William R. Mistele Copyright  © 2005. All rights reserved.


The Knight and the Dragon



This story was made up by King Irkomen, his wife, and his youngest daughter.  The daughter’s name was ice because when she was born an icicle had formed and crept down across the window of her bedroom.

     King Irkomen: So I hear you are having trouble sleeping tonight. 

     Ice.  That’s right.  Can’t fall asleep.  I keep waking up.

     King Irkomen:  I know the remedy for this.  It is part of a long tradition.  A bedtime story is the solution. 

     Ice.  I don’t want a story.

     King Irkomen.  This one is different. 

     Ice.  How?

     King Irkomen.  The three of us shall enter the story and the power of our wills will determine the outcome.

     Ice.  That’s sounds interesting.  OK, mom, why don’t you go first.

     Queen Irkomen: Once upon a time there was a brave knight.

     King Irkomen: But he was very sad.  A mean old dragon stole his bride on their wedding day.

     Ice: So the knight swore he would rescue her.  He searched far and wide.

     Queen Irkomen: One day, he found the dragon tying the maiden to a pole in a forest clearing.

     King Irkomen: And the knight said to the dragon, “Release that maiden or you are dead.

     Queen Irkomen: The dragon laughed and said, “Foolish knight, to challenge me is to die.”

     Ice: Wait you two, you skipped my turn.  “Must dragons and knights always fight?” asked ice still using the voice of the maiden.

     Dad: What? No fierce fight to the death?

     Queen Irkomen: No romantic and daring rescue?

     Ice: Why can't you two work together for a change? 

     Queen Irkomen: Ah, I see what you are after.  So the maiden cried out: “Wait, don't fight, I have a better plan of action.”

     King Irkomen: “Impossible,” said the dragon.  “It is my nature to collect beautiful maidens, to hoard gold, and to ravish the land.”

     Queen Irkomen: “And it is certainly my nature,” said the knight, “to rescue maidens in distress, to slay dragons, and to defend what is right.” 

     King Irkomen:  “So, you see, fair maiden, we really must fight,” said the dragon.

     Ice:  “Look,” said the maiden, “I am a part of this story as much as you.  And since I am so beautiful my last request you cannot refuse.  I want you two to change places.”

     Queen Irkomen:  “OK.  We will change places for a moment out of respect for duty and honor,” decided the knight.

     King Irkomen: “Speak for yourself, knight,” said the dragon.  “But I will consent to this request to put the challenge to the test.”

     Queen Irkomen: But after changing his shape into that of the knight, the dragon said, “Gee, so this is what it is like to be a heroic knight: I imagine people telling stories of me over ale and mead and singing my praise down through the ages.” 

     King Irkomen: And the knight said after turning into the dragon, “You know, as a dragon, I just want what's mine:  gold, beautiful women, and the fear of mankind.  I have been hiding out in caves for a very long time.  I think I would enjoy, for a change, a castle and a kingdom to add to my lineage.”  The two looked at each other and said, “Perhaps we can make a deal.”

     Queen Irkomen: And so they did.  The knight built his castle over the dragon's cave.  In the brief moment he was the dragon, the knight decided he liked country living and scenic locations. 

     And in the brief moment the dragon was the knight, he thought about all of the kingdom's treasures and decided they were not very safe.  So he offered to guard them for free.

      Ice: The maiden, now a queen, visited the dragon regularly.  She liked those who took her suggestions to heart.

      Queen Irkomen:  And when she was away on royal visits, she sent the court minstrel to entertain the dragon.  The minstrel put the dragon’s stories into songs that made both of them famous.

     King Irkomen:  And the knight was happy.  No one even thought about attacking his kingdom, for he had a dragon on his side.