Wednesday, 23 April 2014

The True Story of St. George's Day

Once upon a time, in a land not very far away from France and Ireland, there lived a brave nation of people who had a slightly eccentric dress sense and a penchant for tea. Every April 23rd, however, they were forced to sacrifice a child from the village to a ferocious fire-breathing dragon.

During the oddly temperate April of 1089, on the morning of the 23rd, the King's daughter was chosen as the sacrifice. Even though he was really sad, he still didn't get off his bloody arse to fight the dragon and save his own child, so it was left to Georgina the Great to don her finest fighting gear, saddle up her noble steed Ernest the Excellent, and fight the big scary dragon.

Georgina rode at a gallop towards the spot where the King's daughter had been left to meet her grisly fate. Ernest had other ideas, however, and galloped past the abandoned maid (this was a time before vodka and clubs, remember) into the forest.

"Oi!" said his rider, tugging frantically at the reins and remembering a rather exciting cross country competition they had entered two years previously.

"OK OK, sorry about that. Just got a bit excited." said Ernest, slowing to a bouncy walk, which actually wasn't that slow at all.

He stopped suddenly and Georgina almost banged her nose on his neck. In a glade in the forest, green light casting spots on the ground, the dragon lay sleeping and snoring very loudly. 

"Bloody hell." said Ernest. Before Georgina had a chance to check whether she actually had wet herself, her noble steed wandered forward and biffed the dragon right on the nose.

The dragon jumped into the air with a shriek. "Christ! What the hell was that for?!" yelled the startled mythical beast, in a voice not dissimilar to the current monarch.

"Back beast! Back!" shouted Georgina, unsheathing the badminton racket (she couldn't find her sword when leaving the hut that morning) and waving it aimlessly in the air.

The dragon raised an eyebrow and sat down on a nearby log. "Hi. I'm Lucky."

Rather than being a rather serpenty-looking monster, the dragon had a large white face with one bright blue eye and one brown eye. Her scales shimmered in the sunlight, and Georgina noticed there were daisies plaited into the long mane which ran the length of Lucky's neck.

"Um... hello, I'm Georgina." she stepped forward to shake the dragon's surprisingly hoof-like paw. Instead of being leathery, it was baby-soft - the nails were a delicate shade of pink. "Are you... are you going to eat that girl out there?"

The dragon laughed so hard she accidentally set fire to a nearby branch. Georgina smiled despite being more confused than the time in Maths class when they were learning algebra. Ernest, meanwhile, was grazing on a rather luscious patch of grass. 

"I'm a vegetarian. Why do you think I live in the forest? There's lots of herbacious foods for me in here. I just let the people go... most of them move to the big village Londendon to find better work opportunities but some of them stay living in the forest. Every Sunday I cook a big meal and invite everyone." Lucky explained. 

After a lengthy chat, Georgina the Great persuaded Lucky the Dragon to come into the village and explain that she would prefer if the village offered her the largest apple they could find, rather than a person, every April 23rd. Once that whole debacle was resolved, Lucky returned to the forest, promising to keep in touch with Georgina and Ernest.

A recreation of events... yes, that is a dragon slipper.

That's the true story of St. George's Day!

PS - Happy World Book Day and Happy Birthday Shakespeare.

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