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DRAGON5  9' A girl saves a dragon then the dragon saves her

Once upon a time a long time ago in a land far, far away, there
was a peasant girl name Michaela. One day when Michaela was on
her way out to the hen house, she heard a bird chirping and
clicking excitedly. When she looked, she saw a robin red breast
flying down to the ground, then hopping and flitting around in a
circle, then flying back up to the limb of a tree and repeating
the whole thing again.

Michaela went over to where the robin was circling on the ground
and she examined the grass carefully. Suddenly she saw something
move in the grass. It was a baby robin that had fallen out of
the nest.

Michaela looked up and said to the mother robin, "So this is
what you were all upset about."

She carefully picked up the chick and put it into the pocket of
her apron. Then she climbed up the tree and crawled out onto the
limb to the nest. Then, she carefully lifted the little chick
out of her pocket and placed it into the nest next to the other
three chicks.

"There you go, little robin, back where you belong!" said
Michaela as she crawled backward to the tree trunk.

The mother robin jumped up on the edge of the nest and chirped
loudly.

"You're welcome!" replied Michaela as she climbed back down the
tree.

After the four chicks grew up and flew away from the nest, the
mother robin followed Michaela wherever she went. Occasionally,
she would fly onto Michaela's shoulder and offer her a tasty
worm or caterpillar.

"Why, thank you, Mother robin!" replied Michaela as she took the
gift from the robin's beak, "This looks delicious!"

Now Michaela never ate the worms or caterpillars. She fed them
to her chickens. But she enjoyed having a new friend to play
with.

One day, as Michaela was on her way to the chicken coop, she
heard the same loud chirping and clicking from the robin as it
flew down onto Michaela's shoulder.

"What is it, mother robin?" asked Michaela, "Why are you so
upset? You don't have any babies in your nest."

With that, the robin flew to a tree at the edge of the woods.

Michaela followed asking, "What is it, girl? Something in the
woods you want me to see?"

As soon as Michaela got to the tree where the robin was sitting,
the bird flew further into the woods. Michaela followed until
she saw smoke rising from the trees.

"That's odd!" exclaimed Michaela, "There was no lightning or
thunder last night. I wonder what caught those trees on fire."

Soon, she found out where the fire came from. A baby dragon had
put his paw into a snare that had been set by nearby farmers to
trap mountain lions that had been eating their sheep.

A snare is a loop of rope that grabs the leg of an animal. The
more the animal pulls against the rope, the tighter the loop
pulls and squeezes the leg.

The baby dragon was so upset that the snare wouldn't let go, it
began to breathe fire and burn everything all around it. So,
Michaela stood outside of the firey circle around the dragon and
talked calmly to him. "Calm down, boy. The harder you pull the
tighter the rope will squeeze your leg."

But the dragon didn't understand what Michaela was saying. He
turned toward Michaela and breathed fire at her. But she was too
far away for the fire to reach her. She decided to sit down to
show the struggling dragon what to do.

"Calm down and then I'll help you." said Michaela.

But the dragon was too upset to calm down. Michaela waited and
talked softly to the dragon until he calmed down. Finally, he
sat down.

Michaela stood up and walked slowly toward the dragon. But the
dragon thought she was going to hurt him. He stood up and turned
toward her, ready to breathe fire.

Immediately, she sat down to show him that she didn't want to
hurt him. After a while he sat down. Then she stood up and
walked toward him. Then he stood up and backed away. Again she
sat down. Then he sat down. After sitting and standing several
times, Michaela finally got within arms-length of the dragon.
She continued to talk softly to the dragon.

But the dragon had backed as far away from Michaela as he could,
tightening the snare and making it impossible for Michaela to
pull it off.  So, she just held out her hand and said, "Come
here, boy. Come here. Come on. Come here."

Finally, the dragon cautiously stood up and move slowly toward
Michaela. When the rope was loose enough, she reached out and
loosened the loop of the snare and pushed it down to the ground.
The dragon pulled his paw out of the loop, then backed away from
Michaela.

"Good boy!" she said softly.

The dragon let out a deep groan that seemed to copy Michaela's
"Good boy".

Michaela slowly crawled away, to the edge of the blackened zone.

The dragon let out a louder deep groan.

"You're welcome!" replied Michaela as she turned toward home.

After a few seconds, Michaela heard the crunch of leaves and
twigs behind her. When she turned, the dragon who had been
following her, sat down and let out that friendly groan again.
Michaela knew that she had made a new friend. The dragon stayed
near Michaela's house from then on. And because he only ate
mountain lions and wolves, Michaela's dragon became a pet for
everyone in the area, even after he grew larger than a horse.

One morning just before dawn, Michaela's family was awakened by
the familiar sound of horse's hoofs. Michaela got dressed
hurriedly and ran outside to greet the king with a bow as the
footman opened the door.

"How may I serve you, Your Majesty?" asked Michaela.

The king replied, "Please hurry! My daughter has been kidnapped
again."

As Michaela stepped into the coach, the robin flew down from the
tree and  landed on Michaela's shoulder.

She asked, "Do you mind if my friend Robin goes with us?"

"Not at all." replied the king.

And off they went toward the palace at a gallop.

Michaela asked, "Have the kidnappers asked for a ransom?"

The king replied, "Two million gold coins."

Suddenly, the coach driver shouted, "Ho! Ho!" and the horse
halted quickly,

"What's going on?" shouted the king.

The coachman shouted, "A big tree fell across the road."

The king opened the door and leaned out, saying, "The tree fell
between us and the guards."

Then he looked back and said, "Oh oh! A tree fell across the
road behind us too! It fell between us and the guards too.
There's noone guarding us! I think this is an ambush!"

Suddenly a bandit galloped out of the bushes on horseback with
his sword pointing at the king shouting, "Get back into the
coach!"

"What do you want with me? You've already got my daughter! Are
you going to kidnap me too?!" asked the king as he sat down.

"No. We're here to kidnap Michaela. Send her out." replied the
bandit.

"Michaela?!" shouted the king. "Why do you want her?"

The bandit replied, "Every time we kidnap the princess, Michaela
finds her and we end up in jail. If we kidnap her too, there's
no way you can catch us."

When the bandit scooped up Michaela and galloped off into the
woods, the robin on Michaela's shoulder flew away.

The bandit took her to the top of the highest mountain in the
kingdom.

"Why are you taking me way up here?" asked Michaela.

"Because," replied the bandit, "you have foiled our plans for
the last time. You won't live to ruin our plans ever again!"

And with that, he threw Michaela off the cliff and rode away.

Michaela fell and fell and fell. But just before she it the
bottom, the dragon swooped under her and she landed on his back.

"Oh! Thank you!" cried Michaela, "You saved my life!"

The dragon let out his familiar low rumble in answer as he
flapped his wings with a "whoosh" and a "flump". He flew up high
over the mountain where they met the robin who had brought the
dragon to rescue Michaela. She landed on Michaela's shoulder and
the three flew in circles until they spotted the bandit and his
horse galloping in the distance.

"There!" shouted Michaela to the dragon, "Follow that horse!"

They followed the bandit at a distance until he galloped into a
cave above the river. The dragon landed near the cave and
Michaela and Robin got off and went into the cave.

A few minutes later, Robin flew out of the cave alone and, after
letting out a loud chirp to signal the dragon, she disappeared
into the sky. With that, the dragon moved directly in front of
the cave and stood ready.

A few seconds later, Michaela and the princess came running out.
They ran between the dragon's legs and hid behind him. Once
again, Michaela had rescued the princess.

A few seconds after that, the kidnappers came running out of the
cave with swords in hand shouting, "Come back here, you little
brat! You're supposed to be dead!"

Michaela shouted, "Get them, Dragon!"

With that, the dragon let go his firey breath, driving the
kidnappers back into the cave. He kept them there until Robin
returned, followed closely by the royal coach and all of the
palace guards. They arrested the kidnappers and threw them in
jail.

"Foiled again by that little brat!" said the kidnappers.

2013 Bob Snook. Conditions for use:
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