Experiment #101

Sir Dancealot & the Dragon of Dancealonia Part 1

Once upon a time there lived a knight who liked to dance. He floored them at the Castle Ball, astounded them at the Armory Disco, and set the dance world on fire with his solo Jitterbug at the Soirée of the Keep. Sir Dancealot, they called him and people from far and wide came to hear of his dancing prowess.

Whenever a fair maiden (or anyone else for that matter) asked him for a dance he always answered the same way. He’d do a high jump with a triple twirl, landing in a split and say in a deep, sultry voice, “I dance alone.” Then he’d get up from the split without using his hands and swagger off. (This was particularly impressive because he often did it in a full suit of armor)

Long ago while visiting a neighboring land at the behest of his king, Sir Dancealot had allowed a princess to dance with him. She had stepped on his toes and kicked his shins and moved at all the wrong times. After what seemed an eternity the song ended.

“Thank you,” she said as Sir Dancealot limped toward the edge of the dance floor

He breathed out in disgust and said, “You should do more than thank me, you dragon in a dress.”

The princess began to weep. Just then the crowd erupted in a standing ovation. Sir Dancealot turned, his anger melting as he basked in the crowds glory. Until a nobleman shouted, “Get off the dance floor, ya hack. We’re clapping for her.”

Sir Dancealot stalked away and threw himself through the door of the great hall, as the crowd cheered for the princess, the one who had no rhythm, until she took a bow.

That very night Sir Dancealot swore to himself he’d never dance with anyone again, princess or otherwise. And so he danced alone, winning competition after competition without the aid or need of a partner.

One day, King Francisco Disco of Waltzaria, came to Sir Dancealot and asked him to get rid of a dragon. The dragon had been bothering the king’s peasants in the far western mountains of his territory, near the land of Dancealonia.

Sir Dancealot wanted nothing to do with such adventures, but a knight is bound by honor and by oath to serve his king and protect the land, even when those things don’t involve dancing. So Sir Dancealot set out for the border lands on his trusty steed, Foxtrot.

Sir Dancealot arrived three days later at Jig, a small village on the border of Waltzaria and the region of Dancealonia. The whole town of Jig came out and danced to welcome him. The dragon had been ruining their crops and scaring their livestock for weeks. They could not wait to see Sir Dancealot drive it away. Sir Dancealot, however, saw this as more of an insult than an honor and felt exhausted by their primitive moves and lack of rhythm.

To Sir Dancealot’s great delight, just after the people of Jig began to dance, a shrill shriek split the air. A dragon buzzed the ground just above their heads. The wind forced Dancealot to the ground. The villagers scattered and Foxtrot fled for the hills. From his low vantage point Dancealot watched as the dragon flew up in the most beautiful pirouette Dancealot had ever seen before it glided away into the mountains of Dancealonia. “What is this beast that moves with such grace?” Dancealot asked out loud.

Experiment #102

Sir Dancealot & the Dragon of Dancealonia Part 2

“The problem you’re here for,” said a surly middle-aged woman who lay on the ground next to him.

“It’s beautiful,” Dancealot said.

“It’s terrifying,” the woman said.

Fixing his eye on where the dragon disappeared into the mountains, Sir Dancealot danced into the hills alone.

He followed it to its cave, dancing all the way.

When he arrived he danced outside the cave entrance for four hours. He put his heart and soul into that dance to lure the dragon out, but the dragon wouldn’t budge, though he could see the faint glow of its eyes watching him.

Finally he coaxed it to a place where he could see its face. Terrible sadness and longing looked out of those eyes. Sir Dancealot danced around doing step after step, inching his way toward the dragon with every flourish and well placed foot.

When he got within a stones throw of the cave he suddenly stopped, bowed low to the ground and said, “Will you dance with me?”

Tears filled the dragon’s eyes. It nodded and carefully approached Sir Dancealot. It stood on its hind legs and waited for Sir Dancealot. What followed was too beautiful and too sacred to tell. Never before had man and beast so perfectly matched each other’s rhythm. Never before had two members of the animal kingdom moved in sync so effortlessly. And never before had such grace and joy been expressed through movement.

When they had completed their dance, Sir Dancealot said, “If you were human there wouldn’t be a competition we couldn’t win.”

The dragon smiled, but with Sir Dancealot’s pronouncement a strange thing happened. The dragon’s scales turned from dark green to a bright, translucent silver. Starting at the dragon’s tail the effect swept slowly over it like a dark cloud revealing the sun. Before long the dragon shined so bright that Sir Dancealot had to shield his eyes, then look away all together.

When the light faded he turned to find a fair maiden. She seemed familiar to him though he knew he would not have forgotten a face so beautiful and bright.

“Fair maiden,” Sir Dancealot said, “If you are half as good in this form as you were in the previous, I should be honored if thou wouldst dance with me.”

The maiden smiled warmly, but she said, “I think not.”


“Now that the enchantment has been broken, I must find my true love,” she said through tears.

“Seek no further, I am here am I not? I broke the spell, and I truly love you. Dance with me again.”


“Look at me. I’m your knight in shining armor.”

“No,” a voice shouted, “You’re a dragon in a dress.”

Sir Dancealot began to glow. His skin turned a dull green and broke out in hard spots that grew and flattened out into scales. A fifth appendage hit the ground behind him and the bulk of his body pushed him down on to all fours. His neck elongated and his teeth grew into fangs. His shoulder blades stretched till new joints popped and bent as he spread out wide wings.

Experiment #103

Sir Dancealot & the Dragon of Dancealonia Part 3

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.