#287 More Things in Heaven and Earth

by Esthel Larsson

The Knight materialized in Neerville exactly as foretold: on a misty morning, on the back of a camel. He ignored the castle and, making no inquiries, headed straight for the waterfall. Fair Lady squinted myopically from the top of her tower and doddered inside to primp herself up. People in the town hall square exchanged meaningful glances and whispered opinions, putting the day’s chores on hold.

By noon the miller’s youngest, curious like other nine-year-olds no longer are, was dispatched to investigate the prospects. The crowd, paper cones of hazelnuts and garlic bread sticks in hand, observed from afar as the two of them chatted, gesturing enthusiastically, until the Knight disappeared, leaving the girl to wait with his camel.

The nearest tavern supplied half-time entertainment, and the remainder of the show was left without spectators. Somebody was already dancing around an improvised bonfire when at sunset the girl finally returned, carrying a silver dagger with the Dragon’s likeness on the sheath.

“Has he taken care of the Dragon?”—the baker’s rosy-cheeked wife asked cautiously.

The girl nodded, grinned, and the town exploded. Strangers hugged and burst into song, fireworks appeared out of nowhere, dogs barked incessantly, the castle’s rusty gate yielded to axes.

At dawn the miller’s eldest joined his sister on a nearby roof and looked at her inquisitively.
“He needed medication,” she said. “For the Dragon. He is older than our centenarian Fair Lady. But the Knight takes care of him. I believe he will be fine.”


Unknown said...

Love the subversion of expectations!

Deb Smythe said...

Great twist!