Our flames do the work of your deity,
who created us so you’d have to choose
between good and evil: to His disappointment,
you choose evil far too often.
But we’re the ones blamed as the “enemy,”
like the lies spewed by the last
swaggering braggart who tried me.
In prior negotiations, we’d agreed
neither side should be the victor, no blood
would be shed, no flames put out forever,
if my kin and I took only the occasional
ewe, goat, or kine and refrained
from scorching you and your walled cities
with our spears of fire.
We’ve kept the bargain, our battles
with your heroes, mere exhibitions—
like your jousting matches—
not fights to the death. But as always
you humans lied, this champion
beheading my brother and sister,
then aiming for the one mortal spot
beneath my impenetrable plates.
So before he could jab me with his lance,
I unleashed a blast as if from a forge.
His shrieks terrified the ladies watching,
infuriated the knights working up the courage
to challenge me, but I flapped my great
leathery wings, and before an archer
could get off a lucky dart, I flew to a far peak,
to cradle and stoke my grief and rage.
But now I hear of a new champion, this George,
his breastplate adorned with the Cross
of your Lord, as if that can protect him.