Short summary - The Thirty-First of June - John Boynton Priestley

British literature summaries -

Short summary - The Thirty-First of June
John Boynton Priestley

The action takes place in the fabulous kingdom of Perador in the XII century and today in London on a lunar day on June 31.

Kingdom of Perador

In the tiny kingdom of Perador, in one of King Arthur's vassal possessions, King Meliot rules. Life goes on peacefully and quietly. The only daughter and heiress of the king, Princess Melicenta, and her two maids of honor Ninet and Alison spend whole days in embroidery or in the company of the court musician Lamison. Girls are tired of a monotonous lifestyle, they want entertainment. The wizard Malgrim lent Melicent a magic mirror. It displays the one who thinks about you. The princess saw there an unusual person named Sam. She was interested in a mysterious stranger, all her thoughts now are only about him. Sam is not in Perador and the princess sends the court dwarf Grumet to Malgrim, so that the wizard will help her meet Sam. Hearing this, the king declares the daughter of the patient, Malgrim - a charlatan, and the dwarf - a drunkard. He invites the court physician Jarvey. The king tells his daughter to take drugs prescribed by the doctor and embroider with maids of honor, and he himself goes to a conference in Camelot, in the residence of King Arthur.


London

At an advertising agency, workers are working on a sketch for a stocking advertisement. Artist Sam Penton made a portrait of Princess Melicenta Peradora for advertising. During work, Sam was so carried away by the princess that she became the girl of his dreams. Sam thinks he is being watched by a dwarf. Hearing this, the employees are surprised that none of them has seen any dwarf. Suddenly, Sam reports that today is June 31st. Friends invite a doctor who looks like a doctor from Perador. The doctor says that Sam has hallucinations and prescribes a medicine for him. Meanwhile, in front of everyone's eyes, the dwarf steals the picture and disappears.

Kingdom of Perador

Princess Melicent pours out the soul of Nineth. The mysterious stranger Sam sunk into the girl's soul, but there is still no news from the dwarf. Malgrim offers the princess an exchange. Once the wizard Merlin gave her father a golden brooch. If Melicent gives her to Malgrim, he will help her connect with Sam. While Melicent thinks what to do, the uncle Malgrim appears a little old man Marlagram. He promises his help to the princess, and calls his nephew to the contest. Malgrim agrees with the envious Nineth to stop Sam and Melicent from meeting.

London

Sam comes to relax at the Black Horse Bar. There he meets skipper Plunket. A dwarf also comes to the bar, which no one sees except Sam. Suddenly an imposing man appears. He appears to Sam as the illusionist Malgrim. Malgrim agrees with the artist that today, indeed, on June 31, he also sees the dwarf. He claims that Princess Melicent is a real person, but she lives in the 12th century in the kingdom of Perador. Malgrim suggests helping Sam meet her. Taking along a drunken Planet, who is sure that Perador is a bar, men leave through the wall.

The chief of the advertising agency, Dimmock, is at a loss: you need to hand over the sketch to the customer, and the picture disappeared and the artist Sam also disappeared. The office is doing repairs and therefore, there is a terrible noise from drills, and then a big rat ran out of the closet. But in the office a very beautiful girl appears in a medieval costume. She claims that she is Princess Melicent, in love with Sam, and the rat is the wizard Malgrim. Dimmock decides that Melicent is the next model of the artist, who is passionate about him and sends her to film screenings. To all the problems from the cabinet squeaks. Out of anger, the chef looks into him and disappears. The secretary Peggy, frightened for the boss, disappears after her, and the visiting employee Ann also disappears. Called earlier by Peggy, Dr. Jarvis opens the closet and sees only shelves full of books.

Kingdom of Perador

Once in Perador, Sam lost Planet and Malgrim, but met Nineth. The insidious maid of honor fed the hungry guest, trying to convince him that Princess Melicent was stupid and naive, and that she was the most suitable party for him. The king who returned to the castle, having heard from Malgrim that Sam is the knight that the princess dreams of, sends an unknown type without credentials to the dungeon.

Nineth and Malgrim triumph: Sam and Melicent are separated forever!

London

On television, they are preparing for the next program, "Live Discussion." The host expected a "village type", but Marlagram and Melicent appear in his place. Guests of the program must answer questions from the host. Marlagram sprinkles with words, but Melicenta, who does not understand anything, worries about Sam. Upon learning from Marlagram that her lover is in prison, the princess leaves the show, despite the impending troubles of the advertising company. On the advice of Marlagram, Melicent heads to the Black Horse bar.

Kingdom of Perador

In the cold damp dungeon, Sam visits Plunket, who disguised himself as the captain of the guards to help out a friend. Plunket met the chief of the advertising agency Dimmock and hid him. After the skipper leaves, Marlagram enters the dungeon. He promises to help Sam meet with his beloved. Marlagram left the case and during his absence, his nephew played a cruel joke. Marlagram will pick up Melicenta from The Black Horse and deliver it to Sam.

London

Malgrim appears in the Black Horse Bar. There he meets with his uncle. Melicent comes there, accompanied by an advertising agency employee, Philip. Marlagram pours him an exotic drink - dragon blood. While Philip tastes an unusual liquid, Marlagram disappears with the princess.

Kingdom of Perador

King Meliot receives Planet and Dimmock. Plunket invites the king to organize tourism in Perador. But the king, not understanding the modern tax system, is furious and orders the guards to seize the unlucky entrepreneurs. At this moment, Nineth and Malgrim enter the room. Malgrim takes the guests with him, and the insidious Nineth tries to persuade the king to remain alone with her. Her exhortations are interrupted by those who enter Marlagram and Melicent. The king announces to his daughter that tomorrow there will be a knightly tournament and the winner will be her husband. Hearing her sentence, the princess promises Marlagram Merlin's brooch if he helps her marry Sam. Marlagram announces that two dangers are approaching the kingdom: the unknown Red Knight and the all-devouring Dragon. The one whoever wins the Red Knight tournament and defeats the Dragon - only he will marry Princess Melicente. Since at that moment thunder struck, the king agrees with fear.

At night, the guards put Sam in shackles. After they leave, Marlagram enters the prison. He brings Sam a delicious dinner and brings Melicent. They announce to Sam that at the tournament, which will take place at six in the morning, he needs to defeat the Red Knight and the Dragon, only then he can marry Melicent. Sam is terrified: he never fought with anyone, and even at such an early age!

Sam prepares for the duel in the tent. Ninet and Malgrim replace the outfit that Melicent prepared for the old trash. They send a barmaid from the Black Horse to Sam. She should present a «tournament beer,» from which Sam will have weakness and dizziness.

The duel has begun. The Red Knight presses and pushes Sam. Finding himself in the tent, the Red Knight asks for a tournament beer. Left alone with Sam, the knight takes off his armor and his head with them. To Sam's surprise, Plunket is under his head. The skipper explains to the artist that Malgrim turned him into a Red Knight.

In the tent, without spectators, Sam and Plunket play the battle in which Sam wins. He takes the loser's head out of the tent and shows it to the audience. King Meliot knights the artist. Now you need to defeat the Dragon.

The king offers Sam a choice: to leave, since he is already free or to fight with the Dragon, then in case of winning Sam will be able to marry Melicent. Sam chooses a duel. The princess brings her lover an old book, which contains all the information about dragons.

Plunket looks after the Dragon sleeping in the clearing. Anne and Peggy emerge from the forest. The secretary is looking for her boss, and Ann is interested in local attractions. Sam, who came with the book, is studying the sleeping Dragon in order to fight him according to all the rules of dragonography. But the Dragon turns out to be none other than his chef Dimmock, who Malgrim turned into a Dragon. Dimmock asks Sam to find one of the wizards to be bewitched, and in gratitude he will introduce his savior to the board of the company. To create the appearance of fighting the Dragon, the Dimmock Dragon swallows half of Sam’s sword. Sam and Plunket, who liked Ann, go after the wizards, and Dimmock in the form of a Dragon dictates a letter to Peggy's secretary.

Princess Melicent disappeared. The troubled king lifted all the servants to his feet. Sam, noting that there are no Ninet and Malgrim among the courtiers, suggests that they are involved in the disappearance of her beloved. Marlagram advises to go to prison.

London

In the dungeon, Sam falls. Waking up, he finds himself in his native London, at an exhibition. Searching for Melicent in the crowd, Sam sees a scene in which the winners are honored. The leader is Malgrim himself, and Nineth helps him. The winner in the confectioners contest is announced to Melicent. When asked about her desire, the princess replies that she wants to see Sam. Hearing this, Sam rushes to Melicente, but the frozen fish merchant blocks the way. A fight ensues between the men and Sam loses consciousness from a blow to the head. The artist comes to the police. Police inspector releases the detainees. Shaking hands, they diverge in different directions.

In a nasty mood, Sam wanders through a rainy city, in a Perador costume. Suddenly a taxi stops near him. The driver turns out to be Marlagram, while Melicenta sits in the car.


Kingdom of Perador

At breakfast, Marlagram and Malgrim sum up their competition. Their conversation is interrupted by the appearance of Sam, Plunkett, Melicent and Dimmock. Sam and Melicent are planning to get married and Sam should ask the princess for the king’s hands. Dimmock and the wizards agree to create a new company that will deal with tourism between England and Perador.

Epilogue

To celebrate the wedding of Sam and Melicent, the wizards had to work hard. A wedding table connects Dimmock's office and the King Meliot banquet hall. In the chef’s office, repairs continue and the noise of the drills does not allow a welcoming speech. Then the wizard Marlagram invites guests to Perador to take a break from civilization.

The young decide that they will live in both worlds. They thank the guests to the accompaniment of the lute of the court musician Lamison.