Art by Ivan Kelly

The Tower

Once upon a time, there was a princess who lived high above the clouds in a tall tower. Her father, the king, wanted to protect her from the evils of the world, so she spent her days watching the beautiful kingdom from up high, conversing with the friendly birds, and watching the sun rise and set. She loved the world very much and believed everything about it was marvelous.

One day, a prince from a faraway land came for the princess. He wanted to rescue and marry her, and to do so, he attacked the old knight that guarded the tower. A farm boy walked by when the prince was about to defeat the old knight, and threw a rock at the prince’s head. The prince fell unconscious and was made a prisoner, and the king was so happy his daughter wasn’t taken away, he knighted the farm boy, and he became the new knight that protected the tower.

As the princess spent her days with her head in the clouds, the prisoner spent his days sulking in the dungeon below the tower, staring at the slimy mold on the walls and being taunted by an ugly rat. The knight had a lot of time on his hands, so he read books all day and practiced his sword fighting to become a better knight.

One day, a big, red dragon flew through the kingdom and perched itself on the tower. The princess had never seen a dragon and didn’t know how dangerous it was. She thought it was just a giant, beautiful bird. She approached it, and just when she was about to touch it, the dragon swung its great tail and knocked the princess out.

The dragon then swung its tail and knocked the tower down. Large bricks fell all around and opened a hole in the ground, giving the prince a chance to escape. However, the prince heard the dragon roar and grew scared. He thought, “Why would I go out? I am weak and tired from being kept here so long. I don’t even have my sword with me. The dragon will surely eat me if I leave.” So he stayed and thought about his dishonorable loss at the hands of a peasant farm boy. Then, he started thinking of his family, his kingdom, and how he would be crowned king soon. He was suddenly filled with hope. But when he stood up to leave, the remaining roof of the dungeon caved in and trapped the prince inside.

Above ground, the knight and the dragon engaged in battle. The knight, having read many books, recognized the dragon’s breed and knew its weak spot. Then, because he practiced a lot and was good with a sword, he lunged at the dragon, dodged its fire, and stabbed the sword in the red dragon’s throat. The dragon roared and bowed its head, accepting defeat and accepting the knight as its new master. The knight climbed the dragon and together, they flew higher than the princess ever was and higher than any king on any throne.

Note: I wrote this short story as a gift for my ten-year-old little brother, who drew the picture above upon my request without knowing what it was for. He’s my family, my partner in crime, and the closest friend I have. I hope he likes it.