As promised, the concluding part of The Wiseman and the Dragon with images I shot in the woods around Vienna over Christmas.
Eventually, the elders decided that a handful of the brave souls would take up their axes and enter the deep, dark wood. They would find and kill the dragon, before it had a chance to find and kill them.
The very next day a small band of brave man and women set off on their quest. First they cleared an entrance into the deep, dark wood by chopping some of the branches from the outlaying trees and clearing some of the brambles. When they had finished, they took the branches back to the village and made a fire. It was the first time many in the small hamlet had enjoyed the warmth of a fire, so they sat and chatted long into the night and began to feel less afraid. The Wise Man saw from a distance and smiled.
The next day, while the band of dragon seekers set off to continue the quest, some of the children crept into the wood. The trees were so please to see them that they reached down their branches, so the children could climb easily. When the mothers of the children came looking for their sons and daughters, they found them happily playing in the trees. The mothers smiled to see their children so content and stayed to watch. They picked blackberries and found mushrooms.
That night when the dragon seekers returned from the day’s quest, they found fresh mushroom stew and blackberry pie for supper. Around the warming fire they told tales of their adventures. The colours of the leaves on the trees further into the wood, were beautiful they said. They found a stream with fresh water for drinking and a small clearing where the villagers could be protected from the harsh winter storms that came up the valley. “And the dragon?” The Wise Man asked.
“No we did not find the dragon.” They said. “Perhaps tomorrow!” The Wise Man listened and smiled a wider smile.
The very next day more villagers decided joined the quest to find the dragon. Yet most stayed in the clearing by the stream and waited for the dragon seekers to return. The wood was delighted and sent the birds to sing sweetly. The children played happily, while the villagers collected berries, nuts and lots of firewood.
That night as the villagers sat round the fire, enjoying their supper they made plans to venture deeper into the wood in order to find the dragon. “We need to stay in the wood overnight.” They said “So we can travel further into forest.”
“That is a good decision.” The Wise Man said. ” Perhaps building a shelter will help you?”
When everyone reached the clearing the next morning, only a two people headed off deep into the forest to find the dragon. The rest picked up their axes and cut down some of the trees. With skill and care they began to build some shelters. “These shelters are much stronger than our mud and straw homes.” They thought.
The next day no one set out on the quest to find the dragon. The villagers worked together to chop down trees and build strong houses in the clearing by the stream. The wood with shear joy, gratefully gave up it’s best wood and finest fruits, so that the villagers had strong shelters and plenty of food to eat. Out on the plain the first storm of winter was howling fiercely, but the villagers were safe and warm in the clearly in the middle of the deep, dark wood.
The dragon? Well he was never found and the good folk of the village became so familiar with the secrets of the wood that their fears of monsters disappeared. The wood? It was content and valued and useful. And the Wise Man? He left the village soon after and was never seen again.