Last Friday I posted the beginning of my story, The Ambivalent Dragon. In part 1, Freeman, a storytelling, peaceable dragon with a giant pencil, is being followed through the forest by an angry, giant princess .When she catches up to him she demands his pencil, examines it and gives it back. Then the princess inform Freeman she has 2 questions for him.
On to part 2.
Freeman nodded, but did not speak.
“ One, what are you doing in my forest? And two, where did you get that marvelous pencil?”
Freeman swallowed and spoke in a quiet voice. “ I am sorry to have invaded your private forest, your highness. I was on my way home from obtaining the pencil in the village of Warrenden when I was accosted by a band of trolls eager to fight. I am not the fighting sort, despite my appearance. So I fled into the forest to avoid the battle.
“ I see. So, you are a coward, then?” She folded her arms.
“ No Princess, I am a scholar, not a fighter. I am a writer and book lover who just happened to end up in the body of a dragon. I cannot breathe fire, nor make myself disappear and my flying skills are rudimentary at best. My powers are peace-making, encouragement, and story-writing. My name is Freeman, by the way, at your service.” He bowed low.
“Well, Freeman, I am Princess Crowley. You are definitely a different sort of dragon, that is for certain.”
Freeman hesitated before replying, “ Well, at the risk of being rude, I must say you are a different sort of princess as well. Usually giantesses are, well, not very attractive, if you know what I mean. You, however, are quite lovely.”
“Thank you, Freeman. I am not really a giantess. I am princess trapped in a giant body. I was a normal sized baby and child, but when I reached my 14th birthday I began to grow 2 inches per day. A curse had been placed upon me by a disgruntled sorcerer that my father had dismissed. By the time an anti-curse was found, I was this tall. “
Freeman nodded his large head. “ The curse could not be reversed, then?”
“No. You can imagine that not many princes come seeking the hand of someone my size. And of course living in the castle after that did not work. So I asked my father to grant me some land to live on. “ The princess waved her hand around. “ So this is my castle in the wild.”
“I’m sorry Princess. You must be lonely.”
“ Actually I prefer it now. I was not very good at being a princess before the curse happened. I preferred hanging out with the gardener and learning about plants and flowers rather than going to balls and sipping tea with fine ladies. And my mother expected me to keep my pinafores and lacy socks clean and I didn’t. Therefore, I was always in trouble. The queen blames my poor behavior for my current predicament.”
“Ah”, replied Freeman. “ That sounds rather familiar. Dragons gradually acquire their skills of fire-breathing and the rest through a combination of maturing and schooling. I was kicked out of Dragon Academy when I was caught using my kindling pile to spell out words rather than lighting it in Flame 101. My father was a former Headmaster so it was quite the scandal. So I found a solitary cave far from home and have been working on my stories ever since.”
Princess Crowley nodded. “After spending so much time out here I have become a nature poet. That is why I asked about the pencil. Using regular-sized pencils has been so frustrating. Even after all this time I cannot judge my own strength and they just break. It’s frustrating. I have tried using tree limbs dipped in ashes but it is a cumbersome process. I would love to have a pencil like that!” She clasped her hands together and sighed.
Freeman said, “ I had the same difficulty when I started writing. I was fortunate to meet a former magician turned craftsman several years ago who makes them for me. In exchange I allow him first access to my stories.”
“ Do you think he would be wiling to make them for me?” asked Princess Crowley. “ It would solve my problem of having wonderful poems in my head that I cannot get written down properly before they are gone. That is what I was doing when I heard you crashing around. I was angry because your noise made me forget the lovely words I was scratching into the dirt. I am sorry if I frightened you.”
“ My apologies for disturbing your work. I understand your frustration. I am often interrupted by some young warrior looking to prove his mettle by fighting a dragon. I guess every creature pursuing a creative life has annoyances and obstacles to overcome.”
“ I imagine so,” said the princess. “ Especially if one does not fit the role that everyone expects. I am truly neither a giant nor a princess. If I could be anything I would wish to be my old size, but a commoner. Then I could pursue my dreams in anonymity. But, back to my question. Do you think I could get a pencil like that in Warrenden? Would your friend make one for me?”
Come back next week for Part 3!