“The Dragon and the Prince.” The Crimson Fairy Book, edited by Andrew Lang, London: Longmans, Green, and Co., 1903, pp. 80-92.



“The Dragon and the Prince.” The Crimson Fairy Book, edited by Andrew Lang, London: Longmans, Green, and Co., 1903, pp. 80-92.


In this tale, the dragon slayer is of noble birth. Defeating the monster not only gains him a princess for a wife, but also leads to the release of his two brothers and villagers who had been imprisoned by the beast. The dragon is a shapeshifter that encloses within his body, like nested boxes, a series of other animals. In order to be victorious, the slayer must defeat the dragon, a boar, a hare, a pigeon, and finally a sparrow that reveals where the dragon has been keeping its captives. The slayer does not act alone but receives help from an old woman who is being held prisoner by the dragon and from a princess whose kiss enables him to finally defeat it. Two black and white illustrations accompany the tale: the first depicts one of the princes being caught by the dragon; the second depicts the dragon slayer receiving a kiss from the king’s daughter before he slays the dragon.

Alternative Title

The Crimson Fairy Book


Andrew Lang


Henry Justice Ford

Spatial Coverage

London and New York and Bombay


England and US and India


Longmans, Green, and Co.



Temporal Coverage



Dragon Slayers


Once upon a time there were three princes, sons of the emporer, who all loved hunting. In quick succession, the first and then the second sons both tried to hunt a hare that lured them to a mill where it turned into a dragon and ate them both. The third, youngest son then searched for his brothers. He resisted hunting the hare and asked an old woman in chains at the mill to help him discover the dragon’s weakness. She tricks the dragon into revealing that it lives in a lake in a faraway kingdom and that its power lay inside of the dragon’s body which also contained that of a boar, a hare, a pigeon, and a sparrow. The prince traveled to the kingdom, became the emporer’s shepherd, and took the flock to graze by the lake without allowing to the dragon to eat the sheep, as had happened in the past. After two encounters with the dragon, the prince fought the dragon for a third time, and after the princess kissed him on the forehead, he tossed the dragon into the sky. Falling to the ground, the dragon smashed into pieces which became different animals. The prince first used his dogs to catch the boar and the hare that was inside the boar and then used his hawk to catch the pigeon. Inside the pigeon he found the sparrow. He spared the sparrow’s life in exchange for information on where he could find his brothers. He then marries the emperor’s daughter and frees a village’s-worth of people from the dragon’s cellar in the mill, including his brothers.


From Vuk Stefanovic Karadzic’s _Volksmärchen der Serben_ [Serbian Folktales] (Berlin, 1854).


Item sets


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