By Danielle Dumas
A knight strode boldly into the tavern dim
as I wearily scrubbed tables there.
I watched as he picked up a cup
and looked searchingly at me over its rim.
A spark of curiosity had me setting my rag aside.
And slowly, I walked towards him
noting the dusty, well-worn armor
and the gleaming sword at his side.
“Stranger, why are you here?” I asked him
You are different, for sure!
Not many come through this place,
or quickly, they leave again.”
The knight raised his brows,
and evenly met my stare.
“I am here to rescue the princess- the one who sleeps in the tower over there.”
I laughed long and loudly, bending over with mirth.
The other patrons glanced over,
frowning; as I stomped in the dirt.
“Sir!-” I gasped, when I could speak
“Many have tried to rescue her! All have failed.
None as long as I have lived- have ever prevailed.”
The knight smiled gently, and I couldn’t look away.
“But I will rescue her,” he said
“Will you come with me- or stay?”
I gaped. And then looked around again
at the tavern dim.
And then shrugging,
I followed after him.
The knight whistled, and an unbridled horse came running.
He swung us quickly upon him
and away we ran; unstumbling.
We rode swiftly towards the darkened castle
And I shrank in fear as we grew close.
“Careful!” I cautioned. “An evil dragon guards the moat.”
The knight didn’t answer, but he pulled out his sword.
he rode forward.
I screamed when I saw the dragon
blotting out the sky!
With a roar the dragon spewed hell fire
with night- wings he did fly.
The knight pulled me near,
shielding me as fire surged around us,
hot and deadly.
I moaned in fear.
The knight swung his sword -once!
And the dragon shrieked in pain.
Falling away from us, the dragon
whispered the Knight’s name.
“Go from here.” The knight ordered.
“And never return.
is now earned.”
The defeated dragon stumbled away, clutching his throat.
And now we stood on the decayed
banks- facing a depthless moat.
A strong wind blew around us
whipping the water into sky high waves.
I hid my face in terror, choking from the dust.
“Peace,” the knight said, to me
and to the storm.
“Be still O waves, wind and sea.”
The water instantly became as smooth as glass.
Speechless- I gripped his hand
as walking on top of the water
we did pass.
On the other side of the vast moat
we stopped at iron spiked gates.
Chilled with apprehension,
I cleared my throat.
“Oh good sir!” I said, finding my tongue – “Oh that I could help you! These spikes are deadly, and as for entering -I have no clue!”
The knight studied the keyless gate.
Then firmly, he pressed both hands
against a spike. He did not abate-
until it tore straight through his palms.
I cried, as I saw blood pour from his wounds.
But then I gasped; as the gates swung open,
showing us the Tower rooms.
We left the horse and began to climb the steep steps.
As we slowly climbed upwards, he left a trail of red.
I turned to him, when we reached the final door.
“Friend,” I said to him
“You must really love her. This no one can ignore.”
The knight nodded, his eyes never leaving my face
” She is my daughter,” he said
“Nothing for her- is a waste.”
“Only you can open this final door.” He then said to me.
And tracing the familiar, rough wood with my fingertips, I slowly agreed.
And stepping through the doorway, I fell to my knees.
Because there lying on the bed- was me.