Once upon a time, deep in the woods, there was a cozy cave. Inside the cave lived a mama dragon, a papa dragon, and a baby dragon. Every morning they woke up early to flame-roast hazelnuts for breakfast.
This took a long time, because they were careful not to burn them. Instead, they carefully breathed fire above the nuts, turning them over in the shallow stone hollow that was their stove until every side was golden brown. Once every nut was toasted to perfection, they went on a walk while breakfast cooled.
One morning, as they walked through the woods in the early dawn, stepping through the sun-dappled shadows, things were different. They just didn’t know it yet. Unfortunately, a knight in shining armor had just found their cozy cave.
The knight looked around at the clean, well-ordered cave, and decided he’d just found his new base of operations. He was delighted to find the nuts, and didn’t once wonder where they came from. He ate every last one, cracking open the shells with his sword, and wished there were more.
Wandering further back in the cave, he found three large tree stumps. He cut up the smallest stump with his sword. Then he pulled out his tinderbox and lit one of the sticks of wood on fire and stashed a few unlit sticks of wood in his pack as he put the tinderbox away.
Holding aloft his torch, the knight ventured further into the cave. He followed the large, winding tunnel feeling especially dashing and brave. He couldn’t wait to tell of his heroics when he returned to the castle!
At the end of the tunnel, he found a wide room with three lumpy raised beds covered in soft moss. The torch was growing dim, and he had been walking around all morning. The knight decided he had time for a nap before exploring any further.
He laid on the closest and largest mound. It was too lumpy, and he kept rolling off the bed and falling onto the floor with a clang. This was not a good choice.
He laid on the next bed. It had too much moss for a knight still wearing shining armor. He kept sinking and sinking until he struggled to stand up before he’d sunk too far.
And so the knight laid down on the smallest moss-covered mound. It was just right. The torch went out and the knight fell asleep.
Meanwhile, the unsuspecting dragon family was returning home from their morning walk. As soon as they entered the cave, they knew something was wrong. The floor was covered in mysterious muddy footprints.
There was a pile of hazelnut shells in the middle of the kitchen floor. What animal would dare to enter a dragon cave and steal their breakfast? “Did they eat all of it?” Baby dragon whispered.
“It looks like it.” Papa dragon looked worried. “Stay behind me.”
As they followed him to the living room, mama dragon whispered, “Don’t worry. We’ll find something else to eat once it’s safe.”
They were shocked to find baby dragon’s chair broken into small pieces. Papa dragon sniffed the air. “Smoke.”
Mama dragon glared. Was it another dragon who had come to steal their hoard? How unmannerly. She couldn’t wait to tell them what she thought of their behavior. She nodded at papa dragon. They could be hiding in only one place.
The dragons stalked down the hall, their eyes glowing and lighting all the darkest corners. Baby dragon trailed behind them not sure what was happening, but hoping they’d get breakfast soon. He looked around once they reached the bedroom.
The moss-covered piles of gold had been disturbed. And there, lying on the smallest pile, baby dragon’s bed, was something shiny and largish. “Someone is sleeping on my bed,” baby dragon yelled. “There he is. I bed he was the one who ate breakfast and broke my chair too!”
The silver creature launched itself from the bed, waving a strange stinger in the air and growling incomprehensibly. Baby dragon hid behind mama dragon. He really hated getting stung by little bugs, and this was the biggest bug he’d ever seen.
Mama and papa chased the silverbug away without getting stung. Baby dragon looked around the bedroom and made sure the gold was safe. He sniffed closely. It hadn’t even been touched. Maybe silverbugs didn’t like gold. Maybe it was just hungry and sleepy. Baby dragon could understand that.
Mama and papa returned with fish and berries for breakfast, and all was right in the world. They never saw the silverbug again. They returned to roasting nuts and walking in the mornings, but they rolled large rocks in front of their cave before they left, just in case.
The knight was grateful for his narrow escape. The big lizards could keep their lumpy beds of rocks. The cave wasn’t worth the effort. He would find a new base of operations that wasn’t as dark and unwelcoming.
Just then, he saw a little cottage in the woods. It looked abandoned. He entered at once, and was delighted to find porridge on the table. All that walking had made him a little hungry. He sat down at once and started sampling the bowls to find which was best.