By Vasilisa Bo Reshetova
Illustrator – Daria Apohonchich

Translated by Anastasia Gribanova
How to steal a dragon
Once upon a time there were three Kingdoms: Purple, Red and Lemon. Even though they lived peacefully like good neighbours, each believed that its color was the best.

There was a king and a queen in the purple Kingdom. And they had one single daughter named princess Sabrina. She was so beautiful that from early childhood parents taught her to wear a special veil every time she leaves a castle.

And not only Sabrina, but many young girls were also ought to wear a veil outside. Princess didn't like wearing a veil, but she was an obedient girl and listened to her parents well. Although every time she went to ride her favorite horse through the forest, she took the veil off as soon as her parents' castle was no longer seen, because it's inconvenient to practice archery with some sort of cloth on your face.

Sabrina was very fond of energetic activities like archery, riding a horse and practicing other knightly skills. Coming home she put back unpleasant clothing which gave her itchy face too. Princess was taught that she must wear a veil otherwise a dragon who always kidnaps beautiful girls will kidnap her! To which she replied:

"He'd better not!"

Meanwhile she only dreamed about getting rid of that stupid piece of clothing.

There lived a prince in the Red Kingdom. He was famous for defeating a dragon and saving beauties every time the dragon dared to kidnap one. And everyone praised and honored him as a hero, although he was weak and awkward and couldn't defend even himself, not talking about the Kingdom. But everyone either didn't know it or knew but never mentioned it as it was rude. And Sabrina didn't know that.

One day the princess rode her horse wandering in the forest and trying to go through thick woods so the dragon (if he happens to fly nearby) wouldn't notice her. She stopped at the river and suddenly saw a big green blur lazily moving across the sky. Taking off an annoying veil Sabrina saw a large, slightly clumsy winged lizard slowly flying in the sky. "What kind of flying reptile is this? Is it a dragon or something?" she thought. Not noticing that the blur turned in the direction of her and began to approach, Sabrina, without thinking twice, got on her brown horse and rode away from the river in the direction of some trees. Then she discovered that the dragon was tired of following her and stuck between the trees because of some sort of dizziness.

The princess, just in case she meets a dragon, took with her a fishing net, swords, an axe, a flasher lamp from the police car and a loaf of bread. Fortunately, she only needed a fishing net. While the dragon was lying tangled in pine and birch trees, Sabrina carefully shoved him into the net and somehow dragged it to the castle where she placed him in the highest tower. After untangling the dragon from the net, she asked him why he kidnaps beautiful girls.

"Should I steal the ugly ones?" he replied. "Prince would be furious."

The princess was surprised by his answer and asked the dragon to detail it.

"Many years ago, His Highness ' ancestor caught me and imprisoned me in his castle: back then, the princes and kings there were famous for hunting animals and competing to see who would catch the biggest ones."

"And what was the reason?"

"I don't get it myself, nowadays nobody hunts in my Kingdom. And the Prince is lazy, he does nothing, just sits on his throne and plays a gaming console while I'm forced to fly, steal the beauties and burn villages. And then he releases the beauties with the words "I saved her!". And everyone praises him all over the country, but they mock me, throw tomatoes and poke me with sticks, like some kind of beast."

Sabrina got sad and decided she'll let the dragon fly inside the castle so no one would see him, or people might get scared and faint.

"Okay, dragon, I'll settle you in the room in the tower and will feed you but you should behave yourself so the prince wouldn't know you are here."

In general, Sabrina treated the dragon better than anyone else in his entire long life. He built his nest in the upper empty tower and finally relaxed.

Soon everyone in the three Kingdoms were kept on their toes because the dragon has disappeared.

In the Red Kingdom, where the dragon came from — because there was no one left to kidnap girls so that the prince could become famous.

In the Purple Kingdom, where they now kept the poor dragon, because they saw him flying through the sky and thought that he was still out there.

In the Lemon Kingdom — because there was a stir on both sides, and they were very worried that they would have some troubles either.

Soon the prince thought: Maybe my dragon has escaped to live in another Kingdom? He sent out spies, ordering them to search everywhere, and the spies noticed a dragon in the window of the royal castle in the Purple Kingdom and told the prince about it.

But not only the prince, people from all three Kingdoms gradually learned about it.

"How's that?" people were shocked. "Did the dragon get into the castle or did the princess steal such a giant reptile? This is outrageous! This is not accepted! After all, dragons should kidnap princesses, and not vice versa!"

Soon enough everyone forgot about the prince and his bravery and only talked about the princess.

The beauties began to live with an easy heart, because there was no one to kidnap them.

They told all their friends that it was the prince who told the dragon to kidnap the girls.

Meanwhile, the prince, whose reputation was completely ruined, decided to declare war on the Purple Kingdom. But for some reason, his subjects did not support him: no one wanted to fight for the liar. The prince decided to take his helicopter to the neighboring Kingdom to pick up his dragon.

So, he flew to the castle and came straight to the king and the queen and said:

"I'm here to collect my dragon."

"So, you're the prince who pretended to be a hero for the sake of honor and glory?" asked the king, who, of course, already knew everything about the prince.

"What makes you think, dear prince, that this dragon is yours? Did you ask him? The dragon isn't someone's propriety, he belongs only to himself!" the princess said.

The prince did not give up, he needed to restore his reputation. They decided to call a royal council.

Everyone sat down at a round table, and even the dragon was invited, because by that time everyone in the castle had already realized that he was here (after all, it was not without purpose that Sabrina began to ask to cook her 100 kilograms of high-calorie food every day and claimed that she now likes to eat alone). They began to think about what to do next.

"Why did you kidnap the dragon?" the prince asked the princess.

"I got tired of hearing from my friends that dragons kidnap girls, and I decided to kidnap him myself. Besides, I'm tired of walking around with this rag on my face, " and with these words, the princess, to everyone's surprise, took off her veil.

And everyone saw that there was nothing special under the veil — the princess was like a usual princess, but most importantly, the dragon did not rush to kidnap her after that.

The prince did not understand anything and was going to take his dragon, but the reptilian creature did not want to go back and be used by the prince for kidnappings again.

Moreover, he was treated very well and with a lot of respect here.

Flapping his wings, the dragon flew out of the window, breaking it and dropping everything in its path, flew around the castle, sat on the roof and from there declared that under no circumstances would he return to the prince and would not kidnap beauties or anyone else.

Finally, the prince gave up and said that he had no more claims to the dragon. When the lizard disappeared from sight in the thicket of the palace garden, Sabrina announced to the prince that he should stop his outrages, then she would let him go and, in turn, would not declare war.

The prince had no choice but to go to his Kingdom. And although he never restored his reputation, he did not kidnap anyone else.

After this the Princess had to change her subjects' opinion on dragons and convince them that while a dragon lives in the Kingdom, they're safe and they will not be attacked by other countries, and women can no longer cover their faces if they don't want it — no one will kidnap them anymore.

The reign of Princess Sabrina became a golden age for the Purple Kingdom, and she went down in history as Queen Sabrina the Great, the lady of dragons.

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