April 22, 2008
Michaelmas is traditionally celebrated on September 29th in the northern hemisphere but in Australia we find similar celebrations sit well on St Georges Day, 23rd April, as the autumnal themes and the tale of St George are often prominent in Michealmas. (and my mother is English, so we can’t ignore St George!!) So we will be baking Dragon bread, using the wonderful story from All Year Round for the harvest loaf and a simple story of St George for our story circle tonight. I have finally found and tweaked an adaptation I like from the wonderful people at the waldorf home educators yahoo group. I hope they don’t mind if I post my version here.
St George and the Dragon
The dragon blew a bit of smoke from his nose and looked at the King way up in the tower. He told the King that he had moved near-by into a cave by the lake and that he was old and could not longer hunt as well as he had in the past. He had come to tell the villagers that they must present him with an animal to eat every morning. They could put the animal outside of the village gates and the dragon would come and collect it. The King frowned and asked the dragon, “And what will you trade us for this service?” The dragon laughed and a bit of orange flame flew from his mouth, “Why, I will trade you your city, and your people; and I won’t burn you to the ground.” The King could see what a strong and powerful dragon this was, and he became very frightened and agreed to these terms. When he told the villagers, they all agreed that it was the best thing to do and were very pleased with their wise king.
That morning as she waited outside the castle gates, a Knight on a white horse came out of the forest and rode straight to her. “Why, fair maiden, what are you doing here outside of the castle walls all alone?” The King’s daughter sighed and told the knight that she was the unluckiest girl on the earth, and that he had better ride away as quickly as possible or that he would share her fate.
The Knight raised himself a little higher in his saddle and told the girl that he would help her at whatever the cost. Just then the Dragon came flying to collect his dues. When the dragon saw the knight waiting for him, he let out a terrible roar and charged the knight on his horse, who delivered him a mighty blow with his sword. The King’s daughter standing bravely at her post saw the dragon subdued and tied her girdle around his neck and led him like a tamed beast to the village gates.
When the King looked out of the tower, he was stricken with amazement at the sight of the Knight with his daughter who was leading the now tame dragon with her girdle. He called out to the villagers to open the gates. The King’s daughter ran into her father’s arms and told her him the whole story. After which, he offered to reward the young knight with any amount of gold or rare jewels, but the young knight was noble and told the King to keep his riches for the good of his people. Then, he remounted his steed and ventured out of the village gates to go perform acts of justice for all the rest of his days.
Meanwhile, the dragon lay down in the middle of the village and as he slept there turned into a great mountain of iron from which the villagers could fashion many useful things for years to come.
Happy St George’s Day