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The Very Clever Princess

by Mari (age 8)

            

Once upon a time in a far off land there was a castle with a quiet little village tucked safely inside its walls. Well, it was quiet and safe until Dakota the Dragon rampaged through it, stealing the king and queen's most prized possession, their daughter, Princess Marion.

Once upon a time in a far off land there was a castle with a quiet little village tucked safely inside its walls. Well, it was quiet and safe until Dakota the Dragon rampaged through it, stealing the king and queen's most prized possession, their daughter, Princess Marion.

Dakota the Dragon carried Princess Marion to his prisoner tower in the deep, dark forest to the east of the castle. The only windows looked over the top of the trees. Dakota guarded his "bait" by curling himself around the base of the doorless tower. You see, Dakota the Dragon didn't much care for delicate princesses. He much preferred the beefy knights who came to save them.

Three days passed in which Princess Marion refused to touch any of the delicious food Dakota the Dragon brought to her.

"Don't you like my gourmet cooking? The other damsels were most complimentary," informed the dragon politely.

"I know your plan, you monster. You're trying to fatten me up so I'll be an even more delectable morsel for your dinner!" she yelled.

"Is that what you think? You're quite wrong, you know. Even fattened up, princesses just don't have enough meat on them to make it worth picking their delicate bones. Give me a beefy knight's thighs for an appetizer and the hindquarters of his horse for the main course," said Dakota the Dragon boldly.

"You mean I'm just the bait?" squealed the princess.

"Now you've got it, sweety. Are you sure you wouldn't like to reconsider tasting these gorgeous shish kabobs?"

Princess Marion needed time to think. She didn't want any of her father's knights to become armor stew - especially not Robert. And Robert was certain to be the first to attempt her rescue.

While she was trying to think of a way to rescue herself, she nibbled on the shish kabobs left by the dragon. She was really hungry so most anything would've tasted good, but these were incredibly tasty - better than anything she'd ever been served at the castle.

That was the beginning of her plan.

In the morning she made a proposal to the dragon which he readily accepted. When Robert charged through the forest a little later he was surprised to find Dakota and Marion sharing a leisurely breakfast on the balcony. "Robert, would you join us for breakfast? I'd be happy to give you a lift up," said Dakota, bowing respectfully.

After sharing the plan with Robert, Dakota sent him back to the castle to explain it to the King and get his final approval. Princess Marion chose to stay at the tower and keep Dakota company until the necessary preparations could be made because she was sure that everyone would agree to the plan.

A week later, Princess Marion mounted Dakota the Dragon from the balcony of the tower to return to the castle. What a celebration there was in the land! All the villagers and the inhabitants of the castle were there to welcome Princess Marion back.

There seemed to be hundreds of games in her honor. The stone masons were carving intricate designs of fire-breathing dragons and heroic damsels in their beautifully polished stones. Minstrels were singing ballads about her clever plan to keep Dakota the Dragon from rampaging any more villages.

For three days the castle staff had been busily preparing food for Dakota the Dragon. They had skewered thousands of pieces of meat and vegetables for the homecoming celebration. Now everyone was waiting for him to roast them to perfection. Their mouths watered at the thought.

At first they'd been surprised by Princess Marion's clever plan, but the King and the Queen liked the idea of Dakota the Dragon cooking gourmet meals for them - especially if they got their daughter back as well! In exchange for supplying him with plenty of meat for his own meals, the villagers would taste the food he made at an all-you-can-eat weekly buffet.

Eventually Princess Marion and Robert married, but not before they had visited all the places in the world from which Dakota the Dragon had gathered his wonderful recipes. When they finally settled down to rule the kingdom, they wisely continued the weekly buffet.

As for Dakota the Dragon - he lived a long life and when King Robert and Queen Marion died he was released from royal service whereupon he opened his own take-out restaurant - Dakota the Dragon's Delicious Delicatessen.


Teacher's Note: The Clever Princess was done with Storybook Weaver Deluxe and at least some of the direction of the story was taken because of what was available to click and drag for illustrations. Mari has read volumes of fairy tales and there are phrases and ideas that have been lifted from Atalanta as done by Marlo Thomas in Free To Be You and Me and the Paper Bag Princess as well as the usual fairy tales. The story is considerably better developed because I had taken a writing workshop about this time and used this assignment (and her) as a guinea pig to see if the ideas were as usable as they seemed to be. There was no direction from school about how to proceed, but plenty from The Institute For Excellence In Writing! I would encourage anyone who wants to teach children to write well to check out these materials. www.writing-edu.com In 20 years of teaching, nothing made sense to me the way this program did!


"The Very Clever Princess" Copyright © Mari

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Page design copyright © 2000 by Carolyn K., All Rights Reserved
Last updated February 19, 2000

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