Lissy, I can’t sleep.
What do you want me to do about it?
Tell me a story.
No. Go away.
Please, Lissy? Please please please please-
Okay, fine! Once upon a time, somebody died. The end.
Okay, okay. Okay. Well, once upon a time, long long ago, there were dragons.
What kind of dragons?
You know, all kinds. Big ones, small ones, rainbow ones…
Were some made of jelly beans?
Don’t be stupid, Shelly. Anyway-
Don’t call me stupid! I’ll tell Mom!
Fine, tell her. See if I ever tell you a story again.
No no no, I’m sorry, story please, please?
Like I was saying. There were all sorts of dragons. So they were always fighting and competing to see who was the strongest, the bravest, and the best. But they didn’t really want to kill each other anymore, so they had to think of a better way to compete.
What did they do?
Dragons really like princesses. But princesses, they don’t just grow on trees. So they figured whoever could steal a princess must be pretty tough.
But what about the princesses? Weren’t they mad?
Well, doy. Of course they were upset. At least at first.
Well, when princesses get kidnapped, all sorts of people want to rescue them. Princes, noble knights, kind farmer’s sons, presidents lawyers, reporters, destined lovers, that sort of thing. And it got so that if a princess got captured, she was basically guaranteed the pick of almost any guy she could want.
I thought princesses could marry anybody they wanted anyway.
Not really. Their fathers, the kings, were pretty strict about it. But if a guy rescued a princess from a dragon, that pretty much proved they were good enough for them.
That’s so romantic.
Don’t be such a sap, Shelly. But it did work out pretty well for a while, until there was this one servant girl named Melinda. She was in love with a princes in the palace where she worked, but of course she was just a servant. Servants don’t marry princes. So she ran away to find a dragon.
You said dragons only kidnap princesses.
Right. At least, the ones that can. It was pretty tricky to pull off. But there was one dragon named Sparky who was really puny and couldn’t kidnap anyone, let alone a whole princess. So Melinda the servant girl went and found him. She wanted to make him a deal.
What kind of deal?
If Sparky promised to lie and tell everyone that he kidnapped Melinda and that she was a real princess, then she would pretend to be a princess for him so the other dragons would respect him more.
I don’t get it.
They were both going to pretend that she was a kidnapped princess, because then they would both get what they want. Sparky would be more popular with the other dragons, and guys would come try to rescue Melinda, like hopefully the prince that she was in love with.
Did it work? Did the prince come to rescue her?
Not at first. I mean, it takes a while, for word to get around and stuff, and for the princes and knights and everyone to get ready to battle a dragon.
If they battle the dragons, wasn’t Sparky going to get hurt?
These fights weren’t really lethal. They were just for show more than anything else.
What’s lethal mean?
That means to death. The prince was just going to fight Sparky a little bit, Sparky would pretty much let him win, then he and Melinda were going to go off and live happily ever after.
Did they get married? Did they have any kids?
That hasn’t happened yet, Shelly. The prince hasn’t even shown up yet.
Oh. Then what happened?
Well, they had their plan, but Melinda was stuck waiting for a while. So she made friends with other kidnapped princesses. They didn’t recognize her, but they didn’t suspect that she wasn’t a real princess. They got to be pretty good friends, and Melinda was getting pretty popular. Then something really awful happened. Princess Sarah, the princess that Melinda used to work for, got kidnapped.
Oh no! She recognized Melinda?
Not at first. But Sarah was suspicious of Melinda, and wanted to catch her. But Melinda was being careful. And Sarah had something else to worry about. A kind farmer’s son named Nicky was trying to rescue her from her dragon.
Isn’t Nicky the name of that boy in your class that you gave the special Valentine’s Day card to?
No! Shut up! He was just this farmer’s son. He was really handsome and nice, but he wasn’t a prince or a lawyer. He was really poor and didn’t have any kind of power, so Sarah didn’t want to get rescued by him. Sarah was this really snobby girl who-
Isn’t Sarah the name of a girl in your class too?
Do you want me to finish this story or not?
I was just asking a question!
They’re stupid questions. Sarah was just a really snobby, mean girl, and all she cared about was power and money, even though Nicky was this really nice boy. Melinda felt really bad for Nicky. Before he was trying to rescue Sarah, he’d snuck in to visit the princesses first, so Melinda and Nicky got to get to know each other. Nicky had promised Sarah’s father to rescue her, because no one else would because she was so mean and awful. Nicky felt bad for her. But now he was falling in love with Melinda, even though Melinda thought she was in love with the prince.
If he was so nice, why didn’t Melinda just let him rescue her?
Well, he’d promised Sarah’s father and all. And Melinda was still waiting for her prince.
Like in the movies?
Right. But then Melinda’s prince did show up one day. And he was so handsome, with bright golden hair and big blue eyes. And he had lots of muscles, and he was really tall. He came riding in on a bright white horse, wearing bright shiny armor. And he challenged Sparky, Melinda’s dragon, to a duel.
Did he win?
Of course. Sparky remembered their deal. He gave enough of a fight to impress the other dragons, and then he let the prince win. He swept Melinda off her feet and they rode off together into the sunset.
But what about Nicky?
Exactly. During that long horseback ride, Melinda finally got to talk to her prince. And she found out that he liked hunting, and collecting taxes from the poor, and making his servants clean his floors a hundred times a day.
He sounds so mean! Why was she in love with him?
Melinda had started to wonder the same thing. She’d never really talked to him, only loved him from afar. By the time they reached the kingdom, she’d realized she was in love with Nicky, the kind farmer’s boy.
Did she have to marry the prince anyway?
Of course not. Melinda was clever. She realized that her prince and Princess Sarah would probably get along really well. And she wanted to be with Nicky. So Melinda ran away again.
To find Sparky again?
Yep. Sparky was really popular with the other dragons now, but he’d remembered how Melinda had helped him. When she explained everything to him, he was more than happy to help. This time, when the prince came riding back to re-rescue Melinda because everyone thought she’d just been kidnapped, Sparky put up more of a fight. Dragons almost always just let the rescuers win because keeping princesses isn’t as exciting as stealing them. Even though Sparky was just a little dragon, a little dragon can defeat just about any human.
He killed the prince?!
Of course not. He just beat him up a little until the prince had to give up. Then Sparky talked to Princess Sarah’s dragon, Rory, and Melinda hinted to Sarah that there was a handsome prince who needed a princess. And just like that, the prince rescued Princess Sarah, and they rode off together into the sunset.
And Nicky and Melinda got married and lived happily ever after?
Well, Melinda had to confess to Nicky that she wasn’t really a princess first. And Nicky loved her so much that he told her he didn’t care. Nicky proposed to her on the spot, and then yeah, they got married and had ten kids and lived in the middle of the woods.
That’s so romantic.
You’re such a sap, Shelly.
Thanks for the story, Lissy.
Yeah. Just go to sleep.
Okay. Good night, Lissy.
Good night, Shelly. Sweet dreams.