Like HowStuffWorks on Facebook!

Saint George and the Dragon

        | HSW

Saint George and the Dragon Part II
George went to visit a wise old hermit.
George went to visit a wise old hermit.
©2007 Publications International, Ltd.

Below is the second part of "Saint George and the Dragon."

They came to a cave in the dark forest. "To slay the dragon," Sabra told George, "we need help. That is why we are here."

In the cave there lived a wise old hermit. Some said he was a sorcerer over 900 years old, but no one knew for sure.

Sabra and George crept up to the hermit, who stared into his fire. He did not turn to look at them, but he spoke as if he knew they were coming.

Long ago, it was told,

Two brave knights would come to know,

The only way to save the rest:

The Serpent's weakness in his breath.

With those words, an ancient hourglass appeared at their feet. George did not understand. He asked the strange little man, but the hermit would speak no more.

When George and Sabra left the cave, it was already dark. They knew they must hurry to the dragon's lair. They had to get there while the dragon slept.

"The hermit speaks in puzzles," Sabra sighed. "What do we do with this ancient timepiece?"

George remembered what the queen of fairies had told him. His best weapon, she had said, was his brain. He studied the hourglass closely. Each bit of sand looked like a magic crystal frozen in time.

George and Sabra hurried to the dragon's lair.
George and Sabra hurried to the dragon's lair.
©2007 Publications International, Ltd.

They arrived at the lake. George and Sabra walked softly through the fog so they would not be heard. The sands in the hourglass dropped with every careful step.

"The hourglass will lead us," George whispered. "We must wait until all the sand has dropped through."

The smell as they approached the lair was horrible. George and the princess set George's shield near the sleeping dragon's head to protect themselves from the dragon's fiery snores. They watched the icy blue sands tick away.

Suddenly the dragon stirred. Now Sabra thought, surely the dragon would find them before all the sands ran through the hourglass. The dragon raised up and rubbed his slimy eyes.

As George watched the dragon rise, he stopped watching the hourglass! The very last grain of sand was dropping through. At that moment, the dragon yawned a great, fiery yawn.

"Now, George!" Sabra shouted.

George threw the hourglass into the dragon's mouth.
George threw the hourglass into the dragon's mouth.
©2007 Publications International, Ltd.

George knew what to do. He threw the hourglass up into the dragon's yawning mouth. It shattered on the dragon's slithering tongue in a cloud of icy mist.

Now our two heroes had sorely angered the dragon. He looked down to see them. Both George and Sabra ducked behind the shield. The dragon reared back to hurl a fiery blast at them. But, as fortune would have it, only cool ice and soft snow came from the dragon's mouth. The dragon took a deep breath, certain the furnace inside of him would melt the ice.

But, the hermit's magic had changed the dragon. His mouth shut tight with frozen ice, the once-fearsome dragon jumped into the deep, warm lake. Only there could he keep from freezing from the inside out.

The dragon jumped into the deep, warm lake.
The dragon jumped into the deep, warm lake.
©2007 Publications International, Ltd.

That dragon never bothered another soul. Some have seen him coming up for air on occasion, but only on very warm nights. The dragon would not dare stay out of the warm water too long, for fear of becoming a giant icy statue.

George and Sabra had saved the kingdom. It was Sabra who was the second knight that the old Hermit had spoke of in his strange riddle.

The two arrived at the castle to great cries of joy and triumph. The grateful people of Silene were no longer prisoners in their own kingdom.

The king offered George all he had in thanks, but George wanted no payment for his deeds.

George wanted no payment for his deed.
George wanted no payment for his deed.
©2007 Publications International, Ltd.

"I have many more adventures left to face," George told the people. "They are my greatest reward."

George shared the story of the dragon of Silene to whomever asked along his journey. And it is still told today as an example of bravery and good versus evil. That is how George, the brave knight from the land of the fairies, earned his sainthood.

For more children's stories and activities, check out:

  • 1
  • 2

More to Explore