The dragon awakes, and yawns with a roar. It crawls out of its cave, and stretches its wings to prepare for the day's ride. It flies high, looking for an ideal village. It rejects village after village that it had raided in the past, and looks for a new one. Finally it finds one.
It swoops down on the village with a roar. All the frightened villagers run out of their houses to see what is happening. It flames an abandoned hut in the middle of the village, then grabs a girl in its claws. It flames once more, setting fire to a house, before flying off back towards its cave with the screaming girl in its claws.
Halfway there it lands in a meadow, allowing the girl to get to her feet. "Are you alright?" he asks.
The girl has stopped screaming by now, and she's a little confused. "Are you going to eat me now?" she asks, and the dragon says, "Don't tell a soul, but I've never been able to bring myself to eat an innocent maiden."
"Then why did you kidnap me?" she asks.
"Because I'm a dragon. That's what dragons are supposed to do, right?"
"But do you like doing it?" she asks
"Not really. But I have to keep up my image as a fierce village-raiding beast." The girl smiles and giggles. "I have an idea. Do you know what you need?" "Um... some treasure?"
"No, you need... an inept knight! And I think I may know of one!"
The dragon allows the girl to climb on its back and takes off, following the girl's directions to the knight's castle. It flies over meadows and forests, and finally arrives at the castle of the inept knight.
With a roar it lands in the knight's courtyard. The knight comes out, in full armour, with his sword, and challenges the dragon. There is a brief skirmish, which ends with the sword in the dragon's claw and the knight's helmet on its muzzle. The girl slips off its back, runs over to the knight, and whispers in his ear.
"I have an idea. This dragon is a nice dragon. He can give you a better reputation." "How?" asks the knight.
"The dragon kidnaps maidens, and you rescue them."
"But... I can't fight!"
"You don't have to. You just need to put on an act of fighting. The dragon will let all the maiden go quite willingly. He just wants to keep up his image."
The knight nods and steps forward.
"Dragon! I have a proposition. If you kidnap maidens, I will come search out your lair. We will stage a fight. Then you will set the maiden free. Is this agreeable?"
The dragon nods. "Very much so. I can keep up my image that way, and you can keep up yours."
The dragon returns the knight's sword, and they shake hands. The dragon then seizes the girl gently in his claws and flies off towards his lair.
"Saddle my horse!" calls the knight. "I have a maiden to rescue!"
He rides off, chasing the dragon. He arrives at the dragon's lair, stages the fight, then takes the girl back to her village where he is hailed as a hero.
The dragon goes to sleep in his cave, content in the knowledge that he can now keep up his image in a less undesirable way.