Shepherd to King
Once Upon A Time, there was a young farm boy who lived in a shack on a hill. Most of his days were spent as a shepherd, but on occasion, they were spent as a warrior.
One day, while he was out tending his sheep, he heard screams and roars. He rushed over the side of a hill and saw three grey trolls terrorizing the other farmers. Then one of them, the middle-sized one, smashed his little, one-room house and sat on it. All fear left him, and suddenly the boy picked up his pitch fork and charged toward the monster from behind.
“That was my home!” he yelled as he stabbed the troll’s back and yanked the fork out, then knifed off part of the monster’s right hand as it screamed in pain and malice. As the troll came back at him, stumbling on its short stumpy legs, the boy plunged the pitch fork into the creature’s upper body. The troll fell and screeched, grimacing with its eyes wide open, staring at the boy in front of him. The other two trolls took one look at the crazy-eyed boy and ran off yelping and cursing.
The next day a messenger of the king, who had been told a very exaggerated farmer's version of the troll story, came to the young boy and said, “Hallo, hallo, are you the young boy who killed the five giant trolls with his bare hands? What’s your name? I’m Nobb.”
“My name’s Egell,” said the young boy. And while he tried to explain to Nobb what had really happened with the trolls, Nobb just interrupted and said, “Oh, please, my dear lad. You only just did that. And I tell you, I say, you’re just perfect for the job.”
“What job?” asked Egell, and Nobb took him by the shoulder and said, “Well, you see, the king needs someone brave, someone strong, someone smart, someone just like you, my dear Egell, to do a job for him.”
“What kind of a job?”
“Well,” said Nobb, “you’ll have to come with me to find out.” Then, with a “Come on, it’s not that far!” from Nobb, they went to the king.
The next day, after a very confusing talk with Nobb, Egell was standing in front of King Roarin. The king was explaining that there was just one problem about his kingdom. There was a dragon, Grenflame, who terrorized his people, burned them, stole them, and/or ate them, and had already burned his first son and stolen and eaten his sister and first daughter.
And as he said these things and described them in great detail, how huge and scary the beast was-and how hot his flames, and sharp his claws, and teeth, and tough his hide and scales were, Egell’s face and body grew pale, then green, and then a light blue.
The king promised him that if he killed the dragon, he would be made a prince, and be given land, and money, and power, and that he could marry his beautiful daughter Deerlily. And Egell was thinking that being a prince, and having land, and power, and riches, and a wife would all be useless if he died before he even saw the dragon coming.
Then the king said, “Before you go, I shall knight you!” And Egell was knighted Sir Egell Trollslayer, although he didn’t want to be, and he was given a sword, none of which helped his fears in the least.
Later Deerlily saw him alone and came to him and said, “There is a Fairy Queen in the Misty Woods who could help you. You should go to her and ask her for aid. And if she agrees, it will not be hard to kill Grenflame.”
He thanked her, ate some dinner, and set off for the Misty Woods. When he came there, three Fairy Guards brought him to the queen. The queen was beautiful, as a queen and a fairy should be. He bowed low to her and she said, “You come to me because the great dragon, Grenflame, is attacking your kingdom, and you have been chosen to kill him. You want my help because you think you are weak and small and insignificant and incapable of fulfilling such a great task.”
He looked at her in amazement. “Well, Sir Egell Trollslayer, soon to be Dragonslayer, I believe I can help you.” Then she called to the servant Fairies. “Azu! Azu! Kelembor Effell. Intar equu, kelembor Effell!”
Then two fairies, clad in green armor, came with a horse. The horse was black as night, and it had great wings like an eagle. A red helmet, like the one the horse wore, was brought to Egell, along with a black shield that had a red cross down the middle.
“This,” said the queen, brushing the horses face, “is Effell. He is a great horse, a Pegasus—a very noble breed of horse that only the fairies own, and now you. May I see your sword?”
“Yes,” said Egell, handing it to her. Then, as she held it, it began to glow with a blue light, and she said some spell in the fairy tongue, and it now look beautiful and stronger than it did before.
“This sword shall never break or burn.” He took the sword, courteously thanked her, mounted Effell, and together they flew to the Dragon’s Gate.
Sitting in front of the gate, however, was a small giant. He was singing to himself a tune very much against the likes of men. They could not fly over the gate without him seeing them, so they hid behind a giant boulder. Egell took his shield and threw it at the giant’s neck. His head flew off, landing in his lap. Egell grabbed the shield and flew over the gate into the mountain wall.
There Grenflame lay, sleeping, sitting on his treasure like a giant throne. Bones of people and other creatures were piled up beneath his feet. Far to the right, Egell saw a big open pool of lava and was glad that his fairy armor kept him cool in such a hot place.
He and Effell were hiding behind another huge pile of bones and Egell saw that there was a weak spot on the dragon’s forehead. A part where the scales had been ripped off. He knew not how this happened, but that was the perfect spot for him to aim.
The first time he aimed, the sword missed and hit Grenflame’s eye, for he had never used a sword before. This woke the beast and filled him with pain, anger, and wrath. Grenflame flew up and the sword fell to the ground. Egell snatched it and flew up also, to meet the dragon face to face.
“Ha! So the old king has sent a mere boy to slay me! Did he indeed! Ha, ha! Well it’s going to take more than a boy to destroy me!” said the great snake. And flames flew from his terrible jaws; alas, they did not scorch Egell for his fairy armor was very much dragon-proof.
Egell threw the sword again and this time his aim was true. The sword stuck in the dragon’s head, and he gave a great cry. Then he fell and fell into the great pool of lava below, and so ended the life of Grenflame the Terrible.
Egell had won, and he flew back to the king’s palace. He was made a prince and married the Princess Deerlily. And they had a feast and a merry time. And later, Egell built a small kingdom of his own on the hill he once lived on. He went back to the Dragon’s Gate and took all the treasure back to the kingdom and became one of the richest and most prosperous kings in all the land, and he had many fair, courageous children after him, and he live happily ever after.
THE END… OR IS IT?
[EDITOR'S NOTE: SOME STUDENTS WHO WEREN'T AFFORDED A CHANCE TO WRITE A CHRISTMAS STORY WERE INVITED TO SUBMIT ANOTHER PIECE OF THEIRS. AND THIS IS A TRULY WONDERFUL ONE.]