Once upon a time, in a far off land, there was a steep mountain. And on the side of that mountain was a large, deep cave. Inside that cave lived a mean, vicious dragon. With big green scales and a long pointy tail and dark glittery eyes, this dragon scared everyone who approached. And that’s just how he liked it.
Then one day, a wee little princess with blonde curls showed up at his cave. “Go away!” he bellowed, blowing smoke from his nostrils.
“Nah,” the princess said, and she kept coming in.
“I’ll eat you alive!” the dragon roared and shot some flame in the air. That’ll scare her away, he thought to himself.
“You’re not really that scary,” the princess replied and walked right up to him.
“Be careful – I’m a big mean scary dragon and I will step on you and kill you in an instant,” the dragon said, a little more resigned this time.
“No you won’t. Don’t be a retard.” The princess sat at the dragon’s feet and began to talk to him. And to his surprise, the dragon talked back. Before he knew it, hours had passed, and it was dark.
“You’d better go home,” the dragon said. “Here – let me give you a ride.” With his huge sharp claws, he tried to guide her onto his back.
“Um, I don’t need your help,” she snapped. “I can make it home all by myself, thank you very much. Goodbye.” The princess walked daintily off into the woods. She was so caught up in doing it by herself that she didn’t even notice the dragon flying overhead, making sure she got home okay.
The next day, the dragon had visitor after visitor to his cave. Just like always, he bellowed and shot flames, and they all ran away, scared of the evil monster. And just like the day before, the little princess showed up again and ignored all of his bluster. The dragon and the princess talked again for many hours, and once again, when it was dark, she walked home alone and the dragon flew overhead to make sure that nothing happened to her.
This continued for many weeks and both the dragon and the princess enjoyed their talks very much. One day, though, the princess asked, “Dragon, why do you have to be so mean to everyone?”
“What do you mean,” the dragon asked, “this is my nature and it’s who I am. I’m mean and evil and everyone should be scared of me.”
“But why,” the princess persisted. “Why do you need to scare people away? You didn’t scare me away and I like you.”
“I don’t really know how to be any other way,” the dragon said quietly.
Face beaming, looking forward to the challenge, the princess exclaimed, “I’ll help you!” And she reached into her pocket and pulled out a dagger. “This might hurt a bit,” she said, and dug the dagger into his side.
“Ow – that hurts!” the dragon yelped like a little child. He watched in amazement as the princess used her dagger to pry off one of the scales and then toss it out of the cave. Under the scale, instead of blood and dragon guts, was shiny pink skin, which confused the dragon considerably.
Every day when the princess came over, she’d bring her dagger, and during their conversation, she’d peel off a few scales. It started to hurt the dragon less and less each time, and after a while, he started to help, too.
Two years passed while the dragon and princess talked every single day. She would still insist on walking home alone most nights, but if she was tired, she’d let the dragon fly her home. And she knew that he kept an eye on her even when she was alone, and that made her feel safe. And every day, she would bring her dagger and she and the dragon would peel off scales. And she would swear that the dragon was getting smaller every day until he wasn’t much bigger than she was.
Finally the day came when the last of the scales were about to come off. These scales covered the dragon’s chest, although calling him a dragon didn’t seem appropriate anymore. He was now covered in shiny pink skin with brown hair and hazel eyes, and he was almost as human as you and I. The princess stood before him and peeled off the scales on his chest. Beneath them she could see his chest pulsing with every heartbeat. Without a thought, she drew him into a tight embrace.
“Dragon,” she said in his ear, “you are a dragon no more. But you have a dragon’s heart and that is what makes you special. Don’t act like a dragon who wants to scare everyone away and eat them. Act like a man with a huge heart and show people who you really are – the man that I know and the man that I saw inside the dragon.”
And the man came out of his cave and joined the world and realized that the princess had been right all along.