Read this sample from A Princess for Tea, from Dragons and Dreams
Once upon a time there was a kingdom nestled in a valley high in the mountains. It was a very small kingdom, as kingdoms go, consisting of one medium-sized village, a castle, and many outlying farms and fields. The soil was rich and fertile, and so the people were for the most part very happy, and those that weren’t chose not to be.
Over this kingdom ruled a king and queen, with their children. Their daughter, the Princess, was as beautiful as the dawn, and cared a great deal about all the people in the kingdom. Their son, the Prince, was as kind and brave and chivalrous as anyone could wish.
One fine day, a strange shadow fell over the kingdom. People working in the fields looked up into the cloudless sky to see what it was that blocked the sun. The townsfolk working in their shops came and craned their necks to see. Everyone, everywhere in the kingdom stopped what they were doing, and a vast hush fell over the valley. For there, soaring high in the deep blue summer sky, was a Dragon. It was a very large Dragon, and the shadow it cast covered whole fields.
The people in the kingdom all ran and hid. Some dashed into their homes and shut and locked the doors and shutters tight. Mothers pulled their children from play; people huddled in their cellars, or under the beds, and covered their heads in fright.
The Dragon turned its great head this way and that, as though searching for something. Then it spied what it sought, and dove down. It landed on the face of one of the mountains, about halfway up from the village that nestled at the mountain base.
For a long time, everything was very quiet. No one moved or spoke; they barely breathed for fear of the Dragon. Then slowly, after a long, long time, the people began to creep out cautiously and look around. The Dragon was nowhere to be seen. Birds began to sing again, and the day returned to normal.
The next day, the bravest huntsman went up into the mountains, to see what he could find out about the Dragon. He returned in the evening, white and shaking with fright.
“The Dragon found a cave in the mountain over the castle – it seems to have settled in and is making its home there,” the huntsman reported.
Then all the people went to the castle, to meet with the King and Queen, and to demand that they do something, although no one could think what. The king was much too old to fight Dragons by himself, and because the kingdom was small and peaceful, there were no Knights who could be sent to slay the Dragon.
Messages were sent to all the nearby kingdoms asking for aid, but there was none to be found. Everyone was very frightened. No one was quite sure what to do, for there hadn’t been any Dragons in a very long time. So they did the only thing they could: the King called the Royal Librarian, who looked up “Dragons” in the library.
Not much had been written about Dragons, but there was one book, called “A Natural History of Dragons,” by A. Knight.
“Dragons live in caves,” read the librarian.
“Dragons collect gold and treasure,” read a merchant.
“Dragons sleep in caves on their hoard of treasure,” read the banker.
“We know all that!” huffed the king. “The question is… what do they eat?”
They looked through the book, flipping the pages quickly.
“According to this” said the librarian slowly, “Dragons are particularly fond of having Princesses for tea.”
At that, everyone started to talk at once. “What did he say? A Princess? For tea? Good heavens! Oh dear! Oh, my gracious!”
“If the Dragon wants a Princess for tea….” said the Princess bravely, “If the Dragon really wants a Princess for tea, and absolutely nothing else will do, then a Princess he shall have. And then, maybe he’ll go away.”
Everyone applauded the brave Princess. They dressed her in her prettiest dress, and put wreathes made of flowers in her hair. Then they took her up into the mountains and tied her to a rock in front of the Dragon’s cave, and ran home and hid.
The Princess stood there for a very long time. At first she was very frightened but as more time passed, and the Dragon didn’t come out, she began to get angry. Finally, she yelled, in her best Princess voice, “HEY, DRAGON!”
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