The Red Book Of Animal Stories - online children's book

Stories of Animals, Fantastic and Mundane, Edited By Andrew Lang

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being deprived of the marks and dress of the Order; and, secondly, his very life was to be forfeited. Nevertheless there was a young Gascon Knight, of noble birth and great courage, who was not to be deterred from his project by this edict; on the contrary, he thought an opportunity presented itself of winning much honour and renown. His name was Deodatus de Gozon. He kept his own counsel, telling nobody in the city of his plan, but he went to the Grand Master and begged leave of absence on the pretext of business at home. Having got leave he went into the country to carry out his design; but he was careful, before starting, to observe the dragon as closely as possible, so as to remember every point in its horrid carcass. What he saw is thus described : It had a body as thick as that of a carthorse ; its long and prickly neck ended in a serpent's head, which was pro­vided with long ears like those of a mule; its mouth gaped widely open, and was furnished with the sharpest of teeth; its enormous eyes shone so brightly that they seemed to emit flames of fire; and its feet (of which it had four) were armed, like bears' feet, with sharp claws. In its tail and other parts of its body it resembled a crocodile, wearing an armour of the hardest scales cunningly disposed ; from its sides issued two gristly wings, in colour not unlike a dolphin's gills—the upper surface blue, the lower a sort of reddish yellow, this last being the general hue of its entire body. Swifter than a horse, when it moved abroad in search of food, it did so partly by flying, partly by running; its scales, too, made such a clattering, as of crockery, and its hissing was so terrifying that people at a great distance were almost frightened to death.
De Gozon, accordingly, having looked carefully at the monster, as we said, withdrew into the country, where he set to work and contrived a creature exactly like the dragon in every respect; he made it of paper and stuffed it with tow; then he bought a well-trained charger, and
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