Long ago in the time of fantasy, far away across the sea, a village was being terrorized by a dragon. It burned crops and houses, ate sheep and cattle, and even killed people. The village was very poor, but they knew this dragon would soon be the end of them, so they put together as much money as they could and offered it as a reward to anyone who could kill the dragon.
News didn’t spread as quickly back then, so mostly the only people who heard about the reward were those who passed by the village on their journey. One knight heard about the dragon, and decided a monster like that was too dangerous for him to deal with. Another knight heard the story but thought the reward was too small to be worth his time. And so the village suffered.
One day a man passed through and heard about the dragon. He was not a knight, but when he saw how the people were suffering he thought he couldn’t live with himself if he didn’t try to help them.
So in the afternoon, he crept towards the dragon’s cave. It was dark and hot, and smelled very strongly of dragon, which is not a pleasant smell. Peering in, he saw the dragon. It was the size of a house, its great sides rising and falling slowly. After a minute he was sure that it was sleeping deeply, so he tiptoed into the cave.
Moving as quietly as he could, he approached the dragon. Its body was covered all over in thick scales, and he saw at once that his knife would not be able to pierce them. He was not a knight and had no sword, and he wasn’t sure a sword could cut through that natural armor even if he had one. He could attack the dragon’s eyes, and maybe blind one of them, but the great beast would wake and kill him before he could do more. It seemed hopeless.
But he didn’t give up. In the forest he knew where to find nightshade, a plant whose berries were deadly poison. He gathered up as many poison berries as he could find, then slaughtered a sheep and stuffed its body with them. He left the sheep in front of the dragon’s cave.
As sunset neared, the dragon awoke. It stretched and yawned like a cat, and padded sleepily out of its cave to look for something to eat, and trouble to start. And what luck! There was a fresh sheep, right in front of its cave! The dragon ate it up greedily, and the poison went to work, and that was the end of the dragon.
The villagers tried to give the man the reward they’d saved up, but when he looked at how devastated the area was from the dragon’s rampage, and how poor they were to begin with, he couldn’t bring himself to take the money from them. So he left while they were still celebrating and continued his journey.
Much later the king, who was a kind and just ruler, heard the story of how the man had slain the dragon and refused the reward, and summoned him and the mayor of the village. They told him the story, and he knighted the hero on the spot. The new knight took possession of his lands, and he lived happily ever after.
I was babysitting for a friend the other day, and when I put the kid to bed he asked for a story about a dragon. So I told him this bedtime story, making it up on the spot. He seemed to like it, and I was impressed by how coherent it was, given that I often began a sentence with no idea how it was going to end. So now I share it with you.
Posted on January 14, 2012, in Daily Post, Fiction and tagged dragons, fairytale, fiction, he wanted me to read my book to him but I thought Naomi Novik was a bit advanced for his age, improv bedtime story, kids, new stuff, postaday2012. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.