“Sire! Sire! There is a dragon on the loose!” The breathless page managed to gasp.
The King barely looked at him. “Not this again! I am tired of hearing about dragons. The next person to warn me about a dragon attack is for the chop. Now, be off with you.”
“But, Sire! The dragon is stomping through the forest. If we don’t send help, he’ll raze the village to the ground.”
“Still here?” the King narrowed his eyes. “Listen, people have been warning about dragon this and dragon that for years. It’s all just hot air.”
The page was looking out of the window. He could see dark plumes of smoke on the horizon.
“The forest is on fire! The dragon is burning the forest.” He watched, agog with dismay, as the trees parted and the huge, scaly beast trampled on the thatched roofs of a row of peasant cottages. Mercifully, it was too far away for the page to be able to hear the screams.
“He’s approaching the castle wall! Sire! Come and see for yourself! There is no denying it! We are under dragon attack!”
“You’re exaggerating!” the King affected a yawn. “Besides, that wall has seen off all invaders for centuries. You don’t think some pesky little lizard is going to get through that, do you?”
The page’s jaw dropped and his eyes followed the upward trajectory of the dragon as it extended its leathery wings and rose above the perimeter wall. High in the sky, it let out a deafening screech and bathed the courtyard with a jet of flame. The page stepped back, the heat threatening to singe his eyebrows. He threw himself at the King’s feet.
“O, Sire! Please, you must do something! Call out the army! The wizard! Anything! Please!”
The King kicked him away. “I’ve had enough of your nonsense, you addle-brained ninny—”
His words were cut off as a huge claw reached in through the window and wrapped itself around the King’s waist.
“Ah,” he said, “we seem to have a dragon problem.”
“Are you going to do something about it, at last, Sire?”
“Well, um, yes, of course. I shall instigate a plan to see a reduction in dragon attacks over the next thirty years.”
But it was too late. The dragon yanked the King from the castle and bit off his stubborn head.