A Christmas Tale From Bermuda by Bill Storie
Once upon a time in a place called Bermuda there lived an old Knight.
He lived in his own little castle (one-bedroom apartment actually) in the town of St. Georges which just happened to be his name as well – St. George. He lived alone.
He would cook for himself every night on his open wood fire (Aga Cooker actually). He wasn’t a rich Knight (his investment portfolio was handled by five managers actually). He had done lots of Knight stuff through his many years, and his many crusades to a far distant land called Hamilton proved successful. He never pillaged of course, but his gathering skills in the Casbah Market (Gorhams actually) would always make him happy when he rode home on his trusty steed (a Yamaha 100 actually).
“Aha” he would say as he slowly traveled home (55 KPH actually), “I must plan a new adventure one of these days. I hear tales of wonder and gold in great store (Marketplace at Shelly Bay actually), where they say that many wise men visit daily (three actually). I shall plan a new crusade,” he said.
It was a while before he had the strength to make the long journey from St. Georges again. The years of wearing his armor day in, day out, had taken its toll. Every morning when he awoke, he would dread the chore of dressing. But he knew that as a Knight of the Realm, appointed by a woman far, far away (his mum actually), that he had a duty to always be prepared to defend his castle and the town.
Even though no-one had visited him in his castle for many years (over thirty actually), even his cleaning woman didn’t drop by these days, he nonetheless knew that one day, someone would knock on his door for help.
The people of the town knew where he lived. They would talk amongst themselves and would often say that “De man up de hill never comes out in de daytime. He must work on de knightshift.”
At an early age, St. George had been sent away by his father to learn the noble craft of knight life. He was sent to a knight school in the land of Devonshire (Saltus Primary actually). There he was taught to read and write. Most of the young men would go home every evening. Their parents would usually arrive in a horse-drawn carriage (a Toyota SUV actually) to take them home, but St. George lived too far away, and his parents couldn’t afford a carriage, so he had to stay at the school every knight. It was a lonely life, but he adapted quickly.
Fortunately, there was a young damsel who lived nearby. She would climb out of her bedroom window when her parents had gone to bed at night and dash over to see him. They would talk and read books (her Kindle actually) and they soon grew fond of each other. He would walk her home and when they reached her window, he would place a kiss on her cheek. He knew this was frowned upon in those politically correct times, but he liked her very much.
But soon, she was sent across the oceans to become a lawyer. He never saw her again.
When he finally went home, his mother told him that his father was frail and that soon he would become the big knight and would live in his big castle forever more. One day, late in the day, he became St. George. His knight time had started.
He was paraded through the town and when he reached Knight Square (later to be upgraded to King Square), he declared that he would serve the people faithfully and would look after their interests above his own (his days of politics had begun). He attended many meetings in the town and even though his armor was heavy, and he was weary, he would still shake hands and kiss babies with gusto.
The townspeople would send him on missions – or crusades as he liked to call them. He became an ambassador for the town and would travel far and wide to extol the virtues of his Paradise home. He would write many a Paper on the merits of free speech and free trade in the global economy.
Yet he always relished coming home to his castle on the hill (Cut Road actually) where he could look out over the harbor and watch the hundreds of sea-faring ships go sailing by (the ferry to Dockyard actually). He was a true olde towne bye.
As the years went by, his crusading days became less. His endless days of wearing armor became more and more of a burden. So much so, that when he went to his preferred hostelry (the White Horse actually), especially in the evening he would often be seen wearing his knighthoodie. Cold winter’s nights would chill him to the bone, but a covering of his head seemed to do the trick (not to mention de rum).
The days were long and boring. The nights were the same. His life became a procession of yawns. His usefulness waned. His contribution to society diminished.
“I am no use to anyone nowadays,” he would mutter over his cornflakes each morning.
Then one day he noticed a notice pinned to ye old oak tree in the square.
It said : “Helper wanted for one-night stand only.”
It was signed “SC” but there were no contact details. So, he decided to send a chain-mail from his armor (an e-mail from his laptop actually).
“Dear SC,” he wrote. “I hereby apply for the position of helper. I am a true and trusted knight.”
For weeks he heard nothing. No reply, nothing. The first week of December came and went. As did the second week. He was giving up hope. Soon the square would be full of fir trees and candles (Belco lights actually). Not his time of year. The end of December was fast approaching.
Then, suddenly, one night, the 24th of December he would later recall, a noise could be heard on the roof of his castle. A sound he had never heard before. It was scary.
Then a voice boomed out.
“Ho, Ho, Ho,” it said. “my name is Claus, but you can call me Santa.”
St. George immediately recognized the “SC” letters.
“How might I help you Mr. Claus?” he asked.
“Well” said Mr. Claus. “Every year I come to this place I am pestered by a huge dragon.”
“A dragon?” asked St. George surprised. “There are no dragons in this town,” he said, “you must be mistaken.”
“No Sir,” said Mr. Claus, “every year a dragon appears in a small cove on the shore (Tobacco Bay actually) as I approach with my reindeer and sleigh, to bring gifts to the children of the town. My chief reindeer Rudolph, gets very scared. And last year he turned and ran, pulling the other reindeer, and the sleigh, and me, and all the presents away to a place unknown to me (Somerset actually).
“Oh dear,” said St. George. “How can I help?”
“You Sir are a Knight and you slay dragons I am told,” said Mr. Claus.
“Oh my,” said St. George, “I’ll do my best, but I haven’t been close to a dragon for years. In the Middle Ages, so I am told, another St. George had an encounter with a dragon, but I think that’s just a myth” (it was a hit actually).
Nonetheless, he put on his armor, gathered up his sword and his shield and set off towards the shoreline.
As he slowly approached the bay, he could hear much strange noises and rustling in the bushes. It was nighttime of course and he knew that there had been many parties (similar to Cup Match actually) in the town, and that romance would be in the air tonight. Nonetheless he moved forward.
And lo and behold, he came across a sight to behold. In front of him, standing ten feet tall, he saw an enormous Red and Blue Trojan Horse blowing in the wind. A plastic blow-up no less.
It seems it had been intentionally placed there, tied to a tree. So, he cut the rope, and it sailed off over the sea never to be seen again (back to the west end of the island actually).
Mr. Claus watched as the fearsome “dragon” disappeared over the horizon.
“You have saved Christmas” he said to St. George. “Thanks to you the children of St. Georges will have a wonderful night tonight Sir Knight. And tomorrow they will receive all their presents.”
St. George went home tired, but happy.