The Reluctant Dragon: Everybody Wants to be a Figure from a Tale


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A dragon’s job is to terrorize the countryside, and a dragon slayer’s job is to defeat it in single combat, right?

But what happens if the dragon doesn’t much like terrorizing the countryside? What is he’s a homebody, or if he decides he wants to enter society?

It’s a delightful idea, and Kenneth Grahame does an amazing job with it. The three characters of his story–the boy, the dragon, and St George the dragonslayer–are all playing with the narrative of “dragon=evil,” and the result is a story in which a wound is faked, a feast is had, and everyone goes home happy.

The little novella is sort of an anti-Fairy Tale, in which there are no villains and the little boy has to do everything for the dragon and the Saint. The familiar story is turned on its head, and laughter ensues.


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