Thursday, October 24, 2013

The Original Dragonslayer

Once upon a time, in a little village named Antioch, Margaret was born to a pagan priest who thought the Christians were crazy.(1)

Feeling rebellious upon her thirteenth birthday, Margaret renounced her father's pagan beliefs and told anyone who would listen that she planned to get on the Christianity bandwagon and ride it to the promised land. He banned her to the countryside, where she tended to sheep and did well to stay out of trouble.

Unfortunately, while walking through fields of gold, her ginger hair caught the eye of a local governor who proposed marriage to her.(2) He said he'd protect her and her sheep and all she had to do was give up her Christian beliefs. Margaret, having decided that this particular member of the male species was just this side of evil, decided to keep her faith and turned him down. The good governor was infuriated with Margaret and so subjected her to a series of cruel tortures.

The worst of these was the arrival of the Devil, disguised as a dragon, who, having missed lunch earlier in the day, gobbled Margaret up whole.

At which point, God rained down miracles upon Her most favorite of Antioch virgins - best of which was the sword Margaret found in the dragon's stomach. She rationalized, while she stared at the sword in the dragon's belly, that swinging a sword could be no more difficult than swinging an ax and so she hefted the broadsword and cut her way out.

This display of ingenuity did not, however, save Margaret from an unpleasant beheading at the hands of her scorned governor. She's quoted as saying on the morning of her imminent demise, "I should have just stayed in the damned dragon. At least I would have kept my head."


"So he ate you whole?" Claire asks.

"Yup. Swallowed me like a jagged little pill."

"And you found a sword in his belly?"

St. Margaret nods. "Nice and tidy, sitting there waiting for me. I always wondered if God knew what was in store and made sure he ate that swordsman earlier in the day."

"And then you cut your way out of him?"

She uses her butter knife to demonstrate. "Slit a nice big hole in him and strutted out like Kate Moss taking the runway."

"What did he do?"

"Pulled himself together and ambled off to eat someone else. I kept the sword."

"What did the governor do?"

"Had me beheaded, the prick." She takes a sip of tea, nods her approval.

"Seems a little extreme, even for a governor."

"Well, he always was a tad over dramatic, much like the Devil."

"And what about the Devil?"

"What about him?"

"Do you ever sit down and have coffee with him? Cup of tea?"

Margaret shakes her head. "I avoid him like the plague he is." She takes a cookie from the plate between them, uses it to point at Claire. "And I'm not terribly impressed by reptiles, either."


(1) Margaret now admits that her Father may have had a point...
(2) Actually, he called her Ginger Witch...and then proposed marriage to her as an apology when she knocked him off his horse with her shepherd's staff.

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