#ExcerptWeek – JASPER – Book Two of The Tudor Trilogy by Tony Riches @tonyriches

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 Following the best-selling historical fiction novel OWEN – Book One of The Tudor Trilogy, this is the story, based on actual events, of Owen’s son Jasper Tudor, who changes the history of England forever.

England 1461: The young King Edward of York takes the country by force from King Henry VI of Lancaster. Sir Jasper Tudor, Earl of Pembroke, flees the massacre of his Welsh army at the Battle of Mortimer’s Cross and plans a rebellion to return his half-brother King Henry to the throne.

When King Henry is imprisoned by Edward in the Tower of London and murdered, Jasper escapes to Brittany with his young nephew, Henry Tudor. After the sudden death of King Edward and the mysterious disappearance of his sons, a new king, Edward’s brother Richard III takes the English Throne. With nothing but his wits and charm, Jasper sees his chance to make young Henry Tudor king with a daring and reckless invasion of England.

Set in the often brutal world of fifteenth century England, Wales, Scotland, France, Burgundy and Brittany, during the Wars of the Roses, this fast-paced story is one of courage and adventure, love and belief in the destiny of the Tudors. 

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Chapter One
February 1461

He held his breath and shivered as he strained to listen. Sound travelled well in the frosty woodland. The rustle of a blackbird foraging for worms in fallen leaves and the sudden, wooden creak of an old branch, bending in the cold air. He heard the noise again, the heavy scrape of hooves on the stony track, coming his way, hunting him. Too tired to run, he would not be taken prisoner by the men of Edward of York.

Jasper remembered his father’s warning. Their proud Welsh army marched over a hundred miles from Pembroke, stopping only at night and starting again each day at dawn, when his outrider returned with grave news. They had sighted York’s army camped near Mortimer’s Cross, on the old Roman road near the crossing of the River Lugg, directly in their path.

‘We should avoid them, head north under cover of darkness,’ his father suggested, his voice kept low so the men wouldn’t overhear. He had looked his age from their long, cold march across Wales. Too old to fight, his father insisted on riding with them. ‘I owe my life to King Henry,’ he argued, ‘and I owe it to your mother to support him now.’

Jasper recalled his terse reply. ‘It’s too late.’ He saw the pleading in his father’s eyes and softened his tone. ‘They know we are here, Father. I will try to negotiate terms if we are given the chance, but we must be ready to fight.’ In truth he doubted York would be in any mood for talking, since his own father, Richard, Duke of York, was beheaded by over-zealous Lancastrians the previous December.

Then came the news that Sir Richard Neville, Earl of Warwick, and York’s right-hand man, had captured King Henry, Jasper’s half-brother. He had thought York’s soldiers were no match for the men of Wales and the battle-hardened mercenaries who rode with them, but he could not have been more wrong. Their enemy outnumbered them more than two to one and proved to be experienced and well-prepared fighting men.

The salvo of arrows descended without warning in a black cloud of death. One struck deep into the neck of Jasper’s horse, which reared with a demented whinny of pain, throwing him from his saddle. He barely managed to scramble to his feet and draw his sword before York’s men-at-arms charged, hacking with axes, maces and swords, slashing and killing without mercy. Continue reading

#ExcerptWeek Living in the Shadows by Judith Barrow

 

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Chapter 56: Victoria

Sun 12th October

Victoria watched Melody being systematically ostracised by the rest of the group. No one spoke to her. They whispered about her and, when she approached or came close to any of them, they turned their backs on her. But, wherever she went, one of them followed her.

Victoria didn’t understand why they wouldn’t let her just leave.

‘She’s not allowed to go until the Master says she can,’ Amber explained. ‘He talks to her at night.’

‘At night?’

‘All night. He’s trying to make her understand how she won’t fit in on the outside anymore.’

He’s brainwashing her, Victoria thought, horrified. He’s trying to break her spirit. It made her stomach twist inside her.

Despite all her efforts to avoid any of the groups, all of them had tried to involve Victoria in the exclusion.

 ‘You can’t sit on the side-lines, Summer, it’s too dangerous,’ Amber said, while they were sitting around the table at suppertime.

‘What do you mean?’

‘She means we are a family, Summer.’ Chrystal stood behind them. We all rely on each other; for our food, our clothing and,’ she spread out her arms and looked around the dining room, ‘our shelter.’

‘It doesn’t seem fair, Chrystal. When you take our meditation sessions, you preach good vibes.’ Victoria deliberately said the word; she thought back to the last time the woman had gathered them together; yeah, ‘preach’ was definitely the right way to put it.

 Still she made her face impassive when she saw Chrystal bristle.

Victoria looked across at Melody. Sitting on her own at a table that she’d been led to the day after her outburst, she was upright, arms folded. The meagre amount of food on the plate in front of her was ignored.

‘She is backsliding into temptation. There is nothing we can do for her now, Summer. It is up to the Master.’ Chrystal put her hand on Victoria’s shoulder. She felt the clench of her stomach muscles, tried to shut out the drone of Chrystal’s voice. ‘If she goes she will leave without his blessing. She is rebellious, disobedient. A castaway.’ Now she was leading Victoria towards the door and it was as though there was nothing for it but to go. ‘We have been watching your struggle over the past few days. We see your compassion for Melody. But it is misplaced.’ She leaned towards Victoria, her voice soft. ‘You need to decide where you loyalties are. With her, or with us, with our Master. He needs to know, Summer.’

Victoria glanced over to the top table where Seth sat alone. He was watching her.

Amazon. co.uk:
 Living in the Shadows

Amazon.com:
Living in the Shadows

Amazon.co. au:
Living in the Shadows

Amazon.ca
Living in the Shadows

 

 

 

 

#ExcerptWeek – The Shell: An African Adventure by Tony Riches

The Shell – An African Adventure, by Tony Riches 

Mombasa beach: The dream holiday of a lifetime turns into a nightmare for a young couple. Brutally attacked and kidnapped, she has to battle for survival in one of the remotest and most dangerous areas of north east Kenya. He has to find and rescue her – before it is too late. Palm trees line an idyllic beach of white coral sand. An Arabian dhow sails on the clear blue waters of the Indian Ocean. Two lovers are ruthlessly torn apart, perhaps forever.  Lucy is bound and helpless, taken far from the safety of the world she knows. Unconscious and bleeding, nothing has prepared Steve for what he needs to do. 

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Chapter One

The storm that ravaged the coast had completely passed. A stranded boat and a few damaged palm trees were the only sign it had ever happened. They had come to the beach to see the boat, lying wrecked on its side, several hundred yards from where it had been moored.

A hermit crab dragged the heavy conical shell it had borrowed across the white sand, leaving a meandering trail to mark its progress. Steve picked it up to show to Lucy.

She looked at it and smiled. ‘It needs a bigger shell, there’s no room for its claws.’

The little crab waved a pinkish orange claw in the air defensively. Lucy handed it carefully back to Steve and he placed it back on the sand. They watched as it continued stubbornly on its path.

The sea looked so calm and inviting it was difficult to believe that it was the same ocean they had watched smashing onto the beach last night. Lucy kicked off her sandals and stepped into the water. It was warm and crystal clear, gently lapping round her toes.

‘This is how I always imagined Mombasa.’

‘I wasn’t sure what to expect. I had meant to read up more about it on the Internet but never got round to it.’

‘I checked the hotel website but they didn’t say anything about tropical storms.’

Lucy slipped her hand into his as they walked and pulled him close to her. She felt happier now they had decided to start a family.

‘We must ring Dad to let him know we’re O.K.’

Steve nodded. ‘He does worry about you.’

She looked out across the deep blue of the Indian Ocean to the white breakers on the distant reef, absent mindedly brushing her blonde hair out of her eyes. Nothing seemed to worry Steve. He was a risk taker. Even when they broke down on a dusty, potholed road in the middle of the African bush and their driver started making frantic calls for assistance on an ancient mobile phone. He made her feel safe.

That was a big part of what had attracted her to him, as well as his rugged good looks and their shared sense of humour. He was the first man other than her father who really cared about her. She liked his dark hair, cut shorter for the holiday and the way his stubble shadow meant he always looked like he needed a shave.

They walked on in silence on the warm white sand. Lucy felt she should defend her father.

‘Dad paid for everything before I had my first teaching job. I took it for granted at the time. And he’s accepted you!’

‘I had to marry you first!’

Lucy kissed him. ‘No regrets?’

‘No regrets.’

‘You like him really?’

Steve pretended to consider. ‘He would make a really good grandfather.’

Steve’s words hung in the humid air for a moment, they still hadn’t really talked about what starting a family would mean.

Lucy smiled. ‘I think he will.’

They reached the boat. A tangle of ropes lay next to it and there were a few bottles and bits of broken fishing equipment strewn around. Steve could see that the wooden hull had taken quite a hammering. Parts of the planking were broken and some had come loose.

Lucy stood looking at it. ‘This is someone’s life. I doubt they would have any insurance?’

Steve shook his head. ‘I wouldn’t think so. People here seem quite resourceful. I bet we’ll see it back on the water before we leave.’

They walked around the boat and could see the beach north of the hotel. Lucy recognised the leaning palm tree, bent over towards the sand, where Steve had taken her photo on their first night in Mombasa. It was only three days ago but seemed much longer. The rocky headland, jutting out into the sand, was as far as they had walked that night but she could make out the beach continuing on the other side.

Lucy walked towards it and spun round on the sand to call to Steve. ‘Want to explore? It looks like it’s going to be another nice day.’

Steve followed her and climbed up on the rocks. ‘It’s a great beach. No seaweed.’

Lucy smiled. ‘The man we saw with the rake when we were kayaking must have been here before us.’

He reached out to pull her up and she climbed next to him. The pristine white beach went on for as far as she could see, in a long slow curve until it disappeared into the early morning haze. A line of tall palm trees fringed the sand. It was completely deserted.

Steve helped her down the other side. He picked up Lucy’s abandoned sandals and looked back towards the hotel. He was surprised at how far they had already walked. The boat was out of sight and the rocky headland hid the hotel from view.

Lucy pointed to a dark spot the horizon. ‘It’s a dhow. I had a dream about one of those the other night. It was in a storm though, not like today.’

They stood and watched its steady progress, the sail bent over.

Lucy pointed to the dhow. ‘‘There must be more wind at sea. There’s hardly any breeze here today.’

‘I think it’s coming closer.’

Lucy pulled her camera from her pocket. ‘Good. I was hoping to get some pictures of one before we left.’ She held up the camera but the dhow was still too far off.

‘Let’s keep on walking to where it’s headed’

Steve took her hand again and they carried on along the beach, Lucy glancing out to the ocean to see if the dhow was any closer.

 She bent and picked up a shell from the sand and showed it to Steve. It was a type of scallop shell, bleached even whiter than the sand, the inside perfectly smooth. He handed it back to her and she slipped it into the pocket of her shorts. It was her special souvenir of a wonderful morning in Mombasa.

Steve checked his watch, a habit he was finding hard to break, after so many years in a job when time was money and he was responsible for deadlines being met. Lucy tried to persuade him to leave it at the hotel but he liked the feel of it on his wrist.

He was about to suggest they should turn back when Lucy pointed. ‘It’s coming in.’

Steve could see the dhow had changed its slow but steady course and was going to pull up on the beach a little way ahead of them. It looked a bigger boat than they had seen before, built for long voyages on the open ocean. As it came closer he could see the dark silhouettes of two men, one at the helm and the other bracing the huge triangular sail.

‘Do you think they will mind me taking their picture?’ Lucy remembered the safari guide had warned them about the Maasai not liking tourists taking photos, although they’d seemed happy enough when Steve gave them a five hundred shilling note though.

‘We can ask if they come close enough.’

Lucy looked at the dhow using the viewing screen on her camera. ‘That scene hasn’t changed for centuries!’ It was still too far out to sea but she used the zoom.

They watched the dhow come closer to the beach. It was a sturdily built boat with a long bowsprit and a single curved mast that towered into the clear blue sky. The coffee coloured lateen sail was an impressive piece of engineering, perfectly evolved for the conditions and easily handled in a stiff breeze. The man at the helm had brought the boat round so that it was skimming effortlessly through the water, as fast as any modern sailing racer.

Lucy was standing at the water’s edge taking pictures while Steve carried her sandals and watched it approach. Everything happened very quickly. The dhow beached and both men leapt out. Steve realised they were in real danger. One of the men was carrying a rifle. He rushed at Steve and smashed him hard in the head with the butt. He heard Lucy scream his name as he passed out. Continue reading

#ExcerptWeek Newsflash & Reminder

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Today is the “Official” beginning of Excerpt Week, one of my favorite features on The Write Stuff. Please share excerpts from any of your own writing, be it already published, a work in progress, or an idea you are toying with. Post directly, if you are already an author on TWS, or send your excerpt to me, along with your bio, book covers, and Buy Links, and I’ll post it for you. (Do not post under the comments section of any thread, please.)

Throughout the day today, I’ll be uploading goodies for you to read–AND to SHARE, please. Sharing is the whole purpose of Excerpt Week, and the main focus of this blog, after all. 🙂 Let’s make this Excerpt Week the best one, ever!

We’ve already gotten a wonderful start with an  excerpt from Barb Taub. Might be the most original excerpt I’ve seen to date, but don’t let that stop you. We want to hear from as many more as possible, and I have several that will be coming through today, including my own, to get the week going with a bang. Let’s spread the word–or should I say, let’s spread OUR WORDS?

Looking forward to hearing from many more of you. Have fun, and enjoy the talent we have in this great group of folks.

 

First Official #ExcerptWeek of 2016!

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Well, that’s it for another year. Christmas is safely back in the boxes and tucked in the attic. My 300+ Santas have been put to rest, alongside various shiny baubles and strings of now-darkened lights. One spray of evergreen boughs are still in the wall vase by the kitchen entryway, where they’ll stay until they are replaced by new greenery next year, and thus will keep Christmas in my house throughout 2016.

I hope your holidays were everything you love and cherish, and you are each ready to see what the New Year will bring. I know I am.

Here on The Write Stuff, I have ideas for some new features that I hope will be both entertaining and inspiring, and I’m eagerly waiting to see what each of you might contribute, as well. To start things off, I hereby proclaim that this is Excerpt Week, and I’ll be sharing one with you shortly. You are all invited to share excerpts of your own between now and Sunday night. Of course, you can always share excerpts, any time you wish, but during this week, I hope we’ll see bunches of folks taking the time to contribute, and lots of stuff coming through.

You may share excerpts from published work, or a Work In Progress, whatever you’d enjoy having us read and comment on. Please feel free to include your Buy Links for your books, as well as a bio to let new followers know a bit about you. And EVERYONE can participate. If you are already set up to publish new posts here, have at it whenever you like. If not, and you’d like to be, just email me and I’ll explain your options.  mmeara@cfl.rr.com 

My only restrictions on subject matter are these: Nothing political, and nothing erotic. Sexy is okay, and I trust you to know where to draw the line. Other than that, feel free to share what you’d like, and we’ll pass it along on Facebook, Twitter, or by reblogging. Hopefully, you’ll find some new readers that way. Most of all, have fun sharing!

 I wish you all a happy and fulfilling 2016! Now let the fun begin.

Excerpt Week Coming Up!

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As promised, starting Monday, we have an “event.” Excerpt week. The rules are simple. Post an excerpt of your own work from any source,  published or unpublished, novel, short story, poem, whatever you like. Give us a taste of what you’ve written, and include any pertinent links to places where we can buy the book/story, if it is already “out there.”

The excerpt can be as long as a full chapter, or as short as a couple of paragraphs. If it runs more than 2 or 3 paragraphs, just use the “Read More” link to continue it, so it doesn’t take up too much space on the Home Page. (If you don’t know how to do that, don’t worry. I’ll be happy to do it for you. )

Feel free to upload cover shots or other images, too. Make it good. We’re going to send it all over the place!

If you aren’t a regular contributor here, email me  at mmeara@cfl.rr.com and I’ll either make you one (if you like), or I’ll post your excerpt for you.

And if no one else plays, you guys are going to get an awful lot of Rabbit, Gunnar Wolfe and Maggie, MacKenzie Cole and Sarah, and Hunter Painter and Willow.  😀 But I’d rather not be all alone here, so first thing Monday, the game is on. And, tada! You may post as many times as you wish throughout the week, until next Sunday night. SO … put your words up here, and we will share the heck out of them, pointing new readers to your books as fast as we can!

Have fun!!

 

#Excerpt Week: Even humor columnists like a good mystery — and that’s no joke

(NOTE: Look who slipped in under the wire…okay, he totally missed the wire altogether, but do we care? NOPE. So here he is, folks! Ned Hickson, with an excerpt for your reading pleasure. Take it away, Ned!)

As a humor columnist, when I mention I’ve been working on the final draft of a murder mystery, people usually assume it’s a comedy or satire. Possibly with a detective who faints at the sight of blood. And whose partner used to be a rodeo clown.

That’s actually not a bad idea.

But it’s not this book. They say for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. Following that train of thought, the flip side to humor is drama. In this case, I’ve delved into the flip side of my weekly humor column to write a murder mystery that is best described as a “why-done-it.” There is no mystery behind the murder. The question is why it was committed; and what does a seemingly homeless young boy know about it? Who can he trust? And will a solitary private investigator with a dark past be able to find the answers before it’s too late for the both of them?

This is the premise behind No Safe Harbor, a murder mystery I wrote 15 years ago that has been collecting dust and waiting for its final revision ever since.

The wait is finally over for this manuscript, which I’ve begun preparing the final draft for. My goal is to have it completed by mid August. What will happen after that is the real mystery.

In the meantime, here’s a sneak peak at the first chapter. Aside from a handful of family and friends, no one has seen these pages. Please feel free to offer your suggestions and feedback.

I can take it!

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Chapter 1

Flashing red and blue erupted across Lynda Bettington’s rear window, escalating her steady rhythm of panic into a mounting crescendo. Hands trembling, she held the road through a fishtail over the damp streets, pressing the accelerator closer to the mat. She raced onto Highway 99 toward Lake Washington. The roads there were dark, with streets spurring off every few blocks. She took a narrow side road as the car shot through pale lamplight and a maze of industrial alleyways. In the back seat, suitcases bounced and shifted, slamming against the rear doors as the car careened onto another pitted avenue.

Dampness just short of rainfall blanketed thin layers of oil, creating a slick skin over the asphalt. Suddenly, the car hydroplaned, pinwheeling across the roadway. Lynda’s grip locked onto the steering wheel. For an instant, red and blue flashing seemed to be all around her, until an explosion of glass and twisting metal replaced all thoughts of color.

A few yards away, the police car swerved to an angled stop.

The caution lights turned off, leaving only high beams spilling over the mangled car. Officer Dan Perkins sat forward and crossed his arms over the steering wheel. Next to him, Gerome Taylor tossed aside his seatbelt and cracked the passenger door, planting his foot on the road. He remained seated, staring at the wreck. Continue reading

Thank You All!

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Thanks so much to everyone who took part in Excerpt Week. It was a lot of fun to see what everyone was working on, or what they’ve already published. I hope you got a lot of new exposure, and had a good time sharing! Remember, while the occasional Excerpt Week is a good way to draw in new folks, you are heartily encouraged to share excerpts of your work on this blog ANY time you wish. It’s always a treat, and always welcome!

Now…back to your writing, editing, publishing, marketing, submitting, and otherwise, creating good things. Whichever hat you’re wearing today, I hope the hours go by smoothly, and at the end of the day, you have that lovely sense of accomplishment that makes it all worthwhile.

#ExcerptWeek #ABoyNamedRabbit by #MarciaMeara

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Excerpt From Chapter 14:

MAC AND I raced up the stairs to find Rabbit sitting up in bed, screaming hysterically. Rosheen was beside him, covering his face in frantic licks, whining in distress—a pretty good sign there was no real danger in the room.

I sat down on the edge of the bed and pulled him into my arms, holding him as close as possible, and making shushing noises as I rocked him back and forth. Mac checked the windows and closets to be sure we were alone, then stood beside us, face pale and distressed.

“It’s all right, Rabbit. Everything’s all right. Mac and I are here. You’re safe with us now.”

His arms twined around me, but gasping sobs continued to wrack his thin shoulders for several more minutes, before they slowed down, fading into sad, little whimpers.

“Open your eyes, Rabbit. We’re here. See? Tell me what happened. Did you have a bad dream?”

His whimper turned into a moan. “He’s comin’.” Continue reading

#ExcerptWeek #SueVincent George and the Dragon from #LaughterLines

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NOTE: My apology for how long it took me to get this to show up properly on WordPress. Poetry spacing can be really tricky, and I can’t use the “Continue Reading” spacer, either, because it messed it all up, and I had to start over. GAH! But at least you can read it now, in proper verses. I think. 😀

Sue has recently started following us here at The Write Stuff, and has asked me to share one of her poems with you, as part of excerpt week. I’m very happy to do so, as it made me laugh out loud several times. It’s longer than some of you might be used to, but I promise you, it’s well worth taking the time to read. VERY amusing, indeed. Thank you for sharing, Sue, and I’ll be tweeting and sharing this one. You guys, hope you’ll remember to do so as well. The book and buying info is included at the end of the poem. Check it out!

~~~

George and the Dragon

“Nah, sithee,” said Granny, “Just set thee dahn ‘ere,
An’ I’ll tell the a tale old and true,
Of ‘ow good Saint George slew a dragon one day
An’ all dressed in a metal suit too.
 
It were like this…” she said as she warmed to her tale
With her listeners huddled around,
“The beast ‘ad moved in and set up ‘is abode
In a cave on the best ‘unting ground.    
   
The king weren’t too pleased, it ‘ad etten his ‘oss
And the best of the royal deer too.
‘To be fair,’ said the mage, his opinion asked,
‘What else would you expect it to do?’                
   
‘I’ve heard they like maidens,’ his Majesty said,
‘Give it one, then we’ll be in the clear.’
‘A maiden, my liege?’ said the mage in surprise,
‘Tha’ll be lucky to find one round ‘ere!’    
     
The King scratched ‘is head, there was something in that
‘Cause for maidens… ‘e’d known a fair few,
‘We’ll send out a search party over the land…
It’ll give the lads something to do.’

The very next morning the lads all set off
All caparisoned, armoured and gay,
Trouble was, they were ‘unting for pretty young maids
And wherever they found one, they’d stay.

Now the dragon had ‘etten the rest of the deer
And had now set to work on the cows,
His Majesty went to his daughter and said,
‘Hast thou kept all thy maidenly vows?’

‘But of course, Dad!’ she cried, ‘I’ve had chance for nowt else
When I’m shut in this castle all day!’
‘Just as well,’ said the King, ‘ ‘Cause we’re in a reyt mess.
Get your coat and we’ll be on our way.’

The princess was pretty with long golden hair,
The king thought he was onto a winner;
‘Now just you ‘ang on,’ she said raising her chin,
‘I can tell thee, I’m no dragon’s dinner!’

Now t’lass were fed up being shut up inside
And was ‘atching a plot of ‘er own.
‘I’ve got some conditions before we set off…
Get a pen, write it down… make it known’

Her Dad ‘ad to do as his daughter prescribed
Though her orders were not what he’d like…
‘Full half of my realm to your rescuer, lass?’
‘Write it down, Dad, or just take a hike.’

He did as she said, then she patted his hand,
‘Look, the rest of the plan’s none so bad…
I’ll marry him too, then you lose bugger all;
He can be the heir you never ‘ad.’

She had a good point and the orders were read
Through the length and the breadth of the city.
But no-one stepped up, ‘cause the dragon was big,
Even if the lass was rich and pretty.

There was only young George, at the tavern one night;
It were after bevy or seven,
His mates egged ‘im on and he drunkenly said,
‘Well, it sounds like a deal made in heaven.’

His pal were a blacksmith and all through the night
With the hammer and metal they clattered,
And made him a suit; though it rattled a bit,
That protected the assets that mattered.

He went to the king and his offer was met
With a fair bit of mocking and laughter;
‘Is there anyone else ‘ere who fancies the job?’
Asked the king… there was silence thereafter.

Now morning had come and poor George sobered up
And berated himself at ‘is folly.
‘Tha’s no gumption, lad,’ said his hungover head,
‘And in fact, tha’s an absolute wally.’

Too late to back out with the town at his feet
And the princess out there with the dragon,
‘Now if tha survives,’ the lad thought to himself,
‘Georgie boy, tha must go on the wagon.’

The cave mouth looked dark as ‘e rattled in close
And ‘e knew that ‘is chances were slim,
But with the town watching ‘e had little choice
As ‘e crept where the shadows were dim.

The suit was a pain and it chafed all the time
In some places ‘e’d rather not mention,
George swore as he crept in the cavern’s dark door
That from now on ‘e’d stick to abstention.

The townsfolk looked on and the king wrung ‘is hands
As the lad disappeared in the gloom.
They wondered how long they’d be waiting to see
If the lad really ‘ad met his doom.

Strange noises were issuing out from the cave,
And the crowd winced and cringed as they listened,
Then out came the princess with George by her side
They were carrying something that glistened.

The folk never learned just what George found inside
And poor George was the only one knowing;
The princess was cooking a nice dragon stew
Over dragon-lit embers a-glowing.

‘I skinned it,’ she said, ‘as the scales are quite tough,’
And George looked at the princess in horror.
‘You might as well eat just to keep up your strength,’
She continued, ‘You’ll need it tomorrow.’

‘Just do as I tell you and make no mistake
I will make sure they treat you right well,
But cross me just once,’ she said waving her spear,
‘Georgie boy, and I’ll make your life hell.’

So they married next day amid feasting and joy
And the wine and the mead that flowed free,
But George just sat quiet and did as she bid,
Drinking naught but a nice cup of tea.

Not a drop touched his lips of the hard stuff that day,
And his manner seemed quiet and charming,
Yet under his breath he could be heard to pray
Which the courtiers found quite disarming.

‘The man is reformed, hallelujah,’ they said,
And they found his reserve to be quaint,
But the princess just smiled, knowing better than they
Just which dragon had made George a saint.”

“Don’t be daft, Granny, please,” a dissenting voice said,
“That is not how they tell it at all.”
“Oh no?” she replied, and they followed her gaze
To the dragonskin pinned on the wall.

Laughter Lines (Amazon.com)
Laughter Lines (Amazon.uk)