Puff Visits the Castles

Puff waited until the sun had set and the bright full moon had risen before he set of to find the castle with the red and white shutters where Price Rupert lived. Princess Leznupar had told him that his room was in the top of the tallest tower on the castle so should be easy to find and the bright moon helped Puff find his way across the mountains. It was after midnight when Puff found the castle with the red and whiter shutters at the windows, but when he first saw it he thought he was in the wrong place because the shutters looked black and white in the moonlight. There were no lights on in the town as all the people had gone to bed. Good thought Puff no one will be able to see me, and then he noticed that there was still a light on in the room at the top of the tallest tower on the castle.

Puff remembered how he had frightened Princess Leznupar so he was careful not to frighten Prince Rupert and peeped through an open window to see Prince Rupert cleaning his teeth and whispered in his best quite polite voice “Hello Prince Rupert”. He saw Prince Rupert jump, but then he just carried on cleaning his teeth. Prince Rupert had been told that if he watched too much television he would hear voices in his head and he thought that this is what had just happened, but the voice came again “Hello Prince Rupert, I am a friendly um err friend who has come to help you rescue Princess Gorgeous.” He couldn’t just say dragon because that would have freaked Prince Rupert out, wouldn’t it? Now Prince Rupert was already quite frightened, perhaps even a little terrified. The voice was not in his head, it was outside his window and his window was at the top of the tallest tower on the castle with the red and white shutters on the window. Puff continued “Please get dressed immediately, like now, and I will take you across the mountains to where Princess Gorgeous is sound asleep and can only be woken by your kiss. There is no time to lose as we must be across the mountains by dawn.” But Prince Rupert was frozen, He couldn’t move. There was a strange, but quite pleasant, voice telling him he was to be taken across the mountains to where the dragons lived. “What about the dragons?” Prince Rupert whispered so quietly that Puff could only just hear him. This was Puff’s chance “There are no dragons on the other side of the mountains. The wicked witch tells wicked lies. There is only one Dragon and that is I, Puff, the Magic Dragon and I am a friendly Dragon, and I am a here to help you and Princess Gorgeous and Prince George and Princess Leznupar.” Of course Prince Rupert thought the voice was joking about being a Dragon, but when Puff mentioned his sister and her fiancé and his sister he was all ears and was ready to do whatever it took to recue the Princesses. After all, wasn’t it what stories like this were all about?

“I really am a Dragon” whispered Puff in his best polite quiet voice “but you must not be frightened. Just think of me as a horse with wings, like Pegasus”. Prince Rupert climbed through window onto Puff’s back. He was still a little frightened but held on tight as Puff flew up into the night sky and soon they were crossing the mountains. It was still dark when they arrived at the tower and Puff stopped by a window at the top of the tower so Prince Rupert could climb off onto the balcony. Prince Rupert looked through the window and with the moonlight saw his beloved Princess Gorgeous fast asleep. She did look very pale, but then she had been asleep for rather a long time. Prince Rupert climbed through the window and gave Princess Gorgeous a big kiss, but she continued to snore gently. He thought she was supposed to wake up when he kissed her, but she just carried on sleeping. Poor Prince Rupert did not know what to do next. It had been a long night so he curled up on the floor and went to sleep. He was woken up be the morning sunlight streaming through the window and there standing looking down at him was Princess Gorgeous. She exclaimed “What are you doing in my room?” then she looked around the room and added “Wait a minute, this isn’t my room. What are we doing here?” Prince Rupert realised that it was still dark when he had kissed her so it was not until dawn when she woke up. He tried to explain but was not doing very well when a quite polite voice from below the window suggested they climb out of the window and go round the balcony and talk to Princess Leznupar. Princess Gorgeous was startled. Where did that voice come from and whose was it? “Best to let Princess Leznupar explain” said the voice. Puff did not want to frighten Princess Gorgeous like he did Princess Leznupar.

That morning the maid had taken Prince Rupert’s breakfast up to his room. She had prepared his favourite eggs, bacon, sausage and baked beans, but when she knocked on the door there was no answer. She waited a little while and knocked again but still no answer. Perhaps he was still asleep she thought so she gently opened the door but he was not there and the bed had not been slept in. She was so surprised she dropped the tray. The eggs and baked beans made a horrible mess on the floor and she had to go all the way down to the kitchen to get something to cleanup the gooey mess.

Perhaps he had got up early to go hunting or something, which he did occasionally, very occasionally, but why had the bed not been slept in? She cleaned up the breakfast and went back down all those stairs to the kitchen. She was very troubled but did not know who to talk to or what to say. Then she heard some amazing news. The town with the castle with the green and silver shutters on the windows was no longer covered in thick thorn scrub and brambles and suddenly she was overjoyed. She realised that Prince Rupert must have gone to rescue Princess Gorgeous and that the wicked witches spell had been broken, so she decided not to tell anyone that he was not in the castle and had not even slept in his bed. 

Meanwhile, in the town with the castle with the green and silver shutters on the windows the people had woken up as if nothing had happened. They were not aware that they had been asleep for a long long time and did not know anything about the thick thorn scrub and brambles. When the Maid went up to take Princes Gorgeous her favourite breakfast of muesli with chunks of pawpaw, pineapple, mango and onions (yes onions) she was a little surprised to find that Princess Gorgeous was not there. Perhaps she had got up early and gone down into the pool by the waterfall in the glen to talk to the fairies as she did this quite often. After all, they had all come to her christening and they were her friends. The Maid started to become a little bit more concerned when she was not there for lunch and then very worried that she did not come to supper, but this had happened before because Princess Gorgeous was very adventurous and loved to explore in the woods at the foot of the mountains, but she knew she would never go up into the mountains or go over them because of the dragons that lived on the other side. Little did she know that Princess Gorgeous was actually on the other side of the mountains talking to Princess Leznupar and Prince Rupert and that she had been there a long long time. The Maid left a light on in Princess Gorgeous’ room and went to bed.

Prince Rupert was delighted to be with his bride to be and his sister and they had a lot to talk about. Puff was quite pleased about this because he was a little bit tired after all the night flying and tonight he would have to take two people to the other side of the mountains and bring back Prince George, so he slunk off and went to lie down in a little grove of trees by one of the waterfalls on the little stream. The sound of the gurgling water soon put him to sleep and when he woke up it was dark and the moon was just rising. Time to go he thought and flew up to the top of the tall tower where the Princesses and the Prince were still talking. Princess Leznupar had told Princess Gorgeous all about Puff so when Puff put his head by the window and said “All aboard, time to go” she was not frightened and calmly climbed on his back and Prince Rupert climbed on behind. Off they set across the mountains. Once across the mountains Puff waited until all the lights had gone out in the castle with the red and white shutters on the windows and in the town then took Prince Rupert to his room. Prince Rupert climbed in through the window and was soon asleep in his own bed. He was thankful that was all over as he did not really like flying on Puff’s back, especially in the dark. It was not that he did not trust Puff it was more that he had never flown before and found the experience a little unsettling.

Puff took Princess Gorgeous to the castle with green and silver shutters on the windows and she was surprised to see a light in her room. It was a very welcome surprise, but first they went to get Prince George who was sound asleep and quite startled to be woken up by his sister. “What’s going on?” he said in a sleepy voice. Gorgeous told him to shush then started to explain about Puff and that he would take him to rescue Leznupar. George was quite sceptical and very confused because he did not even know that Princess Leznupar was missing. How could he? He had been asleep in the castle with the green and silver shutters on the windows just as everyone else in that castle and town had been.  It took quite a lot of explaining to Prince George for him to understand and he was very worried about going across the mountains to the land of dragons, but Gorgeous was very patient and told him there were no dragons on the other side of the mountains and that Puff was the only Dragon and was a friendly Dragon and was trying to help. Eventually Prince George climbed onto Puff’s back behind his sister and Puff took Princess Gorgeous back to her room, but he was very surprised because before Princess Gorgeous got off she gave him a big hug and kiss and whispered in his ear “Thank you Puff. I’ll always remember you and how you helped us.” Puff felt himself blushing, but as he was already red it did not show.

Prince George had spent some time getting dressed so as they came to the valley on the other side of the mountains the sun was rising. Prince George looked down on the beautiful green valley full of beautiful colourful flowers with a bubbling steam running through it and the waterfalls sparkling in the dawn sunlight. He started to relax a little, but still held on very tight. Then he saw the sun glinting on the conical roof of a tall, but mysterious, tower and was reminded of the words from Omar Khayyam “The dawn has smote the bowl of night and cast the stone to set the stars aflight and behold the mighty hunter from the east has caught the Sultan’s turret in a noose of light.” He thought the tall tower was very strange. It looked like a lighthouse, but why would there be a lighthouse here? He had never actually seen a lighthouse, but he though that this is what one would look like. There was no door at the bottom and the only window he could see was at the top and Puff stooped by this window so Prince George could climb off onto the balcony.

That morning, when the Maid went up to Prince George’s room, with his favourite breakfast of kippers, bananas and broccoli she was surprise to find he was not there. Now this was very unusual for Prince George. In fact, she could not remember a time it had ever happened before. Things were getting very confusing. Yesterday when she took up Princess Gorgeous favourite breakfast of muesli with chunks of pawpaw, pineapple, mango and onions she was not there and was not even back for dinner, but this morning when she took up her favourite breakfast she was comfortably tucked up in bed, and now Prince George was not there. What was going on? Prince George was not back for lunch or dinner so the Maid, who was now quite worried, left a light on his room.

Back at the tall tower Puff looked out across the beautiful valley and noticed a figure in the distance coming towards the tower. It was the wicked witch so Puff quickly flew down to the grove of trees from which he could see the tall tower so she would not see him. Princess Leznupar saw Puff go and hide in the grove of trees then she too noticed the wicked witch coming towards the tall tower. Why? She thought, she is not due for a few more days then she remembered that today was her birthday and the witch always brought her a cake on her birthday. She didn’t like the cake the wicked witch always brought as it always tasted musty and old as if it had been in a cupboard for too long. If only she could bring some Cracking Nuts she thought. The wicked witch started to sing in a croaky voice “Leznupar Leznupar let down your hair” several times and out of the window came a ‘rope’ of long golden hair, so long it reached right down to the ground, but as Puff watched all the hair ended up in a big heap on the ground and turned black. The hair gradually turned grey then disappeared altogether and so did the wicked witch. All that was left at the bottom of the tower was a black cape, a tall pointed black hat and a basket, which Puff found out later, had a cake in it. Puff immediately flew up to the top of the tower to discover that as soon as Princess Leznupar let her hair out of the window Prince George drew his sharp sword and with a single stroke cut off Princess Leznupar’s hair. At first Puff did not recognise Princess Leznupar because standing in front of him was a beautiful Princess with short chestnut brown hair. He looked across the valley. Was he dreaming or was it his imagination or maybe he was just going bonkers. The green grass was turning a golden brown and he was sure he could see herds of Thomson’s and Grant’s Gazelles and then a herd of Punda Milia (that’s Zebra to you and me) and there in the distance he was sure he saw Twiga (Giraffe). It reminded him of his safari to the Maasai Mara and the Serengeti when he went to see the Maasai, but that’s another story for another time… 

The Adventures of Puff, the Magic Dragon