(Dedicated to William Roy Dawes, the little champion!)
Groat was a troll.
William didn’t like Groat.
(Kid in medieval peasant’s clothes looking at troll eating a goat.)
One day, Groat built a bridge between William’s farm and the main trail.
It was a beautiful bridge.
(Groat building small bridge.)
But, when it was finished… “I’LL EAT ANYONE WHO CROSSES MY BRIDGE!” the troll announced.
“That’s not fair!” protested William.
(Leading donkey carrying baskets of apples to market – as he does in all subsequent images)
“ANYONE!” roared Groat. “… unless you pay a small fee.”
“It’s a scam!” protested William.
“Imagine if I build my shack in the middle of the village road and made people pay to walk through my front door,” he said.
“Then you’d be smart,” Groat grumbled. “Two coins! OR I’LL EAT YOU UP!”
(Groat biting one of the coins. Kid walking on, with donkey and apples, grumpy.)
William wished a knight would drive off Groat, but they were always too busy to help farm boys.
“Stupid knights,” William grumbled. “Stupid trolls!”
(Kid walking, grumpy, donkey in tow. In background, knight fighting dragon.)
William brought two coins to the bridge the next day.
“Five coins!’ Groat demanded.
“But I only have-“
“Okay, two coins, and your sandals… OR I’LL EAT YOU!” Groat bellowed.
And the next day…
“DANCE FOR ME!”
And the next…
“SING ME A SONG!”
And the next…
“WALK ON YOUR HANDS! BACKWARDS!”
“This is getting humiliating,” William protested.
And the next…
“GIVE ME YOUR CLOTHES!”
(Kid embarrassed, only broad-shorts on, slinking away. Groat eating clothes.)
After a while Groat’s requests started getting ridiculous!
“Tell me a rhyme with the words pee and poo in it!”
“Give me five chickens, OR I WILL-”
“Yeah, yeah,” said William.
(Groat eating few of the chickens, live and whole, several more around him. Kid annoyed, storming past.)
(Groat standing with mouth wide open and threatening fist. Kid balancing on one foot on the back of a wombat while wearing a tutu and juggling three possums…)
William snuck around to the local dragon’s. “I’ll pay you four donkeys to eat him,” he insisted.
“You’re just saying that so a knight will show up,” the dragon said.
So the daily toll continued…
(Troll kicking back in banana lounge, floppy hat and sunnies on, drinking from a pineapple with small umbrella, while kid washes the troll’s feet, and donkey waits.)
“IF YOU DON’T-” Groat raged.
“Okay, eat me,” William said.
“Huh!?” Groat sputtered. “Nah. You can use the bridge today. Maybe I’ll eat you tomorrow.”
(Kid, fists by side, defiant body language, but face surprised. Troll simply walking off.)
(Kid tiptoeing behind troll as troll walks over scruffs of grass and human skulls.)
“…this week, haha,” Groat laughed. “This week I made the kid wear a tutu!”
(Groat standing on small wooden crate, surrounded by other trolls, mostly, but also a dragon or two, some fairies, three or four knights, a giant, a princess, etc… They are all laughing.)
“…And get this,” Groat said (eyes almost popping out with happiness), “HE HASN’T EVEN REALISED TROLLS DONE EAT LITTLE BOYS!”
(Everybody exploding with thunderous laugher.)
“Who would?” chortled a ghoul. “Their feet smell terrible!”
“The WORST!” Groat agreed with him.
“I told him I wouldn’t help because a knight might get me!” laughed the dragon.
(Dragon and knight slapping each other on the back, laughing.)
(William annoyed/humiliated tiptoeing away.)
The next day, things were different.
“RIGHT, IF YOU DON’T-”
“I saw you last night,” William said.
(Kid looks annoyed. Groat wide-eyed with shock, awkward.)
“When I make people laugh I feel less lonely,” Groat confessed. “I mean, you try living under a bridge!”
“Well, I now know you won’t eat me,” William told the troll. “But it is your bridge…”
(Troll throwing hands in air, arguing, Kid has his hand on chin, thinking hard.)
“AH-HA!” shouted William. “I have a solution!”
So, from then on…
“Hi Groat,” William said.
“Psst. Can you stop looking relaxed?” spat Groat. “I have an image to maintain.”
“EAT! MUNCH! GRUMBLE.”
(Groat and kid both throwing hands in air in deadpan pantomime)
“Okay…” Groat would whisper.
And, each day, William would tell him a different joke.
“Why did the chicken cross the road…?”
(Close-up of William, cupped hand beside mouth, leaning up to whisper a joke to hunched, concentrating Groat.)
“… Because ALL THE BRIDGES HAD TROLLS!”
(Groat telling the joke On the crate to same crowd as before, who are all rolling around, laughing.)
It was the start of a beautiful friendship.
(Kid getting a shoulder ride from Groat. Both happy. Groat has painted wooden sign over chest and back, saying: 3 coins. Comedy. Groat has goat leg protruding from mouth.)
(Final image of Groat kicking back on his banana lounge, sunnies on, Kid sitting on bridge, legs dangling over the side, happily fishing.)