"Unfortunately, a dragon smashed her castle, burned all her clothes with his fiery breath, and carried off Prince Ronald. Elizabeth decided to chase the dragon and get Ronald back. She looked everywhere for something to wear but the only thing she could find that was not burnt was a paper bag. So she put on the paper bag and followed the dragon."
Elizabeth is clever and creative as she deals with the dragon. Eventually she wears him out with her resourcefulness, and she is able to rescue Ronald. She tricks him into tiring himself out so much, he lays down to sleep.
"Elizabeth walked right over the dragon and opened the door to the cave. There was Prince Ronald. He looked at her and said, 'Elizabeth, you are a mess! You smell like ashes, your hair is all tangled and you are wearing a dirty old paper bag. Come back when you are dressed like a real princess.' "
Apparently Ronald would have done things differently. He was critical of how Elizabeth slayed the dragon! He doesn't even recognize that it was to his benefit. He's a fine prince, but a poor support.
I have felt so blessed that Dee sees what I do as important, and even points it out to me. He understands my ultimate goals and champions my chosen course. For example, many times I have spent the morning on the phone with one or the other of my kids, arriving at the noon hour still in my pajamas. Dee will remind me I've spent my time well, strengthening family ties. (He doesn't complain about the paper bag I'm wearing or that I smell of ashes!) He gives me credit for organizing details and routine tasks so our family interactions will run smoothly, and often points out the value of my ordinary achievements, even though he might accomplish similar things a different way.
Had Ronald been doing it, he may have killed the dragon instead of just putting it to sleep. He might have tied him up using his princely skills, or dragged him away with his white horse. But he didn't. While he was busy being captured, Elizabeth did it her way. A real prince would have congratulated her on her inventiveness, and thanked her for her ingenuity. Unfortunately for Ronald, Elizabeth was insulted at his lack of appreciation.
"Ronald, your clothes are really pretty and your hair is very neat. You look like a real prince, but you are a bum." They didn't get married after all.
How we slay our dragons is individual. The dragons themselves might appear unique. My own dragons have ranged over the years from loneliness, to boredom, to lack of confidence, to overwhelming responsibilities, to stifled desires for learning. I've been advised by many to slay my dragons their way. It's patronizing and insulting to be told that my way would be a waste of time, unwise or pointless. I have discovered that yoga, meditation, or tennis (while the answer for some) don't do it for me. It's empowering to be trusted to magnify my own skills. Creative writing, journaling, reading, organizing, listing, planning, are the tools I use successfully and joyfully to get my kingdom functioning efficiently for me.
When I get ready to tackle the world, and put on my dragon-slaying clothes, I am the lucky girl whose prince says, "You look beautiful in that paper bag!"
Story: Robert N. Munsch
Art: Michael Marchenko