Happy Birthday Liam!

By Grandma Baadsgaard
Happy Birthday Liam. You are strong. You can fight the dragon. 
I love you.

Liam lived in a quaint village in Denmark surrounded by farmer’s fields and bordered by a deep, dark forest. In the beginning, all the villagers worked together to plant and harvest crops, forge pots and swords then spin and weave their sheep’s wool into cloth for their clothing.
Each year at harvest time, the villagers would place an offering for the dragon that lived in the forest so he wouldn’t carry off their children. At first the dragon was pacified but soon the offerings weren’t enough and the dragon began taking one of their children each year.
When the villagers saw the dragon flying toward the village, they frantically tried to grab their children and run away to safety.  But the dragon was always quicker than the slowest child. Each year one more child would turn up missing. Soon the villagers became angry with each other for running away too fast so that their child would be the one who went missing. Soon villagers refused to trade goods with each other. Before long they all became poor. Year after year the village grew darker until it was as threatening as the forest.
All the children lived in constant fear never knowing when the dragon would strike. Then one day when they were least expecting it, the fire breathing dragon would fly into the village, pluck a child out of the horrified crowd, then fly high into the sky and disappear into the forest. When it was discovered who was missing, the family of the missing child would weep and mourn for their hearts had been broken.
Liam watched as his village and his family grew darker and more afraid every day. One day Liam decided that if anything was going to change, he had to be the one to do it. He gathered all the villagers and stood on a platform so they could all hear him.
“Don’t blame each other,” Liam yelled. “Blame the dragon. We must join together and slay the dragon so that he will never take another child again.”
“The dragon is huge and we are small,” one villager replied as he shook his head.
“The dragon can fly and we cannot,” another villager said.
“The dragon spews fire,” a child said. We cannot fight the dragon.”
“Today I will forge a sword and I will be ready for the dragon,” Liam answered. “I will carve a whistle with a disturbing sound frequency only dragons can hear. Who will join me to fight the dragon?”
All of the villagers looked at Liam, shook their heads and walked away. Liam spent months forging his sword, practicing his dragon slaying techniques and carving his dragon whistle. The next time the dragon flew down into the village, Liam was ready. But something happened he did not expect. Liam watched in horror as the dragon flew into the village, picked up his brother and flew toward the forest before he could stop him. Liam took out his dragon whistle and blew with all his might. Dragon whistles drive dragons mad. The dragon stopped in mid-flight and turned back toward the village.
“Give me back my brother!” Liam shouted.
Startled at the unexpected piecing sound from the whistle and the annoying disturbance displayed by a young boy, the dragon dropped Liam’s brother Gideon and flew toward the boy who dared to confront him.  Liam grabbed the sword in a leather sheath at his side. He thought about how much he loved his brother, trust the sword over his head and swung the blade with all his might. The dragon laughed as the blade missed him and sliced through the air. Then the dragon spewed a huge billowing ball of fire toward Liam. Liam knew the dragon’s burst of fire was about to consume him and his brother if he didn’t move quickly. He darted away from the fire as the dragon walked toward Liam’s brother.
“You will not take one more child,” Liam yelled so the dragon would turn toward him. “You will never hurt a child again!”
Liam’s brother Gideon cowered against a tree; his leg broken and unable to flee. Liam knew he was the only person between his brother and death. The dragon threw his head back and laughed at Liam’s annoying disruption.
Liam acted quickly while the dragon was distracted. Darting between the dragon’s legs, Liam and swung the sword with all his might. He cut off the front legs and watched as the dragon fell forward with a loud crash. Then he swung the sword again and smote off the dragon’s back legs. Then Liam climbed up on the dragon and thrust his sword into the heart of the beast. The dragon roared in pain, spread his wings and flew painfully toward the dark forest.
Liam ran to his brother and picked him up in his arms.
“I will never leave you to fight the dragon alone,” Liam said. “I am your brother. I will always be at your side and protect you.”
Then Liam stood and shook his fist at the forest.
“Don’t ever come for another child again for I will stand and fight you and I will win,” Liam yelled.
Liam and Gideon heard the dragon’s last painful roar and together they watched as the dark forest burst into flames and the dragon was at last consumed – never to return again.