The Legend of Dramlee

The Legend of Dramlee the Poet-Bard

Long ago, when Seacastle was still wild, there was an elf named Dramlee who was a bard to the King. He told tales, and sang songs, and wrought wit beside the throne.

One day in spring, the King heard word that a great and terrible Dragon had come to settle in his land. Elves living in the countryside began to live in fear that their children would be killed, or their forests burnt down. The King sent his strongest knights to kill the Dragon, but one by one, they fell to his ferocious flame.

Soon, the King found his knightly court was emptied, and no one remained to defend the kingdom against the Dragon. Dramlee stepped before the King, and proclaimed, “Your Highness, I may not be the strongest, or the fastest, but I wield a poignard of wit that can puncture the most resolute scales. I will do what I can to defend my kingdom.”

Dramlee set out to find the Dragon, but the Dragon spied him first, and flew down from his perch to scare the elf. “Who are you approaching my nest? A warrior without armor sent to kill me?” he laughed.

Dramlee replied, “No, I am a mere poet, and I have come to ask you to leave.”
The Dragon laughed again, a powerful, earthshaking laugh that sent spouts of fire slipping from his gullet. “I will not simply leave my land! You have the mind of a mouse!”
“Then how can I convince you?” Dramlee asked.

“It is impossible for a poet to roust me, so I will give you an impossible task. The rocks of the earth have existed forever, and they will continue to exist forever untouched by time. Tomorrow at sunrise, bring me a stone sick with age, and I will flee.”

Dramlee agreed, and went back home. The following morning, he returned, and the Dragon swooped down to meet him again. “I know you have failed to find a proper stone, so prepare to be eaten, little elf!” He opened his dripping jaws and inched closer.

“Wait!” Dramlee cried. “I have looked high and low, left and right, here and there, and found such a stone.” He drew from his pocket a beautiful white stone, specked with brown spots, and smoothed like the rocks in the bed of a river. The wyrm snickered at the insignificant stone, but with a tap of his finger, Dramlee split the rock’s side, and noxious green rot oozed forth, along with a putrid smell. “This rock is ill with years, and I have completed your task.”

The Dragon flew into a horrible rage. “That is not possible! Stones do not age!” he yelled. The Dragon was right, for Dramlee had tricked him with a rotten owl’s egg. “No, no, this task was too easy! It did not count!” The Dragon racked his brain. “Now here is a true impossible task! Gemstones are beautiful and valuable, and they will bring riches to any man, be him short, long, weak or strong. Bring me a choosy diamond that decides its owner for itself, and I will flee this land.”

Dramlee left again, and returned at sunrise. The Dragon came to him. “Little elf, you are surely lunch this time! Gemstones do not pick their owners!” He licked his lips.

Dramlee smiled. “Don’t be so sure. What do you make of this?” He drew a shining clear crystal from his pocket and held it up to the light. The dawn sun’s rays sparkled through it like a rainbow.

The Dragon laughed another powerful laugh. “You are wrong, for everyone knows dragons are the kings of riches and gems. This diamond would never choose you, when I stand here before it!” He reached out his clawed hand and snatched the gem from Dramlee’s fingers. Instantly there was a poof! sound, and the Dragon gasped; his hand was empty. The diamond had disappeared!

“What‽” the Dragon roared. “Where did it go? How could it have left me?”

Dramlee smiled to himself; “I simply found you a choosy gem. Will you leave now?” He knew secretly that he had brought not a gem, but a small piece of ice, carved to shine in the sun’s rays, which had instantly melted upon touching the Dragon’s fiery skin.

The Dragon growled the frustration. “This could not have happened! It’s not fair! That task didn’t wasn’t a challenge.” He thought to himself for a moment. “I have one more task for you. This one is so difficult, so impossible, that I am absolutely certain you will not complete it.

“At sunrise, bring me a song deadly in its magnificence, a song horrid in its splendor, a song so beautiful that it can kill. Only then will you have won our games. If you fail, I will seek you out, Dramlee, and I will be sure to eat you first tomorrow! If you succeed, which you will not, I will be dead anyways, and you can have your kingdom.”

Dramlee left. That day, he talked to musicians, and searched books, and plotted plots. He knew many songs, but no one had ever written a song that could kill, and now one knew how.

The following morning, Dramlee approached the Dragon carrying a harp and a headsman’s axe. The Dragon asked, “Since you know you will die today, why have you brought a harp? Don’t you want to live your last moments with dignity instead of embarrassing yourself with pretend?”

Dramlee sighed. “I may not know a song that can kill, but I will try to play one nonetheless. That’s why I brought this axe: If I succeed, I won’t be able to carry a whole dragon back home, only a piece of one.”

The Dragon smirked in amusement. “Okay, bard,” he said, “I will listen to your song like I promised.”

Dramlee sat down on a rock, and began to pluck his harp. He played softly, and very slowly, and for a very long time. The song was sad and mournful.

The Dragon yawned. “You family and friends will play an elegy just like this at your funeral today. Hurry up so they don’t have to wait.”

“Patience,” Dramlee replied. “Let me finish before you eat me.” He played on, slower and slower, quieter and quieter. When he looked up, he saw that the Dragon had fallen asleep in the warm midmorning sun. Dramlee silently set his harp down and reached for his axe. He raised it high above his head, where it glittered in the sun for a moment, before he swiftly brought it down through the Dragon’s neck with all his might. It sliced clean through scales, flesh and bone, sending the wyrm’s head rolling away.

Dramlee carried the head back to the King, who proclaimed him a hero for saving the kingdom, and held a feast in his honor, and had songs written about him. And that’s how the poet-bard defeated the great and terrible Dragon.

The Legend of Dramlee

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