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The Bad Tempered Dragon
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Archie the dragon had a problem.
He had a rotten tooth that was really sore and it was causing him a lot of pain. The more pain he was in, the more bad tempered he became.
Of course the people in the villages surrounding his domain didn't realise that he had a bad tooth. They just thought their dragon, who was supposed to protect them, was turning mean and nasty.
The previous week three villagers who had gone for a picnic in the field near his cave had returned with singed hair and clothes.
All they had been guilty of was to laugh too loud!
Archie had stormed out of his cave and demanded that they leave him in peace, breathing fire all over them as they ran away.
What the villagers didn't realise was that the dragon had only just managed to fall asleep after being awake all night, in pain with his tooth.
As the days passed and the pain became worse, Archie found that he couldn't sleep at all, and chewing food was agony. His temper worsened and he could be heard roaring day and night. The villagers were too afraid to even work in the fields as he had set fire to their crops.
A little girl from the village was out one day looking for her missing dog. A meeting had been called in the village hall to decide how they could rid themselves of their bad tempered dragon and she had overheard one person say that they wouldn't be surprised if the dragon had eaten the dog as he was obviously turning bad now. So while everyone was busy talking, the little girl slipped away unnoticed and made her way to the dragon's cave.
The ground was shaking from his angry pacing back and forth. Slowly with her legs shaking and heart thumping, the girl slipped into the cave to see if she could find any trace of her beloved dog.
The smell in the cave was awful and made her sneeze.
Archie the dragon heard the sneeze and swung round, glaring at the intruder.
Shaking and cowering the girl whispered, "Please don't eat me. I only came to see what you have done with my dog."
"Your dog!" roared the dragon. "How should I know anything about your stupid dog? Leave me alone."
With that he let out another huge roar and breathed fire at the girl. Luckily for her the dragon's tooth sent a wave of pain through him and the only thing he belched out was smoke.
"Why have you turned so nasty?" she asked. "You used to be so nice, protecting us. You even gathered wood for our fires in the winter."
"Go away," growled Archie in a menacing voice, "or I shall set fire to you."
He moved towards the girl and let out a loud roar.
"Whew! Your breath is awful!" exclaimed the girl, holding her nose.
This rude comment stopped Archie dead in his tracks. Nobody had ever said his breath was bad before.
He looked sad and embarrassed and the little girl felt sorry for him. Suddenly she remembered the time her Grandad had a bad tooth; his breath had been really, really bad and he was also very bad tempered. Could it be that the dragon had a bad tooth, just like her Grandad?
"Open your mouth," the girl bravely ordered the dragon.
"What!" he roared.
"I don't think you are really mean and nasty, I just think you are in lots of pain," she suggested, "and I think I know why."
The dragon's jaw dropped open in surprise and the girl could clearly see a black tooth at the front of his mouth.
Thinking she was helping, she said. "All we have to do is pull your tooth out."
Whether it was from fear or anger, the girl didn't know but Archie roared so loudly that the people in the village could hear it.
She ran back as fast as her legs could carry her and burst in on the village meeting.
Once she told them what the problem was with the dragon, they decided that rather than getting rid of him, they would help by taking out his bad tooth.
Only how do you take out a tooth that was as big as an arm from a twenty five foot tall dragon?
Different ways were discussed, but in the end they knew the only way was to put the dragon to sleep or he would end up trampling them all.
The next problem was getting him to sleep.
They stayed up all night making a sleeping draught but couldn't think of a way to getting him to drink it.
In the end, the blacksmith who had been chosen to take out the dragon's tooth suggested they mix it with apple juice, as dragons' love apples. The only difficulty was finding someone brave enough to go up to the dragons cave and give him the apple juice.
The next morning the girl's beloved dog returned to the village wagging his tail as though he hadn't been away at all, giving the girl an idea. She quickly made her way to the dragon's cave carrying the apple juice and was greeted just as rudely as the day before.
By now Archie was in so much pain he didn't have the strength to breath fire at her.
"I came to say I was sorry," she explained. "My dog came home so I brought you this as a peace offering."
She held out the apple juice and the dragon sniffed it. He hadn't been able to eat for days and the apple juice smelt really good and refreshing.
"OK, you've said you're sorry. Now you can go," he said rudely.
The girl ran back to the village to tell them the good news.
Several of the villagers, including the blacksmith, quietly made their way to the dragon's cave.
They saw Archie swaying on his feet, the empty jug of apple juice hanging from his claws.
He slumped down and within minutes was letting forth huge snores.
The blacksmith wasted no time in climbing onto the dragon's chest, but it took four of them to pull out the rotten tooth.
Archie had been so tired from all the sleep he had lost and combined with the sleeping draught, he slept for two whole days.
On the third day the villagers suddenly heard a loud noise. They couldn't decide whether it was a roar or a big yawn but the ground started to shake with the familiar heavy footsteps of the dragon.
Fearfully they peeped out of their houses astonished to see Archie lumbering along, carrying a huge pile of wood for their fires.
He dumped it on the ground, gave a grunt and left.
"Was that a thank you?" one villager asked with a smile.
"As near as we're likely to get," answered another, laughing.
Meanwhile Archie was making his way to the forest to eat all the fruit he could find. After all, he hadn't eaten for almost a week and his stomach was rumbling.
Peace once again reigned in the countryside and if occasionally a jug of apple juice disappeared from the village, no one said anything.
After all, Archie just loved apple juice.
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