As you may know, our own Bertie the Frog used to be a handsome prince and was engaged to be married to the lovely Princess Beatrice. But then he was turned into a frog, and the wedding had to be called off. Sadie the Swan, who lives on the pond with Bertie, has been dying to know just how Bertie and Beatrice met and fell in love. We now reveal the secret of how Bertie fought a Welsh dragon to win the hand of Beatrice.
Read by Natasha Lee Lewis. Duration 19 minutes
Proofread by Claire Deakin.
Prince Bertie and the Dragon
Hello everybody, my name’s Natasha, and I’m just dropping by with a juicy piece of gossip I just picked up from the pond where Bertie the frog lives.
Of course, Bertie used to be a handsome prince and was engaged to be married to the lovely Princess Beatrice – but then he was turned into a frog and so the royal wedding was called off at the last minute. Well Sadie the Swan has been dying to learn how Prince Bertie and Princess Beatrice met and fell in love, but she’s been afraid to ask Bertie in case it’s private. As usual, Colin the Carp has been going around the pond spreading ugly rumours behind Bertie’s back. “The lovely Princess Beatrice can’t be that lovely,” he says, “or else she would have found a half-decent prince, not a dunder-nut like Bertie.”
“Don’t be ridiculous,” hissed Sadie when she heard this. “Princess Beatrice is famous all over the world for being lovely and ever so kind to children and animals. Only the lowest pond life doesn’t know that.”
So to put an end to Colin the Carp’s mutterings, she finally decided to ask Bertie to tell the story. As she feared, Bertie looked a little sad when he remembered the good old days before he was turned into a frog. “Oh dear,” he sniffed. “Those were such happy times. We used to have chocolate cake every afternoon for tea, and I had a whole palace full of toys.” Then he croaked bravely, “But of course it wasn’t all play, you know. Princes have work to do.”
“Oh do tell us about a prince’s work,” said tiny Tim the Tadpole.
“Well, for one thing,” said Bertie, “Princes are supposed to slay fire-breathing dragons. And as it happens, that’s how I won the hand of the lovely Princess Beatrice.”
At this point, Colin the Carp interrupted rather rudely. “He’s just making it up,” he said. “Anyone with half a brain knows that dragons don’t exist.”
“Oh, yes they do,” said Bertie.
“Oh, no they don’t,” said Colin.
“Well if you don’t believe in dragons, then don’t listen to the story,” said Bertie. So Colin the Carp sunk to the bottom of the pond and pretended not to listen. But I was there, and I heard what Bertie told Sadie the Swan and Tim the tadpole, and so now I will tell you the storynory of Prince Bertie and the Dragon.
Princess Beatrice lived in a far away kingdom called Wales, which is famous for having lots of dragons who live in caves and pop out and burn people by breathing fire on them. Apart from that, it’s a very nice place to live.
Fortunately, the Welsh dragons don’t breath fire on people very often, unless they are in a bad mood about something. But there was a one particular dragon who was causing lots of trouble. He liked to sing songs, and when he did, fire came out of his mouth. One summer he burned down a whole forest with his singing. The king decided that enough was enough, and he announced that whosoever should slay the dragon, would win the hand in marriage of his daughter, the lovely Princess Beatrice.
Now as it happened, ever since the lovely Princess Beatrice had been a little girl, she had always done her maths homework on Tuesday evenings with Prince Freddie from the next door kingdom. A long time ago, she had decided to marry Prince Freddie, but she had kept her plan a secret. Her wicked stepmother also wanted her to marry Freddie. You see, because although he was rather boring, he was terribly good at maths, and at saving money. He was also very good at growing vegetables in the garden. It was generally agreed that he would be a very sensible choice as a husband for the lovely Princess Beatrice. And so when the king announced the competition to slay the dragon with the prize of his daughter’s hand in marriage, Princess Beatrice was very sad.
“Oh no,” she said to her stepmother, “I’ll never marry Prince Freddie now. You see, although he’s terribly clever, I don’t think he knows about fighting with swords and killing monsters. It’s not what he’s good at, at all.”
When Prince Freddie heard that he was supposed to slay the dragon, he was even more worried.
“Oh dear, oh dear,” he said. “I don’t think I want to meet a dragon. Couldn’t the king change the contest into a vegetable growing competition? I might be able to win that. Or perhaps he would say whoever saves the most money over the next year can marry Beatrice?”
“Don’t be such a scaredy cat.” Hissed the stepmother of Princess Beatrice, who is rather horrid and is secretly a wicked witch. “You’d better slay that dragon, or I’ll turn you into a creepy crawly and see how you like that! Now don’t worry. I’ll give you a fireproof suit of armour. Put it on and you won’t have any trouble at all.”
“Wouldn’t that be cheating?” Asked Freddie.
“Cheating! Listen, you soppy pimple nosed goody two-shoes, do you want be burned into smithereens by the dragon?”
“No thanks. I’d rather not,” admitted Freddie, and he agreed to wear the fireproof suit of armour.
When the day came, Freddie put on the suit of armour and rode very slowly and carefully on an old horse, up the mountain to the cave where the dragon lived. When he arrived, he got off his horse, and hid behind a big tree, waiting for the dragon to come out of his cave.
“Oh deary, deary me,” he said to himself, shaking with fear, “I really don’t want to fight the dragon. I’m not sure that I want to marry Princess Beatrice at all. I think I’d rather do my maths homework on my own from now on. I’ll just wait here until tea time, and then go home and tell everybody that the dragon has agreed to be good from now on.”
So that’s what he did – but the very next week, when the king was out in his garden, the dragon jumped over the wall of the palace and burned all the daffodils as well as his prize leeks. The palace guards came running, but the dragon had wings and flew away before they could catch him.
“Right,” said the king, looking at his burned garden. “I’m never going to let that nincompoop Freddie marry my lovely daughter now. I always thought he was a frightful bore anyway.”
To tell you the truth, the lovely Princess Beatrice wasn’t that sad after all. She realised that if Freddie had truly loved her, he would have at least tried to kill the dragon, and not made up a fib about him agreeing to be good from now on.
The following week, a new prince rode through the gates of the palace. He had blue eyes and long blonde hair, and was ever so handsome. Princess Beatrice and her stepmother watched him from the top of the palace tower. They both agreed that he looked terribly strong and brave and would make a very fine husband. They were both so sure that he would succeed in slaying the dragon, that the stepmother didn’t even bother to offer to lend him her fireproof suit of armour, in case he got offended.
Now this prince, who was called Boris the Brave, had been to school with Prince Bertie, and to tell you the truth, they really don’t like each other very much. Although Boris the Brave has lots of admirers, nobody admires him more than he does himself. He used to go around saying that he was a truer prince than Bertie, and when they played football, he used to kick Bertie in the shins when the referee wasn’t looking. When they were very small, he used to pinch Bertie under the desk during class; and when they got bigger, he hid Bertie’s skateboard and stamped on his conkers. In fact, Bertie really really didn’t like Boris the Brave at all, and so when he heard that he was riding out to Wales to win the hand of the lovely Princess Beatrice, Bertie jumped onto his skateboard, and headed off in the same direction. He was determined to win Beatrice from under the nose of his rival.
Bertie arrived at the palace soon after Boris. The wicked stepmother of Princess Beatrice was not at all impressed. “Humph,” she said. “He doesn’t look like a real prince at all. He’s wearing his baseball cap back to front and quite frankly, he’s rather chubby. You might even call him fat.”
Just then, Bertie did a backwards flip on his skateboard, in the centre of the court where everybody could see him. Then he jumped off and did a bow. All the courtiers clapped, and the pageboys hurrahed. Beatrice didn’t say anything, but secretly she thought that Bertie looked rather nice and hoped that he would slay the dragon before Boris the Brave.
Both the princes were given rooms at the palace to stay in, and the next morning when Bertie got up for breakfast, Boris the Brave was nowhere to be seen.
“We have a saying in my kingdom,” Bertie said to Beatrice’s father, the old king. “The early bird catches the worm.” I’ll go and kill that Dragon before Boris gets out of bed.”
Princess Beatrice’s stepmother spluttered with laughter into her cornflakes. “You’ll find that hard,” she said. “Boris the Brave was up at six o’clock this morning and rode straight up the mountain to seek the dragon. I’d say he’s probably slayed him by now, and will marry Beatrice next Monday morning. Would you like another slice of toast and blackcurrant jam before you go home, Prince Bertie?”
Now Prince Bertie was dismayed to hear this news, and so he ran out into the courtyard and jumped onto his skateboard. He was determined to catch up with Boris the Brave. It was very hard work going up the mountain, and he had to carry his skateboard on his shoulder. His sword was rather heavy, and its sharp point trailed along in the dust as he trampled up the track to the dragon’s cave. “Oh bother,” he thought to himself, “I bet that Boris has truly killed the dragon and will marry the lovely Princess Beatrice. He’ll be thumbing his nose at me for years to come. It is so, so annoying.”
Finally Bertie came within sight of the cave. It looked very dark and scary. Now, it’s one thing to decide to go and slay a dragon, and it’s another to actually go and do it. “Perhaps,” said Bertie to himself, “I can sneak into the cave and kill the dragon with my sword while he’s asleep.” Then he thought, “Oh bother! What if he isn’t asleep? He’ll breath fire on me, and that will be the end of Prince Bertie.”
Bertie had heard the story of how Prince Freddie had returned home, and then been made to look really really stupid by the dragon. He realised that he was stuck. He didn’t want to go into the cave in case he got burned to smithereens, and he didn’t want to go back to the palace in case he was made to look stupid. Just then, he heard a terrible noise, a sort of “Whooosh!” and Boris the Brave came charging out of the cave on his white horse. He was chased by a ball of fire just inches behind the heels of his horse. Boris and his horse headed straight for the mountain path and charged as fast as they could down the track. Bertie dived behind a rock. He heard the dragon stomping around outside his cave and singing, [out of tune so as not to breach copyright]
“Why, why, why-eee, Jermimah?”
“Oh golly,” said Bertie. “That’s the most frightening sound I’ve ever heard.” He lay very still in case the dragon might see him and breath fire on him. Eventually, the dragon went back into his cave, and Bertie heard his voice echoing,
“What’s up spotty-dog? Arooo! Arroo!
What’s up spotty-dog? Arooo! Arroo!”
“What am I going to do?” Thought Bertie. “That singing is more unbearable than the fire.” And then he had an idea. He reached into his pocket and pulled out his mobile phone. Ten minutes later there was an even louder roaring than the dragon’s singing, accompanied by the sound of a bell. A big red fire engine was coming up the track.
“Right boys,” said Bertie. There’s a fire-breathing dragon in that cave. He’s already seen off two brave princes. Let’s give him a bath. There wasn’t a tap anywhere to be found, but fortunately one of the firemen knew that there was a lake at the top of mountain. They took one end of the hose up to the lake, and pointed the other through a chimney in the roof of the cave. They could tell that the dragon was inside because they could see smoke coming out of the chimney pot. Soon the water was running down the hose and into the dragon’s cave. A very wet and bedraggled dragon came out, too cross and miserable even to sing. He saw Bertie and the firemen and opened his mouth to breath fire on them, but fortunately they were ready with a second hose which they squirted into his mouth.
“UGGGGG!” Roared the dragon – for his fire was quite put out by the water. Before he could flap his soggy wings and fly away, the firemen waiting on top of his cave dropped a net on top of him. Soon they hauled him up onto the fire engine and drove him down the mountain into the city. When the news got round that the dragon had been captured, the people came out onto the streets and whistled and cheered and threw their caps in the air. Bertie stood on top the the cab of the fire engine and waved his sword and took deep bows. The lovely Beatrice watched all this from her tower and thought that Bertie did look like a real prince after all, even if he was a bit chubby. The firemen took the dragon to the city zoo where he now lives quite happily, and still sings songs to himself, only without breathing fire, and some say that he’s even learned to sing in tune.
Prince Bertie returned to the palace and that evening there was a 12 gun salute – which is when 12 cannons fire gun powder to mark a royal celebration – and then there were fireworks over the city, and pageboys went up and down the streets giving away gingerbread to the people. The wicked stepmother tried to persuade the king that Bertie had cheated by calling the fire brigade, but the king would hear nothing of it. “It was a jolly clever idea,” said the king, “And besides, your Prince Freddie and Boris the Brave didn’t exactly cover themselves in glory.”
The wicked stepmother was really really cross, and would have liked to have turned Bertie into a creepy crawly there and then, but she didn’t dare because she knew the king would be angry with her, and perhaps put her in prison. So she smiled and pretended to be pleased. Boris the Brave and Prince Freddie were nowhere to be seen. The lovely Princess Beatrice allowed Bertie to kiss her hand and it was agreed that she would marry Bertie soon and come to live in his palace, and Bertie promised to share all his toys with her.
And that’s the storynory of how Prince Bertie won the hand in marriage of the lovey Princess Beatrice. Colin the Carp is convinced that Bertie made it all up, but Sadie and Tim the Tadpole believe him, and so do I… One day I might even go and look at that dragon in the zoo.
Bertie has loads more stories – most of them are classic tales like The Three Little Pigs and Jack and the Beanstalk, and there are more about Bertie and his friends too. All of them are absolutely free, but if you want, you can buy a personalised story for a special person in your life. So tell all your friends to drop by at Storynory.com and say hello to Bertie. For now, from me, Natasha, Bye Bye.