Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Dragon Stories: Childe Wynde


The king of Northumberland was very old and had lost his wife years ago. He had two children, his son Childe Wynde, and daughter Margaret. Childe Wynde was far away waging a war. It was at this time he took a second wife.
At the wedding banquet, the new queen was cruel to all the courtiers. The talk among the courtiers was of the distinctions between her and the kind and comely princess.
That night, while the king was in a drunken slumber, the queen threaded a tapestry by moonlight, and traced strange symbols on the ground.
Soon after, Margaret awoke, with a strange taste in her mouth, her limbs feeling heavy. She felt terribly hungry.
Then she saw something gleam in the moonlight that frightened her. It was an enormous shining paw. She screamed. But the sound that emanated was a raucous cry. She had been transformed into a dragon.
She thrashed about in panic, as her tail wrecked the chamber. Finally in exhaustion she collapsed asleep.
Awaking to a ravishing hunger, and sensing a herd of sheep nearby, the new dragon ran to the court down the hill and devastated the herd. Finally sated, she retreated to a rocky outcrop.
The people were terrified and sought the council of the court wizards.
"The dragon is the princess Margaret, transformed by the wicked queen," they decried. "If you want her magic broken, and justice served, then call Childe Wynde from beyond the seas, for only he can set everything back."
Though the king could not believe this and kept his wife protected, still, Childe Wynde was sent for. He and a crew of warriors set sail with for home in a ship made from the wood of a pear tree, known for keeping the powers of magic at bay. But the queen had plans for them.
As they approached their home soil, waiting for them was an army of sprites, who raised the waves and danced about the ship in a diabolical dervish.
But the wood of the ship stayed their powers and they fell back into the ocean.
Furious, the witch conjured the ultimate defense. She put Margaret the dragon in a trance, and sent her to the shore to battle the ship.
Against her will she flew, and landed on the ship, devastating it, causing the crew to abandon ship.
But Childe Wynde and his men, now close to shore, were able to swim to safety.
Surrounding them now was a thick fog, so that they could see nothing. But suddenly Childe Wynde saw an enormous yellow orb manifest. It was the eye of the dragon. Childe Wynde was about to slay the dragon in an act of pity.
But in one last push of will Margaret made a terrible groan. In it were the instructions for her revival.
"Brother thou hast fought valiantly. Now to save me you must perform more acts of bravery. First thou must kiss me thrice upon the mouth, though it tear up your own. As for the queen, the answer lies the very wood of your ship."
The prince immediately followed the first step of instructions. He kissed the dragon on the mouth. The spiny skin lacerated his lips and made them bleed. His kissed her again with his bloodied mouth. And finally though his mouth flowed with blood he kissed her again. Right away the dragon shriveled into a blanket of skin. Under this rough blanket was a lump. The prince lifted up the dragons skin and found his young sister lying there, shivering.
Immediately the prince brought his sister back and approached his father.
"The prophecy has been proven true, now all that remains is to deal with that witch you have as your wife. I hold in my hand the branch of a pear tree. If she be not a witch then touching her with this shall cause no harm."
The king agreed.
They went to the queens quarters and found her huddling in the corner, her eyes wild with fear at the sight of the pear branch. But Childe Wynde had no pity, and touched the witch who was immediately transformed to a frog, which hopped out of the room and was never heard from again.

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