the ogre set up shop outside a village, and began systematically kidnapping and devouring its inhabitants, one by one.
the strongest men in the village, including the woodcutter, the blacksmith, the sheriff, and the sergeant-at-arms, sallied forth to fight the ogre, but were quickly despatched and devoured.
a little tailor resolved to defeat the ogre. he found a stout stick and attached his tailor’s needle to it, and announced his intention to the village.
most of the villagers laughed at the tailor, although a few pious old woman told him they would pray for him.
as the sun rose in the sky, the little tailor set forth with his weapon.
what the tailor did not suspect, and what the villagers did not suspect, was that the ogre had grown weary of the village, and had decided that very morning to move on to fresh pastures.
the ogre was in the act of packing his knapsack with some of the bones of his previous victims, to gnaw on in his journey, when he saw the tailor approach.
the ogre made short work of the little tailor and devoured him in one gulp.
but the ogre was so outraged by the effrontery of the village in sending so feeble a champion against him, that he entered the village and completely ravaged and destroyed it, killing almost everyone in it.
the only survivor was a minstrel, who took to the roads, where he eked out an existence begging and singing for his bread.
among the songs the minstrel sang was the tale of the heroic little tailor, and how he slew the ogre and saved the village.
once upon a time there was a peaceful village, filled with peaceful people.
a dragon came along.
he hung outside the village, making threatening and belligerent noises, and indicating that he was hungry.
he demanded that the villagers send him some children or fair maidens to eat.
just a few, he insisted, then he would be on his way.
the villagers held a council.
st george stepped forward at the meeting.
there is no need, quoth he, to surender any children or maidens to the dragon. with my sword and my lasso i will capture the dragon and put him in a cage, when all you good people can laugh at him forever.
this sounded like a good idea to the villagers, and they told st george to do what he could.
true to his word, st george captured the dragon and put him in a cage.
the villagers rejoiced, and held a great feast in st george’s honor, in which much ale was quaffed, and much beef and mutton devoured.
the dragon in his cage was treated to some pine cones and gruel.
life went on in the village.
st george and the other villagers went back to working in the fields and the farmyards, with occasional expeditions to poach in the bad king’s forest.
every year on the anniversary of the capture of the dragon, a feast was held with st george as the guest of honor.
on some years when there had been a bountiful harvest, the bad king himself attended the festivities and gave the villagers his blessing.
the villagers kept the dragon in his cage, as his presence reminded them of st george’s great victory, and kept him alive by feeding him gruel, pine cones, pine needles, and an occasional mouse.
st george lived to the venerable age of ninety-nine. the villagers gathered around him as lay on his deathbed, and after he downed one last hearty flagon of ale, they bid him good-bye.
even with st george gone, the villagers continued to keep the dragon in his cage and feed him. he lived for another three thousand years.