The Archery Contest

By: Patrick M. Thornton

It was the morning of the big archery contest. Today was the day that the lovely Princess Anastasia was to pick a husband. Was it to be the handsome and noble Sir Eric, or the not so handsome or noble Sir Gaylord? Sir Eric was just as curious as everyone else to know the answer. He took court with the young princess to inquire.

SIR ERIC: Princess Anastasia, do you find me attractive?


SIR ERIC: Do you find me to be kind, generous and an all-around caring soul?

PRINCESS ANASTASIA: Yes. I’d agree with that.

SIR ERIC: Do I have enough power and prestige for you?


SIR ERIC: Do you think that I own enough land?

PRINCESS ANASTASIA: Oh, you certainly own enough land.

SIR ERIC: So would you say that I was the ideal candidate to be your husband?

PRINCESS ANASTASIA: Well, we’ll find that out this afternoon, won’t we?

SIR ERIC: You mean the archery contest?

PRINCESS ANASTASIA: Yes, of course I mean the archery contest.

SIR ERIC: I was meaning to talk to you about that. Do you really think that an archery contest is the best way to pick a husband?

PRINCESS ANASTASIA: Of course it is. The ladies in my family have been selecting husbands like this for many generations. And I think they know what they’re doing. If you really want to be my husband, all you have to do is beat Sir Gaylord at the contest this afternoon.

SIR ERIC: You see, that might be a problem.

PRINCESS ANASTASIA: If your love is true, your arrows will fly straight.

SIR ERIC: That’s a pretty thing to say, but the truth is I’m a terrible archer. I’m the best suitor in every other category and if I could convince you to give me your hand in marriage and make me the luckiest nobleman to ever walk this fine green earth, I assure you that I have many many men under me that are more than competent with a bow and arrow. But if you make me go up against Sir Gaylord, I will surely lose.

PRINCESS ANASTASIA: For amusement’s sake, let’s say I called off the archery contest. How would you propose I pick a suitor? Have you joust? Have you walk over hot coals? This is the Middle Ages; we’re a little more civilized than that nowadays.

SIR ERIC: You want to know how you should pick a husband? Love. That’s how. Why don’t you let your heart decide?

PRINCESS ANASTASIA: Do you know how ridiculous you sound?

SIR ERIC: Your Highness, please…

PRINCESS ANASTASIA: If you want me, don’t you think you should be practicing archery instead of babbling on insanely about love? If you ever want to beat Sir Gaylord‚Ķ

SIR ERIC: You know he’s not really a knight, don’t you? You know that Sir is just his first name. You know that he’s just a petty thief who’s completely out of shape and lives in a grass hut with his pig. Don’t you?

PRINCESS ANASTASIA: I’m aware of all of these things. But if his love is true and his arrows shoot straight, then who am I to argue with the universe?

SIR ERIC: What if his arrows shoot straight only because he’s an accomplished archer and not necessarily in love with you?

PRINCESS ANASTASIA: I trust the arrows.

SIR ERIC: I don’t want to be slanderous, Your Highness, but I hear that he’s gay.

PRINCESS ANASTASIA: Sir Eric, this is the Middle Ages. Gay just means happy.

Enter Sir Gaylord. A robust man in pink tights that are entirely too pink and too tight.

SIR GAYLORD: Hi, Your Highness. What’s your stable boy’s name? ‘Cause I just want to call him Sir Hot-Buns.

PRINCESS ANASTASIA: His name’s Bernard.

SIR GAYLORD: I figure with all his experience with horses, he must really know how to ride. Anywho, Your Highness, about the archery contest this afternoon, I sort of have this parade I want to swing by…

Sir Eric is shooing off a very large bee.

SIR ERIC: These damn bees!

SIR GAYLORD: Oh I’ll get that.

Sir Gaylord pulls an arrow from his quiver and drops his bow off his shoulder and in one fluid motion shoots the bee in midair. The bee falls dead. Princess Anastasia’s eyes light up.

PRINCESS ANASTASIA: I think I know a Gaylord who’s going to win an archery contest.

SIR GAYLORD: I hope you have a brother.