Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: Illustrate the meaning of "It's No Use Crying over Spilt Milk" (without using the actual phrase or literal exampl (02/07/08)
TITLE: Have You Seen My Squire?
By Peter Stone
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"Good evening, Sir Carl," he replied hesitantly.
"Have you seen my squire, captain? He was supposed to clean my horse’s armour and then bring the horse to the village to be re-shod,” I queried.
"Ah, well, sir, I think Squire Anthony is hiding," the captain stammered.
"Hiding from whom?" I asked.
"From you, sir," the captain admitted.
"And why would that be, captain?" I pressed.
"Have you looked in the moat, sir?" he replied while tugging at his collar.
"No, I have not."
"Then perhaps you should, sir," the captain suggested.
Upon walking to the side of the drawbridge I received a quite a shock. "Ah, captain, what is my horse doing in the moat?"
"Well, sir, perhaps you should ask your squire that question," the captain recommended as we took in the scene below. A dozen guards were trying to save my horse. One held the stallion’s head while the others worked to remove the steel armour plates. Once removed, they would use a trebuchet on the castle wall above to lift the horse out of the shoulder depth waters.
"I will, captain, as soon as I find him," I announced while resisting the urge to tell the men below to be careful. I headed off to my squire’s usual hideout. The fourteen-year-old boy had only recently entered my service.
I opened the door to the gatehouse’s interior and bellowed, "Squire, show yourself right now or I'll affix you to the drawbridge next time it lowers!"
A scrawny lad jumped out from the shadows to stand in front of me. He was soaking wet. "Sir Carl, please don’t kill me! I’m so sorry about your horse - honest!"
"Squire," I said softly.
"Yes sir?" he wailed.
"Why is my horse in the moat?"
"Well, sir, um, you know how you asked me to clean your horse's armour?" he began unsurely.
"Yes," I said this very slowly.
"Well, um, I had this great idea of cleaning it with water," he continued.
"Right," I said this slowly too.
"So, I thought to myself, why bring heavy buckets of water to the armour, when I could take the armour to the water," he explained.
"Where does my horse fit into this, squire?" I prompted.
"Well, you see, I needed someone to help me carry the heavy armour, and who better than someone who carries it on a regular basis. So, I put the armour on your horse, grabbed a bucket and a rope, and took your horse to the moat. You know, so I could use that water," he clarified.
"And how did the horse end up in the moat, squire?"
"Well, we, ah, kind of slipped on the muddy bank, sir. Both me and the horse - right into the moat," he admitted shamefully.
"I see. Then why are you here, hiding in the gatehouse, instead of helping get my horse out of the moat?" I demanded.
"Sorry, sir, but I was so scared you'd skin me alive that I just bolted and hid here," he squeaked.
"Squire, can I ask you a simple question?" I began.
"Oh course, sir."
"How are you supposed to clean steel armour?" I asked.
I think a lantern lit up over his head. "Oh! By putting it piece by piece in a bag of sand, and then shaking the bag, sir."
"So why didn't you do that?" I queried.
"Oh, oops. I, um, forgot, sir," he replied.
"What happens when steel armour gets wet, squire?"
He looked mortified. "Oh dear – I forgot all about that, sir. It rusts, doesn’t it?"
I laid a hand on his arm. “Look, squire, honestly, this is not the end of the world. Although the armour is probably ruined, I can get the armourer to make a new set. The important thing is that you are okay, as will be the horse once they pull him out of the moat."
Squire Anthony looked at me incredulously, "What - you're not going to skin me alive, sir?"
I ruffled his hair, "No, Anthony. I know you're clumsy and don't listen so well, but you'll get there eventually. Besides, you remind me of myself when I was a young squire..."
"Really?" he said keenly.
"Yes, but not that much. I never put my master's horse in the moat!"
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