Thursday, 5 November 2009

MULTIPLY United Friends Challenge #194: The Cloak and the Puddle

Sumax’s Challenge

Write a short story about a chivalrous act.

„Believe you me Ann Boleyn, if I had known the consequences, I would have let her walk into the muddy puddle, would have served her right.“

Sir Walter Raleigh would have nodded his head to emphasise the remark, but he was holding it under his arm, as ghosts of the Tower of London were accustomed to do.

“Well at least it was something chivalrous that you were doing Walter. I lost my head just because I got married to a King. He said marry me and I will take you places. He did of course, to the Tower of London on the beheading block.”

Anne Boleyn was convinced that marrying into english royalty in the sixteenth century was a dangerous event and Walter Raleigh was in agreement.

"But tell me Walt, was the whole thing true about the cloak and the puddle or was it just a publicity stunt to earn a bit on the side?”

“Before we continue with our conversation, let us put our heads on our shoulders, then we can look at each other properly. I suppose when you come to think of it the Tudors were fault that we both lost our heads, you because of a husband that wanted to get married again and I happened to meet your daughter on a fateful day.”

“You mean Elizabeth. Who would have thought that she would have become Queen, but Henry did not have any sons that lived to carry the title of King. At least you went places Walter.”

“I suppose it was a publicity stunt. We had a heavy rainfall and I happened to be taking a walk near Hampton Court when a carriage pulled up. I naturally stopped to have a look and who climbed out but Queen Elizabeth I, your daughter.”

“She might have been my daughter, but Henry’s? I never really got to know her. Henry always asked from where she inherited the red hair. I didn’t live long enough to lose my head for that mistake, I lost it before. So carry on Walt.”

“Elizabeth was standing on the bottom step of the carriage and shaking her head at the wet puddle that she would have walked into. I happened to have my old cloak with me. I was on my way to buy a new one and would have thrown it away afterwards, so decided to do myself a favour and throw it on the muddy puddle. Queen Elizabeth stepped onto it and everyone started clapping and cheering. She looked in my direction and gave me a wink. That was the start on my ladder to success.”

“It didn’t end very successfully did it Walt.”

“Not really Anne, but bear in mind I had some good times with Elizabeth.”

“I always thought my daughter was known as the virgin queen.”

“She might have been known by that name, but just don’t believe everything in the history books. There are even some today that say the story about me throwing my cloak on the puddle was just made up. Of course, if it had been a new cloak, I would have had second thoughts.

The only reason I fell out of favour was because she met me on the stairs at the palace just as I was leaving the lady in waiting’s bedroom.”

“So that was why you were beheaded.”

“Well not immediately, but it was the start of my path to doom. You know I was in the Tower a few times, before they actually decided to remove my head on the block.”

“At least you are not alone Walt, there are many of us here. So let’s remove our heads and do a bit of haunting. You never know, we might be included again in one of those television programmes about the ghosts of the tower. Perhaps the next time it rains you could throw your cloak on a puddle and I will walk over it. That will be a sensation for the news.”

“Forget it Anne, this is a new cloak with gold embroidery. I only let people walk over my old cloaks.”

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