A small meeting room at the offices of the Yorkshire Post.
Saju (early 20s, Asian, Leeds) is with Lister (60s, white, rural North Yorkshire). Saju wears a slightly dishevelled shirt and tie. Lister is dressed in mud splattered farmer’s clothing, and carries a large shotgun case which he props against one wall.
Saju You’ve come fully armed then?
Lister Yer nowt but a lad.
Saju I’m a junior reporter.
Lister Where’s t’senior reporter?
Saju They’re all … unavailable.
Lister What about Dan Harden?
Saju Him too.
Lister I’ve been writing to him directly.
Saju Yeah, he mentioned that.
Lister Several times.
Saju He said.
Lister So where is he?
Saju There’s a big story breaking at the moment.
Lister Bigger than mine?
Saju Very possibly.
Lister What’s that then?
Saju Someone’s stolen Jimmy Savile’s body.
Lister Who’s Jimmy Savile?
Saju Who’s … never mind.
Lister Sounds like neither nowt nor summat. Maybe they’ll change their minds when they hear what I’ve got to say.
Saju Maybe they will. Let’s see eh?
Saju takes out a notepad.
Lister You can tell your Mr Harden I think he’s rude. I’ve written to him four times and rung him twice as many. No reply.
Saju I’m sure he’s just busy.
Lister And I drive all the way down from Castleton, only to get palmed off with t’work experience lad.
Saju I’m a fully qualified reporter, actually.
Lister I’ll be judge of that.
Saju Mr Greenwood wasn’t it.
Lister Aye. Lister Greenwood. Castleton Farm.
Lister Never you mind.
Saju It’s just we always print the –
Lister Never you mind. Bloody cheek.
Saju Right. Alright. Forget it. So.
Saju So what’s the story?
Lister I’d really rather talk to a grown-up.
Saju It’s me or nothing. Up to you.
Lister You’ll never believe a word of this.
Saju Try me.
Lister It were two week ago now. I were gathering t’flock in from lower field for t’night. One of em got separated from t’group. Ran off. Something had spooked her. Buggered if I know what, but she fair belted it out of t’field and out to yonder hill. Freeborough Hill. It’s well-known in our area. See it from everywhere. So I said to our Billy, to take t’rest of flock in while I go chasing after the escapee. I’ll tell thee this fer nowt – a frightened sheep can go at a fair old lick. She took me right round t’back of Freeborough Hill, but when I got there – nowt.
Saju sighs and puts down his notebook.
Saju Is this going somewhere?
Lister Course it’s going somewhere.
Saju Because I’m sorry, but with the greatest respect, a lost sheep isn’t really news round these parts.
Lister Tha’ll watch tha tone, lad, if tha wants t’hear end of t’tale.
Saju I’m sorry, it’s just – we’re really busy today.
Lister Too busy by half.
Saju Do you mind if we skip to the end.
Lister Where there’s muck there’s brass.
Saju What does that mean?
Lister You’re a reporter. Report this.
Lister takes the large rifle case and puts it on the table between them. He pops open the catches and shows Saju what’s inside.
Saju Shit. Shit, man. Where’s it from?
Lister Oh tha wants to know now does thee?
Saju Aye. Tell us.
Lister So I’m stood on t’far side of Freeborough Hill like Bo Peep in her nightie, no sign of t’lost sheep. When I notice this hole in t’side of t’hill. Ey up, I think. Never seen that before. So I wander over, and blow me if it isn’t big enough to walk into, at a bit of a stoop, but I can get in nonetheless, and I’m a tall man.
Saju You are.
Lister Aye. Goes right into side of t’hill it does, and curiosity gets t’better of me dunt it. Plus maybe t’sheep’s in there I think. So I wander in, calling after t’sheep like a silly bugger. It’s dark, and wet. Cold. Though it was warm outside, like today. So I’m walking ten, twenty, maybe fifty steps into yonder tunnel. There’s this sort of grey light coming from t’end, like winter moonlight it was. Eerie. When I get to this door. Huge, solid, wooden thing it were. Old. Really old. Rusted iron rivets running down it in rows, and a huge iron handle covered in cobwebs. But it’s ajar. Well I can’t not look at what’s on t’other side can I? So I push it open. Well, I will never forget what I saw until t’day I die. One of my feet kicked something, a brass goblet, which goes skittering into t’room. And it stops at t’feet of the most enormous man I have ever seen. Stood there, half asleep, in full chain mail, boots, helmet, resting his chin on a broadsword, grey beard flowing over the top and almost down to t’floor. He opens his eyes, piercing blue they were, and puts his fingers to his lips. ‘Sssssh.’ For right next to him, was this huge round table, and around it twelve other knights, fast asleep, their heads resting gently on t’tabletop. It were King Arthur. King Arthur and his Knights. It’s long been said round our way that Freeborough Hill is where they sleep – ready to rise again, to defend the realm, should England ever need it.
Well I’ve seen em with me own eyes. It’s true. They’re there.
Saju Mr Greenwood. Sir. This is – this is …
Lister Choose yer words carefully, lad.
Saju I’d have laughed you out of the office, if it wasn’t for …
Lister Aye. For this.
Lister picks up what is the in the rifle case and holds it up. A beautiful, ancient, jewel-encrusted sword.
Lister Do you think maybe y’might want to go and get yer boss?