My most cordial greetings to my esteemed human readers, and please be assured that your kind attention truly honors this squirrel – or, more eloquently, an individual belonging to the populous Sciurini genus. All the more so, as during a scientific congress a rather rare but nonetheless quite effervescent anthropological case met with a completion, in which – I can say without immodesty – my own research have participated the lion’s share. (Should one find my words surprising and wonder how it is possible that an essay penned by an ordinary forest squirrel has been released to human hands, may I refer them to my article regarding witchology published at the end of July 2010 in this same periodical.)
Nowadays we seldom receive word about virgins kidnapped by dragons and dragged as captives to the evil beast’s hidden lair (which is usually a nasty cave smelling of brimstone, or a desolate, grim castle ruin where owls nest), for luring valiant heroes attempting the rescue to their bitter doom. Doom, that can be, depending on the temperament of the monster, a trick or a duel, upon which said warriors are consumed. During their mornful detention the damsels receive sustenance enough only for survival, as though it is not in the dragon’s best interest to keep a human well-fed and cared for, it still cannot afford to let the prisoner die an early death: it is precisely the news of her sufferings which impacts members of certain knightly circles, just like the vibrations generated by the desperate struggle of an ordinary fly caught in a spider’s web. And, when after a long time no further arrival of a savior can be expected, the dragon, making faces, devours its useless prisoner without a hint of gratitude, so it can look for a new bait to acquire. Verily, this is a terrible fate for any woman!
One could think it is chivalry that induces heroes to hurry to the suffering maiden’s help, but let us not allow for naive hearsay to veil the rather practical reality – instead, do examine the circumstances with scientific precision!
Similarly to hermits seeking serenity and identity in reclusion and ascetism, time spent in forced isolation and under rather extraordinary circumstances unfolds the development of the captive’s character, and it can be reasonably assumed that a rescued damsel will continue to have the acquired attitude and virtues for years. Therefore, it can easily be decided upon returning from the successful rescue, whether if the dragonslayer hero, quite opposed to his original intention, had obtained a jailer for himself with even more fierce nature than that of a dragon’s, by marrying her as a reward for heroics. Some think this is the etymologic root of the expression of women sometimes being negatively labeled as “dragons” in certain cultures, though this theory is still forced to stay in shadows for lack of sufficient research.
Going back to my promise at the beginning of my article, I have to emphasize the regularity of the antecedents of this irregular case. The captive lady in question is noble born, and as such may have rightfully expected that the news of her sufferings reaches wider audience and spreads more rapidly across the province than usual. And so it happened: although it was suspected that the robber dragon was especially vicious, there was no shortage of hopeful heroes with entrepreneurial intentions, who tirelessly searched for the bloodthirsty reptilian’s lair. Despite the news of fallen champions, more and more glorious knights have embarked to fulfill their duties, but even after years nobody had any success. So far the case would not have been extraordinary, but my interests were aroused by the most peculiar circumstance that the princess has inexplicably appeared every year in her father’s castle, claiming that due to her own wits and skills she has escaped from captivity, then she has always disappeared without a trace the next morning, just to re-emerge at the dragon’s dwellings a little while later. The princess was not only fair and beautiful, but persistent, resourceful and quite tough, and the fact that the dragon has kept on recapturing her only made her virtues more prominent, so the adventurers who set out for her were increasingly dashing, fearless, and more valiant than ever before. But they have all failed and did not return from the maze-like region surrounding the dragon’s domain.
This was the inspiration for my attempt to alleviate my passionate thirst for knowledge and I immediately scurried to unveil the mystery. I do not bore the reader with describing the perils and tribulations of my travels: it would be unworthy to reveal more than concede that there were moments when I was considering turning back, but thanks to my toughness and determination eventually I have reached my goal. Having crept unnoticed into the dragon’s lair, and hiding all along I observed the dragon, the champions and the princess herself, and made a very interesting discovery, to say the least.
Normally, it is the prisoner’s primary intention to hope for an early release, but in this case I had to witness that the princess gave advice to the dragon in secret on how to fight most effectively against the challengers, but as if it would not have been enough on its own, disguising herself as a wise woman or a wandering sage she approached the hero’s camp where he was resting and collecting strength for the upcoming duel, and the despicable girl weakened his chances for victory by poisoning the hero’s meal or by giving him false information, with such efficiency that, indeed, made the dragon prevail in every case. As it turned out, her annual escape did not happen at all like she used to report, but she has simply left and walked home, while the dragon seemed relieved by her absence and did not make any attempts to go after her, because the princess has returned every time by her own choice. I am afraid, so far I was unable to discover what could have prevented the dragon from getting a more fitting, predictable and controllable prey, and whether it was only because of the infinite squemishness, choosiness and unmatched ambition of the princess for behaving so. It would be gratifying to read other scholar’s analyses concerning the same subject matter, particularly if they are somewhat familiar with the labyrinth of the female soul.