Greg: Good evening, Your Highness, I must say what a great honor it is to have the chance to interview you.
King Cole: You're right, it is an honor for you. But thanks for inviting me. It gives me a chance to get out of the castle for once.
Greg: Well, glad we could help out. Um, forgive my asking, but are you well?
King Cole: I'm perfectly fine. Why do you ask?
Greg: Oh, no reason really. It's just that you don't look as merry as I thought you would. As a matter of fact, you look positively glum.
King Cole: Oh that. People often make that mistake. Since that nursery rhyme came out, everyone expects me to be merry and jolly all the time.
Greg: Well, you are Old King Cole who's a merry old soul...
King Cole: And a merry old soul was he. Yes, yes I know the rhyme as well as the next person, but it's extremely misleading. I mean, life's not all pipes and bowls and a trio of fiddlers, is it? People forget that I've got a kingdom to run, and that's no day at the beach I can tell you.
Greg: Oh dear, it isn't?
King Cole: It most certainly is not. For one thing, I have to do all sorts of tedious government work. There's mediating disputes, knighting people, and the proclamations--don't get me started about the proclamations! I tell you, when you read about kings in the history books, they don't tell you about all the paperwork. It's nothing but sign this and stamp that. And that royal seal--I can't tell you how many doublets I've ruined with dripping wax.
Greg: It doesn't sound that glamorous when you put it like that. Uh, getting back to the point, I've always been curious about what kingdom you rule.
King Cole: Oh it's a lovely kingdom up north. Very pretty mountains. Skiing is quite popular there.
Greg: It sounds really nice.
King Cole: Well, it is if you like snow. Unfortunately, I don't. Beastly stuff, all cold and wet. Just try and get a horse and carriage through that stuff--virtually impossible. And the heating bills. There are 50 fireplaces in the castle, and they have to be kept going 24/7 for at least nine months out of the year. Do you know how much wood that comes out to?
In all the stories woodcutters are poor and destitute, but that's just a myth. In my country, they're rolling in cash. Actually, I'm looking into alternative sources of fuel, things that are more economical and burn more cleanly. Do you know anything about oil? Is it really as cheap as I've heard?
Greg: If there's one thing I've learned just from this interview, it's that you can't believe everything you hear.
King Cole: You never spoke a truer word. Take for example this nursery rhyme about me. Everyone thinks that I'm a smoker because I called for my pipe. I never smoked a day in my life. I was calling for my recorder so that I could play with my fiddlers. But everyone misunderstood. I get letters every day from anti-smoking groups telling me that I'm a bad influence on children. I try to explain, but they don't want to hear it.
Greg: You know, I never really stopped to consider that the rhyme might not have painted an entirely accurate picture of you. I can understand how frustrating that must be for you.
King Cole: Thank you for helping me clear the air. It's okay being a merry old soul sometimes, but to be perpetually labeled as such is more than an old soul like me can stand.
Greg: Well, thank you for taking the time to sit and talk with us, it has been most enlightening.
King Cole: Any time my dear boy. Now if you could just point me in the direction of OPEC. I hear they live in a land that sees snow once in a blue moon. Ah, that must be nice.