How to have fun in a library

Step 1: Choose an off-mainstream topic for your doctoral thesis (“how to kill a dragon” is already taken, though — that’s my topic)

Step 2: Unearth some obscure (and preferably old!) books in library catalogues.

Step 3: Pre-order those books.

Step 4: Arrive at library, choose a seat, pick up your books and …

Step 5: … have fun! 🙂
Among the books I looked at during my visit in London were an old chapbook from about 1725 and two long-forgotten 19th-century plays, among them F. Leslie Moreton’s JACK THE GIANT KILLER, in which a demon lord gets mad at King Arthur for interfering with his copper mines and hires the giant Blunderbore to kidnap the king’s daughter. It’s a Christmas play for children, and so it’s suitably gory — but in a funny way:

COPPERAS. You know the princess?

BLUNDERBORE. Prettypet?

COPPERAS. The same.
You seem to be acquainted with her name.

BLUNDERBORE. Acquainted! You don’t know how I feel,
I long have wished to make of her a meal.
She’s plump and pretty, tender as a chicken,
One of her bones I’d like to be a-picking.

COPPERAS. Why not take her? Who’ll oppose your will?
Do what you like with her, roast her or grill,
Boil her or bake her, put her in a stew.
Anything as long as she’s removed from view.

VERDIGRIS. When she is gone, the nation loud will moan.

COPPERAS. No doubt, but they will leave my mines alone.

So Blunderbore kidnaps the princess, drags her off to St. Michael’s Mount — and promptly falls in love with her. But there’s no happy ending for this giant, for Jack, Prettypet’s good-for-nothing beaux, comes after them, kills off poor Blunderbore and is rewarded with Prettypet’s hand in marriage. (Of course.)
It was great fun to read, and was most likely even greater fun to see on a stage!

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