|main menu | youngsters categories | authors | new stories | search | links | settings | author tools|
|The Dragon Awakes (youngsters:fairy tales, 3142 words)|
|Author: Ian Hobson||Added: Feb 15 2007||Views/Reads: 5376/2231||Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)|
|The dragon had slept for three hundred years, thrice cursed by three sisters, three witches, who had raised her and loved her and named her Firethorn.|
Click here to read the first 75 lines of the story 'That's just a song,' said Willowherb, interrupting. 'A good song, but it's all just myth and legend.' 'But what about those fires in the next village we heard about?' asked Gromwell. 'And that house fire near here the other night? I've heard people saying they don't know what's causing the fires. Perhaps there is a dragon abroad.' 'That's right,' agreed Sedum. 'And that fire the other night was at the old witch's cottage - Asperula's cottage - and they say that dragons hate witches.' 'That was probably just one of the witch's spells going wrong,' said Willowherb. 'Her cauldron catching fire, or something.' 'How do you know it was Asperula's cottage,' Gromwell asked Sedum. 'Luzula told me,' replied Sedum. Since Luzula had discovered that she too was a witch, she had also discovered the gnomes' secret - that at night they could walk and talk just like real people - and sometimes she would stay out after dark to talk to them; especially Sedum, or Fisherman as she called him. Something caught Gromwell's eye, and as he looked up at the sky his jaw dropped and his mouth opened wide. 'Look!' he exclaimed. Sedum and Willowherb turned to look as, in the moonlight, something flew over the village a little to the south. It was long and thin, rather like a snake but thicker in the middle, and as it hovered on huge wings, a long yellow flame spurted from its mouth, and then it dipped out of sight. 'I would never have believed it; there really is a dragon!' Willowherb admitted. 'And up to no good by the look of it.' 'Perhaps we should go and investigate,' suggested Sedum. 'Investigate!' exclaimed Willowherb. 'We three gnomes? The dragon could burn down half the village before we could do anything about it.' 'Willowherb's right,' said Gromwell. 'What we should do is raise the alarm.' 'But how?' Sedum asked. 'Who can we tell?' 'I can tell Zoola,' said a voice. 'Who said that?' said Willowherb, looking around but seeing no one. 'It was me, Squill.' The three gnomes looked up, surprised to see Luzula's pet biloba sitting on the roof of the cottage. Though they were used to seeing him following Luzula around, and knew that he could fly, they had not realised that he was allowed out at night and had been sitting there on the roof listening to their conversation. 'Have you been spying on us?' asked Willowherb indignantly. The lizard-like creature spread his wings and glided gently down to land beside the three gnomes. 'Spying?' he said, not fully understanding the word. 'You mean like, I spy with my little eye?' 'Never mind that now,' said Gromwell, glad to have an offer of help. 'I think you should fetch Luzula at once. I'm sure she'll know what to do.' 'Fetch Zoola at once,' repeated Squill as he turned and scurried away to the rear of the cottage where he hopped up onto a windowsill and in through the open window. 'I'm not sure I trust that biloba creature,' said Willowherb. 'He seems to grow bigger every day. He's even taller than us now, and three times as long. And he's not that different from a dragon, what with his wings and his long tail.' 'I thought you didn't believe in dragons,' said Sedum. 'Anyway, the dragon we saw in the sky was a different shape, longer and thinner, and shinier too. Did you see how its scales reflected the moonlight?' He and the other two gnomes looked up into the sky again, hoping to catch another glimpse of the dragon, but there was no sign of it. 'Look,' said Gromwell, 'here comes Luzula.' Luzula had fallen asleep and was having a strange dream about three witches living together in a castle when she was awakened by Squill coming in through the window and leaping onto her bed. At first she had been a little annoyed at having been woken, but as soon as Squill mentioned a dragon she had got dressed immediately and hurried into the garden. 'Hello, Luzula,' said Sedum excitedly. 'We've seen a dragon! It was in the sky, and a big flame spurted from its mouth!' 'Where did you see it?' Luzula asked, not doubting Sedum's words for a moment. Only the day before, she had been to help Asperula repair the damage to her cottage, and the old witch had spoken of her fears that a dragon might be to blame for the fire. 'That way,' said Gromwell as he and his two companions pointed to the south. 'Close to where your friend Asperula lives, I think. I hope its not going to start another fire.' Luzula looked towards the south of the village. She could see nothing but the stars in the night's sky, but her intuition told her to expect the worst. 'Poor Asperula,' she said. 'I better get some help.' She turned away, meaning to back inside and wake her mother but then thought better of it and decided to fetch some men from the village instead. 'Can we help?' Sedum asked, as Luzula made towards the garden gate. Luzula turned and smiled at the little gnome. 'I don't think so, Fisherman. If there is another fire, I'll need someone big and strong to help put it out.' But then, with a look of inspiration on her face, Luzula reached into the leather satchel she always carried and took out what looked like a large pebble, except that it was jet-black in colour and almost perfectly spherical. This was Luzula's talisman and, kneeling down, she held it out towards the three gnomes and asked them to come and place their tiny hands on top of it. And then, as Luzula closed her eyes and recited magic words that the gnomes did not understand, the most amazing thing happened: Gromwell, Sedum and Willowherb began to grow bigger and bigger, until they were even taller than Luzula. The three gnomes just stood and stared Luzula and at their surroundings, at first wondering why she and everything around them had shrunk. 'They got bigger!' exclaimed Squill. 'Very very bigger!' Luzula had forgotten about her pet biloba. 'You stay here, Squill,' she said, 'and you three come with me.' And with that she ran off into the night with three huge, and somewhat bewildered, garden gnomes plodding along after her in the moonlight. *** After the fire, two nights before, Asperula was lucky to be alive, for if it had not been for her magic doorknocker waking her by shouting 'Fire! Fire! Fire!' she might have perished, just like a distant ancestor of hers had perished in a fire, many, many years before, if she was to believe the stories her grandmother had told her. Fortunately Asperula had been woken by the doorknocker's shouting and, once alerted, she had been able to beat out the fire with her broomstick and dowse it with water from the garden rainwater butt. But now, for the second night in a row, Asperula had not gone to bed. Instead she sat outside her cottage in a rocking chair, waiting and watching, for she believed she knew what had caused the fire. So when Firethorn the dragon came swooping down out of the sky to perch on her garden wall, Asperula was ready for her. 'Go back!' she shouted as she leapt to her feet, brandishing her broomstick. 'Go back to where you came from and trouble me no more, before I turn you into a slug and chop you into pieces!' Now, Asperula was never the cleverest of witches; sometimes her magic spells worked well and sometimes they didn't, which was probably why she had decided to first try frightening the dragon away. This of course was a mistake. Firethorn, perched high on the stone wall, folded her wings and looked down at Asperula. 'So you are a witchshshsh,' she said, her words hissing like water spilling onto hot coals. 'I thought as muchshshsh... Once upon a time three witches were my friendssss... three sisters they were, identical tripletsssss, so it was hard to tell which witch was witchshshsh...' She laughed at her own joke, though her laughter sounded like red hot nails falling into a bucket of cold water. For a moment Asperula did not know what to say. She stood and stared at the she-dragon, who resembled a rather fat snake but with four short fat legs and a pair of huge bat-like wings. 'So it is you,' said the witch, sounding quite astonished, 'the one they named Firethorn?' 'Yesssss,' replied the dragon, pleased that her name had not been forgotten. 'And you are?' 'I am Asperula,' replied Asperula. 'Asssssperula.' Smoke escaped from Firethorn's nostrils as she repeated the name. 'Well, say goodbye to your home, Asssssperula.' And with that, Firethorn opened her mouth wide and breathed a long spurt of yellow flame that would have burned Asperula severely, had she not turned away and thrown herself to the ground. But the dragon was not aiming for Asperula. She was aiming for the thatched roof of Asperula's cottage, and with two more fiery breaths, the thatch was soon set alight, and Firethorn danced along the wall and flapped her great wings with the joy of it, while Asperula's magic door knocker franticly shouted, 'Fire! Fire! Fire!' once more. *** 'Look!' exclaimed Sedum as he and Luzula, and the other two gnomes, ran past the last few houses in the village and on towards Asperula's Cottage. 'There is a fire!' 'We'll need water,' said Luzula. 'There's a well just ahead. You must take some from there.' 'But there's only one bucket,' said Gromwell, as they reached the well. 'We'll need at least three more.' 'Six would be better,' said Willowherb, 'so we can carry two each.' Luzula stopped and put her hand on the single bucket that sat at the edge of the well and then, as she recited another magic spell, one bucket became two, and then two became four, and four became eight. 'Multiplication,' she said, 'one of my favourites spells. Now, fill them quickly and follow after me.' Then she ran on towards the burning cottage. *** There was so much smoke from the burning thatch that the poor magic doorknocker had stopped shouting and was beginning to choke, while Asperula was back on her feet, angry with herself for using threats instead of magic, but even angrier with the dragon for setting fire to her cottage again. So now, she reached for the talisman that she wore on a gold chain around her neck. Like Luzula's it was the shiny black centre of a shooting star and, gripping it tightly, she began to recite what she hoped was a magic spell for turning a dragon into a slug. 'Be ssssssilent!' Firethorn commanded. She knew too well the sound of spells being cast, and she took to the air and circled Asperula, breathing fire and trapping her in a spiral of flames that grew ever closer. Asperula screamed and fell to the ground again, pulling the hood of her cloak over her head. 'Stop that at once!' Luzula shouted. She had stepped through Asperula's garden gate just in time to see the dragon doing her worst. Firethorn stopped breathing fire and, for a moment, seemed to hang in the air before she turned and flew straight at Luzula. But strangely, the dragon stopped short and dropped to the ground and gazed at Luzula as though the sight of a young girl fascinated her. 'Matricaria, isssssss it you?' she asked. 'No, Mirabilisssssss... or isssssss it Incarvillea?' 'I am Luzula,' replied the young witch, her puzzlement at the dragon's strange questions showing in her eyes as they reflected the flames of the burning cottage. 'But you look jusssssst like them,' said Firethorn, leaning closer and scrutinising Luzula's face. Luzula could feel the dragon's hot breath as she spoke again. 'I loved them,' said Firethorn. 'And they pretended to love me.... But they lied, they were wicked, three wicked witchesssssss. I should have ssssscorched them! I should have burned them!' Firethorn's expression had quickly turned to one of anger, but just as quickly it turned to delight. 'Never mind,' she said with a crooked smile, 'I can burn you instead.' Now Firethorn leaned back and began to take a deep breath - the prelude to another blast of yellow flame - but out of the shadows came a giant garden gnome. It was, of course, Willowherb carrying a bucketful of water, which he tossed into the dragon's face. Firethorn reeled backwards coughing and spluttering, and giving Willowherb time to return to the gate for the other bucket he had brought from the well and throw that too. 'I would never have believed it,' he said to Luzula. 'A real live dragon.' But no sooner were the words out of his mouth when an enraged Firethorn turned and lashed out with her tail, knocking both Willowherb and Luzula into a flowerbed. They were not seriously hurt but as they tried to scramble to their feet, again the dragon took a deep breath and, summoning all of the fire that still burned within her, she leaned towards her two victims and... turned into a slug. Asperula was on her knees and her clothes and hair and, even her eyebrows, were well and truly singed. But in her hand was her talisman, and on her lips were the final words of the magic spell she had cast upon the dragon; thus fulfilling her promise to turn her into a slug. Which was lucky for Squill, because he had been following Luzula and had bravely chosen that exact moment to swoop down from the sky and come to her rescue, and though he was taken aback by the dragon's sudden disappearance, something else soon caught his attention. 'Yum Yum!' he said as he gobbled down the fat juicy slug, 'Squill like slugs!' *** Well, I'm sure you can guess the rest of this story. With the aid of three giant garden gnomes and several more buckets of water and, of course, a little more magic, the fire was soon put out and Asperula's cottage was restored to its former self. And the three garden gnomes? Well, they had not had so much excitement since the night they had all fallen down one of the village wells, but they were very glad when the magic wore off and they were back to normal size and seated around their pond again. Though they did have an invitation from a very grateful magic doorknocker to go back and visit as often as they wanted. *** So tell me; do you believe in dragons? Tweet
Authors appreciate feedback!
Please vote, and write to the authors to tell them what you liked or didn't like about the story!
Ian Hobson has 67 active stories on this site.
Profile for Ian Hobson, incl. all stories