Once upon a time there was a young sawyer, now a sawyer is like a lumberjack and he was tasked with going out into the woods to gather firewood for the winter for the lord of the manor. As he made his way about with saw and ax, he spied a stand of elders. “These would make quality kindling for his lordship’s hearth,” he thought as he inspected the fine grey bark.
It was a midsummer day and the elders were full of deep green leaves and showy white flowers that opened to the sun. The sawyer was ready to hue the first of these down when a loud deep voice broke the cool morning air.
“Oak and maple, ash and elm; these are burned across the realm, but elder is not one of these it is the better of all of the trees. For in its flowers there resides the power to heal and satisfy.”
The sawyer looked about, he clutching his axe, “who are you” he called out. But it was no man who appeared that midsummer’s day, but a dragon- it was not a big dragon, far from it- to be honest it was no bigger than a loaf of bread. It dropped from the tallest of the elders and stood proudly before the sawyer.
The creature was as green as emeralds with eyes of darkest blue, his talons were gold and he was a sight to behold there in the wood of the manor lord. The boy looked at his axe and thought for a moment he should make short work of this dragon.
“Be gone, my lord needs this wood for his winter fire,” the sawyer said holding his ground with just a trickle of fear running through his viens.
The creature looked up at the sawyer, “Your lord will not survive the season if you fail in heeding reason. Winter’s ills are but death’s lure, a sip of cordial will be his cure. Pick only flowers, seep them well, add some sweet and time will tell. The flowers magic is the trick for when he turns deathly sick.” With that the dragon disappeared back into the stand of elders.
The sawyer stood there for a moment before he gathered the flowers there on the trees and headed back to his lord’s manor. There he found the lord of the manor waiting for him. “I sent you out to gather wood and you come back with flowers? How will that keep me warm in the winter winds come calling?”
“Father,” said the sawyer, “I have a story to tell you…” The old man took a seat, he was a good natured soul and enjoyed a story as much as the next man. “I was out in wood as you commanded me to be gathering wood as you wished when I happened upon a dragon!”
“Yes, it, it was a huge dragon… it was as big as a horse… and it um threatened us.”
“Well that would never do, no dragon will threaten a son of mine. Call out the knights!” He exclaimed even hitting the arm on his chair with his fist for emphasis.”
“No, no there is no need for that my father,” the lad thought quickly. “I… I tricked the vile creature. You see it took a great deal of guile and creativity on my part, but I convinced the beast to leave the wood and in exchange I would take nothing more than flowers from the stand of elders, leaving them untouched by saw and axe.
The old man rubbed his thinning beard, “Ah, I suppose it is a small price to pay for the safety of my son, but what use are these flowers, throw them in the rubbish heap”
“Oh wait my father; I heard tell of a tonic that can be made from flowers such as these, it may prove useful come winter. Let me make some for your pantry.
Well winter came and the old man fell ill, one night he lay in his bed, an empty cup on the table next to him. He felt a sudden weight on his chest and opened his eyes. There before him sat the green dragon, no bigger than a loaf of bread.
The old man blinked, “I heard you had grown,” he said, just above a whisper.
The green dragon looked at him with it dark blue eyes, “if I recall,” it replied. “You claimed I was bigger than a house.”
The old man laughed, “That I did, that I did… but that was many winter past… and I fear this will be the last for me.”
The dragon sniffed the empty cup and shook its head, “No, no, not yet old man, the boy did as he was told, I think you have a few more winters before it is your time to move on.”
“He’s a good lad, isn’t he?”
“Yes my friend, yes he is. Now go back to sleep and in the morning you can tell him so yourself.”