A village. Sound of chanting of Latin canon, punctuated by short, sharp cracks. It comes nearer. We see it is a line of MONKS ala SEVENTH SEAL flagellation scene, chanting and banging themselves on the foreheads with wooden boards. They pass a group of villagers who are dragging a beautiful YOUNG WOMAN dressed as a witch through the streets. They drag her to a strange house/ruin standing on a hill outside the village. A strange-looking knight stands outside, SIR BEDEVERE.
FIRST VILLAGER: We have found a witch. May we burn her?
ALL: A Witch! Burn her!
BEDEVERE: How do you know she is a witch?
ALL: She looks like one. Yes, she does.
BEDEVERE: Bring her forward.
They bring her forward - a beautiful YOUNG GIRL (MISS ISLINGTON) dressed up as a witch.
WITCH: I am not a witch. I am not a witch.
BEDEVERE: But you are dressed as one.
WITCH: They dressed me up like this.
ALL: We didn’t, we didn’t!
WITCH: This is not my nose, It is a false one.
BEDEVERE takes her nose off.
FIRST VILLAGER: … Well, we did do the nose.
BEDEVERE: The nose?
FIRST VILLAGER: And the hat. But she is a witch.
ALL: A witch, a witch, burn her!
BEDEVERE: Did you dress her up like this?
FIRST VILLAGER: … Um … Yes … no … a bit … yes… she has got a wart.
BEDEVERE: Why do you think she is a witch?
SECOND VILLAGER: She turned me into a newt.
BEDEVERE: A newt?
SECOND VILLAGER (After looking at himself for some time): I got better.
ALL: Burn her anyway.
BEDEVERE: Quiet! Quiet! There are ways of telling whether she is a witch.
ARTHUR and PATSY ride up at this point and watch what follows with interest.
ALL: There are? Tell up. What are they, wise Sir Bedevere?
BEDEVERE: Tell me … what do you do with witches?
ALL: Burn them.
BEDEVERE: And what do you burn, apart from witches?
FOURTH VILLAGER: … Wood?
BEDEVERE: So why do witches burn?
SECOND VILLAGER (pianissimo): … Because they’re made of wood…?
PEASANTS stir uneasily then come round to this conclusion.
ALL: I see. Yes, of course.
BEDEVERE: So how can we tell if she is made of wood?
FIRST VILLAGER: Make a bridge out of her.
BEDEVERE: Ah … but can you not also make bridges out of stone?
ALL: Ah. Yes, of course … um … err …
BEDEVERE: Does wood sink in water?
ALL: No, no, It floats. Throw her in the pond. Tie weights on her. To the pond.
BEDEVERE: Wait. Wait … tell me, what also floats on water?
ALL: Bread? No, no, no. Apples …. gravy … very small rocks …
ARTHUR: A duck.
They all turn and look at ARTHUR. BEDEVERE looks up very impressed.
BEDEVERE: Exactly. So… logically …
FIRST VILLAGER (beginning to pick up the thread): If she … weighs the same as a duck … she’s made of wood.
BEDEVERE: And therefore?
ALL: A witch! … A duck! A duck! Fetch a duck.
FOURTH VILLAGER: Here is a duck, Sir Bedevere.
BEDEVERE: We shall use my largest scales.
He leads them a few yards to a very strange contraption indeed, made of wood and rope and leather. They put the GIRL in one pan and the duck in another. Each pan is supported by a wooden stave. BEDEVERE checks each pan then … ARTHUR looks on with interest.
BEDEVERE: Remove the supports.
Two PEASANTS knock them away with sledge hammers. The GIRL and the duck swing slightly but balance perfectly.
ALL: A witch! A witch!
WITCH: It’s a fair cop.
ALL: Burn her! Burn her! Let’s make her into a ladder.
The VILLAGERS drag the girl away, leaving ARTHUR and BEDEVERE regarding each other admiringly.
BEDEVERE: Who are you who are so wise in the ways of science?
ARTHUR: I am Arthur, King of the Britons.
BEDEVERE: My liege … forgive me …
ARTHUR looks at PATSY with obvious satisfaction.
ARTHUR: Good Sir knight, will you come with me to Camelot, and join our number at the Round Table?
BEDEVERE: My liege, I am honored.
ARTHUR steps forward, drawing his sword, with a slight hint of difficulty.
ARTHUR: What is your name?
BEDEVERE: Bedevere, my Liege.
ARTHUR: Then I dub you … Sir Bedevere … Knight of the Round Table!