Come, look quickly! But don’t make a sound, lest he hear us and ignite our matchstick limbs.
There! There he is: the dragon who fancies himself St. George!
I want you to remember this day forever, my dear girl. Remember it by the heat crisping your skin and the smoke smiting your eyes. Etch it onto your bones, so the next time someone simplifies the creature before you as a mere saint or beast, you may unfurl the scrolls of your skin in citation. And with the proof in your memory and on your humanity, tell them the truth:
That there is nothing more tragic, nor dangerous, than a bad man who believes that he is good.
When villagers villiniaze the beast, it’ll be your responsibility to remind them that no one was more surprised to find the princess charred than the dragon himself. Paint for them a picture of the dragon’s horror at the bones and bits smoking in his clutch, where just moments before his muse had languished. Remind them that if they hadn’t been taught how to have and to hold, they might have grasped with palms of fire too.
The villagers may never accept what you tell them, for it’s easier to understand ashes and rubble in black and white. Tell them anyway.
Even more daunting though, is your responsibility to explain to the creature himself that the scorched earth in his wake makes him more serpent than blessed warrior.
He won’t take the news easily. He might curse you in fiery tongues, excusing fatalities as collaterals of a holy war. Or, in an instinct of fear and honesty, he may cower over his pile of gold and jewels with his whole massive being. If he bellows about how these treasures are his God-given right, do not hate him but rather, pity him. Difficult is the path of the man or beast who believes that God’s greatest intention for him is possession.
My dear, my warrior-princess! Do not let yourself be held by dragons but do not be afraid of them either. Most dragons are just saints on fire. Cool them with your mercy.
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