Once upon a time, in a land far away across the sea, there lived a white knight.
The white knight was brave. She was bold. She had a big horse named Dave. But very sadly she was wounded. The knight had fought an almighty battle many years ago, you see. A very sharp lance had pierced her heart. It had very nearly killed her. And whilst she had removed it, the wound would bother her from time to time. It would bleed. But being brave (and a little bit dim), she ignored it. She was also very tough. And brave.
One beautiful summer’s day the knight took her magnificent beast for a ride in the forest. The sun shone through the canopy of the oak trees giving a pleasing dappled effect. Every now and again it would glint off her lovely, shiny (expensive) armour. The knight was at peace and everything was good in the world.
In a clearing in the woods was a lake. The knight knew that the water was deep here and there were strange currents which sometimes pulled unwary bathers to their deaths. Sometimes, samite covered nubile wenches would throw daggers at people for reasons unknown. By the lake was a fair maiden. She was looking at her reflection in the water. There was something strangely familiar about her. Had they met before?
The knight dismounted and clanked over to the girl.
“Hullo there fair maiden! What gives on this fine, summer’s day?” The knight cried out.
“Oh it’s the water! I want to swim in it, it looks so inviting! Yes, I think I will. The only problem is that I’m not a very good swimmer. I only just started you see. I’m very new to this swimming m’larky. But I guess if I stay in the shallows, what could go wrong?”
“No you mustn’t! Many people have died in the lake! It’s dangerous!”. The knight was unsure if she should mention the nubile wenches.
Barely had the words left the knights mouth when off came the maidens robe and quick as a flash, in she went. Very soon she started to thrash and to panic. One of those strange undertows pulled her down. And just like that, she was gone.
“Oh fucking hell! This fucking armour!”, cursed the knight as she struggled to free herself. Too late! Much too late! The knight sat on a convenient stone and wept for the maiden.
But the knight was not alone. By the side of the lake sat an woman tending a fire over which a cauldron sat.
“Hey ho”, cried out the Dame (for it was She). “Why are you weeping?”
“I wanted to save the maiden but I was too late. I couldn’t get out of my armour and the bloody wounds been giving me gip and it was such a lovely day! Now she is dead and gone. [sob]”
“Ha! Did you warn her?”
“But she still went in anyway?”
“She knew she couldn’t swim?”
“I guess so.”
“But still she insisted?”
“Daft bint. Yes.”
“Then I don’t see what you could have done? Do you? She knew the danger, she may have been young but she was responsible for her actions as you are yours.”
The Dame stirred her pot, ponderously. The knight felt something stir in her chest. It was a disconcerting feeling.
“Knight, take off your helm and look at yourself in the water”, said the Dame. The knight did as she was bid. To her utter astonishment the face reflected back in the water was that of the maiden! An now she knew why she was so familiar, it was her, as a young girl. She had been forgotten, you see.
“That’s odd”, thought the knight, “I’m sure I’ve got more grey hairs than that! And as for the wrinkles…”
“You are wounded. Every time you try to save someone else, you are really only trying to save yourself. If you continue to try to save others before yourself you will never heal. You are only putting off the inevitable, you know.” The woman let out a loud and fruity belch.
“How do I heal myself Oh Wise Woman? Oh, you’re going to make me drink that, aren’t you?”
“That! Oh do me a favour? It’s vile. Frankly, I wouldn’t piss in it! It’s only here in this parable as a metaphor, you know. Jeez, you don’t half take yourself seriously. No to heal yourself, you must tell me your story. How did the lance pierce your armour anyway?”.
The knight sighed. “Tis a long story.”
“We have all day.”
“Well, once upon a time…”