In Chapter CCLXXI (nothing happens in Chapter CCLXX) of Violet Crepuscular’s epic romance, Oy, Rodney, Lord Jeremy Coldsore is a bit cut up about having sent sixty men under the vicar’s backyard wading pool and getting back only one–Constable Chumley, whose explanation of what happened to the others is cloaked in his quaint rural dialect which no one understands.
All alone, in the dead of night, Johnno the Merry Minstrel sneaks out of Coldsore Hall and takes up a position near the wading pool and next to the full-size concrete Iguanodon pull-toy, which is too massive to be pulled away just now. He is wearing his special dancing pants and carrying his harmonica. “What he is about to do,” writes Ms. Crepuscular, “requires inimaginable courage.” Is it me, or is she getting rather too fond of that adjective?
Johnno, dancing all the while, strikes up a special tune known only to the merry minstrels of Scurveyshire and handed down for untold generations. This song is believed to have magical powers. It is called “The Old Oaken Bucket.” Only the merry minstrels know how to dance to “The Old Oaken Bucket.” Johnno dances, plays the harmonica, and sings, all at the same time. It takes much practice.
After several hours of this, the sinister rubber pool humps up and down, emits a terrifying burping noise–and out from under it, by twos and threes, hobble Constable Chumley’s lost bearers and askaris, seeming none the worse for wear. However, they now speak in an unknown language which is not pleasant to hear. “It is an unimaginable”–there she goes again–“babble which no one in Scurveyshire has attempted to speak since they all hid themselves under baskets to get out of having to help build Stonehenge.”
After a few moments of confusion, the survivors rush en masse to The Lying Tart, break down the door, and help themselves to the landlord’s stock of second-rate Scurveyshire Ale. They’re still at it when the next day breaks. When the villagers discover that their stout lads have returned alive, there is much celebration. When they discover that they can no longer communicate with them, it takes some of the edge off their rejoicing.
For a music video of Johnno performing “The Old Oaken Bucket,” contact your Congressman.