May 31, 2023
Sharing yet another story from the first audiobook in the “Tales of the Kingdom” series, David and Karen Mains discuss the bottom-line message of the Lord Jesus Christ: His Kingdom. Understand that the Kingdom of God is wherever the reign of God’s Son is recognized and honored.
David will read from one of our Kingdom Tale books now. This given chapter illustrates how Christ’s message regarding his now and future kingdom not only relates to the world and its multitudes of people but it’s also a deeply personal message.
David: During his ministry here on earth Jesus often defined what his kingdom was like by telling simple stories.
Karen: Maybe when David and Karen Mains are also gone from this earth people will say about us that we, too were kingdom storytellers. Wouldn’t that be nice?
David: That would be great.
Intro: Welcome to the Before We Go Podcast featuring Dr. David Mains and his wife, noted author Karen Mains. Here’s David and Karen Mains.
Karen: One more time, at least regarding this short podcast series we’re in about the kingdom of God. David will read from one of our Kingdom Tale books now. This given chapter illustrates how Christ’s message regarding his now and future kingdom not only relates to the world and its multitudes of people but it’s also a deeply personal message. But first if you’re not familiar with these stories, let me tell you just a bit about Amanda. You could say that the Princess Amanda is everyone’s sweetheart. She’s a princess because the King is her older brother and normally, she’s happy. In fact, it’s not unusual to hear Amanda’s laughter before you even see the young girl. Amanda has perfect aim as well as a gift of seeing that’s far beyond the ability of most people. That’s enough for now. This chapter is called Princess Amanda and the Dragon.
David: Once tall grass grew by Lake Marmo. Each spring damsel dragons dropped out of the sky, trample nests in the reeds, lay clutches of eggs and buried them in the sand. And once they had given birth the great reptiles flapped away. Dragons in the sky are the first sign of spring in Great Park. The children come baskets in hand eager for dragons egg hunts. They shed their winter stockings and wiggle their bear toes in the warm sand. They race each other laughing and breathless to see who will reach a clutch of dragon eggs first. They yell and hoot when they find the treasure. “Dragon eggs”! they shout. Soon that call echoes back and forth from both sides of the lake. Children know they are forbidden to keep dragon eggs because a dragon that soon hatches from the egg and achieves full growth six months later the baby dragon’s scales harden. It begins to breathe fire. At first there are short blasts of warm air, then later great searing torches of flame. The dragon has become cunning and cannot be trusted. So, a sign on the shores of Lake Marmo reads, “It is forbidden to keep dragon eggs.”
The two eggs Princes Amanda found one day many months after Hero’s arrival, were bronze. They glowed like amber jewels in the sunlight. Perhaps she meant to carry them to Caretaker. Perhaps she thought they were too old and shriveled inside. Perhaps she forgot. But she did not take them to Caretaker’s cottage. Instead, she hid the eggs. She hid them in My Very Own Place, her den in the hollow of a mighty oak on the edge of Outpost Meadow, which was so far from Stonegate entrance that few strangers walked to it. It was so peaceful here that Caretaker visited this area only a few times in his yearly rounds.
The spring sun reached the floor of Amanda’s den and warmed her hiding place. Soon one egg rattled when the princes picked it up to inspect it. Obviously, there was no life inside. But the other one began to crack. By mid-morning a dragon hatchling pecked its way out and left the shell. The baby dragon squawked for food. Its long neck bobbed and weaved, its feet padded back and forth running to keep up with its huge head. It bumped into the side of the tree. Amanda laughed. “I must take you to Caretaker”, she said out loud. “He will know what to do about surprise hatchlings.”
The little beast turned its brown eye on her, and a great tear gripped on to its breast. Amanda began to love the baby dragon. Though she knew it was forbidden, she kept the hatchling for a pet. “just a little while”, she thought. “Perhaps I can tame it.”
The princes fed it insects and wild roots. She kept it alive with hour-by-hour feedings and because she nurtured the hatchling, she loved it all the more. The dragonette’s bare skin soon became covered with soft scales, bronze and dazzling in the sun. That summer was filled with dragonette games. The little beast and Amanda set up relay races with the butterflies. Lines of flittering wings and one sweaty princess and one growing dragonette race through Outpost Meadow. Other days Amanda and the animal bounded over the meadow buttercups, seeing who could take the longest leaped. Soon the dragonette won every time. Sometimes Amanda tossed her ball as high as her arm could throw and the dragonette which spring almost her free line and grab it in his jaws. “I have perfect aim. He has perfect catch. We must be a perfect match”, she sang, as they played in the sun.
By the middle of the summer the dragonette was large enough for Amanda to wedge herself between the spikes on its back. Together they leaped over the meadow flying in and out of the limbs and leaves of the old trees that bordered the open field. The dragonette let out a joyous “Creeeeel” and Amanda laughed with glee. Up and down they soared up high into the tree branches and down low into the flowering meadow. Amanda hung on for her life while the dragonette flew flapping its wings.
Amanda soon discovered that her pet hated to be left by itself. It wailed piteously when she left it to perfect her aim on the practice field, so she began to practice less and less. The dragonette particularly disliked being left alone at night. Since the princes dared not bring it to inmost circle and even feared for its life should it be discovered, she began to stay away from the great celebrations.
One night she crawled into her den beside the beast and he licked her face and hands. Gratefully it stretched beside her, panting with relief that she had stayed. She could hear distant music from deepest forests and missed her friends. Raising a hatchling was more demanding than she had thought. Amanda became angry at the law that kept her from sharing her pet with the others. “What harm is one small dragon”? she thought. That same night she noticed a yellow gleam flickering in the beast’s eyes as it looked at her. When it licked her face, she could feel its breath was warm and dry.
After that, when Amanda returned from short trips to forage for food, she would find the walls of her den scorched. The hollow was becoming more blackened. It smelled of charcoal. The dragon was always glad to see her, but she was careful not to stand directly in front of its nose and mouth. More and more often she had to be careful of its tail. The full-grown dragon’s tail is deadly. Its powerful sweep can move boulders, or knock down medium-sized trees, or cripple a man, or kill a princess. Once, when she wanted to hop on its back for a ride, the dragon leaped up without her. Creeeel! Creeeel! Its cry became defiant, and it shot a flame in her direction, for the first time it had willfully disobeyed her.
As each week passed Amanda began to laugh less and less. One day after racing the dragon through the forest she left it napping in a sunny glade and returned to the hollow tree, just as Caretaker was backing out of it. His sapling hat pulled out of the hole like a cork from a bottle. “‘What is wrong with the inside of My Very Own Place”? he asked. “‘Amanda, you haven’t been lighting fires, have you”? “Oh, it’s been that way for a long time”, she lied. “I don’t know what caused that. Maybe burners were here last winter.” Amanda wished caretaker would stop wearing that ridiculous tree for a hat. “But how could he ever have thought it was so wonderful”? Caretaker stared at the dirt in front of the den. He pushed it with his foot. “‘Ever see any dragons around here”? he asked quietly. “Dragons”, answered Amanda quickly. “Ah, not now. The season for dragons is over.” Caretaker didn’t say a word but began to walk down middle path. “You old fool”, thought Amanda. It was then that he stopped and turned and looked at her sadly. “If you ever need me, Amanda, just call.” Caretaker gazed at Amanda for several long minutes, then turned around again and continued on his way.
The next day she hid the dragon in another part of the forest. When she returned it was Mercy who sat outside her den. “‘She’s the ugliest woman I’ve ever seen”, thought Amanda with surprise. She dreaded talking to her. “Why don’t they just leave me alone”? “Amanda”, Mercy called with a sad smile, “I saw you coming before I heard you, whatever has happened to your laugh”? Amanda did not know how to answer. Had she changed? Everything looked different now. Was she losing her gift of scene? Or were things appearing now as they really were? Maybe the great celebration was just a bunch of foolishness.
That same night Amanda realized that the scales of the dragons sleeping beside her were very hard. She knew that its big body was crowding My Very Own Place, and that grown dragons were no laughing matter. This was the last night she would allow the dragon to return from its hiding place to sleep with her in the den.
The next day she took it deep into the forest and commanded it to stay. Secretly she hoped the beast would fly away. It had become too big, and Princess Amanda was afraid. Somehow, she had to get rid of the dragon. Trouble was ahead. She could feel it.
One morning, a few days later, she woke up early. With her eyes still closed, she enjoyed the comfort of having enough room to stretch. It was a crisp fall day. She could smell the cool, dry air. She could smell fire. Amanda leaped to her feet. Fallen leaves had been pushed in a pile beside her hollow tree door. They were burning. Amanda rushed out, stomping and scattering. Her bare feet felt singed. Looking up, she saw that an old stump was smoldering beside Metal Path. Underbrush was smoking on the edge of the forest. Amanda could see something large and bronze colored moving between the trees. She dashed in to put on her shoes and rushed back out. “Wait! Wait”! She shouted. She began rushing along the path. “Wait for me”! She was terrified that the dry grass would catch and begin to flame from the dragon’s breath. In her mind she could see the whole forest burning. The creatures running and oh, how awful! Fire in Great Park! Fire because of her!
It was then she knew great harm could come from one small tame dragon. Small tame things grow into big wild beasts. “Where, oh, where was Caretaker now? Why had she not taken the hatchling to him right away? Why had she lied”? The beast finally heard her call. It stepped out of the trees into the meadow to face her. Amanda gasped. It had grown even more, and she had not noticed how much. The huge beast sat waiting for her. Its long tail swept slowly across the ground behind it, then flickered, then swept back. The claws on one paw flexed, tearing the patch in soil beneath it, then open, then flexed again. A thin wet trickle dripped out of its mouth, down its jaw. Yellow light gleamed in its eyes. The dragon had become cunning. Why has she not seen this?
Amanda drew herself to full stature. She ignored the throbbing in her feet. “Dragon”! She announced in her most majestic tone, “You must go! You are too big for my den! Growing dragons are not allowed in Great Park. Your breath is too hot. Fly away”! The dragon leered at her. It hunched like a cat on the prowl and moved closer and closer.
Finally, the huge beast was near. It swept its tail, which quickly covered the distance between them. Amanda hopped over the tip. The dragon swept the long-jagged tail back faster. She jumped again. It raised its head and blew hot flame unto the grass behind her. She could hear the vegetation crackling. She could feel it beginning to burn. She turned and stamped the fire out.
The dragon breathed again. More fire. Her heart filled with terror. One small princess cannot put out all the fires this one large dragon starts. The dragon breathed again. The flames licked her clothes, her hair. She slapped at the fire with her hands. She rolled on the ground. She could see the great beast inching closer, flicking its tail, the yellow light growing brighter in its eyes. Amanda backed away. She knew it was useless to run. The dragon always won the races. “Oh, help”! she cried, “Caretaker! Caretaker, I’m too small for this terrible dragon. Help! Instantly.” She scarcely knew how Caretaker was standing beside her. He must have come bounding the moment the flames had begun. “Kill it! Kill it”! Amanda screamed. The great beast began to lurch. It raised itself on high legs and roared. Flying flames filled the air. “No, Amanda”, said the old man, “I cannot kill this dragon. Only the one who loves a forbidden thing can do the slaying. You will always hate me if I do it. Only you can slay this dragon.” Caretaker pulled out his woodsman’s hatchet from the belt around his waist. He held it erect before him. He lifted his eyes to the sky. “In the name of the king, Amanda, for the restoration, you must slay the dragon.” Caretaker tossed the hatchet directly overhead. It flew high, then started to tumble down and over in. The humming began. The singing the princes had always loved. The hatchet landed at her feet. Its blade stuck firmly in the ground. Amanda reached down and gripped the wood. She felt the hatchet’s power as she pulled it from the soil.
By this time Amanda had backed almost to the middle of Outpost Meadow, and Caretaker had moved out of the circle of mortal combat. Small fires were burning here and there on the grass. The princes had to do this quickly. She would only have one chance. Suddenly Amanda had a terrible thought. Her laughter was gone. Her scene had disappeared. “What if the gift of perfect aim had vanished as well”? The dragon was very close. She kept an eye on its tail. Though she had kept the beast alive, she did not want to tear and devour her. The tail moved. Amanda leaped over at its web-pack. This time Amanda was ready. She whacked the huge tail with her hatchet. “Hurrah”! A long piece wiggled on the ground.
Oozing green dragon blood. Perhaps there’s hope, Amanda thought. That was pretty quick aim. The dragon cried a terrible, Creel! Creel! Creel! Not so much from pain as from rage. Reared back on its hind legs, opened its mouth, and let out a fiery blast that caught Amanda full in the face. She could feel hot flames licking her hair, her clothes.
“Now Amanda”, called Caretaker, “now or never.” She took carefully, raised the hatchet, and sighted the bare white patch on the breast of the weaving dragon. It was the beast’s only vulnerable spot. “For the King” she screamed. “For the restoration.” String filled her arms. She let the hatchet fly.
At that same moment the beast roared again. It caught Amanda’s leg with the beating stump of its wishing tail. She went down onto the grass. But Amanda’s aim was true. Caretaker’s hatchet hit its mark and the great dragon came crashing down upon the young girl. Green ooze splashed over Outpost Meadow and covered the princess.
“I am dying”, she thought, “I will smother under this dragon’s heavy body.” Amanda felt Caretaker’s hand touch her arm. Slowly, ever so slowly, the old man raised the edge of the great dragon. Hulk!. Just enough so that Amanda could inch her way along the ground to freedom. Then Caretaker cradled the child in his arms in the middle of Outpost Meadow and wept. Amanda’s hair and eyebrows and lashes were burned into crinkles. Her clothes were charred. Her face and feet were all blisters and boils and sweat.
She was covered with dragon’s blood. She looked like an outcast. But the Princess Amanda had won the battle. She had slain the dragon she loved. So, the Princess discovered that when one loves a forbidden thing, one loses what one loves most. This truth is a hard one battle for each who finds it and it is always gained by loss.
Outgo: You’ve been listening to the Before We Go podcast. And if you would like to write to us, please send us an email at the following address: email@example.com. That’s all lower-case letters: firstname.lastname@example.org. If you’ve enjoyed this podcast, please remember to rate, review, and share on whatever platform you listen. This podcast is copyright 2023 by Mainstay Ministries, Post Office Box 30, Wheaton, Illinois 60187.
To get a copy of Tales of the Kingdom Trilogy, go to this website https://kingdomtales.com/
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