Tolkien’s color pencil sketch of Smaug means a lot to me, not least that it was the cover of my first Hobbit book and I was convinced, pre-reading, that that twisty flying thing was The Hobbit. With feathery red plumes on its head and a little smiley face where Smaug’s chin is.

But I digress. Check out Tolkien’s notes on the margins. “Bard the Bowman should be standing after release of arrow at extreme left point of the piles”, “Dragon should have a white naked spot where the arrow enters”, and best of all, “The moon should be a crescent: it was only a few nights after the New Moon on Durin’s Day”. Oh Tolkien you wonderful nerd.

You know the gag would have worked with just one swordfish, but Dr. Seuss had to go and draw over 20 swordfishes, each one of them different. Now that’s what I call creature-based dedication (crebadication?).

Found in The Tough Coughs as he Ploughs the Dough (pronounced “the tuff cuffs as he pluffs the duff”).

Turns out that magic isn’t necessary at all in dealing with dragons. They can be defeated in a number of ways, many of which are within reach for the average layman. Here at Dragonslayers Inc. we sell a complete line of equipment for the aspiring dragonslayer.

1. Lances

The original and best! Keep out of harm’s way with a pointed stick. Cheap, effective, and deadly, as Saint George proved. Watch out for venomous dragons, though, their poison can travel up the lance and kill you. Great for dragonslayers on a budget!

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2. Swords

Prefer to get up close and personal? Our line of swords, sabers, scimitars, claymores, rapiers, machetes, knives, and stilettos offers a range of options to fit any wallet. Our recommendation? If you’re going to engage in hand to hand combat, try subterfuge. Valued customer Sigurd killed his dragon by digging a pit and hiding in it, stabbing the dragon as it passed above.

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3. Arrows

Arrows work following the same principle as the lance – why come within range of a deadly animal when you can kill it from a safe distance? Our standard arrows require a certain dexterity, as shown by the seven pagan warriors who defeated the Bête de Rô at La Rochelle. They shot exactly seven arrows – two in its eyes, two in its ears, two in its nostrils, and one to nail its lips shut. What a display of marksmanship!

If you’re not as much of a crackshot, our line of Hercules brand poison arrows require only one shot on target to kill.

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4. Crucifixes

Even cheaper than swords or lances! Vanquish dragons with the sheer power of your faith. As creatures of evil, dragons will shrink from holy items. Saint Martha used her faith to great effect by taming the dreadful Tarasque. If you’re a bit of a showoff like our customer Saint Margaret of Antioch, you can let the dragon swallow you, then burst your way out of its belly. Hardcore!

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5. Spiked Armor

Slay dragons in style with our Lambton brand spiked armor! Guaranteed to make you impossible to squeeze or swallow, as well as giving you that dashing “Egyptian Porcupig” look. With added asbestos layers for flameproofing. Slip into one of these suits and watch dragons impale themselves on you!

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6. Deadly Food

We sell a line of dragon bait guaranteed to kill! Combine any number of ingredients including pitch, sulfur, hair, calfskins, and nails to create a lethal cocktail. Just leave in a prominent location, let the dragon eat it, and watch the fireworks! Leave out of reach of children.

7. Lions

Fancy yourself a bit of a beastmaster? Why not check out one of our hunting lions? Not only are they great dragonslaying allies, they make excellent companions and bodyguards. Valued customer Yvain aided a lion in battling a dragon, and they’ve been inseparable since. Adopt one of our lions today!

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8. Magic

When all else fails, why not resort to magic? Our exclusive line of Medea brand herbal mixes is guaranteed to put even the most resilient dragon to sleep.

All images from Wikipedia.

The glorious, stirring, edifying tale of the battle of Moore of Moore-hall with the Dragon of Wantley is told in a comic ballad and a later burlesque opera.

In them, the hero Moore of Moore-hall dresses in the time-honored bespoke spiky suit of armor until he looks like “Some Egyptian Porcupig”. He then defeats the dragon in mortal combat by kicking it in its weak spot, which, as can be clearly seen in the illustration by John June…

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References

Lampe, J. F. (1770) The Dragon of Wantley, A Burlesque Opera. Lowndes, Caslon, Nicoll, and Bladon, London.