Join us as we delve into the realm of dragon fairy tales, myths, and legends.
Dragons have long been antagonists in our stories, from weird worms and sly serpents to winged wyverns and fire-breathing beasts, these enchanting creatures appear in our fairy tales as both fearsome and wise. Revered across many countries and cultures, dragons feature in some of the world’s most famed legends, including the tales of Saint George and King Arthur, originating in England and Wales, as well as the Ancient Greek myths of Hercules and Perseus.
In celebration of these magical monsters, we’ve gathered our favourite dragon fairy tales in this blog. With a flurry of flames and winged wonder, these stories feature valiant princes, brave shepherds, and terrifying battles with fiery beasts.
Dragon Fairy Tales
Three runaway soldiers, a dragon with a magic whip, and a riddle seven years in the making.
Our first dragon fairy tale is a story of enchanting treasure and wit. When three soldiers can’t bear the poor treatment they’re receiving in the king’s army any longer, they decide to desert their posts and go into hiding. While they’re trying to avoid being found and punished, a dragon discovers them. He offers the three men great luxury and gold in exchange for seven years of their service. Gleefully accepting these terms, the men are unprepared for the danger that awaits them.
This Brothers Grimm story was first published in 1815 and can be found in Tales From Grimm alongside well-known and beloved classics such as ‘The Frog Prince’, ‘Hansel and Gretel’, and ‘Cinderella’, all beautifully illustrated by Wanda Gag.
A beautiful maiden, a single rose, and a monstrous dragon.
An early Italian variant of the classic ‘Beauty and the Beast’ tale, this story of envy unrewarded reveals the benefits that virtue and selflessness can bestow and demonstrates what may come of those who learn to love a ‘beast’. Follow Zelinda as she is handed into the captivity of a fiery yet surprisingly gentle dragon.
Written by Thomas Frederick Crane and first published in 1885, you can find this dragon fairy tale in The Beauty and the Beast Story and Other Tales of Love in Unexpected Places from our Origins of Fairy Tales from Around the World series, illustrated by the artists of the Golden Age of Illustration.
The patron saint of England, a dreaded dragon, and the enchanted sword Ascalon.
No list of dragon fairy tales could be complete without the mention of the famed legend of St. George and the Dragon. Centuries old, this is the story of the patron saint of England as he begins life by being kidnapped by a child-eating enchantress and grows up to become one of the Seven Knights of Christendom. Join him as he frees himself from an evil witch’s clutches, wins the heart of a beautiful princess, and attempts to free a town from the wrath of a terrifying fire-breathing beast.
A tiny fairy in a bamboo stem, five impossible tasks, and a bottle of the elixir of life.
This magical Japanese tale tells the story of a beautiful fairy, born of a bamboo stem. The enchanting girl grows up to become the most sought-after maiden in the land, with many suitors lining up to claim her hand. Wise as she is, the fairy girl sets almost impossible challenges for the men to test the honesty of their love. One such task is to bring her the rainbow jewel from around the neck of a tempestuous dragon who lives in the depths of the ocean and has the power to create great storms.
We’ve collected this dragon fairy tale in our edition of Children’s Stories from Japanese Fairy Tales & Legends, first published in 1925 and illustrated by Harry G. Theaker.
A prince disguised as a shepherd, a lake-dwelling dragon, and a kiss that saves the day.
When the two elder brothers of a prince both go missing while hunting, the valiant young man sets out to rescue them. Coming across an old woman held captive by a dragon in the woods, he learns his brothers have been taken by the same beast. She advices he must seek the dragon’s strength at the bottom of a faraway lake, but will he be able to outwit the cunning monster or are his brothers doomed for eternity?
Four skilled brothers, a stolen princess, and an enraged dragon.
The next dragon fairy tale on our list is the German story of four brothers who leave home to become masters of their crafts. They return to their father as skilled men: a thief, an astronomer, a huntsman, and a tailor. The brothers demonstrate their newfound talents but are soon put to the ultimate test when the kingdom’s princess is stolen away by a wicked dragon. Are their skills enough to save her?
A struggling fisherman, a terrifying giant worm, and a generational curse.
One of the most famous English legends, this tale originated in County Durham and tells of a great wormlike creature who strikes terror over the town of Lambton. The Childe of Lambton sets out to defeat the creature, however, unseen difficulties could result in suffering for the next nine generations.
The Dragon of the North
A beautiful enchantress, the secret language of birds, and the magic ring of King Solomon.
A monstrous dragon has been terrifying the people of the north for generations. The only way to defeat the wicked creature is described in an ancient inscription on the magic signet-ring of King Solomon. Yet, no one knows the location of the one thing that could save them. A brave young man decides he will hunt the ring down and defeat the dragon himself. With the aid of a wise old magician and the overheard whispers of birds, could he save the kingdom?
The King of The Fishes
A childless fisherman, a magic fish, and a seven-headed dragon.
A poor fisherman and his wife are desperate for a child of their own. One day, he catches the finest fish in the sea who reveals himself to be the King of the Fishes and grants the couple two twin boys, George and Albert, each with a star on their forehead. When the boys grow into men, they learn of a dragon causing destruction in a neighbouring kingdom. While George goes to slay the beast, Albert stays behind to look after their aging parents. Yet soon Albert realises that George is in grave danger, and he must set out to aid his brother.
Read the full tale online here.
The Story of Sigurd
A magic love potion, an evil witch, and a cursed hoard of dragon treasure.
The next dragon fairy tale on our list is the ancient Norse myth of Sigurd. The brave young prince is set a challenge by his tutor: he must slay an evil dragon named Fafnir. The dragon is the tutor’s brother, and he guards a great hoard of family treasure that the tutor believes he’s entitled to. A talented blacksmith, he presents Sigurd with a powerful sword and sends the prince to retrieve the gold. Yet, a meddling witch, an old curse, and an act of treachery ensure that slaying an almighty dragon is far from the hardest part of Sigurd’s quest.
A murderous king, a kindly fairy disguised as a bird, and a beautiful maiden trapped in a dungeon.
When the king’s throne is overtaken by a witch, he becomes so enraged that he kills all the women he lays eyes on. Yet, he is unable to kill the beautiful Porziella, instead making her his wife before throwing her into the dungeon. While entrapped, Porziella gives birth to a baby boy named Miuccio. When he is grown, Miuccio escapes the dungeon with the help of his mother and a kindly fairy disguised as a bird. He is discovered by the king who thinks the boy so handsome he treats him as his own son. Yet, the king’s mother is jealous of Miuccio and sends him out on dangerous quests. Despite proving himself time and again, will the boy be able to defeat the monstrous cave-dwelling dragon? And will his mother ever be freed?
One hundred children, a terrorised flock of sheep, and a battle of wits with a dragon.
The final dragon fairy tale on our list is that of Stan Bolovan. Stan and his wife desperately desire a baby, yet when all their dreams come true and they’re granted one hundred children, they don’t have the money or means to feed them. Determined to provide for his family, Stan sets out to find food. Coming across a shepherd whose flock is being stolen by a dragon, he enters into an agreement to rid of the monster in exchange for his own herd. But without strength or skill in hunting, will he be able to outwit the dragon?
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