Gratitude

Monday, July 18, 2016

Papillon, Dragon Hunter Extraordinaire, Part 4

[In case you missed it, Part 3 ran yesterday.]

Papillon dreamed that he awoke to find the dragon gone. When he woke up for real, the dragon still slept in the doorway to his house.

Papillon stretched. He could use some breakfast. He looked around. The dragon must have eaten his loaf of bread--or else something had carried it off during the night. There was no other food in the house. He would have to visit Madame Peapod again.

What do baby dragons eat, anyway?
He found Mme. Peapod outside her shop and wished her a good morning.

"Monsieur Papillon. Back so soon?" Her tone suggested that the large milk bottle and huge loaf of bread she gave him yesterday should have lasted longer. As they would have, if not for the dragon.

"I must beg your kindness once again. I need milk. And something to eat."
"Where is the dragon meat you promised me in exchange?"

"Ah, I don't have it. I mean I didn't kill one. Yet. A dragon, I mean. But I know where they are. I just need another day to hunt them."

"I'm not sure how far I can extend your credit..."
"Only one more day! I ran into difficulties yesterday. I lost the food and had to come home early. But I'm good for it. If you let me have milk and bread, I'll repay you tomorrow." Cheese would have been nice, too, but he wasn't about to press his luck.

On principle, Papillon hated begging. But Mme. Peapod obviously had spent the early hours baking, for the air was filled with delicious aromas. Papillon's empty stomach rumbled. He was so hungry he nearly fell to his knees and wept.

The shopkeeper had a good long think about it. "You are running up debts," she said, not unkindly. "How do I know you won't take the provisions and disappear on an extended hunt, maybe never to return? Who would pay me then, hmm?"
Papillon's stomach rumbled louder. "You mean, if a dragon kills me..."

"Or you run away."

"Never! I am Papillon, Dragon Hunter Extraordinaire. I kill dragons; they do not kill me. And I pay my way," he added with all the bravado he could muster. My reputation is at stake, he thought, not to mention I have a baby dragon to hide and feed. Oh, I'm in a real pickle this time.

"Certainly you will pay, if not in dragon meat then in some other way. I will give you until tomorrow at this time. If you return without dragon meat, you will agree to work for me until your debts are paid."
Work? How could he hunt dragons if he was forced to work?

"What kind of work, Madame?"

"Nothing a dragon hunter cannot do. I have the beginnings of a small herd. They need tending: feeding, brushing, cleaning out their enclosure. Watching so that no one attempts to steal them."

What kind of herd? Cows? Sheep? Goats? "It sounds like shepherd's work."
"Too hard for you?"

"Of course not."

"Then we are agreed."

Agreed? When had Papillon agreed? She drove a hard bargain, did Mme. Peapod.

"Until tomorrow morning," said the shopkeeper.
And that was that. He had milk for the dragon but nothing for himself. How was he to hunt dragons on an empty stomach?
At home the little dragon waited, wide awake and no doubt hungry.

"Good morning, little one. I trust you slept well. I have your milk here. As soon as I pull my things together, you and I will go back to the forest, where I will return you to the nursery and find some meat for Mme. Peapod. If I fail, she expects me to turn in my sword for a shepherd's crook. The shame of it! Oh, I'm in a pickle, all right. A jam of a pickle. A true pickle jam. But I am Papillon, and if I'm not the greatest dragon hunter that ever lived, then I don't know who is. Right, little one?"
By the time Papillon finished this--for him--lengthy speech, the wagon was packed and Papillon's mood was much improved. He headed down the forest path, the little dragon trailing behind.

"To the dragons, little one. Adventure awaits!"

 To be continued...

Papillon is a FairyLand RealPuki Papilio
Madame Peapod is a FairyLand RealPuki Pupu
The dragon is an Aileen Doll Pico Baby Ashes

6 comments:

  1. Madame Peapod is such a character!! This keeps getting better and better :D!!! Don't give up Papillon!

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    1. I'll keep writing Papillon's adventures for as long as people want to read them. We can assume that experience has taught Madame Peapod how to deal with customers who fail to pay her. LOL
      Thanks for your comment!

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  2. This is being really funny. I am sure papillon will love dragons at the end.

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    1. Thanks! I'm glad you see the humor in it, although Papillon sure doesn't see it at the moment. He'll be very sorry to see the dragon go.

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  3. OMG This is adorable!! And Mme. Peapod is really good at bargaining! Loved this, you made me laugh several times. Hope you will continue it!

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    1. I have ideas for the next installment, but first I have to make some props. These little guys are great fun to write about.

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