The question is: How would you go about talking a dragon out of eating you, especially if no weapons were available?
Generally I like my dragons metaphorical, but to begin with since (unlike poor Eustace) I have read the right sorts of books I would know it was a dragon. And since (presumably, and also differing from Eustace’s initial experience) this dragon is alive and well, I would back up about fifty paces and take a stand—trying to look as small and unappetizing as possible while also maintaining a paradoxically brave and courageous stance.
Then keeping one eye on the dragon and pulling out my always-upon-my-person, yellow copy of Dealing with Dragons for Dummies, I’d flip to the chapter on out-talking one of the fearsome beasts.
Of course, they immediately cite the common example of Bilbo bandying words with Smaug. Tentatively, I try the first couple lines. No. My particular dragon is quite well-read and literate (most are, in fact) and knows every line of that enchanting and ultimately fairly disastrous conversation.
I start panicking a little and flip to the next chapter. Here Farmer Giles of Ham appears. This is the chapter for Inept With Weapons Yet Still Well Armed People, and begins with an excellent point on the advisability of having an ancient and semi-magical sword in your possession (hanging over the fireplace). I definitely don’t have a sword of any description.
The dragon’s starting to steam and, desperately, I flip all the way to the last chapter—this one on Genuine Tales of Damsels, Dragons, and Champions. This chapter includes my own story of Sir Andrew (what an honor! ;)) proving his love, fighting his way up the rocky mountain in search of the perfect rose and meeting—on that one fearsome ledge—the fiery monster roaring down on him out of the air. (Very stirring.)
I flip a few more pages. After Sir Andrew, the authors go on to elaborate on the well-known, magnificent tale of St. George—including Spenser’s variation with full excerpts of Redcross’s mighty, exhausting, three day long battle.
At this point (one of my favorite moments in all literature), my tears start spilling over and the dragon—swishing his tail—gets interested in spite of himself. Laying the book carefully in front of him, I inch away and—as he starts sizzling the first page—I catch up my skirts and take to my heels.
If the good stories are to be believed, champions are never as far away as might be expected.