It was a beautiful sunny day when the French Nobleman Coeur de Fer arrived in Camelot with his entourage. That’s a French word meaning large waist, for he was indeed big and rotund. Just as well he was met by Sir Cumference, the Camelot Foreign Affairs ambassador and gourmet, who was also of similar perimeter in girth.
The French guest was taken to the chamber housing the Round Table where King Arthur was in attendance with his Knights. They were offered tea by Earl Grey or coffee if they preferred by Arabica Bean. Freshly baked biscuits were also brought in by the palace’s master chef Ivor Crumbs.
“Now then …” said young King Arthur, “I understand Monsieur Coeur de Fer that your King Louis-le-Fier of France wishes me to marry one or both of his daughters. Namely Marge A’ Reen or Marm A’Laid!”
“Oh non, pas du tout, Majesté,” declared the French Nobleman, “whatever ‘az given you zat idea? Zee two lovelly Princesses zey ‘ave all readee been married yesterday.
“One az married zee Prince of Italy, Ravioli della Sauce, zee son of Emperor Mc Arony.
“And zee ozer Princess az married Herr Mitt, zee iron-fisted Chancellor of Germany who always lived alone on zee mountain. He is now no longer a Herr Mitt and will be known as Herr Exhausted instead!”
“I see …” said a relieved King Arthur “so … if the purpose of your visit is not to seek my marriage with either Princess of France, what exactly is your purpose here?”
Before the French Nobleman could reply, King Arthur went on.
“And one more thing … what made him and his daughters change their minds?”
“Well … eet eez a delicate matter …” hesitated the French Nobleman noticing that Sir Galahad, one of the Knights of the Round Table, was cleaning his toe nails with a sharp cutlass.
“Don’t worry about him,” said King Arthur, “he is sulking because I will not pay for his pedicure!”
“Zee reason zee Princesses chose to marry an Italian and a German is because of zeir cuisine, Majesté,” said Coeur de Fer.
“Both countries zey use plentee of zee garlic, which we love in la belle France.
“But if zee Princesses ‘ad married you, zey would ‘ave ‘ad to endure a lifetime of boiled potatoes, boiled carrots, boiled parsnips, boiled turnips, boiled swedes, boiled cabbage … even zee meat is boiled in Camelot. No garlic or onions whatsoever!”
“All right … I get it,” interrupted the angry King of Camelot, “so they don’t like our cooking. Well they can go and boil their heads as far as I’m concerned. And the same with you!”
“But please, s’il vous plait, Majesté! Wee need your ‘elp,” pleaded Coeur de Fer.
This made King Arthur sit up.
“My help? How so?” he asked.
“Wee ‘ave in France a plague of zee frogs. Zey are everee where,” explained the Frenchman, “Zey jump and zey hop all over zee place. Sometimes zey jump up zee ladies skirts as far as possible. Sometimes zey even reach possible.
“Wee do not know what to do. Zee frogs zey eat everee thing. All zee fields are barren because zee frogs ‘ave eaten all the vegetation. I ‘ave come to ask you what wee should do!”
“Can’t you catch them?” asked King Arthur.
“Zey are veree fast,” said Coeur de Fer, “zey do zee running all over zee place!”
“Well, cut their legs off,” laughed King Arthur finishing his goblet of wine.
And that’s how the French added another delicacy to their cuisine.
And the moral of this story, (so far), is: I once took a young lady to a French restaurant. She had frogs’ legs. But the rest of her body was beautiful.
Historical fact: It was at the time of Camelot that garlic and onions entered the British cuisine, (we think). But not yet frogs' legs and snails. Unless you go to a posh restaurant that is. These days in the UK we eat toad in the hole. Do you know what it is?