The Dragon of Brodda's Hill

There was once a mighty king named Arthur who ruled a long time ago. Now, when he first took the throne there were many who waged war against him. One of those was King Mark of Cornwall. The heaviest fighting occurred at a spot called Brodda's Hill. It was at the boundary between Arthur's lands and Mark's. There were four farming communities clustered around the hill and they suffered terribly because of the fighting.

But things got worse. One day, as Arthur's armies were fighting Mark's, a dragon flew out from the north. He routed both armies, set fire to the roof of the church at Chard (which was the name of the town closest to the hill) and then flew to Brodda's Hill. The hill was actually a burial mound left by the old people. The dragon, who was named Carnifax, found the entrance, entered the mound and enjoyed a meal of crunchy smoked soldiers.

Arthur felt terrible. He knew that the little villages had suffered during the war, now there was a dragon in their midst. But Mark wasn't the only king waging war against him and what with one thing or another it was seven years before Arthur could turn his attention to the problem of Carnifax.

Arthur sent one of his knights, Sir Sardok, to Chard. There he was to question the people, go to Brodda's Hill and slay Carnifax.

The journey form Camelot to Chard took two weeks. Sir Sardok had several adventures along the way but arrived at Chard unharmed. He asked the villagers who the most important man in town was. They told him that it was old Roger Greenstone who kept the Red Warrior's Inn. So Sir Sardok went to the inn and there was Greenstone, telling stories to the customers. He had told them before and they had heard them before but the fun was in the telling and the listening.

When Greenstone saw Sir Sardok, he stopped what he was doing and became very solemn. "Good day Sir Knight," he said, "What can I do for you?"

"Actually, it's what I can do for you," replied Sir Sardok, "I have been sent by King Arthur to liberate you from the terrible oppression of Carnifax the Deadly."

At that, everyone became a little nervous. The village barber spoke up and said, "Oh, you mustn't do that. That would be terrible."

Greenstone broke in and said, "What my friend means to say is that Carnifax is a terrible dragon. Just last year King Mark sent a knight to do the same. He never returned from Brodda's Hill. We'd hate to see the same fate befall you Sir Knight."

"I believe you'll find me a good deal more resourceful then any knight of King Mark's," sniffed Sardok. He looked around the room but he could see he was not going to get any useful information out of the frightened farmers. So he left and made for Brodda's Hill.

When Sir Sardok got to Brodda's Hill he saw a thin plume of smoke off to the left. Following it he found the entrance. He made his way inside the mound. There was a tunnel that sloped down gently; walking down the tunnel he saw the glitter of jewels in the distance. He reached the source of the light. There was a great chamber, in the center of the chamber was a great mound of jewels, gold and armor and on top of the mound was Carnifax. Carnifax was awake.

"So, a great warrior come to slay me," said Carnifax, "And I have done nothing to warrant it."

"Nothing!" said Sardok. "You have stolen these jewels."

"Nonsense, they were here when I got here."

"You have laid waste the country."

"I set fire to Chard's church, and that was by accident."

"You slaughter the villagers."

"I eat their oxen."

"Ah ha! You admit that you steal their oxen."

"I never said anything about stealing. Once every month, one of the towns around the mound leaves a bullock at the entrance to my cave. I get up, eat and go back to sleep. Not a very exciting life I grant you but I'm very old, even for a dragon."

Sir Sardok looked skeptical. "Why would they feed you?" he asked.

"Why, to keep me here of course."


"Don't look so surprised Sir Knight. Before I came here the armies of Mark and Arthur laid waste to these parts. There was terrible suffering, then I came. Now once, it's true, I would have shown these people what real suffering is all about. But, as I said, I'm old. All I want is a comfortable place to sleep and a regular supply of food. The farmers supply the food and my presence keeps the armies of of the two kings at bay. The farmers want me here."

"But you are evil."

"Perhaps. But I'm an evil that keeps out a worse evil, you and your kind."

Sir Sardok thought long and hard about the dragon's words. He said, "I see your point. Never the less, I am pledged to kill you. I gave my word to King Arthur."

"Do you think you can kill me, little man?"

"Actually, I do. You are old an your fires are going out."

Carnifax got up, stretched and said, "Apparently old Greenstone agrees with you."

Sir Sardok turned, Greenstone and forty other men from the villages were there. They were all armed.

Greenstone said, "I'm sorry it has to be this way Sir Knight, but we can't go back to the way it was." And with that, the men fell upon Sir Sardok and slew him.

Arthur dispatched three more knights to Brodda's Hill. King Mark dispatched two. None ever returned. Eventually the two kings decided to give up on the idea of slaying Carnifax and moved on to other things.

Three hundred and seventy four years later, as one of the farmers led a bullock to the entrance of the mound he noticed there was no smoke. He left the bullock and went down the tunnel a little way. There was an overpowering stench. Carnifax's fires were banked for good.

The people of the four towns held a meeting. They closed up the mound and put a little plaque that read: To Carnifax with our gratitude and respect. The mound is still there but the plaque looks just like and old, eroded stone.