Hello, dearie. Buy an apple, dearie? Freshly picked this very morning they was. Look at ’em, all succulent and round. Like this big red one. No? Well, perhaps I could come in for a moment, dearie? I’ve come a long way. I’ve got old bones and my lungs ain’t what they used to be. If you get to my age, well, you’ll know – What am I saying? Through here, is it, dearie? My, my, you have got it nice in here. Ceiling’s a bit low, isn’t it? You must bump your pretty head on a regular basis. It doesn’t bother me – I’m old and bent but once – oh, once, I stood tall and proud in the knowledge that I was the fairest in the land. You might not think so, looking at me now, but I was. The fairest in the land.
I’ll just sit here, if I may, dearie, by the fire. This is a little chair! Kiddies’ chair, is it? Got yourself a kiddie running around, have you? And where’s the man of the house? At work, I expect. Left you to look after the kiddie, has he? What? What’s that? You’re unmarried! Well, I’m not here to judge, dearie – You have no children, you say? I don’t follow you. Why all these little bits of furniture? I’m not being rude, dearie, but your backside – pert though it may be – isn’t going to fit on one of these seats, is it? How on Earth do you manage? I’m old and bony now so it’s no trouble to me. I won’t keep you for long, dearie. Just having a breather. It’s a long way back through the forest. Long way to come for nothing. Do you know, I haven’t sold a single apple? What a waste of a day it has been! And they won’t be as good tomorrow. They won’t be as firm and as crisp as they are today. Such a pity not to snap them up while they’re fresh. What’s here? Four –five – six – no, seven chairs… Listen, if you buy them one apiece I’ll chuck in the big red one for yourself free, gratis, and for nothing. What do you say?
Who are they all, dearie? If you don’t mind my asking. The people what sits on these seven chairs. Some kind of nursery, is it? Are you running a kindergarten on the side, dearie? Is that what this is? Well, apples is good for growing children. Keep the doctor away.
What’s that? They’ll be home soon? Well, I won’t keep you. I’ll be getting along. If you could just give me a hand, dearie. Help me get back on my feet. That’s it.
Are you sure I can’t tempt you? No?
I’ll tell you what. Because you’ve been so kind and hospitable to a frail old woman what’s come a long way, I’m going to give you an apple. The big red one! With no obligation to purchase. Go on – have a bite. That’s the way; go on.
What do you mean it tastes funny? Are you insinuating there’s something wrong with my apples, my lovely apples? How dare you! I’ve never been so insulted. I’ll have you know – oh, my dear! You have gone a funny colour. Here, lean on me, dearie. Let’s get you to a chair – a couple of chairs for your ample behind. Can I get you a drink of water, dearie? You’ve gone rather pale, if I might make an observation.
Oh dear! Well, if you’re more comfortable on the floor, dearie, you go right ahead. No, no, I can’t hear what you’re saying with all that frothing going on around your mouth. Steady now, you’ll get froth on my dress. Oh, for pity’s sake, just lie still, you little slut, and stop clawing at me or you’ll have me down with you.
That’s right – you recognise me now, don’t you? I can tell by the way your eyes is widening. Yes, it’s me. Took you long enough, but then again it is a fool-proof disguise.
I’m off back to the castle now, dearie, to slip into something more regal. I can hear your seven housemates coming up the lane so I’ll nip out the back way. Through here, is it, dearie?
Dearie? Oh, dear.
Not the fairest in the land now, are you? Not no more. And at last I can stop speaking like an insufferable old pleb. Toodle-pip.