It’s well known that tales as they are passed down through generations become mangled. I have it on very good authority (one of my tiny dragons told me) that this is exactly what has happened to the “patron saint” of England. It was all a horrible misunderstanding which is why you will never see a dragon out on 23rd April. Mainly they are watching performances of Shakespeare.
The young lady (princess, whatever she is supposed to have been) was very beautiful but as so often the case in those days, under a curse. For one night of each month she became a dragoness herself and had to go and hide away.
Her father, slightly suspicious and evil-minded about her mixing with young men, wanted to know where she kept disappearing. Under torture, she admitted what had happened which, as it was due to her mother philandering with a demi-dragon in the past, got dear Papa somewhat riled. While her toes where being squashed to pulp she confessed that her friend, a nice old dragon in the mountains, took care of her when she had her dragonning time so he invented this story of having to give a “fair maiden” as food and offered a reward. This, of course, is bonkers, as dragons don’t like eating stringy young women, much preferring fat old men, preferrably weighed down with gold… her father would have made a much more acceptable snack.
So along came a young man who had borrowed a suit of armour and was keen to chance his arm (and other bits of his anatomy) in order to win the hand of a Princess (and other bits of HER anatomy!) The princess was unable to warn her guardian dragoness but as it was coming to the dark of the moon, she was expected. In fact, when she arrived, her guardian was just making up beds and readying herself for a nice snuggly night with her pal.
Having followed the young woman through forests, up mountains and being out of breath, young George was sweaty, tired and not emotionally up to seeing a dragon give a teddy bear to a young woman who was gradually growing a tail, had arms shrinking and wings sprouting from her shoulder blades. He felt rather silly.
Faced with the option of killing TWO dragons, one of whom was the Princess and the other a rather nice if a bit dotty ole bag, George sat down to talk to them both over a bowl of cocoa. Granny Dragon had an idea – Grannies of any kind are good for that. She suggested that when the Princess was out of her dragonning time, they could stage a triumph for the young man, Granny would play dead as long as he promised not to cut her head off and she would seek out the Witch of the Eastern Mountains to see if she could help lift the curse.
Of course, as you all know by now. Their publicity stunt worked so well that young George became a saint, the princess married someone else and painters were inspired by the etchings the Witch of the Eastern Mountains drew to depict him heroically slaying a dragon ten times bigger than Granny.
As far as I know she ended her days in the Fireaway Home for Retired Gentledragons and the Princess came to visit her on Sundays with her husband and children who grew up to know that dragons are neither fierce nor nasty but mustn’t be asked to cook popcorn as they melt the saucepan.
I believe George was embarrasssed about it to the end of his days and even claimed to come from a different country. Such is the life of fairy tales.