A Patchwork Fantasy Tale about princes and dragons.
The true account of how one ferocious and honourable gentleman dragon tamed his humans.
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[Gentle theme music]
Laura: Hi, you can call me Laura, I’m here to tell you a story if you like. If you want to read as well as listen, you can find a transcript and and an mp3 download on patchworkfairytales.wordpress.com. You found one of my Patchwork Fantasy Tales! For the writing and recording of this one I worked together with my sister Talia, for a story all about princes and dragons.
Talia (as dragon narrator):
Dragon Tamer; the true account of how one ferocious and honourable gentleman dragon tamed his humans
The task of taming and caring for a human is certainly not for the mediocre dragon. I, however, always knew that I was meant for greatness and it was therefore not at all surprising to me that I – soon after becoming full-grown – was gifted with a Prince.
Laura (as storyteller):
“But I don’t want to be king. I shouldn’t be the king! What have I ever done to earn the right to rule this country?”
“Tristan,” the Queen snaps. “You were born to be the King and you shall be the King and your personal…delusions have nothing to do with the matter!”
Tristan, who had always had his doubts about being born a prince, but certainly took even more offence to the idea of being born destined to be a king, fixes his mother with all the indignant fury his nineteen years can command. “I will not and you cannot make me.”
“We’ll see about that,” the Queen huffs, with equal indignation. “You know, Tristan, I have had quite enough of your little tantrums. If you cannot appreciate the life your father and I have given you here at court, you might as well spend some time somewhere else.” She sniffs. “Somewhere where your wild ideas can’t influence any more servants.”
“You can’t just send me away,” Tristan scoffs. “What are you going to do? Lock me in a tower with a dragon at the door?”
“Funny you should mention that—”
So, I had acquired a Prince and a tower. A worthy start for a dragon of my station. And my Prince was a very proper one; charming, brave, well-spoken (if a bit loud) and very well suited to my aesthetic. As soon as he moved into my tower, I undertook the first steps towards taming him, which of course meant tending to his comforts. My tower was very well supplied with everything to take care of a human’s basic needs – it came with several humans of lesser importance that were forever walking in and out taking care of the mundanities of food, bedding, clothes and what have you – but I soon perceived that my Prince was often very unhappy. Especially so after receiving messengers sent by his former guardians (who I suppose fancied themselves rulers of the area I chose to reside in) and who seemed remarkably insistent on undermining my authority.
“Open the doors for the Royal Messenger!”
Tristan groans. “What is the point of locking me in here if they’re going to keep bothering me?” he grumbles resentfully at his writing desk. “I thought the point of having a dragon to guard me was to cut me off from the court.”
He looks over at the large dragon that is currently draped over his balcony, tail swinging lazily in the air.
The dragon opens one glittering eye. Tristan had taken to calling the dragon Ferdinand, because constantly calling him ‘the dragon’ had started to feel weird. Besides, apart from the servants he is Tristan’ only company and unlike the servants he actually seems disposed to listen to him. Really, Tristan is almost convinced that if the dragon had been able to talk, he would have had quite a lot to say.
”I don’t suppose you can make them stop bothering me?” Tristan sighs, giving the dragon a wistful look.
Ferdinand blinks again, almost questioningly, but at that moment the banging on the door at the base of the tower starts up again and Tristan can’t help but grimace. Why won’t they leave him alone? Suddenly there is a creak of movement on the balcony and to Tristan’ surprise Ferdinand leans his head through the balcony doors and nudges his shout against his shoulder in an unmistakably affectionate way.
Before Tristan can respond, the dragon withdraws his slender neck and turns around. His leathery wings unfurl and in an elegant swoop he drops effortlessly down from the balcony.
Nearly on top of the pompous Royal Messenger, who flees instantly, screaming even louder than he had done making his announcements.
After I had so elegantly taken care of this matter, my Prince – Tristan is a very good name, I think, as far as human names go – was finally capable of giving me the proper attention. We soon got to know each other and he very rightfully treated me with the respect due to one as great as me. In return I of course made sure to look after him as an honourable dragon ought to do. Princes, I learned from Tristan, are kept inside for a startling amount of their time. It seemed he knew very little of the world around him, a fact which made him very unhappy and which I soon rectified by taking him flying to survey the land. These explorations did him a world of good, but they did have a troubling side-effect. Whenever we had been out, Tristan seemed to have a lot of questions and concerns. Mostly concerning the wellbeing of his fellow humans. Not an unreasonable subject of anxiety, I thought, since not all humans are under the kind tutelage of a dragon. However, these questions – which I, knowledgeable as I am, could not answer – really seemed to upset him very much. It was absolutely out of the question that I should let my human struggle with such oppressing subjects alone. These were human matters, they required a human scholar. So I set out to procure one forthwith.
“Um, good morning, Your Highness.”
Tristan, having only just woken up a moment before, sits bolt upright in bed. There is a young woman standing in his tower room, unannounced and uninvited. She looks apologetic though and, Tristan realizes now, oddly familiar.
“You!” Tristan exclaims. “I know you! You were one of the junior scholars at court! What are you doing here?”
The young woman hums cheerfully. “Your dragon offered me a ride. I had never even seen a dragon before, much less ridden one! It was an opportunity I just couldn’t resist.”
Tristan looks from the scholar’s friendly face to the open balcony doors and receives a very self-contented look from Ferdinand. He’s curled up in his usual fashion and he looks decidedly smug.
“He’s a truly fascinating creature,” the young scholar continues excitedly. “You don’t happen to know how he navigates, do you?”
Tristan looks at him and shakes his head. “I’m sorry,” he says. “You mean to say you just went with a strange dragon? Because it offered you a ride?”
“Why yes, should I not have done so?” she asked, for the first time with a slight frown on her face.
“Oh no,” Tristan said hastily, finally remembering to get out of bed. “I am delighted you are here! Oh but, please don’t call me Your Highness. My name is Tristan.”
“And mine is Amina,” Amina said smilingly, shaking his hand. “I do apologize for waking you up.”
“Oh, not at all,” Tristan grinned. “I do wonder- Maybe you can help me in my studies? If you’d like to stay a little longer, I mean.”
To his delight Amina agrees immediately. “I do not have my books with me,” she ponders. “But I’ll gladly help in any way I can.”
“Well…” Tristan smiles. “Ferdinand brought you here. I’m sure he can fetch your books too…”
So now, you see, I had two humans. A Prince and a Scholar, both very reputable callings for a human I’m sure you’ll agree. The presence of Amina – and her varied hoard of books – greatly improved Tristan’ spirits. It was not long, however, before I began to notice a rather disturbing pattern in their habits. Far be it from me to discourage learning, it seemed to me that my charges spent far too much time in one attitude, pouring over texts and maps. This want of exercise could not be beneficial to their health and this lack of diversions turned them – in my opinion – into very dull creatures. Something had to be done then, to improve their liveliness.
The solution to this problem did not come to me as easily as it did with the previous conundrum. Fortunately, however, one evening – during a moonlit flight I was forced to take alone, as my human companions were still in their bookroom – I happened upon a human gathering of much merriment taking place in the gardens of a non-dragon owned castle. The shining centre of these festivities was a young person with a very pleasant laugh and so lively a demeanour that I instantly decided that if anyone could teach Tristan and Amina the more light-hearted pursuits in life it would be them. It certainly took some of my considerable charm to persuade them to come with me – they were of course rather overwhelmed by my presence – but at length I did manage to overcome their apprehensions. I did so in a rather crafty manner, if I do say so myself, by doing a most skilful impression of that small but elegant creature much beloved by humans and commonly called a ‘cat’.
Ferdinand does not even have the decency to look at least a little ashamed while he lets the cheerful youth he is carrying on his back dismount.
“Is this your dragon?” the stranger asks and then, when they look into Tristan face, they blurt out: “Oh my goodness, you’re Prince Tristan!”
Tristan smiles before he realizes it. “Just Tristan is fine,” he says. “And this is my friend Amina.”
Amina, standing hesitantly beside her desk, makes a vague noise and nods. The young stranger beams at them both and announces happily: “I’m Amor. I’m—” They look down at their rumpled suit, that is definitely the finest Tristan has seen since leaving the court, and laugh. “—I’ve just come from a party.”
“My dragon abducted you from a party?” Tristan says, slightly horrified and he gives Ferdinand an indignant look.
“Only a little,” Amor says good-naturedly. “I must admit, he did frighten me at first, but he was very convincing.”
Ferdinand pokes his head in through the balcony doors and gives Tristan a meaningful look. Tristan frowns slightly, but scratches the dragon behind his scaly ears anyway. “Okay,” he says. “Then what exactly did Ferdinand do to make you agree to this abduction?”
Amor grins, looking around the book-filled tower like they don’t miss the party they were whisked away from at all. “Well, for one thing, he purred at me.”
To my gratification my assessment proved correct; with the addition of Amor both Tristan and Amina improved greatly in spirits. It must be said that since their addition to my company Amina and Amor have started to act somewhat strangely at times, but nothing to inspire concern. I’m sure it is very normal human behaviour to occasionally turn red and stumble over your words. After all they cannot all be as elegant and eloquent as dragons. On the whole the three of them make a very merry party and I am most pleased with them and myself.
“Are you sure about this, Tristan?”
“Absolutely,” Tristan says determinedly. Or as determinedly as one can sound while eating strawberries with sugar. “My parents want me to lead the country, right? Well, then they ought to listen to me. And I want to listen to the people. Don’t you think the people should have a say in who gets to be their monarch?”
“You know we do, but I don’t think your parents will,” Amina replies, silently offering Amor the spoon they are looking around for distractedly.
“Thank you, Amina,” Amor beams and Tristan smiles at the blush on his friend’s cheeks.
“Then we’ll just have to leave them no choice,” he says. “Together I know we can do it.” He raises his head defiantly and adds: “And if my parents will not listen to either the kingdom or the so called future king, why perhaps they ought not to be listened to any longer.”
Neither of his friends could disagree with that and Amina nods. “Of course we’ll help you.”
“Absolutely,” Amor agrees immediately. “But do you really think we can make the entire court go along with this?”
“Well,” Tristan hums, holding out the sugar bowl for Ferdinand to lick clean. “I mean, we do have a dragon.”
This, then, is a faithful account of my exploits as a dragon tamer. I’m sure the discerning reader will agree that my efforts were most fruitfully rewarded. Tristan, Amina and Amor make excellent human companions for a dragon such as myself. They are respectful, affectionate, very amusing to listen to, quite adept at mixing saucers of cream, very proficient in scratching behind one’s ears and not at all difficult to care for, if only they are kept a close eye on. Indeed, as time goes by I might even find myself inclined to acquire some more. Especially as it really does seem that the quaint human expression ‘the more the merrier’ is rather close to the truth for their kind.
In short, I have found my time as a dragon tamer most fulfilling and I advise any dragon of honour and gentility to try the same.
Laura: And with that last word stitching up the very last sentence, this story has its proper end.
Thank you so much for listening, lovely of you to stop by. You can follow this podcast on podcatchers like Spotify, iTunes, or Stitcher, but for an mp3 download, transcripts, themed tags and summaries, you can check out patchworkfairytales.wordpress.com, where you can also contact me and find out about my other projects. You can also find me at laurasimonsdaughter.tumblr.com which is full of folklore and urban fantasy. Or you can follow me on Kofi at Laura Simons or AO3 at laurasimonsdaughter. A big thank you to my lovely sister Talia, without whom most of these stories would never have been written in the first place. And certainly not this one, since she was co-author and co-recorder.
There’s another tale to tell some other day, but until then…
Mind your humans, guard your name, and be safe~
Copyright Laura Simons, please do not copy my stories without my permission, lest you insult the fae.