Once upon a time, there was a beautiful princess who ruled over a vast kingdom with the help of her best friend, a giant golden dragon. Together they were a frequent sight in the sky over the kingdom as they visited the citizens and checked that all was well in the land.
The dragon was the greatest protector that a princess could ask for and the princess had never felt fear or danger for a moment since she met the dragon. In return, the princess cared for the dragon and gave him the freedom that he would never have had as a wild dragon.
The story of how they met is a tale for another day.
One day, the dragon was flying the princess over the massive forests and enjoying the sight of the fresh, spring green leaves. They were looking for a good place to stop for a picnic lunch when the princess noticed a large plume of smoke on the horizon. Without a word, the dragon changed course and sped towards the smoke so they could investigate.
The fire was fierce and out of control, forcing the dragon to land the princess some way away from the fire and shield her with his enormous heat proof wings. Quickly, they devised a plan to try and stop the spread of the fire. The dragon lowered his head to allow the princess to climb back on before launching upwards with a powerful beat of his wings. He dropped her off at the closest village and took off without her.
The princess found a village full of panicked people trying to gather their possessions and escape from the inferno. Using years of royal experience, she calmed her subjects and explained her plan. Within minutes they were dropping the things they were trying to save and instead grabbing axes, saws, ropes and shovels. The princess led them a little way into the forest and explained how to make a fire gap. Runners were sent to neighbouring villages to pass the plan along as everyone else began chopping down a wide swathe of trees. Smoke was beginning to fill the air but still they worked on creating a corridor in the trees to stop the spread of the fire.
Just as the crackling of the flames could be heard, a great shadow was cast over the workers. The dragon flew low over them, just clearing the treetops with a bulging belly weighing him down. He landed clumsily and proceeded to spray a powerful jet of water over the trees and earth before him. He couldn’t douse the whole fire but he could delay the spread whilst the people worked. The dragon cast a worried eye over the princess who was soot covered and working hard with the villagers, she seemed safe enough if a little worse for wear so he flew off to collect another belly full of lake water.
Once the dragon had drenched as much of the forest as he could, he joined the people in ripping up trees with his powerful claws, roots and all. Then, under the direction of the princess, he used the trees to build a temporary dam, enlisting the help of beavers to make it water tight enough. The princess wiped sweat and soot off her face, ignored the ruined mess that her dress had become and inspected the work that the dragon and beavers had carried out. Knowing it was the best they could hope for, she nodded to the dragon to begin digging.
In no time at all he had created a channel from the nearby lake which smashed into the dam protecting the villages and flowed towards the fire. A great hissing and spluttering rose up from the woods as the water met the fire. It took a lot of digging and a lot of water flowing through the makeshift channel but eventually the fire was quenched.
Everyone was exhausted so they made their way back home, every villager wanted to host the princess and the dragon but no one really had room for the dragon to sleep. He was far too tired to fly home and the princess was worried about him. Together, the villagers pulled together their last scraps of energy and washed the soot and mud off the dragon before building a quick tent for him to curl up in. Everyone raided their pantries and together they created an impromptu feast, everyone ate and sat around telling tales until they noticed that the princess had fallen asleep tucked up between the forelegs of the dragon. The villagers crept back to their homes quietly and let their saviours sleep in peace until the morning.