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A short knight's tale.

Once, long ago, Good King Bern ruled a great kingdom. He and his daughter, the wise and beautiful Princess Sara of the long, shining hair, lived in Castle Bor.

Because King Bern was very afraid that his daughter might be lost or hurt, he would not allow her to leave Castle Bor.

One morning, a note was found in the princess's bedroom. It said, "I have been captured by the dread dragon Lightning. Sincerely, Princess Sara."

Good King Bern called all of the knights in the kingdom to Castle Bar. "Brave knights," he said, "my daughter has been kidnapped by the dread dragon Lightning. Who among you will rescue my wise and beautiful princess?"

All of the knights raised their swords. One very tall knight stepped forward. It was Sir Reginald the Strong. "We will bring her back to you, Sire," shouted Sir Reginald.

Suddenly, another knight arrived. He was very short, and his armor didn't fit very well. The knight stepped up beside Sir Reginald and laid his sword before the king.

"I am Sir Aras the Small," the knight said, bowing. The other knights laughed.

Good King Bern held up his hand. "Laugh not at any knight who has the courage to face the dread dragon Lightning," he said.

Now, it was said throughout the kingdom that the dragon could melt any opponent with ease. The truth, though, was that the dragon had made up that story himself to keep knights from bothering him with their challenges. Actually, melting people always upset his stomach.

So on the day the knights came to rescue the princess, the dragon simply picked up each one and dropped him into a huge cage with thick, metal bars.

"I will defeat you!" shouted Sir Reginald when his turn came. But even he was dropped into the cage, shining armor and all.

Soon only Sir Aras the Small remained. The small knight put away his sword and walked up to the dread dragon Lightning.

"Why have you caged these knights?" asked Sir Aras.

"They wanted to defeat me," the dragon said.

"Noble dragon," said Sir Aras, bowing. "If I can end these challenges, will you return these knights to their king?"

The dragon rumbled for a few minutes, thinking. "Agreed," he said at last.

And so, Sir Aras the Small led the dread dragon Lightning, pulling the cage full of defeated knights, back to King Bern.

"But what of my daughter?" the king shouted.

Sir Aras bowed his head and removed his helmet. Long, shining hair tumbled out.

"Princess Sara!" the king cried.

"I'm sorry, Father," said the princess. "I wanted to prove that I could take care of myself. Please let me leave the castle. I want to see more of our beautiful kingdom."

"Of course," said the king.

"And will you also order the dread dragon Lightning free from any knight's challenge?" the princess asked.

"I suppose so," said the king, who was still a bit afraid of the dragon.

In the years to come, Princess Sara and Lightning--nobody called him "dread" any longer--became great friends. Together, they had many adventures and, of course, lived happily ever after.
COPYRIGHT 1996 Benjamin Franklin Literary & Medical Society, Inc.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1996 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:short story
Author:Pankuch, Leanne M.
Publication:Jack & Jill
Date:Sep 1, 1996
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