The Littlest Knight

Written and Illustrated by:

Carol Moore

Once upon a time long ago, even before the days of King Arthur, there lived a blacksmith  only three feet tall. He was so short that he needed a stool to stand on to shoe the great steeds  of the knights. This bothered him not a bit because although he was small he was very brave. In fact, in his heart he secretly longed  to become a knight and win the hand of the Princess.

The Princess was the King and Queen's only child and it should come as no surprise that the little blacksmith loved her very much for she was both kind and beautiful. She was even smaller than he, and had dancing eyes and long silken hair which she wore in a coiled  braid. But, alas, the little blacksmith could admire  the Princess only from afar because she was, after all, a princess and he but a lowly blacksmith--not even that tall.

One day a terrible dragon came to the kingdom. Breathing fire on anyone who crossed its path, it trampled  houses and burned fields. Many knights battled the dragon but their swords could not cut its thick scales. Each night it flew home to its cave in the mountains surrounded by a deep ravine .

The dragon was enchanted  and protected by a magic spell. It said:

He who would break my spell,
Must carry a thousand swords,
And do it well.
Then cross a bridge which isn't there,
If he wants to reach my lair .
And last, not least, my defeat
Will be an empty cup filled.

Many knights went to battle and many knights were hurt as the dragon moved closer and closer to the castle. The King declared whosoever killed the dragon would be granted half his kingdom. Now knights came from across the sea. They were the most fierce, the bravest and the biggest knights anyone had ever seen. A thousand of them gathered to attack the dragon.

But with his great wings the dragon took no time in knocking 50 knights from their horses and breathing fire on the rest. He said,


You must think I'm here to fiddle,1,000 men--that's not the riddle.One man alone, only one man,With a thousand swords,That's the plan.


In desperation  the King proclaimed whosoever solved the riddles and killed the dragon would be granted their heart's desire.

Now the merchants got busy. Suddenly there were swords everywhere: fat swords, skinny swords, sharp swords, dull swords, fancy swords, but mostly tiny swords so that one man might carry many of them. But a tiny sword is more like a dagger  and most knights were too proud to carry a sackful of daggers.

There was also a need for building materials to make the bridge, all kinds and shapes of wood and rock and rope and twine . Of course, with all this material they needed carts to carry it and animals to pull it so there was a run on wagons and horses and donkeys and oxen. 

Lastly, the chinaware merchants had a field day. They sold crystal goblets , wooden goblets, big cups, little cups, coffee cups, fat cups, skinny cups. To fill these cups the wine merchants and the milkmaids sold red wine, white wine, sparkling wine, cow's milk, goat's milk and all types of fruit juice.

As a matter of fact, the kingdom had never known such commercial success. Nothing was left of anything resembling a sword or building material, or a wagon to hold it, or an animal to pull it, and there was not a drop of liquid left in all the kingdom but ordinary water.

What was left were sacks and sacks and sacks of money piled everywhere. And did this do any good? No. The knights for all their effort and all their supplies couldn't defeat the dragon and now the countryside was strewn  with debris and the kingdom was a mess.

Only the little blacksmith's heart was full of hope for he finally had a chance to win the hand of the Princess. He fashioned a suit of armor and a sword out of old tin cups and scrap metal, mounted his pony and rode to court. Bowing before the King, he said, "I wish to be knighted so that I may rid your kingdom of this horrible monster." 

There was a moment of silence, then everyone but the Princess began to laugh. In fact, they laughed and they laughed, which made the little blacksmith's ears turn red. The King said, "You are no match for this dragon. It takes might to fight. You are simply too small."

The little blacksmith squared his shoulders. "I may be slight but I can fight."

The Princess was impressed. It was clear to her he was brave and good. "Father, for my sake, knight him this day. You promised 'whosoever should slay the dragon,' and surely he deserves a chance."

The King couldn't refuse his only daughter. He rose from his throne and knighted the blacksmith. Then, for luck, the Princess unwound her long braid, pulled out a single hair and handed it to the littlest knight. He placed it in a pocket over his heart. "May you have good fortune, my brave knight," she said.

So the littlest knight set out on his pony to find the dragon. He met many tired and injured knights and one helpful fellow told him, "Go back. One man can't carry 1,000 swords, nor can you cross a bridge which isn't there, and if you fill an empty cup it won't be empty any more. It is all a trick." He thought the littlest knight was the biggest fool.

The littlest knight had been traveling half a day when he came upon an object in the road beneath a tree. It was a beehive. Being a kind soul he picked it up to put it back in the tree. Suddenly he heard a tiny, buzzing voice.



We see you have kindintentions ,But please don't put us back.Every knight who's seen us here,Raised his sword and gave a whack.Carry us elsewhere, we pray,And we'll return the favor one day.


"OK," said the littlest knight and carefully tied the beehive to his saddle.

It was shortly after that he found the dragon or rather it found him. It landed nearby to look him over, and said,


Pfft, why you're nothing but a pea,Who doesn't reach my knee.Go home and grow some more.Fighting you would be a bore.

But the littlest knight charged anyway striking a blow with his sword.

"Ouch," said the dragon. The littlest knight charged and struck him again. The dragon roared.


You've gone too far this time.You hit me on my behind.I'll fry you 'tillWhat you look like most,Is a piece of burnt up toast.


Suddenly there was a buzzing from the knapsack . A bee flew out and up to the littlest knight's ear.


We have a way to repay you,Throw our beehive and we'll save you.


So the littlest knight grabbed the beehive, throwing it at the dragon's head. Immediately a thousand bees flew out with a thousand stingers. With their tiny swords they stung the dragon again and again. The dragon's eyes began to swell and he could hardly see. With a bellow of pain and anger he leaped into the air and flew off to his cave in the mountains.

The littlest knight followed on his pony. When he reached the dragon's lair he saw that the cliffs of the ravine were so far across that building a bridge would take a year. He sat down to think about it, meanwhile pulling from his pocket the Princess's single silken hair.

Again there was a buzzing from the knapsack and a bee flew out. It asked him what the matter was. When he told it, it said.



This is easy.To cross a bridge which isn't there,Could be a single human hair.Tie the Princess's to my back.I'll fly it there andTie it near the dragon's lair.


The bee did just that. The littlest knight couldn't believe his good fortune until he was fully halfway across the ravine, balancing like an acrobat. The Princess's hair seemed magical for it stretched the whole distance and even with his weight did not break.

He made it across and entered the cave. There he found the dragon in a far corner. It was in misery with its eyes swollen shut and its forked tongue lying on the ground. It hissed at his approach, for it could still smell him.

I warn you do not come in here.I'll kill you if you come near.It's foolhardy to be involved,When there's still a riddle to be solved.

But the littlest knight wasn't afraid. With his kind heart all he could feel now was pity . He wanted to help the beast, to give it water to drink and cool its swollen eyes.

I warn you do not come in here.I'll kill you if you come near.It's foolhardy to be involved,When there's still a riddle to be solved.

But the littlest knight wasn't afraid. With his kind heart all he could feel now was pity. He wanted to help the beast, to give it water to drink and cool its swollen eyes.

Returning outside he climbed down the cliff to the stream below. At the bottom there was plenty of water but nothing with which to carry it. Then he spied a chipped cup some knight had tossed from above. Carefully picking it from the sand he filled it as best as he could and climbed back up.

But when he got back to the dragon he discovered that not only had the cup been chipped but it had a crack he had not seen. What little water there was had drained out while he was climbing. He approached the dragon and said, "I'm sorry. I meant to help you, I really did. But the cup is empty."

To his surprise the beast rose up with a roar of glee.


Thank you, oh thank you, little knight,You have saved me, all right!An empty cup it may be,But it was filled with kindness, you see.And an empty cup filled, sets me free!

I was a good and gentle dragon long ago,
Before I angered an evil wizard so that
He cursed me to be as wicked as he.
I'm forever in your debt,
I'm the happiest dragon yet.
Let me take you home.
I'll guard you forever, I tell no lies.
I'll be your wings, if you'll be my eyes.


The littlest knight was shocked, stunned and delighted. The evil dragon wasn't evil at all, only bewitched, and now that the riddles were solved it was proving to be as kind as its new master.

The first thing the littlest knight did was attach the beehive to a high rock at the mouth of the cave. The bees were thrilled. They had a new home with shelter, protection and most important, privacy, and the stream below had enough flowers growing by it to make more honey than they would ever need.

Then the littlest knight, astride his flying dragon, flew home with his pony galloping beneath.

At first the King and all the kingdom were terrified. All except the Princess, that is. She trusted her littlest knight and upon hearing the whole story set about immediately to make a healing salve  for the dragon's eyes.

The littlest knight married her and got half the kingdom. The dragon got back his eyesight and, true to his word, guarded the kingdom faithfully.

In time, the littlest knight and the Princess had seven children who loved taking rides on the dragon's back.

Of course, they lived happily ever after.

The End