Read at least 5 books that fit somewhere within the Once Upon a Time II criteria. They might all be fantasy, or folklore, or fairy tales, or mythology…or your five books might be a combination from the four genres.
Book 5: The Book of the Dragon by Ciruelo
Hardcover: 144 pages
Publisher: Union Square Press (June 30, 2005)
Product Description Amazon:
The mystique of dragons–soaring above castle spires, setting the world aflame–bursts into glowing life in breathtaking images by a major artist. An unforgettably original volume, The Book of the Dragon offers a glimpse of a culture we can only imagine.
They lurk in the most hidden corners of the world: the powerful and beautiful creatures known as dragons. We know them as the terrifying beasts of fairy tales, but their own story has remained a mystery–until now. Ciruelo, an illustrator of astounding skill, delves into their secret universe, revealing a rich and fascinating culture filled with poetry, magic, enchantment, and knowledge. Each of these wondrous creatures has its own unique personality and history, and it’s captured dramatically on these spectacular pages. But the revelations go beyond the images, as we gain insight into their psychological characteristics; encounter many different types (Earth Dragons, Water Dragons, Fire Dragons, and the legendary Golden Dragon); learn about their long-held customs; and explore the many legends in which they have figured so prominently–including the heroic tales of Perseus, Hercules, and Tristan.
Although this book gives you “information” about dragons, and then some short stories (myths) about dragons.. the biggest thing it gives you is the beautiful art of Ciruelo. (If you like Dragons at all it’s worth the time to visit his website.)
Let me show you some of what is waiting inside for any owner of this book…
I just love these two drawings. One was the inside cover in the front of the book.. the other the inside cover of the end of the book.
Tristan and the Fire Dragon..
A princess will be the reward for anyone slaying the dragon. (where have I heard that before? heh) Tristan sets off to kill the Fire Dragon by means of first extinguishing his fire with a bag of water hung over the entrance to the dragons den. While on his quest another follows Tristan figuring if someone kills this dragon he may be able to take the credit for it and marry the Princess.
Tristan kills the dragon but not before a long and tiring fight. When the fight was over he cut the tongue out of the dragon to bring back as proof, but then falls unconscious. The man who followed Tristan comes and cuts off the dragons head and returns to the king to collect his prize. When Tristan returns he finds the King will give his daughter away because the head of the dragon was brought to him. Tristan tells the king to ask the dragon who killed it, the king thinks him crazy. Then Tristan tells the king to look in the mouth of the dragon, which he does and finds the tongue missing. Tristan hands the king the dragons tongue… and wins the hand of the Princess.
Jilocosin is a story of a dragon who can turn into a human man and becomes a troubadour in a castle. One day when on his way back to his cave, walking through the forest as a human, he comes across a woman being assaulted. He turns into the dragon and slays the attacker, takes the woman and her bundle back to his cave to care for them. The bundle turns out to be a baby, and the attacker was trying to kill the baby. The woman stays with the dragon and falls in love with him (in his human form) but knows he is a dragon. A few years later she dies in childbirth and the dragon raises both children who eventually become knights and even find and kill the man who assaulted their mother.
This two page story told how dragons kept humans to care for them.. and had their “favorites”.
The stories in the book were not the greatest (along with the fact that I don’t care for short stories) but then again, I did get this book for the artwork… and in that respect it surely did not disappoint!
…and this concludes yet another round of Quest the First for the Once Upon A Time Challenge!!