The Funny Old Dragon
O ne wintry morning James had the biggest surprise of his life! He was going across the field-path on a misty day when he heard something snorting in the field over the hedge.
" I wonder what it is," he said, and he peeped to see. And, good gracious me, in the next field was a dragon! Yes, a dragon, just like you see in a story-book, with a long spiky tail and four clawed feet!
James was so astonished that he stared and stared and stared. The dragon saw him and nodded to him.
" Good-day," he said, in a mournful voice. " I'm looking for work. Can you tell me of any? "
" Well," said James, still more surprised to hear the dragon's strange, husky voice. " I'm afraid I don't know of any work a dragon can do. How did you come here? I didn't know there were any dragons at all nowadays."
" There shouldn't be, really," said the dragon. " But somehow I grew, though I know I'm dreadfully out of date and useless. Nobody wants a dragon nowadays, not even to fight with. So I left the place where I lived and came out to look for work. I'm very unhappy, really."
James squeezed through the hedge. He was sorry for the dragon, who had very large, soft brown eyes. He took a good look at him.
" Well, I should think you'd better keep yourself hidden," he said. " It's not likely anyone would be frightened of you nowadays, but you might be caught and put into the Zoo in a great big cage, like the lions and tigers and bears—and you might not like that! "