The Dragon of Utrecht (A Folk Tale from the Netherlands)
by: Wheeler, Les
Mony, mony years ago, in the days fan aa the aipples were sweet, there wir dragons bade in Holland. Naebody kent far ye micht find dragons but fowk kent that ye got hens’ eggs athoot yolks an sic an egg micht hae a young dragon inside. An aabody kent an aa that fire cam fleein oot o the een o dragons an wid kill onybody fa lookit at them. The flames wir that roch that even dragons wir feart o them an that’s fu dragons bade in dark, slimy places like a cave, pit or cellar.
A lot o fowk his been killt by dragons; usually ae look wis eneuch, but if that didna wirk they hid pysonous spines on thir backs that could dee the job jist as weel.
Noo, ae day a dragon wis foond in Utrecht an this wis the wye o’t. A brewer sent een o his servants doon tae the cellar tae get some malt an fan he didna come back he sent anither een tae see fit wis the maitter. The second chiel foond the first een deid. He wis awa tae cry for help fan the dragon lookit at him an the flames brunt him tae a crisp.
The brewer kent that fan the second chiel didna come back that something orra wis at wirk an jaloused that it must be a dragon! Wird o this seen got aboot an fowk in Utrecht wir rael worried an the cry wint up for somebody tae kill the dragon. But there werena ony volunteers till this young loon cam on the scene an said he wid kill the dragon.
Fowk thocht he wis feel. “You!” they said, “Fit can you dee? Ye’re ower young. Awa wi ye, min. Ye’d be nae eese avaa.”
“I’ll be ruined,” said the brewer, “I’ll nivver be able tae gyang intae my cellar again for fear o yon dragon.”
“I’ll kill the dragon,” said the loon again.
“Fu can ye?” spiert the fowk. “Ye’re jist a loon. Ye’re nae that lang oot o yer hippens.”
“Look, I ken fu tae kill them. At least let me try. Ye’ve naething tae loss, hiv ye?”
But the fowk said, “Div ye ken ye could be killed as weel?”
“I’m nae feel aathegither, of course, I ken that.”
An the fowk said, “An fit ye gyan tae kill it wi? Ye’ve nae sword, nae bow an arra, nae spear. Ye hinna even a sling or a catty.”
An the loon said, “Aa the same, I think I can kill him.”
“Wi fit?” spiert the fowk. “Ye’re a richt gype, min, ye ken that. Ye’re young an feel as weel!”
“I’ll gyang hame for my weapon,” said the loon. An wi that he wis aff an left the fowk staunin shakkin thir heids.
Fan he cam back the fowk gaithert roon tae see fit wunnerfu weapon the loon hid, bit he hid nae weapon, nae armour, jist a bit o widden boord tied roon his neck wi a bit towe.
Fowk jist lauched an lauched. “Yer even mair gypit nor wi thocht,” they said. “Fit an eejit. Fit maks ye think that bit o boord, it’s nae even a shield, will dee ye ony gweed agin a dragon?
The loon said naething. He jist teen a scarf fae his pooch an tied it ower his een. “Noo, I’ll nae be able tae see him,” he said quaetly. “An if I canna see him, his een canna scare me or kill me.”
“But the dragons got spines alang his back that can pyson ye,” they said, “an a dragon is sae quaet, forbye he’s sae big, that he can traivel aboot withoot ye hearin him. Fu will ye ken fan he’s near ye if ye canna hear him an ye canna see him wi yer blindfold on?”
The loon wis fair scunnert listenin tae them. “I said I wid kill him. Jist ye wait an see.” An the loon set aff doon the steps o the brewer’s cellar an intae the dark cave at the back.
The dragon heard him comin an liftit its heid. The loon moved forrit slowly. The dragon shot oot flames fae its een an waited for the loon tae fa doon died. Fan he didna it shot oot even mair flames. The loon heard the hissin o the flames an lauched oot lood.
The dragon got in a richt bin at this. It craaled forrit till it stood richt in front o the loon.. Naebody hid ivver stood up tae him afore. If this loon didna die fae the flames he wid die fae the pysonous spikes!
Jist then, the loon grabbed the boord that wis roon his neck an turned it ower. It wis a mirror! The dragon skirled wi rage fan he saa his ain horrible een in the gless. The flames that shot oot o them wir that fierce that he couldna staun them an he fell doon squirmin wi pain an wis brunt tae ashes.
The young loon wis noo a hero an aa the fowk said, “I kent he could dee it. I aye kent he wis a hero!” That’s jist the wye fowk are, but fa the loon wis we nivver did find oot for the young hero jist took his mirror an wint on his wye withoot anither wird.