As his eyes narrowed into reptilian slits he recognized the girl. She was the princess he had danced with so many years ago who had stepped on his feet and kicked his shins. And then into his vision came the owner of the voice who had shouted, a diminutive woman with gnarled features and exquisite clothes.
“What’s going on?” he asked. His tongue had thickened and the words struggled to get out of his mouth.
“The night we danced was the eve of my eighteenth birthday,” the princess said in a sad voice, “the day upon which a witch’s hex was to take effect.”
Sir Dancealot tried to speak but it only came out as a roar.
“She had cursed me,” the girl continued, “such that the one who spurned me would be the only one who could break the spell.
“That’s why everyone clapped after our dance. None would take the chance at spurning me and raising my father’s wrath.”
“Her father,” said the gnarled woman taking control of the story, “had asked me to help him win his kingdom, but the squabber never paid up. So I took his firstborn as my slave, but rather than just take her away, I decided to make a mockery of the power he thought he held. The approval of the person who spurned her would be the only way to break the spell and in so doing that person would take her place as my slave. Not even his most loyal subjects would do that for him, so they encapsulated her in a world of nice, afraid of both the king and sealing their own fate. Until you came along, none had the courage or selfishness to spurn her-”
Sir Dancealot, with grace that bellied his size and courage he’d never had as a human, had reached out and gobbled the gnarled woman in one bite.
The princess smiled and thanked him and apologized for her part in what had happened (though truly Sir Dancealot, her father, and the witch were the only ones at fault). Sir Dancealot smiled a dragony smile in return. And then they danced an awkward, terrible dance as neither had yet acclimated to their bodies. Yet this dance eclipsed even the most recent dance between these two, offering a beauty to the world “through” rather than “in spite of” their clumsiness.
The princess went on to find her true love, rule her father’s kingdom with a kind and generous hand, and always repay her debts.
Besides the witch giving him indigestion, Sir Dancealot actually made out in the deal as he no longer had to go on missions for King Disco and could spend all day everyday doing the only thing he ever wanted to do: dance.