George straightened out his sword for the nth time, breathing heavily. He wished heartily that he’d never taken on this quest. The beast lay, head down and belching black smoke that reeked of brimstone with a touch of barbecue. Its tongue flickered intermittently into view.

“Enough already” cried the knight errant, “Keep the maiden, let me have some of your hoard and call it quits!”

“No,” rumbled the dragon, “you take the woman and go. I’ll keep my treasure.”

“Oh, come on! You’ve got lots of loot but only one girl. Plus,” eyeing the pile of fresh bones, “my trusty steed. That was mean.”

“But tasty. Horse meat is an underrated dish. That’s more than can be said of dis damsel in dat dress. I love the tinkling sound of gold and silver when I stir it with my tail. Her noise gives me ear-ache.”

George winced and wished once more that he’d done a bit more background checking before taking on the job. He had been slightly puzzled by the king’s apparent lack of hope for his chances and the miserable size of the promised reward. But it was too late to back out now, he’d signed a contract – bring back either the daughter intact or her weight in precious metals.

“I’ll find you a replacement” he offered in desperation.

“No deal.”

“Why not?”

“’Cos you won’t come back.”

‘Rats!’ thought the warrior, ‘Why did I have to go and find a smartarse dragon as well!’

“OK, I’ll take the girl if I can have just a little bit of loot too.”

The monster was silent for a while, then groaned “Only what she can carry.”


As it turned out of course, that was precious little – just a few coins in her own reticule, which she clutched to her ample busom.

“Aren’t you supposed to slay it?” she screeched, pointing to scaly giant panting with exhaustion on its pile of plunder.

George held out his battered weapon. “You have a go.”