
ARTHUR (wazzed stiff): Who are you?
TALL KNIGHT: We are the Knights Who Say “Ni”!
BEDEVERE: No! Not the Knights Who Say “Ni”!
TALL KNIGHT: The same!
ARTHUR: Who are they?
TALL KNIGHT: We are the keepers of the sacred words. NI … Peng … and Neee … Wom!
BEDEVERE: Those who hear them seldom live to tell the tale.
TALL KNIGHT: The Knights Who Say “Ni”! demand a sacrifice.
ARTHUR (to the TALL KNIGHT): Knights Who Say “Ni” … we are but simple travelers. We seek the Enchanter who lives beyond this wood and who …
TALL KNIGHT: NI!
ARTHUR (recoiling): Oh!
TALL KNIGHT: NI! NI!
ARTHUR (he cowers in fear): Oh!
TALL KNIGHT: We shall say Ni! again to you if you do not appease us.
ARTHUR: All right! What do you want?
TALL KNIGHT: We want … a shrubbery!
ARTHUR: A what?
TALL KNIGHT: Ni! Ni! Ni … Peng … Nee … Wum!
The PAGES rear and snort and rattle their coconuts.
ARTHUR: All right! All right! … No more, please. We will find you a shrubbery …
TALL KNIGHT: You must return here with a shrubbery or else … you shall not pass through this wood alive!
ARTHUR: Thank you, Knights Who Say Ni! You are fair and just. We will return with a shrubbery.
TALL KNIGHT: One that looks nice.
ARTHUR: Of course.
TALL KNIGHT: And not too expensive.
ARTHUR: Yes …
TALL KNIGHT: Now - go!
ARTHUR and BEDEVERE turn and ride off.
OTHER KNIGHTS: Ni! Ni!
Shouts of “Ni” and “Peng” ring behind them.