| For the Children's Hour|
|by Carolyn Sherwin Bailey|
|A choice collection of stories for the preschool child, carefully selected, adapted, and arranged by two veteran kindergarten teachers. Includes nature stories, holiday stories, fairy tales and fables, as well as stories of home life. Emphasis is placed on fanciful tales for their value in the training of the imagination and on cumulative tales for developing a child's sense of humor and appealing to his instinctive love of rhyme and jingle. Ages 4-7 |
ST. GEORGE AND THE DRAGON
C. S. B. Adapted from the English legend.
 ONCE upon a time, when it was long, long ago, there
was a good king, and he had a little daughter, Sabra,
whom he loved better than his fields, or his gold, or
anything which he had. For little Sabra was as fair as
a lily, as sweet as a rose, and as kind and true as she
But one day a terrible thing happened to the king.
Down from the mountains, and straight through the gates
of the city, came a ravening dragon! It was black and
horrible to look at, with eyes like two red coals and a
mouth that breathed out fire. Its jaws were wide open,
its claws were sharp, and it was as tall and huge as a
Through the king's fields it raged and it tore up, by
the roots, the harvest of barley and rye and wheat. It
killed the cattle and uprooted the grape vines; nor did
it stop with the fields—it lay in wait by the river
bank in the tall reeds, and no one in the whole kingdom
was brave enough to kill it.
The king sent his nobles to beg the dragon to leave,
but, no, it would not; and this is the message the
dragon sent to the king: Each morning the king must
send one of the fairest little girls in the whole
king-  dom and fasten her to an old oak tree by the
bank of the river, for the dragon to devour at his
pleasure. Unless the king did this, the farmers should
not be allowed to go back to the fields, and there
would be no food in the land.
There was great grief in the kingdom. Each mother held
her little girl more closely, lest she should be the
first one to go, and there were great hunger and
distress, for no one could plant or harvest the crops.
But little Sabra still laughed and sang as joyously as
"Father, dear," she cried, "let me be the first little
girl to go. I know if the dragon has your little
princess he will ask for no other child. I will go in
their stead, father."
Then the people came crowding to the palace gates,
begging the king not to send Sabra, for they all loved
her as well as their own little ones, but still Sabra
said: "I will go to the dragon."
At last, the king's high priest said: "We will bring a
mother pigeon into the palace yard, and set her free.
If she flies north, or south, or west, Sabra shall not
be given to the dragon. If she flies toward the east
and the sunrise Sabra shall go."
So they took a brooding pigeon from her nest, and set
her free in the courtyard. She spread her white wings
and circled about in the air, and then flew straight to
the east! Poor, sweet little Sabra! They carried her
out to the river bank and fastened her to the oak tree
where the dragon could find her, that so she might save
the other little girls. Then they went sorrowfully back
to the city again.
But the pigeon flew on and on, through field and
forest, until she came to a brave knight riding through
 the woods. The knight was tired, and his good
horse, also, for they had been in a far country and had
fought many brave battles. He had stopped to rest
under a tree, that his horse might drink at the
spring—but, as he rested, the mother pigeon flew
straight to his shoulder and began cooing softly in his
"I wonder what she means," said the knight to himself,
as the pigeon flew off a little way and then returned,
cooing. At last he jumped upon his horse and followed
the way the pigeon led.
Straight through field and forest the pigeon flew,
until she brought the knight to the place where the
Princess Sabra was fastened to the oak tree and the
dragon close by ready to devour her. The dragon's
breath was so hot that it burned the knight, and the
smoke from its nostrils blinded his eyes, but he was
brave and strong. He made a huge ball of the sticky
pitch of the pine tree; he thrust the end of his spear
through it, and he rode straight toward the dragon's
The dragon reached out its sharp claws for the knight,
but he hurled the ball of pitch down its throat and it
was not able to open its mouth again or use its
poisonous fangs. Then the knight killed the dragon
with his spear, and he unfastened the little princess.
He lifted her to his saddle and carried her home to her
father once more.
Oh, there was great rejoicing in the kingdom! The
people crowded the streets and strewed flowers all the
way for the knight to ride over. The old king held
little Sabra close to his heart, and she put her arms
about his neck and kissed him again and again. And the
king said the knight should be called St.
and he gave him a wonderful gold cross to wear upon his
It was so many, many years ago that St. George killed
the dragon, but still the people in England remember
him, and the English soldier who is the bravest may
wear a tiny cross like St. George's upon his breast.
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