Once upon a time, many yesterdays ago, a handsome but shallow and vain young knight called Sir Pelidore had the terrible misfortune to attract the attention of an old woman who was a very powerful and very wicked witch.
She had become deeply infatuated with him and would regularly, riding on a magical carpet made of autumn leaves, visit his bed chamber while he slept, just to stand by his bed and gaze at him but, one night, he had woken up suddenly and caught her and, seeing her, thought her so
ugly and terrifying that he’d shrank away in fear, covering his eyes.
“Oh vile, hideous, creature!”, he’d yelled at her, “The very thought of you seems repulsive to me”.
The witch was very hurt by Sir Pelidores words but said that she would forgive him if he gave her a kiss.
“Kiss you, vile harridan”, Sir Pelidore had replied in disgust, “Why, I would sooner kiss an ugly old ogre”.
Soon, however, Sir Pelidore started to regret his choice of words for the Witch then got so angry with him that she turned him, with a wave of her walking stick, into a very ugly, very old and terrifying ogre and told him that he would remain in that frightening form until the day a beautiful young maiden kissed him three times.
“Now you shall see what it feels like to be thought of as ugly and repulsive”, she told the knight, flying off on her magic carpet of leaves “Then you shall wish you had been a little nicer to this old witch”.
For years, poor Sir Pelidore travelled like a hunted beast, driven out of his own home by his mother and father who didn’t recognize him, he hid instead in dank, dark caves; afraid to show his face in the sun and never believing that he would ever find a young maiden who would even look at him without shrieking in horror, never mind kiss him.
But then, one bright morning in early Summer, he wandered, quite by chance, into the magical
forest where Lilly, Rose and Violet lived and, finding a nice dark cave, put down some straw for a bed and started to make a home.
However, to Sir Pelidores surprise he found that the cave was already occupied by a Silver fairy and, knowing about fairy powers, he seized it by one of its stockinged feet and trapped it inside a glass bottle.
“Now, I won’t let you out”, he said to the Fairy, “Until you rid me of this curse. Break the witches spell and return me to what I was”.
But the Fairy told him that he didn’t have enough power to break the witches spell and then Sir Pelidore put his head in his hands and began to cry and, seeing the green ogre tears run down his hairy cheeks and hearing his booming sobs, the fairy in the bottle took pity upon him.
“Though I cannot end your curse”, said the Fairy, “I can disguise you as a handsome knight again. Atleast for a few hours”.
And, working its magic, the fairy transformed the ogre into the appearance of a handsome knight dressed in etched and gilded armour, “There is a house, shaped like a toadstool”, the fairy then told him, “Near the edge of the forest, where an old woman named Clara lives with her three pretty daughters. Perhaps, disguised as a knight, you may convince one of them to kiss you but, be warned, the spell shall wear off as soon as the sun sinks below the horizon”.
Looking at his reflection in the waters of a nearby lake and seeing now a handsome young knight instead of a repulsive ogre, Sir Pelidore was overjoyed and set the fairy free from its bottle, “Thank you, Fairy friend”, he said, smiling broadly, “You’ve given me hope again”.
Then, walking through the forest to its edge, he found the mushroom shaped house and knocked upon its front door just once.
And, rushing to the door, Rose answered it and Sir Pelidore, getting down upon one knee, started to introduce himself.
“My dear lady”, he said, “I am Sir Pelidore, brave and bold and I am at your service; to protect you and right any injustice that has befallen you”.
“Protect me?”, asked Rose, feeling slightly insulted, “I don’t need any protection. I’m not just some weak damsel in distress, you know. I shoot thunderbolts from the ends of my fingers”.
Then Rose shut the door in Sir Pelidore’s face and went back inside, feeling slightly annoyed with the presumptuous knight.
“What an odd sort of damsel”, thought Sir Pelidore, “This may prove to be a lot harder than I at first thought”.
But, undaunted, Sir Pelidore tried again; this time, knocking twice upon the door and, this time, Violet answered.
“My dear lady”, said the knight , “I am Sir Pelidore; brave and bold. Righter of wrongs, rescuer of maidens and slayer of dragons”.
“Slayer of dragons?”, interrupted Violet, angrily, “Not another blood thirsty hunter. We’ve had quite enough of your sort round here. Dragons are just living creatures like you or I who want to live their life and raise their young in peace”.
Sir Pelidore couldn’t believe what he was hearing, “O, sweet, naïve young maiden. I have slain many a fearsome dragon and can assure you that they are, all of them, vicious, terrible, unspeakable creatures who only live to destroy villages and devour innocent people”.
“No, no, Sir Knight, you are wrong”, insisted Violet, “I’ve nursed injured dragons and raised orphaned babies of dragons that men such as you have slain. A great many of my friends are dragons and they have never ever tried to do me any harm”.
Then, angrily, Violet stormed back inside, shutting the door in Sir Pelidore’s face.
The Sun was near to setting by now and the sky already turning a shade of gold that would soon become light pink. There was little time to lose and so, desperately, Sir Pelidore knocked upon the door again, this time knocking three times and then the third sister, Lilly answered the door.
“Dear Lady”, he said to Lilly, “I am the brave and the bold Sir Pelidore, Knight Errant who lives by a code of chivalry; of justice and valour and my only intention is to serve you”.
But, not long after he had opened his mouth, Lilly put her hands over her ears and winced in pain.
“Dear Sir Knight”, she said, angrily, “If you are so honourable and live by this noble code you speak of then please start telling the truth for I am very certain that you are either lying to me or deceiving me in some way”.
Then, Lilly shut the door in Sir Pelidore’s face and, as she did, Sir Pelidore saw the sun begin to set and felt himself turning back, once more, into an ugly old ogre.
“What terrible, accursed luck I have”, he sighed, “My one chance to get a pretty, young maidens kiss and I meet the three most peculiar maidens, surely, in this whole land”.
Then, sadly, the ogre trudged back to his dark cave where he met the fairy once more and told him about all that had happened, “I suppose not all fairy tales are meant to end happily”, he said.
And, gazing again at his reflection and seeing this time an ugly ogre, Sir Pelidore started to
remember what the witch had said, “Perhaps the old witch was right. Perhaps, I should have been nicer to her for now that I am ugly I wish that people would be nicer to me”.
But, just then, he heard a strange crashing roaring sound and, looking out of his cave saw a large dragon like creature with wide glowing,lamp-like eyes moving through the forest in the direction of the mushroom house.
And those in the mushroom house saw it too. Rose, Lilly, Violet and their mother all came out of doors to see what was making such a terrible commotion and saw the strange dragon, uprooting and devouring trees left and right.
“Oh no! It’s destroying the forest!”, said Clara in dismay.
So Violet tried to talk to the creature in the language of dragons but it was of no use because this dragon had no language except a strange persistent puffing and clanking sound, “It won’t listen”, said Violet.
Then Lilly, who seemed to see through most deceptions, said, “I don’t think that it’s a living creature at all but merely a machine for cutting down trees that only looks like a dragon. I think there are men inside it too”.
And so, Rose stretched out her fingers that crackled with blue lightning and hurled a thunderbolt at the mechanical creature but the creature had a large lightning rod, shaped like a twisted horn, at the centre of its forehead that caught all the lightning, “It’s no use”, said Rose, “My lightning bolts can’t harm it at all”.
But then, suddenly, the ogre appeared from out of the forest and, picking up a large boulder with all its ogre strength from the forest floor and letting out a terrible ogre roar, it hurled it against the machines head, delivering it a shattering blow.
Terrified by the ferociousness of the ogre and shaken by the blow , the men inside the head of the mechanical dragon, abandoning the creature fled hurriedly into the forest.
Then, happily; Rose, Lilly and Violet all ran up to the ogre, hugging and kissing him on the cheeks; not afraid of him at all, and saying, “Thank you, Mr Ogre. We don’t know what we would have done if you hadn’t helped”.
And, magically, the ogre started to transform back into a handsome young knight, his curse lifted by the kisses of the three sisters.
“No, I thank you”, he said to them, “Though you are certainly no ordinary maidens, you have broken the witches spell that transformed me into a vile ogre”.
But the three sisters all seemed to have preferred him as an ogre, “Now you are a man”, said Lilly to him, “And, to us, man is the worst ogre of them all because he kills defenceless creatures and cuts down the trees of our beloved forest”.
And so, to show them that he truly was no ogre in his heart, Sir Pelidore got down upon one knee and swore an oath that he would be kind to all living things and, picking up a broken twig of a fallen tree, Lilly touched him upon the shoulders with it and said, “Arise Sir Pelidore! Chivalrous protector of nature”.