This month’s film festival screening was based on a Roald Dahl short story. Although you might be familiar with some of his books like Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, James and the Giant Peach, or The Witches, he also wrote lots of shorter tales for both kids and adults.
In Parson’s Pleasure, we meet Mr. Cyril Boggis – an antiques dealer in Chelsea, London. He doesn’t have a large shop, but he still manages to make a tidy income each year by buying the most remarkable pieces of furniture at very, very cheap prices and selling them for immense profits. His friends in the trade wonder where he finds such rare items so regularly. It turns out that Mr. Boggis’s scheme is rather simple: he dresses up as a parson (sort of like a priest) and visits English farmhouses where he lies and says he’s writing articles for the Society for the Preservation of Rare Furniture. When he finds something valuable, he makes the person an offer and then sells the item in his shop for twenty times as much. On this particular trip he’s going around the county of Buckinghamshire and comes across three locals (Claud, Bert, and Rummins) near a dirty, ramshackle farmhouse. Once he convinces them to let him inside, he is flabbergasted to see a Chippendale Commode standing in the living room. These Commodes were made by the famous 18th-century furniture maker Thomas Chippendale, and only three others were known to be in existence. Boggis nearly faints when he realizes that this piece could fetch up to twenty thousand pounds (the money that they use in England) in an auction.
What happens next is both tragic and funny, depending on how you look at it. Do you think Boggis will get rich and famous for his special find? Or might he learn a lesson about honesty & integrity?