4 – The Dubbing

Lucy hurried down the porch and along the path to the gate, carrying her prize in her arms like a newborn baby. The hollow pumpkin shell was so light, it now seemed odd that her father had had so much trouble lugging it into the house not an hour ago. “Well, that was a heavy old vegetable, but this is a totally new creature. No sir, you’re no burden at all!” she thought as she slipped out the gate and onto the sidewalk.

She hadn’t taken more than a few steps when she suddenly stopped dead in her tracks. “Good Lord! He hasn’t got a name! We forgot to christen him.” She spun around and ran back through the gate and up onto the porch calling out, “Grandfather! You forgot to give him a name!”

Grandfather came to the door, holding his pipe in his left hand and scratching the back of his bald head with his right, “By God, you’re right, Princess. That’ll never do. Can’t have your young prince running around without an official ID. Come on in and we’ll take care of that right away.”

Lucy placed her precious cargo on the dining room table ever so gently, saying, “He’s very special, you know, so we can’t call him anything so common as Jack or John. What’s the most princely name you know? Something gallant, uh..noble and, and of course, brave.”

“Gallant, noble, brave? There is none more so than Cadwallon ap Cadfan,” Grandfather suggested with a playful smirk.

“What? How am I going to say that! It’s a horrid name,” Lucy protested.

“You said you wanted the most noble name I know, and Cadwallon is it, all right.”

“Who was this Cad, Cad…”

“Cadwallon. He was a great warrior king of the Britons. The last true defender of Briton against those murderous Anglo-Saxon invaders.”

Lucy studied the proud features Grandfather had so skillfully carved; the fiery slant of the eyes, the noble lines of the nose, and the exquisite upturn of the firm mouth. Surely this was the face of a prince who could withstand a horde of plundering Vikings. Still admiring the magnificent mask, she said, “All right, Grandfather, we shall call him Cadwallon. Yes, a magnificent name, I should say.”

Grandfather came to Lucy’s side, put down his pipe and picked up the carving knife. Raising the blade over the carved sculpture and in a voice deeper than Lucy had ever before heard, he proclaimed, “In the name of the great people of Briton and with the blessings of her Royal Majesty, Elizabeth I, I do hereby dub thee Cadwallon, protector extraordinaire of the British realm and devoted guardian of our princess Lucy of Wallingford.”

Lucy was sure she saw a flame flicker behind the mask as her grandfather uttered this regal proclamation. What was a moment ago a charming Jack-o-lantern, was now truly a charmed protector with a name, a title and a life all his own.

“Oh Grandfather, thank you. Cadwallon is a wonderful name, indeed!”

“He deserves nothing less. Now you had better on along. If you don’t reach home before it gets dark even Sir Cadwallon will not be able to protect me from your mum’s wrath.”

Lucy embraced Cadwallon in her arms and headed out the door. “Don’t you worry, Grandfather. It’s not more than a five-minute walk if I cut through the park and Cadwallon will see to no harm comes to me.”

She ran so fast she didn’t hear her grandfather shout after her, “Take the road around the commons, Princess. Stay out of the park!”