Monday, September 13, 2010

The Faire Adventures of Buckingham Mouse

by Mark Lewis

©1991 Laughing Moon Productions & Mark Lewis

Buck the Mouse lived for the faire. It was a place where the world of a country faire in renaissance England during the reign of Queen Elizabeth the First was recreated. He loved how the faire rose like Brigadoon out of the mists and became real for at least part of the year. It was a place of fun and love and magic where he could go and be somebody else. The faire was a treat for all of his senses with its colors and sounds and sights and smells. Everyone who had ever attended the faire came away with powerful and lasting memories. He felt as though he belonged there.

Buck had attended many faires in previous years for they had built one of the stages right on top of his home! He was timid of it all at first; just watching from the sidelines, but soon he had discovered the fun of joining in and being a part of it! He had been different characters before - a peasant, a soldier and a merchant. He loved it all, but this year he was going to try something new!

In the weeks before the opening, Buck had sneaked into the costume trailer to watch the costumers and peek at the patterns. He borrowed some of the snippets of fabric, tidbits of thread and loose lace from the floors and took them home. He then spent hours and hours getting his new creation ready. This costume was going to be his favorite! He had created for himself an upper class tunic with lace at the throat and cuffs and a hat with the long plume.

"The only thing I'm missing," he said as he admired himself in the mouse-length mirror, "is a sword at my side!" As he put out his light he secretly said to himself, "Tomorrow, I shall be known to all the world as Buckingham Mouse!"

That morning, he was the first at the front gate to hear the speeches and cheer as the faire was pronounced "Open to all!" He ran ahead of the crowds with his eyes shining and shouted at the top of his mouse-lungs, "Huzzah for the Faire!"

That day he danced in a kilt with the Celts, tried not to get soaked by the Washer Women, shopped the jewelry and crafts markets, was astonished by the jugglers, listened to the Gypsy palm and card readers, cheered the horses and riders in the arena, sang sweet harmonies with the a a capella minstrels, slaked his thirst at the drink stands, and then ate until he bloated himself at the food booths!

Upon awakening from an impromptu nap, Buckingham found himself surrounded by swashbucklers, so he joined in with their bawdy songs and ballads. Then, wandering to one of the stages, he sat on a bale of hay and laughed at the performance, mimicked William Shakespeare, booed the Spaniards, cheered the hero and mustered and blustered with the captain of the military.

It was a very full day indeed!

Just before the Queen's show there was a hubbub and a broo-ha-ha! Buck ran up to hear the news that the Queen's ring was missing! A search was conducted but no one could find it. And to make matters worse, the procession was about to begin!

"The show cannot wait!" said the Queen. "We shall do without! Carry on!"

The drums and trumpets heralded the beginning of the parade! All of the military guard and the nobles marched off in order. The chair-bearers lifted the Queen's chair and the procession wound it's magnificent way toward the main stage and the waiting crowd.

As the hustle of bustling feet cleared, Buckingham saw something flash in the straw where the chair had set! He skipped over and cleared away the hay. As he did, the sun flashed off of the huge ruby in the Queen's ring, dazzling his eyes! He had found it! It had slipped off and rolled down under the chair! He tried to pick it up but it was too cumbersome and heavy to carry! As he lifted it, he lost control of the ring and it suddenly slipped down over his head and around his body! He was trapped! Then, in a flash of brilliance, Buckingham took a deep breath and the ring held fast around him like a jeweled saddle!

There was no time to lose; The Queen must have her ring! Buckingham Mouse ran to catch up with the procession, but by the time he reached them they were already on stage!

Buckingham paused for only a moment and then dashed straight down the center aisle, up the stage steps and betwixt the men-at-arms! His sudden appearance caused all of the ladies of the court to squeal and shriek as he ran across the stage! The noble gentlemen tried to halt Buckingham, but he eluded them all. The Mayor became flustered and dropped his ale cup! The Sheriff tripped over his sword! All was in chaos!

Buckingham ducked, skittered and finally leapt up directly into the lap of the Queen! She took him up into her purple-gloved hand, as she stood and commanded, "Hold!"

Everyone fell silent.

"What is this?" she said, lifting Buckingham for all to see.

"It is a mouse, your grace." said one of the gentlemen courtiers.

"I have eyes, my lord!" said the Queen in an icy voice. "But look hither, he is dressed in the finest of clothes and..." Buckingham turned in her hand, " ... my ring! He has my ring!"

All in the court gasped!

The queen took hold of the ring, but it would not budge off of Buckingham! In a wave of embarrassment, he realized what was amiss and exhaled; raising his arms and the Queen gently slid the ring off of his body. Everyone murmured his or her approval as once again Elizabeth slid the ring home onto the royal finger! A great sigh spread across the courtiers.

Buckingham did a deep bow. The Queen laughed aloud and said, “What is thy name?”

“I am Buckingham Mouse, your royal highness.” He replied with a tremulous voice.

"We must reward our small hero." She turned to one of the lords and commanded of him, "Give me your sword!"

With a look of disbelief, he reached to unsheathe his sidearm.

"Not that sword...!" said the Queen as she stepped closer to the noble. She reached out and removed the miniature sword-shaped pin holding a kerchief to the breast of his tunic. "...This sword!" The nobleman's handkerchief fell to the stage and he retrieved it in a huff.

"Kneel, my little man!" commanded the Queen. Buckingham doffed his cap as he did so in her hand. Then, Elizabeth Gloriana, Queen of England and Empress of the High Seas touched him on each shoulder and on the head and said,

“I Knight thee Sir Buckingham Mouse - Knight of the Ring and Defender of the Faith!”

A murmur of awe rippled through the audience.

“Every one of my Knights must have a sword!”, she continued. “We present this one to thee with our deepest thanks.” and she handed the tiny weapon to Buckingham as his very own!

The Lord Mayor stepped forward and cried, "My Lords and Ladies, commoners, all, raise your voices in three lusty cheers for the newest Knight of the Realm, Sir Buckingham Mouse!"

Buckingham blushed and bowed to the crowd as the three, thunderous cheers echoed in his ears!

That night, by firelight in his snug, mouse house, Sir Buckingham Mouse listened to the storyteller on the stage above him and admired his new sword that hung above his mantelpiece. He rolled over in his bed and sighed a tired sigh as he drifted off to sleep, looking forward to another renaissance adventure at the faire!

The End

6 comments:

Robert said...

Great story -- I'd love to see it as a children's book...

Luna Childe said...

Wonderful! Bravo! I so love happy endings! True to form as the wet-person I am, I was blubbering halfway through at the sheer joy of it all. Thank you for sharing!

MobyD said...

I agree with Robert - it would make a great children's book with plenty of illustrations. It's a wonderful story.

lauraxf22 said...

I love the phrase "loose lace".

I think you've captured the joy of Rennaisance Faires perfectly! And I wish I could hear you tell this story!

~Laura GH

Jennifer said...

I loved it. I can relate to Buck the mouse; finding his soul mates at a festival... how the feelings of creativity and camaraderie buoy you up long after the magic fades, back in the mundane world...
But all the while I was reading it, all I truly wished was to have it being told by you - in your voice. Any chance of a podcast?
Looking forward to seeing - and hearing - you at FaerieCon, my friend!

TheGlenOfDoom said...

Mark, I have said it before, I will say it quite often again. Thank you for being as magical as you are. But as I said on Sunday when you were knighted by The Queen, "YOU, are Buckingham Mouse!"