There! There was the beast! Its dripping maw gaped wide when it saw Sir Dagonet perched upon the high rocky cliff face, and it roared tongues of flame and fury as it charged through the air. Sir Dagonet had seconds to act as the beast flew towards him. He threw himself from the precipice, plunging down, down into the cavernous abyss.
But, at the very last second, he landed on the beast's back just as it lunged at the spot he had been standing seconds before. Maddened by rage the beast lurched around to attack, but Sir Dagonet was too quick. With a single stroke of his mighty sword he lopped the head from the beast’s neck and leaped to safety and to victory.
Now he could return to the castle with the beast’s head, his quest fulfilled, to claim the hand of the King’s daughter, the beauteous Princess Felicity at last.
Oliver closed the book and leaped up, ready to take on all the dragons and beasts the world could throw at him. He ran downstairs and out through the front door with a half-hearted cry to his mum.
It was week two of the school holidays. Ahead lay four more weeks of perfect unbroken sunshine and time to do exactly as he pleased. Mum was too busy with work to pay much attention to what he did, so Oliver had the run of the village until the streetlights came on. Then he had to be home for tea, bath and bed.
He ran down to the river swooshing at the beasts with a large wooden stick bellowing and leaping. He had a lot of adventure stories, but Sir Dagonet was his favourite. He loved the idea of the brave underdog defying the odds to win the day.
He wasn’t really sure about Princess Felicity, because girls were gross and he wasn’t really sure what he was supposed to do with her once he got her, but he was happy slaying beasts and not really worrying about what came after..
Oliver soon found himself on the bridge, hemmed in by its high stone walls. But his feet found footholds in the stone, and, with a bit of a scramble, he soon found himself staring down at the rushing water below, the wind blowing in his hair and the sun beating down upon his face.
Exactly as he imagined the heat of the roaring tongues of flame and fury must have felt for Sir Dagonet.
He was too high and he knew it, but now he could see the beast’s burning eyes, hear the thunder of its roar when it saw that he, Sir Oliver had come for him. He forgot the height and stood fast as the beast turned and charged through the air towards him.
Timing, Oliver knew, was everything. He waited until the beast was nearly upon him, just like Sir Dagonet. Then, summoning every last drop of knightly courage, he leaned just a little too far out to swipe at the beast's sinuous neck, stepped one foot just a little too close to the edge...
And brave Sir Oliver slipped and tumbled into the abyss, waiting for a sturdy, scaly, monstrous back to catch him up and break his fall.