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DRAGON1  8' A peasant boy slays a dragon to marry his true love

Once upon a time a long time ago in a land far, far away, a
small village had finished the harvest and began to celebrate.
Thanks to the abundant harvest there was much food and drink.
There was music and dancing. A boy named Phillip was the
strongest and most handsome in the village and the girls stood
in line to dance with him. But late in the evening, a new girl
caught his eye.

"Who is she?" asked everyone.

But nobody recognized her. But that didn't stop Phillip. He
asked her to dance. She was as smitten with him as he was with
her.

"What's your name?" he asked.

"Mary." she replied.

"You're not from around here, are you?" he asked.

"No." she replied.

"Where are you from?" he asked.

"Somewhere else." was all she would say.

They danced every dance without resting for the rest of the
night. And they fell in love.

Suddenly, there was a loud thundering of horses' hoofs outside.
Mary became nervous and tried to leave. But Phillip insisted,
"The music is still playing! Let's dance!"

Suddenly, all the doors in the room were kicked open at once and
soldiers with swords and spears rushed toward Phillip and Mary.
Then, everyone in the room bowed down.

"What's going on?" asked Phillip.

"Take your hands off my daughter!" shouted a man wearing a
crown.

The soldiers pulled Phillip away from Mary and threw him to the
floor, then they pointed their swords and spears at his face.

"Father, please, don't hurt him!" cried Mary as she bowed.

Phillip was confused.

"The king is your father?!" he asked.

The king didn't let Mary answer. He pointed his finger at
Phillip's nose and shouted "You stay away from my daughter!"

"But..." replied Phillip, "I want to marry her!"

The king laughed, "You think I  would let a peasant boy, a
farmer, marry my daughter?!"

"Why not?", replied Phillip, "I love her and she loves me."

"Silly boy!" said the king. "A princess can't marry a common
person. A princess may only marry a nobleman or a knight or a
rich man!"

Then the king grabbed Mary by the arm and pulled her toward the
door.

Phillip shouted, "Your majesty, if I become rich, may I have
your daughter's hand in marriage?"

The king stopped and turned. He stroked his chin and smiled and
replied, "I tell you what. There are millions of dollars worth
of gold and jewels in the treasury at the old castle. If you go
there and return the crown jewels to me, you may keep the rest
of the gold and jewels and you may marry my daughter."

Phillip replied, "That's what I'll do then!"

"We'll see," laughed the king, "We'll see!" Then the king and
the princess left with the soldiers and rode away.

The room was so quiet you could hear a pin drop. All eyes turned
toward Phillip.

"Why is everybody looking at me?" asked Phillip.

"Do you realize what you just said?" asked the village mayor.

"What?" asked Phillip.

"You just told the king you would go to the old palace and bring
back the royal treasure." said the mayor.

"Sounds easy to me." replied Phillip.

"Do you know why the king abandoned the old palace?" asked the
mayor.

"Why?" asked Phillip.

"Because a dragon built his nest there!" replied the mayor.

"A dragon?!" exclaimed Phillip, "Why would the king send me
after the royal treasure if he knew there was a dragon living
there?!"

"Because he doesn't want you to marry his daughter. He wants the
dragon to breathe fire upon you!"

Phillip stood up, dusted himself off and walked toward the door.

"I don't care," he replied, "I love Mary. And I'm going to do
everything I can to marry her, even if it kills me!"

The next day Phillip started out toward the old palace. Then, he
found out that just getting there was no easy trip. It was a
hundred miles away, over snow covered mountains and dangerous
rivers. But he went on. He didn't bring any winter clothes. So,
by the time he climbed to the top of the snow covered mountains
he was freezing to death. As he began climbing down the other
side of the mountain, he fell and his body rolled and rolled and
rolled down the mountain. But he didn't feel a thing. He was
knocked out by the fall. He didn't wake up until he rolled into
an ice cold river. But he was too weak and cold to swim. So, he
just let the roaring water sweep his body along.

When Phillip was sure he would drown or freeze to death, the icy
river emptied into an even faster moving river. Phillip lost the
sword he brought along to slay the dragon. Now he would be
defenseless against the dragon. But at least this river had
warmer water. After a few minutes, Phillip's body warmed up and
he was able to swim and stay afloat. He swam to the other side
of the river and hauled himself out of the water.

On the hill above him, he could see the high stone walls of the
castle. And all around him, he saw patches of the green grass
that had been blackened by the firey breath of the dragon. In
the middle of each blackened area he could see the skeletons of
men who died trying to capture the king's treasure. Phillip
swallowed hard.

Suddenly, Phillip heard the loud thumping and swishing of the
dragon's huge wings. He dived for cover in a hollow log just as
the dragon breathed fire toward him. The hollow log caught fire
but Phillip was unharmed. He waited for the sounds of the
dragons wings to fade away, then he crawled out of the hollow
log and watched it burn as he thought and thought of a way to
get by the dragon and get to the treasure without being burned
to a crisp.

Phillip worked through the night. First, he found out where the
dragon's nest was. It was right in front of the treasury, where
the king's treasure was stored.

Next, Phillip borrowed a scarecrow from a nearby corn field. In
the darkest part of the night he sneaked the scarecrow inside
the palace and up to the top of the wall opposite the treasury
in plain site of the dragon.

Next, he found a barrel that was used to collect rain water for
drinking. He cut the top off the barrel and then he sneaked it
up as close to the dragon as possible. Then he climbed into the
barrel and fell asleep.

Phillip was awakened at daybreak by the loud thumping and
swishing of the dragon's huge wings. As expected, when the
dragon awoke, he thought the scarecrow on the palace wall was a
man. He flew toward the scarecrow at top speed. Now the dragon's
back was to Phillip, so, Phillip quickly climbed out of the
barrel and carried the barrel to the treasury. He opened the
double doors to the treasury and carried the barrel inside just
as the scarecrow was burning to a cinder.

Then, Phillip stepped out of the treasury and shouted, "Hey,
dragon, over here. Come and get me."

Hearing that, the dragon turned and flew at top speed toward the
treasury as Phillip dived out of sight into the treasury. When
the dragon landed and poked his head through the treasury doors,
Phillip covered the dragon's head with the barrel. When the
dragon breathed fire, the barrel directed the fire at the dragon
himself. The dragon burned himself to a crisp.

A few days later, Phillip returned home and asked the king for
the hand of Princess Mary in marriage.

"Absolutely not!" replied the king, "I told you, a Princess may
only marry a nobleman, a knight or a rich man. You are a
peasant."

"Not anymore!" said Phillip. He clapped his hands and his
servants brought in a wooden treasure box. Phillip opened the
treasure box and show the king the crown jewels.

"Where did you get that?!" asked the king.

Phillip replied, "Where you sent me. The old palace."

"But what about the dragon?!" asked the king.

"I slayed the dragon. And now I am a very rich man." replied
Phillip.

Church bells rang and choirs sang as the king dubbed Phillip to
be a knight in shining armor and then the king immediately gave
Phillip the hand of Princess Mary in marriage.

And they all lived happily ever after.

2013 Bob Snook. Conditions for use:
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