Title: The Reluctant Dragon
Author: Kenneth Grahame
Read by: Stephen McLaughlin
Originally Published: 1898
Although for ages five and up, I wanted to “read” another book by author Grahame, having listened to The Wind in the Willows last year. This is an endearing story of the son of a shepherd who lives with his parents by the Downs in England. The son spends much time reading big books. His parents are very proud of his ability to read and they treat him as an equal. They know that book learning can come in handy. One evening the shepherd journeys home all atremble. He was afraid to go “up on them there Downs.” Seems he knows about a cave that he and the sheep don’t like. Faint noises come from the cave, like snoring and sighing, he shares with his wife. He cannot keep away and goes back and sees a scaly thing, half in, half out of the hole.
The boy tells his father not to worry about the dragon and that he’ll have a talk to the beast. The folks are convinced the son knows about book beasts and the mother agrees to what the son wants to do. The boy indeed goes the next day and sees the critter napping peacefully, in fact the animal is purring! Something the boy had never read about in books.
To make a short story even shorter, after a conversation with the dragon, the boy introduces Saint George of swordsman fame to the dragon who doesn’t really want to fight and concocts an event where the two should duel. If you aren’t familiar with the outcome, this is a must read or re-read, or listen to. Oh that all our wars and battles are fought in this manner!