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In the faraway kingdom of Long Ago and Today and Forever, there lived a dragon. She was not a very powerful dragon, for once she had been captured by a wicked sorcerer, who, disguised as a handsome prince, had carried her off and held her in thrall for many years, so that her fires were quenched and her enchantments useless.
Although the sorcerer had finally released his hold on her, the dragon was a diminished creature, and she lacked the will and courage to use her powers. Because she was dispirited, she allowed her castle to fall into disrepair, and she no longer hung gay banners from the turrets or employed poets and musicians to gladden the halls at night.
But the dragon had a beautiful daughter, a fairy princess, whose magic was strong and clear, and whose heart was unafraid and full of joy. One day, the dragon believed, her daughter would repair the castle and rule the kingdom. She sent her to the wisest teachers, gave her the oldest and most learnèd books, and warned her about princes and knights and sorcerers. The princess grew tall and strong and clever, and her bright laughter rang through the castle and beyond, causing flowers to spring up in winter and birds to whistle in the darkness
Then one day there came a sorcerer, disguised as a knight of the greatest charm and beauty. He defeated the dragon, of course, captured the princess, and carried her off to his palace, where he transformed her into a housewife.
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