DRAGON4  8' The Detective, the Princess and the Dragon

Once upon a time a long time ago in a land far far away,
Michaela, the world's greatest detective, was in the hen house
feeding the chickens and collecting the eggs, when she heard the
thundering of several horses' hoofs coming down the road. She
went outside to investigate.

It was the king's royal coach pulled by four white horses. There
were two knights on black horses in front of the coach and two
knights on black horses behind. They were all galloping at full
speed toward the house. When they saw Michaela coming out of the
hen house, they steered their horses away from the house and
toward Michaela at full speed, then they halted the horses
inches away from her. The footman jumped down from the coach and
opened the door. Out stepped the king himself. Michaela and her
family bowed down.

"Young lady," asked the king, "are you the one they call the
world's greatest detective?"

"Yes, Your Majesty." replied Michaela.

"Then you must help me!" cried the king. "My daughter, Princess
Margaret, has been kidnapped! You must help me get her back!"

Michaela stepped into the king's coach and the horses thundered
down the road toward the royal palace.

Michaela asked, "Did the kidnappers demand a ransom?"

The king replied, "Yes. And we were ready to pay the ransom. But
we never heard from the kidnappers again! You... You don't think
that they.... You don't think that my beautiful daughter..."

"Your Majesty," replied Michaela, "I will get your daughter back
for you!"

When they arrived at the palace, Michaela asked to see the place
where Princess Margaret was last seen. The king showed her to
Margaret's bedroom. Michaela inspected the bedroom carefully.
She picked up a cup from the bedside table and sniffed it.

"Margaret had hot chocolate before bedtime?" she asked.

"Yes. Always." replied the king.

Michaela said, "But her bed was not slept in last night. That
means that someone put a sleeping potion in her hot chocolate.
She probably collapsed on the floor. You need to arrest the
chamber maid. She had to be in on the kidnapping."

The king replied, "That would also explain how the ransom note
ended up on Margaret's pillow."

Michaela inspected the floor around Margaret's bed with her
magnifying glass.

"Aha!" she said.

"What is it?" asked the king.

"There are tiny chips of wood here on the floor next to the bed.
That means the kidnappers put the sleeping princess into a
wooden box and lowered it on ropes down the outside of the
palace walls."

The king replied, "That explains why noone saw anything or heard

Michaela said, "You'll probably find horse and wagon tracks on
the ground below."

Sure enough, when they went out of the palace, they found two
sets of horse and wagon tracks next to the palace walls.

The king and Michaela got into the royal coach and followed the
wagon tracks until they discovered one of the wagons on fire.
The grass all around the wagon was scorched black and still
smoking. There were two human skeletons on the ground.

"There's the box you spoke of!" shouted the king as he pointed
beyond the burned grass to a wooden box. The lid was removed.
There was no sign of fire anywhere on the box. But the box was
empty. The king asked, "Does this mean my daughter is still

Michaela inspected the box with her magnifying glass saying,
"The ropes holding the box closed have been shredded. And there
are claw marked from a very large beast all over the box. I
think Princess Margaret was rescued by a dragon!"

"A dragon!" shouted the king. "That's impossible! Dragons EAT
people. They don't RESCUE people! And if Margaret was rescued,
where is she?!"

Michaela pointed to foot prints in the grass saying, "It was
dark last night. She didn't know which direction to run. So, she
ran that way, toward the river, AWAY from the palace."

They followed the tracks to the cliff above the river and looked
over the edge. There were skid marks in the grass and slide
marks on the soil.

Michaela explained, "In the dark, by the time she saw the cliff
it was too late. She fell and slid down the cliff and ended up
in the mud next to the river below."

When they climbed down to the river, the princess was not there.
Michaela pointed to the mud at the base of the cliff. There was
an indentation from Margaret's body in the mud and muddy
footprints leading into the river.

Michaela explained, "It looks like Margaret swam across the

The king commanded his royal guard, "Cross the river and search
for my daughter. Quickly! We're getting close."

The commander of the guard asked, "What color clothes was she

Michaela interrupted, "The princess fell into the mud. Her night
gown was covered with thick mud and the mud would have slowed
her down as she swam across the river. It's quite likely that
she took off her nightgown to avoid drowning. If she's wearing
anything at all now, she probably borrowed some clothes from the
farmers in the area."

Sure enough, a few minutes later the guards reported back that a
farmer's wife lost some boys clothes that were drying in the

The king commanded, "Now you're searching for someone who looks
like a boy. Go!"

The guards search the area on the other side of the river
thoroughly for hours without finding the princess. Meanwhile,
Michaela suggested that the king's coach ride up and down the
roads looking for the other wagon involved in the kidnapping.

"We're not the only people looking for the princess," Michaela
said, "If the kidnappers get her back first, they can still get
the ransom."

Sure enough, a few miles down the road, the other wagon was
found burning. The ground around it was scorched black and was
still smoking. There were two more human skeletons on the
scorched ground. But there was no sign of Princess Margaret.

Michaela walked slowly around the outside of the scorched area
inspecting the ground carefully. The king followed.

"Well? Was my daughter here in this wagon?" he asked.

"I think so." replied Michaela.

"Well? Where is she? Where's my daughter? Which way did she
go?!" cried the king.

Michaela pointed up, saying "That way."

"You mean, the dragon got her?!" cried the king.

"Not like you think." replied Michaela, "If he wanted to kill
her, you'd find her skeleton here. No, I think he took her with
him. If you find the dragon's nest, you'll find your daughter."

"But where?" asked the king.

Michaela explained, "Dragons build their nests in high places."

So, the king order the guards to search the highest places in
the kingdom. Finally, the dragon was sighted. The king and his
guards and Michaela climbed to the nest slowly and carefully.
When the guards saw the dragon lying on top of its nest they
pointed their spears at it.

"Wait!" shouted the king, "My daughter is probably in the nest
with the dragon. Don't risk hurting my daughter!"

When the dragon heard the king's voice, he stood up. Under the
dragon was a large egg. Princess Margaret stood up from behind
the egg. She was still wearing boys clothing. She shouted.
"Father! Don't hurt the dragon. She saved me!"

"Come quickly, my daughter!" shouted the king.

"No, father. If I leave the dragon, your guards will kill her!"
shouted Margaret.

The king replied, "On my sacred honor, I swear that noone will
harm a dragon in my kingdom ever again."

In the royal coach on the way back to the castle, the king
recalled why the dragon had been so protective of Princess

Years ago, the king and queen were unable to have babies of
their own, so they adopted a baby that was found in the nest of
a dragon. The baby had apparently been fed and loved by the
dragon. The dragon was killed but a baby dragon that was also
found in the nest ran away. This was the dragon that grew up to
save princess Margaret. The dragon thought of Margaret as her

So, they all lived happily ever after.

2013 Bob Snook. Conditions for use:
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