Fairytale Retellings & Prompts: The Dragon and The Prince

This month we’re doing a series called the A-Z blogging challenge where we dive into Fairytale Retellings and provide prompts for writers. Writers are the people making the books, television shows, and movies of tomorrow. For more information on the challenge check out my earlier post here.

This month isn’t all about fairytales we already know. Some of them aren’t stories I heard of growing up. Like the next one.

The Dragon and the prince had my mind firing because I could think of several ways of making a retelling of this one. See if it does the same for you. Here’s a brief summary of the story. Here’s the link to the entire story if you want to read it for yourself.

An emperor had three sons. The oldest went hunting and chased a hare; when it fled into a water-mill and he followed, it turned into a dragon and ate him. The same thing happened to the second.

When the youngest set out, he chased the hare but did not go into the water-mill. Instead, he searched for other game. When he got back to the mill, only an old woman sat there. She told him of the dragon. He asked her to ask the dragon the secret of its strength, and whenever it told her, to kiss the place that it mentioned. He left.

When the dragon returned, the old woman did ask it; when it told her the fireplace, she began to kiss it, and it laughed and said it was the tree in front of the house; when she began to kiss that, it told her that a distant empire had a lake, which held a dragon, which held a boar, which held a pigeon, which held its strength.

My son, that was not a hare, but a dragon. It kills and throttles many people.

quote from the old woman in The Dragon and The Prince

The prince set out and found the empire. He took service as a shepherd with the emperor, who warned him not to go near the lake, though the sheep would go there if allowed. He set out with the sheep, two hounds, a falcon, and a pair of bagpipes, and let the sheep go to the lake at once. He challenged the dragon and it came out of the lake. They fought together, and the dragon asked him to let it face its face in the lake. He refused, and said if the emperor’s daughter were there to kiss him, he would toss it into the air.

The dragon broke off from the fight. The next day, the same happened, but the emperor had sent two groom to follow him, and they reported what had happened. The third day, the emperor sent his daughter to the lake, with directions to kiss him when he said that. They fought as before, but the emperor’s daughter did kiss him, he threw the dragon into the air, and it burst when it hit the ground. A boar burst out of it, but he caught it with the dogs; a pigeon burst out of it, but he caught it with the falcon. The pigeon told him that behind the water mill, three wands grew, and if he cut them and struck their root, he would find a prison filled with people. He wrung the pigeon’s neck.

The emperor married him to his daughter. After the wedding feast, they went back and freed all the dragon’s prisoners. So then he went back to the windmill, found the roots, and struck them so hard his hands turned red. So when he went back to the kingdom, he found no one. He looked every where and then went to the prison. He found everyone there. He cried and went back home and told his father what happened. Then the next day he and his brother and father dug graves for every body found in the prison.

Got a fairytale retelling with a dragon? We’d love to hear it. Share your ideas in the comments below.

For more blogs participating in A to Z 2020 click the link here.


T.S. Valmond is the science fiction and young adult fantasy author of The Bolaji Kingdoms Series and The Verity Chronicles. As an award-winning poet, world traveler, and sign language interpreter she uses her experiences to fuel her stories. She’s a regular contributor to the website and founder of the Riders & Flyers group.


  1. Great story! I love dragons, well, stories of dragons! There is this book, Eragon, written by Christopher Paolini, the first of a trilogy. All about dragons, a good fantasy book.

  2. Really interesting. It’s great to tell, or retell, stories from long ago that aren’t as well-known. Have a great A to Z.

    1. Thank you, I wish I was familiar with more obscure ones. To keep with the theme I wanted to make sure I could cover the alphabet and that’s not as easy as it looks. LOL!

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