A Dragon in Autumn

I was passing through when I met Cora. She was the most beautiful girl I had ever seen. When I made my interest clear, she smiled and said that I would have to talk to her father, the King. It turned out that she was a princess. A real princess. Mind you, the Kingdom was about as small as a Kingdom can be - if I hadn't seen Cora and stopped, I would have walked all the way through the Kingdom in a single day, without even realising that it existed.

So I saw the King and told him that I was in love with his daughter and that she was the most beautiful girl I had ever seen. "Would you fight a dragon for her?" he asked.
"Sire, I would climb the highest mountain for her. I would swim across an ocean. I would walk five hundred miles, and, then..." I paused and looked him in the eye... "And then, I would walk five hundred more!" I thought that this was a good line.
"Yes, yes... Never mind that... Would you fight a dragon?"
"I would fight ten dragons." I said, simply and calmly.

Well, how was I to know that there was a real dragon?

I asked Cora about the dragon. Was there, perhaps, a tiny weakness? A small, unprotected spot in the dragon's armoured scales? She assured me that there wasn't. And she told me that she had lost seven suitors to the dragon. So far.

She smiled when she said this. I began to see that I had been quite wrong to think of her as the most beautiful girl I had ever seen.

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