The Dragon and the Princess

Inga-Lill Ottosson
The dragon and the princess

Once upon a time, there was a dragon who lived in a great castle high up on a mountain. The dragon had lived there for thousands of years, but no one had seen him. In the village that was located just below the mountain, they talked much about what it might be like in the castle, but no one dared to visit it. The dragon had been in the village several hundred years before but had been frightened by a strange noise. It was a shepherd boy, who had blown his flute. The dragon had never heard music before, and he thought it was terrible.

One day, when the dragon was sitting in his castle, looking down at the village, he saw a beautiful girl with a crown on her head. He fell madly in love with her and thought that he would like to marry her. He did not know, of course, where she lived. But I'll have to look for her, he thought. But how would he dare to go down to the village? What if the terrible sound came again, that thing the people called music? He gathered courage for several days. Finally, he went down. When he reached the village, he went into the woods, but she was nowhere to be found. Suddenly he saw a boy coming along. He carried a rifle. It was Peter, who was out in the woods hunting. When Peter saw the dragon, he was both surprised and scared. The dragon stopped and asked where the nice girl with the crown lived.

– If you mean the princess, she lives in the castle, said Peter.

Then Peter rushed home and told everyone he met about the dragon, but no one believed him.

– You must have been dreaming, they said to him.

One day the princess was gone. They looked everywhere throughout the spacious garden where she was picking flowers. Everyone in the castle looked for her, but she was nowhere to be found. The king's servant rode down to the village and put up a large poster saying that the princess was gone. The king promised a large reward to anyone who found the princess.

When Peter read the poster, he came to think of the dragon, who had asked for the princess. What if it was the dragon who had abducted her! Peter wanted to go as fast as possible to the castle because it was there the dragon had disappeared, but when he thought about it, he thought it was better to wait until it got dark.

After dark Peter sneaked up to the castle, but when he came near, he saw that the dragon was awake and sitting on the steps and looking at the moon. Suddenly there was a terrible noise. Someone knocked on the window and shouted:

– Let me out!

Peter recognized the princess’s voice, but how could he help her when the dragon sat and guarded the castle? Periodically a big flame came out of the dragon’s mouth. It looked terrible. Peter had to turn back again without the princess.

When he was home, he remembered that he had seen a food bowl on the staircase. Probably it was the dragon's food bowl. When Peter woke up in the morning, he had an absolutely brilliant idea. He would sneak up to the castle in the night and bring some sleeping pills with him, which he would put in the dragon's bowl. Then he would be able to free the princess.

Peter sneaked as quietly as he could to the castle. He could not see the dragon. Should he dare to go to the food bowl? The moon was full, so the night was bright. What could he do? Just then, the moon disappeared behind some clouds. Rapidly Peter sneaked forward and put sleeping pills into the bowl. Then he hid behind some bushes and waited to see what happened.

After a long, long while the dragon came out, and now he was very hungry, so he devoured everything that was in the bowl. Then he sat down comfortably in a chair standing beneath the stairs. It was not long before the dragon had fallen asleep. The dragon snored loudly. The whole castle shook.

Quickly Peter sneaked in and rushed up all the stairs to the tower room, where he found the princess. She was thrilled when she saw Peter, who took her hand. Together they ran down the stairs and went out into the open. The dragon was, luckily, still sleeping.

When the king and queen saw the princess, they were very happy and hugged her. Peter told them about the dragon and how he had tricked him and freed the princess. The king praised him and said that he had been very brave.

– What do you want as a reward, the king said, but I'm worried about the dragon coming back when he discovers that the princess is gone. Is there anything he is afraid of?

– Well, I know something, said the princess.

– What is that? the king said.

– I discovered that the dragon is very afraid of music, said the princess.

– Then I have an idea, said Peter. We put a guard below the mountain to play music as soon as the dragon is coming down.

– What a clever idea, but we must ensure that we have enough guards to replace each other, said the king.

– Well, Peter, have you thought about what you want as a reward? the queen said.

– Yes, I would love to marry the princess, said Peter.

– What do you say, my girl? said the king.

– Please, Dad, I'd like that very much, said the princess.

– You get the princess and half the kingdom because you've been so brave, said the king.

Peter and the princess got married, and they lived happily ever after.

But what about the dragon?

Well, he never showed up again.