The Dragon Story

“Mmmm!” sighed the leprechaun, licking his fingers one by one.

He’d just finished eating the second of the three sausages Moira had brought down to him. She was starting to worry that he might burst because the sausages were big and he was so small.

The leprechaun looked at the third sausage then sighed again. “I don’t know that I can fit that one in,” he said.

“Save it for later,” said Moira. “Sausages taste very nice when they’re cold.”

“That’s true …. they do indeed,” said the leprechaun. He leaned back against the trunk of the tree, stretched and made himself comfortable. “Do you know what that lovely barbecue smell reminds me of? It reminds me of some dragons I used to know.”

Moira’s eyes widened. “You knew dragons?!”

“Sure I did.”

“Real live, fire-breathing dragons?!”

“And what other kind might there be? Of course real live, fire-breathing dragons!” he snorted. “A family of them, living not far from me. Lovely family,” he murmured, smiling. “Just lovely. The baby dragon was such a polite little fella. Always said, “Good morning, sir,” or afternoon or whatever the time of day it was.

They lived in a cave deep inside a mountain, as dragons do. There was a mother dragon, a father dragon and a very young baby dragon.

They were a very happy dragon family until one day a shepherd boy saw them when he was looking for some sheep he lost.

The dragons were every bit as surprised as he was. There they were, lying on their backs enjoying the sunshine, happily minding their own dragon business, when this silly boy stumbles upon them and runs off screaming about man-eating dragons eating his sheep.

By the time he got to the village the story had grown by quite a bit and now there were dozens of fire-breathing dragons chasing and barbecuing sheep all up and down the mountain.

The villagers listened and became very excited as villagers do.

“We’ll be roasted alive in our beds!” cried one.

“They’ll burn all our crops!” cried another.

“They’ll barbecue all our sheep!” cried the shepherd.

“No-one is safe!” they all cried.

“They must be stopped!”

“What are we to do?”

Then someone in the crowd called out, “We must ask the Knights of the Castle to save us!”

“Yes! Yes!” yelled the crowd. “The Knights of the Castle will save us! That’s their job, that is!”

So the villagers all hurried off to the castle.

By the time they got to the draw-bridge the story had grown even bigger and now there were hundreds of humongous dragons with nostrils like flame-throwers on their way to destroy the village.

Well, when the Knights heard about the dragons they became very excited, too. They hadn’t had a dragon fight for years and years and years. To be telling you the truth, none of the Knights had ever actually fought with a dragon. So they bustled about, very importantly, polishing their armour and sharpening their swords, checking their lances for woodworm and their maces for loose spikes.

The Ladies of the Castle were very excited, too. They ooh-ed and aah-ed about how brave and dashing and wonderful their Knights looked and each Lady gave her favourite Knight a colourful scarf to wear to battle.

At last, with much clanking and shouting and bragging, the Knights were ready. They waved proudly to everybody and galloped off on their noble chargers while the villagers and the Ladies of the Castle cheered them on.

Meanwhile, back at the cave, those poor, unsuspecting dragons were just sitting down to a nice supper of roasted chestnuts.

“What is that noise?” said mother dragon, looking towards the entrance of the cave.

Father dragon stopped his crunching and listened. In the distance there was a rumble like thunder but there was not a cloud in the sky.

“I’ll go look,” said the very young dragon and he climbed up the side of the mountain to where he could see all the way below and around.

“What do you see?” the father dragon called out to him.

“There’s a duststorm coming this way!” the very young dragon called back.

“How very strange!” said mother dragon. “There’s no wind at all.”

“Ooh! I see something now!” cried the very young dragon, excitedly. “There’s horses running with shiny things on their backs!”

“Horses with shiny things on their back?” Mother dragon looked at father dragon.

“I better go have a look,” said father dragon and he puffed and climbed up the side of the mountain to join the very young dragon.

“That there’s the Knights of the Castle on their noble chargers,” said the father dragon to his son. "It’s the Knights of the Castle, dear, coming this way on their noble chargers,” he called down to the mother dragon.

“Oh, it’s them, is it,” mother dragon called back.

“They seem in an awful hurry, dear."

“They’re always in an awful hurry,” tutted mother dragon. “Come down and eat your chestnuts before they go cold.”

And so it was that when the Knights of the Castle charged upon the mountain on their noble chargers they found the dragon family peacefully eating their supper of roast chestnuts.

Well, you can just imagine how very disappointed the Knights of the Castle were to find two ordinary-sized dragons and one very young dragon when they were expecting a hundred humongous fierce ones with flame-throwers instead of plain old chestnut roasters!

But, to be telling you the truth, they felt quite a bit relieved as well, although no Knight would admit to that!

“Where are the others?” Knights of the Castle demanded.

“What others?” said a puzzled father dragon.

“The other ninety-seven dragons. The humongous ones with flame-throwers!”

“Ninety-seven dragons? With what?” Father dragon was looking very confused.

“Flame-throwers!” shouted the Knights of the Castle.

“Don’t be ridiculous!” said mother dragon. “There’s no such thing.”

“We are the only dragons on this mountain,” said father dragon.

“What about all the barbecued sheep, then?” demanded the Knights, looking around suspiciously.

“Barbecued sheep!” gasped a horrified mother dragon.

“No sheep here, just us dragons,” said father dragon with a big smile. He had by now decided that the Knights of the Castle had all flipped their lids and lost their brains on the way with all that galloping and jolting about , and the best thing to do was to just humour them.

“What’s that, then?” said the Knights, pointing to the pile of roast chestnuts.

“These are roast chestnuts,” explained father dragon, holding one out for the Knights to see.

“You’re welcome to join us for supper,” said mother dragon, determined to be polite even if the guests had no manners at all. A good example had to be set for the very young dragon, after all.

“Roast chestnuts?” roared the Knights. “Roast lamb, more like it!”

“Oh, good gracious!” gasped a very shocked mother dragon. “Oh dear me, no! We dragons are vegetarians!”

The Knights of the Castle looked at each other and for once they were speechless.

“What’s roast lamb?” the very young and curious dragon wanted to know. “Is it better than roast chestnuts?”

“Hush, and cover your ears!” said the mother dragon. “This is not the sort of thing we want our very young dragon to be hearing!”

The very young dragon stood with his paws over his ears, curiously watching the red-faced grown-ups.

“Well, we must have a battle anyway!” said the Knights of the Castle. “We’ve come all this way to slay some dragons and we can’t go back empty-handed now, can we? It wouldn’t look good, you understand. Wouldn’t look good at all. So, if you wouldn’t mind getting ready …..”

“Ready for what?” asked father dragon.

“Ready for battle, of course!” shouted the Knights.

“Oh no, no, no, no,” smiled father dragon, shaking his head slowly. “We can’t do that.”

“Absolutely not!!” said mother dragon.

“And why not?” spluttered the Knights.

“Well, you see, it’s like this…..” began father dragon.

“We don’t believe in fighting and all that silly stuff,” explained mother dragon.

“You don’t believe in fighting?!!” The Knights of the Castle sat back in their saddles, stunned.

“That’s right,” said mother dragon, “and we’re bringing up our very young dragon to be peaceful dragon, so I don’t want him to hear any more talk about fighting and battles and stuff.”

“Or barbecued sheep,” added father dragon.

“That’s right,” said mother dragon.

Well, this was just too much for the Knights of the Castle. They turned their noble chargers around and headed back to the castle, very, very disgruntled and down in the dumps.

“Peaceful dragons!”

“Don’t believe in fighting!!”

“Vegetarians!!!”

“Whoever heard of such a thing!" they grumbled and mumbled.

“What are we Knights supposed to do if all dragons turn peaceful!”

“We’ll be out of a job!”

“We can’t go back without a battle!”

“Everyone will laugh at us!”

“Oh, the shame!! The shame of it!"

Then one of the Knights of the Castle had an idea.

“Let’s pretend we had a battle!” he said.

That cheered the Knights up and right there and then they had a mighty pretend battle with a lot of shouting and clashing and clanging and falling over in the dirt.

The dragon family watched the battle from the mountain. Mother dragon looked at father dragon

“This is not a nice neighbourhood anymore,” she said.

“No,” agreed father dragon.

“No place to be bringing up a young dragon,” mother dragon said.

And the three dragons stretched their wings and flew far, far away from the Castle of the Knights and to this day there has not been a dragon seen on that mountain.

As for the Knights, they returned all dusty and beaten, like they had indeed fought a hundred humongous fierce dragons. The Ladies of the Castle and the Villagers all cheered when they saw them. Everyone called them heroes and a great victory party was thrown in their honour."

The leprechaun sighed, shook his head. “I always miss that dragon family," he said. "Especially the baby one. Always so polite, he was.”

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next – The Witch’s Story

The Dragon Story

Alenka Co

Stonebow, Australia

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Artist's Description

I wrote Moira and the Leprechaun for my class of 5 and 6 year old students. They were hungry for magical stories like the fairytales I’d been brought up on but at that particular point in time stories about magic and magical characters were not favoured in our school libraries. Eight short stories in the series, available as e-books on Smashwords

In the first story, Moira meets the Leprechaun, stranded at the bottom of her garden in Australia, where his magic doesn’t work. In exchange for the treats she brings him, he tells her stories. The Dragon’s Story is one of them.

Artwork Comments

  • Photography  by Mathilde
  • Alenka Co
  • AnLile
  • Alenka Co
  • KMorral
  • Alenka Co
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