Princess Amanda and the Dragon

Kingdom Tales Kickstarter Campaign: Princess Amanda and the DragonThe huge beast sat waiting for her. Its long tail swept slowly across the ground behind it, then flickered, then swept back. The claws on one paw flexed, tearing the thatch and soil beneath it, then opened, then flexed again. A thin, wet trickle dripped out of its mouth, down its jaw. Yellow light gleamed in its eyes. The dragon had become cunning. Why had she not seen this?

Amanda drew herself to full stature. She ignored the throbbing in her feet. “Dragon,” she announced in her most majestic tone, “you must go. You are too big for my den. Grown dragons are not allowed in Great Park. Your breath is too hot. Fly away!”

The dragon leered at her. It hunched, like a cat on the prowl, and moved closer and closer to her. Finally, the huge beast was near. It swept its tail, which quickly covered the distance between them. Amanda hopped over the tip. The dragon swept the long jagged tail back, faster. She hopped again. It raised its head and blew hot flame onto the grass behind her. She could hear the vegetation crackling. She could feel it beginning to burn. She turned and stamped the fire out. The dragon breathed again. More fire.

Her heart filled with terror. One small princess cannot put out all the fires this one large dragon starts!

The dragon breathed again. The flames licked her clothes, her hair. She slapped at the fire with her hands. She rolled on the ground. She could see the great beast inching closer, flicking its tail, the yellow light growing brighter in its eyes. Amanda backed away. She knew it was useless to run. The dragon always won the races.

“Oh, help!” she cried. “Caretaker! Caretaker! I am too small for this terrible dragon. Help!”

Suddenly, she scarcely knew how, Caretaker was standing beside her. He must have come bounding the moment the flames had begun.

“Kill it! Kill it!” Amanda screamed. The great beast began to lurch. It raised itself on hind legs and roared. Flying flames filled the air.

“No, Amanda,” said the old man, “I cannot kill this dragon. Only the one who loves a forbidden thing can do the slaying. You will always hate me if I do it. Only you can slay this dragon.”

Caretaker pulled his woodsman’s hatchet from the silver belt around his waist. He held it erect before him.

He lifted his eyes to the sky. “In the name of the King, Amanda. For the Restoration. . . . You must slay the dragon!”

Caretaker tossed the hatchet directly overhead. It flew high, then started to tumble down, end over end. The humming began, the singing the princess had always loved. The hatchet landed at her feet; its blade stuck firmly in the ground. Amanda reached down and gripped the wood. She felt the hatchet’s power as she pulled it from the soil.

By this time, Amanda had backed almost to the middle of Outpost Meadow, and Caretaker had moved out of the circle of mortal combat. Small fires were burning here and there on the grass. The princess must do this work quickly. She would only have one chance.

To read the rest of this story and many more powerful stories like it, go here and back our Kickstarter campaign to revise, re-illustrate, and re-publish the Kingdom Tales Trilogy.  If you want to order the classic, original editions, go here.

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