Now as many people know The Three Musketeers is a novel by the French writer Alexandre Dumas first published in 1844. The story is set in the 17th Century and tells the adventures of d'Artagnan who goes to Paris to join the Musketeer Guards. The three Musketeers were Athos, Porthos and Aramis and their motto was "all for one and one for all".
What not many people know however is that the story is based on real people who guarded King Louis XIV of France, a King who enjoyed good style furniture which to this day bear his name. If you find a Louis XIV chair you are sure to pay a good price for it because the chances are that at some time or other he may have sat on it.
Anyway, the names of the REAL three musketeers were Pathos (not Athos) because he was always sad and melancholy (face like a melon and body like a collie). Shortos (because he was very short. He had also trained as a doctor but because of his small stature he had qualified as a knee specialist). And Monami, (which in French means my friend. He was always friendly with the ladies and got into a lot of trouble).
The real young man who travelled to Paris to join the musketeers was named Tarte Onion (not d'Artagnan, because he was a baker and every one liked his onion pies).
OK ... preliminaries over. Now on with the real story.
Tarte Onion goes to Paris and stays in a small inn. The owner puts him up in a tiny room up in the attic. Right up in the loft of the house. Tarte Onion asks the hotelier if he has anything to drink. The hotel-keeper says there's some milk in the kitchen cupboard, "take it up with you to the loft".
For the next half-hour Tarte Onion struggles trying to take the cupboard up to the loft.
The next morning he struggles again getting the cupboard down three floors to the kitchen.
After paying the hotelier for his night's stay the hotel-keeper gives him directions to the Palace of King Louis XIV and bids him farewell.
"Pull the door behind you as you leave!" says the hotelier and Tarte Onion duly obliges by pulling the door off its hinges and taking it with him to the Palace.
At the Palace, the Guards at the Gates, (also Musketeers called Left and Right because of the positions they occupied at the Gates), see Tarte Onion coming towards them with a door on his back. They stop him thinking he is a door-to-door salesman selling doors door-to-door.
"Do you have a gate?" they ask.
"No, I always walk this way" replies Tarte Onion.
(Pause a little for some people to catch up and understand this joke).
After a short pause by which time the two Guards understood the joke they ask Tarte Onion for some form of identification.
He pulls out a mirror from his pocket, looks at it and says "Yes, that's me all right!"
So they let him into the great hall of the King's Palace. As he's waiting there a beautiful lady comes in and walks towards him. Tarte Onion also moves forward a little and trips over the carpet hitting the beautiful lady in the face. That's when their eyes met, although their noses took most of the impact.
Tarte Onion explains that his main quest is to find the spy working for the evil Cardinal Richelieu who wants to kill the King and become King himself.
Now the young would-be musketeer has been told that the spy is a woman with a tattoo somewhere personal on her body spelling the word "LOLA".
"Could this woman be the very spy LOLA which I am after?" Tarte Onion asks himself, "if only I could search if she has a tattoo on her person!".
Before he could answer his own question, the lady rubs her face to ease the pain from her nose-to-nose close encounter of the painful kind and introduces herself by giving her name "Isadora Kitten".
"No ... a door is a door, and a kitten is a small cat!" replies the hapless Tarte Onion.
Isadora smiles and marvels at his level of ignorance. It is then that Tarte Onion notices for the first time that, although she was very beautiful, sadly, she had one ear much much bigger than the other. One ear was normal size and the other much larger and sticking out a little ... quite a lot.
It was as if she was a car with a side door left wide open.
But as cars had not yet been invented no one had made the connection and compared her to a car with a door wide open. Although some had noted that she looked like a horse-drawn carriage with a door wide open.
Every time there was a slight breeze the poor lady would pirouette round as the draught caught her ear like a big sail.
(Did you notice I used the French word "pirouette" rather than say spin? It is after all a French story. Many years from now, when people study my writings, like they do William Shakespeare's, they'll marvel at my grasp of a wide and international vocabulary. But I digress as I often do to my great annoyance.)
Anyway, Isadora spins round like a revolving hotel door, (that's where the idea of those doors originated), and as she spins a few turns she gets dizzy and falls flat on her back. That's when Tarte Onion notices that she has a tattoo on her upper thigh spelling the word "LOL".
He does not know whether she is laughing out loud at him, or whether the tattoist ran out of ink before finishing her name.
At this point into the big hall enter the three Musketeers Pathos, Shortos and Monami, accompanied by a servant called Pantaloon; but they called him Pants for short!
The Musketeers befriend Tarte Onion and they fight many battles together against the evil Cardinal Richelieu; and in defence of their King, Louis XIV, who is always busy buying Louis XIV furniture, thus creating a shortage and an increase in prices.
Tarte Onion also fights many duels against his greatest enemy Roquefort. A cheesy character who has two accomplices, an Italian called Gorgonzola and an Englishman named Stilton.
Tarte Onion is often cut up into slices in such duels with Roquefort who crumbles at every "Touché" of his opponent's sword. Meanwhile Gorgonzola and Stilton melt in the heat of battle with pathetic Pathos, shortie Shortos and the ever so friendly, (with the ladies), Monami.
En guarde !!!