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The Dragon and the Window

by Tom Kissack 2 months ago in Short Story
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Tale 1 of 17 Jonathan's Tales (Volume 1)

The Dragon and the Window

Father - “And you wouldn’t know it Jonathan, but there was a little orange and yellow and red dragon sleeping next to her on the pillow “

Once upon time……..a very, very long time ago there was a kingdom ruled by a wise and very kind King. The King had a daughter, a beautiful Princess who was lucky to live in a fairy tale castle, the family home. In her bedroom were many things, but one thing she was fascinated with from an early age was the middle window, for in the middle window was a beautiful blue glass pane embossed with an orange, yellow and red dragon pattern. The Princess often gazed at this window and when she got a little bit older confided in her Daddy about the window, saying, “I love that window Daddy.” “Yes,” said the father, “That window reaches back a long time, it represents some wonderful family history.” “What do you mean by family history Daddy ?” “The window is over 500 hundred years old.” “But father, how do you know that ?” said the Princess. “After breakfast, I’m going to take you to the library,” said the father, “It’s time you were introduced to our family history.”

So, as agreed they both went to the library and the King showed his daughter a beautiful leather-bound book, with heraldic symbols and the dynastic royal emblem of a dragon and a lily emblazoned over the front cover. Each book page was richly coloured with pictures of past times, but the main narrative throughout was the family story, a history hundreds of years ago. Reading the book, the Princess discovered how five hundred years ago the kingdom was nearly defeated by an army of ogres, giant ogres. The King at that time said to his Queen as the ogres were approaching some little distance from the castle walls, ”I think we should take our children and hide them. The ogres if they capture the castle will do many things including probably eating the children.” “Yes, yes, said his wise and loyal Queen, I will hide them in the cellar my Lord.” The mother, having secured her children, and having a strong belief in magic, went down to the castle’s royal pond, reputedly the waters had a magical essence within them, and she prayed for her family, her husband’s army, and the kingdom, all now in mortal danger. Whilst she prayed, she heard the soldiers and knights crying out in hopeless anguish on the hills surrounding the castle, valiantly trying to stop the fearsome ogres, an almost invincible foe. The Queen thought, “Our kingdom is doomed,” and with this thought felt a crushing sadness as she stared in great despair at the pond. Just at that moment a Fairy Princess emerged from the water and noted the Queen’s melancholic demeanour having read her thoughts. “Do not worry, your kingdom is safe .” “How can it be safe, the ogres are not far from our castle, our army is all but defeated ?” “I will show you, much-loved Queen of your people.” She took out a little wand and said, “Look over at that lily, such a beautiful lily, do you not agree ?” “Yes,” said the Queen, “I love lilies, they are a treasured flower in my life, I love them more than any other flower.” “Look closer dear Queen,” said the fairy. The Queen stared across the pond with increased concentration, and saw sitting on top of the lily a very small dragon, with richly endowed colours of orange, yellow and red. The fairy flew across the pond and touched the dragon with her wand. Sparkling flashes erupted all around it, and the dragon became transformed into a huge beast, but still bore the mark of its pond affiliations, a ring of white lilies garnered around its neck.

The dragon quickly rose up into the sky and started flying. It flew to the castle courtyard where the King was planning a last stand against the invaders, marshalling a handful of loyal soldiers, his personal guard. The dragon landed next to the King and said, “Get on my back Sire.” The King had not seen a dragon for many years, in fact not since he was a boy, legend told all dragons were now dead. Looking at the dragon he replied, “I’m sorry,” not quite hearing him clearly, and failing to understand his meaning. “Get on my back,” repeated the dragon. The Queen by then had run back to the castle. “Do husband !” urged the Queen, “ Get on the dragon’s back.” The King, although old now, was no coward, he came from a long line of proud warrior kings, and he immediately leapt on the dragon. The dragon soared high above the castle, banking towards the battle raging fiercely just beyond the castle walls. Emitting a mighty roar above the advancing ogres, all on the battlefield stopped in their tracks (1) and looked up. The dragon breathed fire all over the leading ogres, consuming a number in a conflagration of flames. The ogres thus touched fell to the ground writhing in agony as they were being literally burnt alive. The remaining gruesome ogres became confused, gripped with fright seeing the omnipotence of the fire breathing dragon with the fearless King, sword drawn high above him, riding on its back. Terror filled their breasts seeing some of their kind engulfed in flames, and those that could ran away. Only a few survived as they were chased by the dragon to the limits of the kingdom they had invaded, forever banished back to their own lands, never to return.

Meanwhile, the victorious army, or what was left of them as many had that day fallen in battle, crowded into the castle, with their last remaining general having one thought, to protect the Royal family. The children were brought up from the cellars where they had been hidden and all waited for the King to return shouting in joyous celebration of victory over the ogres. Then the crowd hushed, fell silent, for the fearsome orange, yellow and red dragon hovered high above the castle before landing, to settle down in the castle grounds gently flapping its wings, allowing the King to alight from its back to join his Queen. Again, a tumultuous roar arose from everyone there, cheering the King’s return, the battle now won. But the King and Queen knew who the true hero was, and they both fell on their knees in front of the dragon, bowing their heads saying, “Thank you, thank you mighty dragon.” The dragon said, “I am at once honoured by your homage to me, much loved King and Queen of your people, but I did only what was written and asked of me. And then he became smaller and was taken into the castle rooms by the Princess, gently held in the cup of her hand.

The King and Queen awaited the arrival of the Fairy Princess who would surely now come. And within a minute the Fairy Queen emerged from the pond and flew in the window saying, “Congratulations King Maddox on defeating your enemies, the dragon must now go back to the pond.” The little Princess hearing this exclaimed, “No, no, please I want my dragon to stay with me, he saved us, we owe him our lives.” She started to sob pitifully in her sadness that the dragon was leaving. The Fairy Queen looked at the Queen and King, and then at the sobbing girl, “Cheer up Princess, I will grant you the wish that you can see the dragon forever, but not until the morrow. The dragon flew out of the window escorted by the Fairy Princess, and plunged into the pond again below.

Having said his farewells to the water folk, his beloved friends, he did the fairy’s bidding. The next morning the Princess opened her curtains and there was a pattern of a dragon, a beautiful dragon of orange, yellow and red embossed on the middle blue pane of her window. That is the end of the story daughter, our family history enshrined in the window pane forever. “Daddy", said the Princess, "How long has the dragon been on the window ?” “As I said, my daughter some 500 years.” “But I want that dragon to come back, I so want it to come back, I want it to be free, it is a beautiful panel I know, but is it not a prison for the poor dragon ?” The King smiled at his daughter’s view of the family fable, for she had cleverly read between the words that the dragon had chosen to be trapped in the pane. The Princess continued ”I want to free –“ But the King interrupted her somewhat abruptly, “You can’t. It is now lost in the midst of Time; it is a legend.” The daughter fell silent. Looking at his daughter’s sad countenance, the King had an afterthought. He glanced down at the book again, and in a less harsh, much quieter tone, almost a whisper, not wishing to be heard beyond his daughter, “As it is, it is written at the end of the book, that there is another book somewhere in the castle, and whoever finds it will have the secret to awaken and free the dragon.” “Oh,” said the little girl, “But where Daddy, where in the castle ? ” “Daughter, be assured, my men have tried to search the castle high and low (2), and I am sure countless others in our family through the ages have also tried, they have never found the book.”

Time passed and the Princess grew up, now a teenager, she was wandering around the castle and looked up aloft. There were some stairs leading to an attic, and a little room in the roof of the castle. She was drawn to the stairs, having a strange desire, almost a propulsion, to alight the stairs and enter the room. Looking around, the room was empty, totally empty. Just then, the sun began to shine through a plain blue window pane, the only access to the outside world from the attic, save the stairs. Where the sun’s ray struck the attic wall a little window door appeared, seemingly materialising from thin air (3), and the Princess thought “How very odd, what can this be ?” She walked over to it, and noticed the door wouldn’t open. The door had a keyhole, but there was no key. Whilst pondering this problem, she noticed a tiny figure from the corner of her eye (4 ), a figure not more than two inches high, dressed in green from head to toe, with funny jester-like shoes. He was sitting on the window sill which housed the blue pane. The little man was smiling and said, “Princess, you want to open the door to the book ?” ”What ? To what book ? ” said the Princess. “To the book of the dragon, of course.” “Oh, the dragon book ? Yes, but I can’t, I have no key.” “Use me Princess,” “What do you mean, use you ?” “Well, just pick me up,” said the little figure. “Don’t be silly, and besides who are you anyway ?” “I’m a leprechaun (5) and I’m magical. It’s been foretold that you are the one who will set the dragon free.” “But I don’t understand,” said the Princess, “Set the dragon free from where ?” And then she gasped and put her hand to her mouth, her eyes wide with anticipation and the little comical man’s next words confirmed what she was thinking. “From the window in your bedroom, of course.” “But our kingdom is not in danger anymore ? And I thought the book said he went to the pond ?” “He did go to the pond. But the Fairy Princess made a promise to the Princess at that time, saying to the dragon, you must go to the window, and stay there until you are released. And that’s why you have a pattern of a dragon on your bedroom window. “Oh,” said the Princess, “So the legend was true. That is interesting. You talk of things exactly as my father told me many years ago in the library. But, can I really set the dragon free ?” “You can if you pick me up and I will change myself to a key.” “How can you do that ? It sounds rather a silly thing to do.” But she nevertheless picked him up and then she couldn’t believe her eyes. He turned into a key glowing orange, yellow and red. She walked over to the little door window, opened the door with the glowing key and saw a book, a beautiful book similar to the one in the library, leather bound with many symbols on the front. She stood there in amazement, took the book and sat down on the bare floor boards and opened it. There was only one page in it. It told how to release the water dragon by going to the pond and picking white lilies. “Oh dear, there’s no white lilies now in bloom, it’s winter,'' she thought. “Yes,” said the leprechaun, now no longer a key, again sitting on the window sill, reading her thoughts, “You have to wait until the Spring. When the Spring comes and the lilies bloom, the white lilies, you must pick one or two lilies, and put them next to the dragon window in your bedroom in a vase of water, and let them bloom.” “I will do that, I will surely do that I promise,” said the Princess. The Princess stood up and instinctively knew to put the book back in the window door and close it. There was a click as it locked itself, and then within seconds as if by magic it disappeared from view, just as quickly as it had come, the sun’s rays no longer illuminating the wall. “Good night strange little creature, and goodbye.” “No, no, no Princess, I’m here all the time, I can’t wait to see the dragon again.” “But what do you mean, it was 500 years ago ?” “Yes, I’m 525 years and four months old now ! I live for all times.” “Oh, how amazing,” said the Princess. The little leprechaun warned her to say nothing. “There will be people in the castle or beyond jealous, and would want to use the dragon themselves, if they knew the secret to release it.”

So, the Princess waited until the Spring, patiently, and kept the secret of her meeting with the leprechaun to herself. Then as the Spring ushered in the first blooms, she went down to the pond and picked two white lilies. “Oh Heavens,” said her mother who was taking the air in the royal gardens, “Is that wise taking lilies from the royal pond my dear, the pond is magical, so they say ?” “Mummy, there is a reason, but I must for now keep this secret, I promise what I do is for the good.” The Princess took the white lilies and placed them in a beautiful vase, before popping them next to the dragon window. She went to sleep that night, and you would not know it, but there was a little orange, yellow and red dragon sleeping next to her on the pillow in the morning. On waking the Princess saw the dragon and said, “Oh, it is true what he said, you came.” “Yes, and I have something to tell you. Firstly, thank you for releasing me, I have been entrapped in that window for hundreds of years. Now, anytime you want to go anywhere in the world, all you need to do is tap on the window where I was kept. And I’ll come and I’ll be quite big.” “What do you mean anywhere I want to go in the world ?” “If you want to fly around, I will take you on my back. But you must let me go back to my pond now. I want to go back to my family and the Fairy Queen.” “Well, how do I do that ?” “Open the window, will you Princess ?” She obeyed his request. The dragon reminded her if she wanted to see him, she needed to tap on the window. He then flew out of the window and directly down to the pond, whence he plunged in the water immediately disappearing from view. The Princess looked down and saw many many colours sparkling in the water, all the colours of the rainbow. It was as though they were having a party, she thought.

One day when the Princess was alone in the castle, she tapped on the window, now only a plain blue pane, but not really believing anything would happen. The dragon suddenly appeared outside the window, and he was so huge. “Get on my back Princess. Where would you like to go ?” She had had prior thought about this. “I’d like to go to the Taj Mahal (6) .” “The Taj Mahal in India, well let’s go now.” “But wait, how long will it take ?” said the Princess. “Oh, just a few minutes,” said the dragon. And so, he took her to the Taj Mahal, and as she walked around, everybody bowed to her. They bowed to her not only seeing a golden crown upon her head, but because she was being escorted by a strange guardian, an orange and yellow and red dragon. The Princess lived a long and fulfilling life, eventually marrying a handsome Prince and becoming Queen. She became known as the, “Travelling Queen”, often seen in exotic places with her dragon guardian, accumulating a vast amount of knowledge of the many places she visited, and bequeathing this knowledge to her family, writing her own life story in the family history book, still kept in the castle library to this day. A treasure indeed for anyone that read it. Although now Queen, she never forgot her promise to the dragon, a promise never to reveal the secret of calling him, by tapping on the blue stained window, and she never ever did. I guess both you and I, now we know the Princess’s secret, would love to know the castle’s location, but thankfully for the dragon, this knowledge is now lost in the midst of Time.

And that’s the story of the Dragon and the Window !

Notes

A brief note about the notes below : Although many of the annotated grammatical words, idioms, sayings, metaphors and proverbs have often a range or multiple explanations, I have as author, for purposes of brevity, chosen to select only the explanation specific to the example in the story.

(1) Stopped in their tracks : Idiom - To stop at the exact spot where one is and hold motionless (page 2).

(2) Search high and low (for someone or something) : Idiom - To look absolutely everywhere for someone or something (page 3).

(3) Appear out of thin air : Idiom - To materialise suddenly or unexpectedly, as from nothing (page 3).

(4) Out of / from the corner of your eye : Idiom - If you see something out of/from the corner of your eye, you see it but not clearly because it happens to the side of you (page 3).

(5) Leprechaun : A leprechaun is a diminutive supernatural being in Irish folklore, classed by some as a type of solitary fairy. They are usually depicted as little bearded men, wearing a coat and hat, who partake in mischief (page 3).

(6) The Taj Mahal, ranked one of the 7 wonders of the world, is an ivory-white marble mausoleum on the southern bank of the river Yamuna in the Indian city of Agra. It was commissioned in 1632 by the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan (reigned from 1628 to 1658) to house the tomb of his favourite wife, Mumtaz Mahal. The Taj Mahal is renowned all over the globe as the monument of eternal love and affection (page 4).

Short Story

About the author

Tom Kissack

I am the author of Jonathan's Tales, told to my son at bedtime, after he gave me a binary subject theme, recorded initially on audio, and transposed to enriched stories thereafter, some 90 plus tales.

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