As part of my Christmas presents to my great niece and three great nephews, I wrote a story about all four of them and their brave adventure of taming a ‘fearful’ dragon. They all love to read and would often rather receive books than any other kind of gift. A story in which they personally were the heroes and heroine was an unexpected treat for them, and on each of their individual copies, I put that child’s picture on the front cover as the featured character.
After giving them their books, I decided I might as well share the story on my blog. There might be other families out there with children who love stories about dragons who breathe out fire, but who cry because they have no friends, and who can be tamed by cookies, a song, and lots and lots of love.
TAMING THE DRAGON OF CALVERT KINGDOM
In the year 2013, in a kingdom called Calvert, there lived four cousins. They were all named Calvert, and it was their great-grandparents Rachel and Cecil Calvert who had established this kingdom many years before. The four cousins felt it was their job to help keep the kingdom safe and to care for all of the inhabitants.
The three young men had become knights: Sir Gideon was the eldest; Sir Josiah was next. They were brothers, and they had one sister, Lady Lucy. She was very pretty, with her strawberry blond hair, and all the young knights thought she was the fairest maiden in the whole kingdom of Calvert. Sir Gideon, Sir Josiah, and Lady Lucy all lived together at Carterville Castle.
Their cousin, Sir Jasper, lived very near them, at his home, St. Louis Castle, and he visited them often.
One day they all gathered at Carterville Castle. There they sat around a big fireplace, drinking hot chocolate with marshmallows and discussing a very serious problem. A huge, fire-breathing dragon had been roaming through the kingdom, scaring all the inhabitants and stealing many of the children’s pets. It made them very unhappy.
He also pounded his way through the kingdom, shaking the earth beneath him because he was very, very heavy. And he had a long tail so powerful that every time he moved it, it tore down some trees or demolished some buildings.
And that’s not all. He also went around breathing out huge flames that burned up all the grass and flowers. So he made the inhabitants very afraid.
At first, he came out only a couple times a year, and that wasn’t quite so bad. But the past two years, he had been coming out more often, and now he came stomping through the kingdom every few weeks. It had gotten so bad that Sir Gideon had called the meeting with his brother and sister and cousin to decide what must be done.
They had talked for over an hour, and still hadn’t made any decisions, so Sir Jasper said, “Well, cousin Gideon, I think, since you are the eldest, we should do whatever you believe is best. Do the rest of you agree?”
Sir Josiah and Lady Lucy nodded their heads in agreement, and Sir Josiah asked.
“Well, Brother Gideon, what say you?”
“Hmmm. I believe the most important thing to do first is for all of us to pray together for the Lord’s wisdom. After all, He knows every animal in this world, and He knows why the dragon is so mean and vicious. He also knows if it has any weaknesses that we can take advantage of.”
“Oh, that’s a very good idea!” said Lady Lucy.
“Then let’s all hold hands,” said Sir Gideon, “and pray for the Lord’s wisdom and help.”
So they did. In a few minutes, while they were all quiet and listening for an answer, Sir Josiah spoke.
“I believe we should try to make friends with the dragon.”
“Oh my!” said Lady Lucy. “I don’t know if I’d want to get close enough to him to try to be his friend.”
“It would be nice if it could happen,” Sir Jasper said, “but I have to admit I’m very skeptical.”
“Well, you know,” Sir Gideon said, “God tells us in the Bible to love our enemies and try to be good to them. So Josiah’s suggestion does sound like it agrees with the Bible. Maybe we should try.”
“But how?” asked Sir Jasper. He always wanted things laid out in exact detail before he made a decision. “We need to have a good, solid plan.”
“Yes, I agree,” said Sir Gideon. “How shall we go about this?”
Sir Josiah answered. “I think we should all go together up the mountain to his cave, and I think we should take him some cookies — chocolate chip. We can put them down outside his cave and invite him to come out and eat them while we talk to him.”
“And,” said Lady Lucy, feeling a little braver now, “I think we should sing a song as we go so that he knows we are not coming to do him harm.”
“What song can we sing?”
“Josiah,” said Sir Jasper, “you’re the one in the family who loves music best. Can you write us a song?”
“I’ll try,” said Sir Josiah. “I’ll go to my room and think about it.”
“And if you write one, then I will take my guitar and accompany you,” Sir Jasper said.
“Okay,” said Sir Gideon. “Let’s all meet back here in one hour, and if Josiah has a song, we’ll decide what to do next.”
They all agreed and went their separate ways. Sir Josiah sat at the window in his room and thought and thought. He asked himself, “What kind of song would a dragon like to hear?” He had always secretly loved dragons and had wished that he could have one for a pet. He’d like to be friends with a dragon. His next thought was, “Why not write a song about what’s in my own heart?” And suddenly the words came to him.
“Oh I wish I had a friend who was a dragon.
That’s the kind of pet I’d like one of,
And if I had a friend who was a dragon,
I’d play with him and give him lots of love.
He’d never have to breathe out fire or be mean
Because we’d laugh and play and have such fun,
And every night he’d sleep beside my own bed
And have sweet dreams when every day was done.”
So one hour later, when the three brave knights and Lady Lucy met, Josiah sang them his song. They all liked it very much, so they decided that very early the next morning – before anyone else in the kingdom was up and about – they would travel up the mountain to the dragon’s cave.
Just as the first little ray of light peaked over the horizon, Sir Gideon, Sir Josiah, Sir Jasper, and Lady Lucy gathered at the edge of the woods by Carterville Castle. Sir Gideon and Sir Josiah had decided not to wear their armor because they did not want to threaten the dragon.
However, Sir Jasper said that he thought at least one of them should be dressed and ready for battle if it turned out to be necessary. So he wore his full armor, but he kept his sword in its sheath, and he opened his faceplate so that the dragon could see that he had a kind face. And all three knights insisted that Lady Lucy stay behind them the whole time so that she would be in less danger.
They started singing their song at the foot of the mountain, and they sang all the way up. They were very brave indeed. When they got to the place where they could see the entrance to the cave, they heard a terrible sound. It even shook the ground.
And they saw puffs of smoke coming from the cave. They stopped singing. They felt butterflies in their stomach, but they were too strong-hearted to let fear keep them from doing what was right. So after about a minute, they started singing and walking forward again.
They heard the terrible sound again.
But as they drew closer to the cave entrance, they heard another sound between the roars. It sounded like crying.
“BooHooooHoooo! Sniff! Sniff! BooHooooHoooo! Sniff!”
They stopped again. “Why, he’s crying!” exclaimed Lady Lucy. “The poor dragon is crying!”
“Well,” said Sir Jasper, “This is very unexpected!”
“Very interesting though,” said Sir Gideon, thinking about what this new evidence indicated about their situation. Sir Gideon had a very methodical way of interpreting things, and he was beginning to put two and two together quickly now.
“Think about it. This dragon goes all around the kingdom breathing fire, scaring the people and other animals, but he sits at home and cries. The two behaviors must be connected.”
“That could explain it,” said Sir Jasper. “He is very unhappy, and that makes him treat others very badly.”
“Exactly,” said Sir Gideon.
“Well, I feel so sorry for him,” said Lady Lucy. “We should go in and tell him we want to be his friends.”
“We can’t just go barging in, sister dear,” said Sir Gideon.
“I think I should go stand by the door and sing to him again,” said Sir Josiah.
“Very well, but be careful,” answered his brother.
So, quietly and gently, Sir Josiah moved up very close to the opening of the cave and began to sing in his clear sweet voice, while Sir Jasper accompanied him on the guitar.
Pretty soon, they heard another big sniff from inside the cave and then they heard the dragon say, “Huh? Who’s there?”
Sir Josiah, whose knees were shaking a little, just kept singing the words of the song, and finally, the dragon eased his head around the edge of the opening to see what was going on. His eyes got great big, and his mouth fell open. When it did, a great puff of smoke came out and blew right onto Sir Josiah.
Sir Jasper put his hand on his sword. He wanted to be ready to defend his cousin if this was an attack. But when there was no more action from the dragon, he relaxed a little.
Sir Josiah had finished his song by now, and he grinned at the dragon.
“Who are you?” the dragon said, and as he spoke another great puff of smoke rolled out onto Josiah. Sir Jasper stepped up beside his cousin. That movement caused the dragon to growl, but Sir Josiah spoke up and said, “Hello, I’m Sir Josiah Calvert, and these other people are my family. We came to bring you some cookies and tell you we want to be your friends.”
The dragon’s eyes just got bigger.
Lady Lucy had been carrying the cookies, and she stepped forward now. Sir Gideon started to reach out his hand to stop her, but he decided that maybe she was the best one, after all, to set the cookies before the dragon.
“Here you are. I baked them myself.”
The dragon blinked. Then a huge tear bubbled out of his eye, ran down his long nose, and dropped to the ground. “Sniff! Sniff!” was all the sound he made.
“Were you crying?” asked Sir Gideon, wanting to get to the bottom of this mystery.
The dragon didn’t look up at him, but just nodded his head to say yes.
“But why?” asked Lady Lucy, stepping a little closer to him. She felt sorry for this poor dragon, and that kept her from being afraid.
The dragon sniffed again very loudly and said, “Because I don’t have any friends at all.” Then he sniffed again, as one more tear rolled down his nose.
Lady Lucy took a soft white handkerchief from her pocket and gently patted the end of his nose. “Is that why you took all the children’s pets?” she asked. “So you could have some company?”
Sniff. “Yes … but it’s no fun when I have to make them stay with me.”
Sir Gideon spoke up then. “Well, of course it isn’t, you goofball. You have to be a real friend to others if you want them to be your friend. And stealing those pets and bringing them here when they don’t want to be here is not being friendly.”
“But we’d like to be your friends,” Lady Lucy said.
The dragon looked from one to the other. “You would?” They nodded. “All of you?” he asked.
“Oh yes,” replied Sir Gideon. “All of us.”
“Even him?” the dragon asked, looking a little harder at Sir Jasper, who still had his hand on his sword.
Sir Jasper dropped his hand to his side and said,“Yes, I want to be your friend too, but you have to understand that people can’t be your friend if you keep stomping through the land stealing pets and breathing out fire, and roaring at people to make them afraid.”
“Well … I guess I did that because I was so unhappy.” the dragon said. Then he turned to Sir Josiah. “I really liked your song.”
Sir Josiah beamed. “Thank you, Mr. Dragon. Do you have a name?”
The dragon nodded. “I have one, but you’ll laugh at me if I tell you what it is.”
“No we won’t,” said Lady Lucy. “Please tell us. We’ll tell you our names first. I’m Lady Lucy Calvert. You’ve already met my brother Sir Josiah, and this is my other brother Sir Gideon and our cousin Sir Jasper. Now will you tell us your name?”
“Well … it’s ….” He sighed. “My name is Throgmorton,” he said in a whisper and hung his head.
“Why, I think that’s a very grand name!” Lady Lucy said.
Sir Gideon had to bite his tongue to keep from laughing, but he was willing to do that because he did not want to make this poor dragon more unhappy.
Sir Josiah spoke up then. “That sounds like a very good dragon name to me. How would you like to be my pet, Throgmorton?”
Throgmorton’s eyes grew large again, but this time he smiled. “I think I’d like that very much!” he said.
“Then you have to promise never to scare people or steal pets or breath out fire ever again,” said Sir Josiah. “I can’t have a pet that hurts people.”
“Oh, if I can be your pet, and you will be my friends, I would never want to hurt anyone again! So I promise! And I will take all of the children’s pets back to their homes.”
“Oh, that’s wonderful!” said Lady Lucy.
“Won’t you all have a cookie with me?” the dragon asked. “And then maybe we could sing the song again.”
So they ate cookies until the plate was empty, and then Throgmorton walked with them back down the mountain. He was very careful with his tail so that it didn’t tear down any trees, and he made sure that when he breathed, he didn’t let out any flames. The three brave knights and Lady Lucy went with Throgmorton to take every pet back to its real owner, and the children of the kingdom were happy again.
Then all four cousins took the dragon back to Carterville Castle, and Sir Gideon’s father, who liked to build things, made Throgmorton a big house right by the back door. Of course, Sir Josiah let him in at night so that he could sleep beside the bed – just like in the song.
And all throughout Calvert Kingdom, there was peace again. No one was afraid to go out with their pets anymore, and the inhabitants never heard the terrible roar of the fearful dragon again.
Instead, all they heard were the happy voices of Sir Gideon, Sir Josiah, Sir Jasper, Lady Lucy, and Throgmorton singing their friendship song. And, of course, as in the end of every great story, they all lived happily ever after.
© 2013 Sandra Conner