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    Well, this seems to be a rather obscure book, as well as its editor. Wikipedia didn't have a page for Muriel Fuller or the book. Goodreads did, but there were only three comments. However, I did find a bit of information on her. There is some biographical information, and also information on The Muriel Fuller Papers: 1914-1991, which doesn't actually include the papers, from Hunter College Libraries, plus some nice photos of her. It is a PDF file. She apparently was rather well-known in her time.
    This was her first book from 1931, however, I'm not sure just how much she contributed to the writing of it. It is a collection of dragon stories from many lands, as the title tells us—a very diverse collection and also of uneven quality. Of the twenty stories, nine have authors, including the best of the bunch, by the well-known children's author, E. Nesbit, who also wrote a book of her own on dragons, available from Project Gutenberg. Of the nine, one is also by the very well-known compiler of fairy tales, Andrew Lang (The Red Fairy Book, Green Fairy Book, Blue Fairy Book, etc.), all available from Project Gutenberg, individually or the Complete Collection.
    Another is an adaptation from Edmund Spenser's The Faerie Queen. Actually, all but two are likely adaptations from a folk tale—the one by Julia Brown that had no designated country, and the one by E. Nesbit.
    The remaining eleven are designated simply by the country of origin, except for the one from the Medieval collection, The Mabinogion, (which is Welsh), so those were probably re-told by Fuller. Here's my overall comments, then I've chosen stories to share which represent the entire collection.
    First—I dunno, I think it's just me, but I'm sick of the typical (especially from Western civilizations) beautiful princess and handsome prince and oodles and gobs of wealth. What about stories where none of those qualities matter? Well, there's a few here that apply, but, gosh, I am so sick of greed. No wonder children grow up thinking that wealth is the standard on which to base the importance and worthiness of people. I think many are beginning to look at the merit and value of people differently and to observe that wealth and evil mostly go hand-in-hand. And as for royalty, it should be dead and gone by now. Is King Charles the last English king? Let us hope. I've always yearned for global anarchy. But, anyways, most of these tales are from "Once Upon A Time," so we must take them as they are.
    Some are very clever, and others dull or silly. There are those that are more serious—perhaps "epic" might be a better word, and others that are funny or imaginative. And a few are rather sloppy, in that the facts don't add up or resolve in the end, and I wondered why certain chunks of the tale just disappeared. Many countries and familiar heroic stories are represented here. All were European, except for one Chinese, one Ainu (ancestors of the Japanese) and one from the Bahamas. And now, here are a few of the stories, beginning with the fourth, entitled The Green Dragon, by Countess D'Aulnoy from France.
    Oh, my! This is a hodge-podge of fairy tales (it reminded me of Sleeping Beauty, and Rumpelstiltskin because she had to spin), plus Roman mythology with a moral lesson to boot! It begins as the queen celebrates the birth of twin girls, with all the good fairies. But the wicked one, Magotine, (that she didn't invite) shows up. Yeah, we know the story. She casts a spell on one of the babies—the other fairies stepped in before she did the second baby. So one was beautiful and the other, becoming more hideous by the minute. She was named Uglinette; the other was La Belle. Not real creative in naming.
    This is the longest story in the book, so I'll cut it shorter. When Uglinette is twelve, she begs to go away to some isolated castle with just a few servants, because she knows she's revolting to look at. She lives two years at peace in a forest, where she plays the lute and sings, and writes poetry. But she wants to see her family, and arrives home just as her sister is about to get married. Bad timing. Her family is cruel to her, and she leaves. She returns to her castle, where one day while walking in the woods, she meets a green dragon. But he is gentle, and knows her story. He tells her that he was born even more handsome than she. Still, she is terrified and runs to the castle, which she is now afraid to leave. But one day she sees a beautiful boat sailing toward the shore. She gets on board and the boat immediately sails away. It eventually wrecks.
    The green dragon appears again, and says he can save her if she will allow. Still, she remains stubborn and tells him to leave and never bother her again. Then she hears a message that the dragon is less hideous to his species than she is to hers. Uglinette has some lessons to learn. Well, the dragon does save her, and she ends up in the most dazzling, magnificent place surrounded by exquisite palaces, gardens, fountains and everything glorious and splendid. She is waited upon by hundreds of pagods and pagodines, of all sorts and sizes—some who had taken an oath not to speak, and others, who were deputies of the kingdom, could. She was presented with jewels and gorgeous gowns, and everything she could want.
    But she begins to be visited by an invisible admirer, whom she cannot believe could love someone so ugly, but he does, and it is the sovereign of the kingdom where she now resides. Well, OK, so we have it figured out that it's the dragon, and indeed, he is a handsome king suffering under the same curse by the same wicked fairy. But she doesn't figure it out.
    She begins to question the pagods, who inform her that indeed it is the King who speaks to her. He finally tells her that he is suffering from a seven-year penance, of which only two remain. He wants to marry Uglinette, only if she will agree to not see him until the final two years have passed. She cannot resist him and agrees. They marry.
    But Uglinette wants to see her family, so she is allowed to invite them. However, her mother and sister cause her to cast doubt about her husband.

   "Oh, unfortunate creature!" exclaimed the queen. "How gross is the snare they have laid for thee! Is it possible that thou couldst have listened with such extreme simplicity to such fables? Thy husband is a monster. How could it be otherwise for all the pagods, of whom he is king, are downright monkeys."
   "I believe, rather," cried Uglinette, "that he is the God of Love himself."

    But the damage is done, and she breaks her promise, keeping a lamp hidden in her room, and shining it on him when he visits her that night. So, basically, she really had a good deal going and screwed it up, so she must now go through hell, performing all the tasks demanded of the wicked fairy in order to free herself and her husband. As is typical in such stories, along the way she gets helpers and does what she must in order to clean up the mess she has made by not trusting and keeping her word—and also prolonging the time she must be apart from her husband.
    As she works through her arduous journey, Uglinette, who is now called Queen Discrète, not only regains her outer beauty, but develops an inner beauty, too, for the great love she has now for her husband, dragon or not. This is a complicated story, but a good one, too.
    The ninth story, called The Big Worm, is from the Bahamas, and has nothing to do with fairies or royalty. A father has two sons, but their fire has gone out, so they cannot cook their potatoes. He tells the elder son to go find some fire. He sees smoke, so he walks toward it, but too late! It is a big worm! He tells it to give him some fire. The worm tells him to move closer. Then he swallows the boy, who meets other people who have been swallowed. The father and son wait and wait, and finally the younger son says that he will go look for his brother. He suffers the same fate.
    Now the father has no choice but to face the same destiny. However, before he goes, he sharpens his lance and rubs it till it glistens. He sees the worm, and, like his sons, demands fire. When the worm tells him to come closer, he hacks his way through it, cutting it open so all the people inside are set free. Then they build a great city, and the man and his sons stay to live there.
    The thirteenth story is called The Price of Curiosity, and it is Ainu, the ancient kin to the Japanese. At this time, the earth's crust was thin and unstable and the people were afraid to walk on it to hunt for food, so the god Okikurumi took care of them by going fishing and giving the people fish. But it was his beautiful wife, Turesh, who delivered them.
    Now, Okikurumi demanded that no one could gaze upon his beautiful wife. However, one day, when Turesh came to deliver, she handed the fish through the window, as usual. But an Ainu grasped her and pulled her inside.

   But even as the Ainu held her, behold! Turesh turned into a wriggling, writhing dragon! Then the sky grew black as night, thunder rolled and lightning flashed, for Okikurumi was very angry at the Ainu who dared lay hands on his wife. A bolt of lightning struck the hut of the wicked Ainu, and in a few minutes it was in flames. The dragon vanished into the air, and Turesh rejoined her husband in her proper form.
   Though the Ainu were sorry and made offerings to Okikurumi, he would not be appeased and never fed them again. But the earth's crust cooled and they were able to catch fish on their own.

    Well, I better include a classic here, and number fourteen is the best. It is The Story of St. George and the Dragon—very well-known—and though I had heard of it, I never actually heard or read the tale. It was adapted from Edmund Spenser's The Faerie Queen by Mary E. Christie. Here is the first paragraph:

   Gloriana was the Queen of Fairyland, and her Knights were famed through all the world for valor in fight, for faithfulness in love, and for kindness to the weak. They were ever ready to do battle on the part of any who had suffered wrong, and no pain or labor seemed to them too great to be undergone in such a cause. They worshipped their Queen, who was good, and great, and beautiful, and her favor was the highest reward they coveted. They were called the Knights of the Maidenhood.

    Every year Gloriana held a twelve-day feast, and it was the custom of the Court to grant whatever boons were asked during those days. Early in the feast a tall "clownish" young man came before the Queen, and asked that he be given the first adventure that should happen. Though the ones who came for help were usually granted a Knight of renown, and this man was a nobody, the Queen could not go back on the custom. And so he waited for an adventure.
    And one came soon—a beautiful lady named Una, who was the daughter of a great King and Queen, whose land has been laid waste by a terrible dragon. Therefore, she sought the help of a Knight. It was what the young man awaited, and both the Queen and Una were displeased. But a promise had been made. Una requested that he wear the armor she had brought.
    After he had donned the armor and taken spear in hand, he entire demeanor changed. The Queen laid Knighthood upon him and because he did not even know his name, he was called the Red Cross Knight. He and Una went forth. They had far to travel, and were accompanied by Una's dwarf. During this time, the two had much to talk about, and became loving friends. Una now trusted him as her protector. He was kind and gentle and brave. Though he had not lived in the Courts, he was a pure and holy young man.
    Along their way, they sought shelter in a woods, then lost their way. They came upon a man whom they thought was a hermit, but he was in fact an evil magician called Archimago. "But his true name was Hypocrisy, and he spent all his life in making things seem other than they were."
    He sends the Knight dreams where he sees Una as if he were awake, and she is no longer the modest, sweet lady that he thought. So upset was he that he got up and left on his horse with the dwarf. When she awakens she seeks him but he is gone. Both are filled with grief, as they had fallen in love by this point. Eventually, after much wandering, Una finds him, and he knows that the dreams were false and that he was under a spell. They resume their quest.
    They seek a (legitimate) and wise hermit. The hermit shows the Knight a dazzling place where the heroic Knights go when all their battles are done, and they are called Saints. He wants to go there right away, but the hermit tells him it is not to be yet—that he has many battles to be won before he may go. The Red Cross Knight then asks the hermit if he knows of his background, and he does indeed. His name is George and he is descended from a long line of Britain's kings. He was stolen by a fairy and buried in a furrow, where he was found and raised by a ploughman. He will become the Patron Saint of his country.
    To cut a long story short, Saint George defeats the dragon of course, and the King gladly gives his daughter to her Knight as his wife. They vow their faith to each other, but first Sir George must serve Queen Gloriana for six whole years. After that, he will return to Una. They part, and she begins her patient wait.
    Fuller saved the best for last when she laid out the order of stories for this collection! The final two are more modern and don't follow the pattern of the dragon being the bad guy that must be slain. Julia Brown wrote number nineteen, The Young Dragon. He's a handsome little guy with glittering scales of many colors. He lives with his parents in a cave in a mountain.
    His father is politically active, and meetings are often held at their home to discuss issues, the most captivating being the question of their attitude toward humans. The Conservatives believed it should be external (the dragon outside the man), but the Liberals, headed by the young dragon's father, disagreed. This was not medieval times, when dragons snatched princesses and were consequently slain by knights. No, these are enlightened times, and he believed an era of peace should be established. Perhaps there were ways dragons could serve humans, and even humans could serve dragons.
    When the discussions became too heated, the people thought the volcano was going to erupt.
    One day the young dragon accidentally got caught in a trap and painfully hung there all night. He finally saw a young man approach on a horse. By shutting his left eye he became invisible, so as not to scare the man, but politely requested his assistance, and said he'd become visible if the man would just tie his horse out of sight. That being done, the dragon is set free. He tells the young man he is bound, on the honor of a dragon, to do him service. The man's name is Prince Yotun, who was the ruler of the country. The young dragon took one of his scales and handed it to the Prince, telling him to present it at the mountain if ever he needed help.
    Well, he does, when his betrothed, Princess Uralia, was abducted by the giant Borumgum. The dragon said he'd run and fetch her, but the Prince said, no, he must go himself. So the Prince rode off, and the young dragon flew to where the Princess was imprisoned. He closed his left eye and asked the pale weeping maiden in the tower if she was Princess Uralia. She was, and whose voice did she hear? He replied that he was a friend of the Prince, bound to do him service. Oh, yeah, the dragon—she knew all about him and said he could open his left eye—she wasn't afraid, which he thought was quite sensible. She admired his colors, and climbed on his back. Meanwhile, the Prince (not knowing this chain of events), demands the Borumgum release his Princess, which he refuses, so he gets stabbed in the foot and goes away to sulk.
    But soon the young dragon and the Princess arrive at the castle door, and pick up the Prince. He set his horse free to return to the stables on his own, and off they flew. The Princess gave him the gold chain from around her neck as a token of gratitude, and the couple were married the next day while the dragon looked on, with his left eye closed. He sighed when he thought of the Princess.
    And the very last story by Edith Nesbit, is not only clever, but even more humorous. It is called The Last of the Dragons. It takes place in Cornwall before English History began. Here's part of the first paragraph.

   Of course, you know that dragons were once as common and motorbuses are now, and almost as dangerous. But as every well-brought-up Prince was expected to kill a dragon and rescue a princess, the dragons grew fewer and fewer, till it was often quite hard for a princess to find a dragon to be rescued from.

    Then she goes on to name the countries that no longer have dragons (America never did, and China still does), but this is about the last one in England. Now, the King of Cornwall had a daughter and when she turned sixteen, she knew she'd have to face this last remaining dragon, who was seventy feet long and had scales made of iron, so he rattled when he walked.
    But she had no interest in dragons, and wasn't very impressed by the silly princes, either. One day when she and her father were in the garden and she made a daisy chain for his crown, she suggested she rather rescue a prince, because she could fence much better than any of the princes they knew. He thought that was unladylike, then the Prime Minister showed up, so they had to end their conversation. The princess pointed out that this situation is different than when her mother was rescued, because this is the last dragon.
    So finally the night arrives on which the princess must be rescued. The Prince is a milquetoast sort of guy who is really more interested in mathematics and philosophy than fencing. The princess writes him a note, delivered by her parrot, to meet her on the terrace so they can talk in private.

   "Do you think," said the Princess earnestly, "that you will be able to kill the dragon?"
   "I will kill the dragon," said the Prince firmly, "or perish in the attempt."
   "It's no use your perishing," said the Princess.
   "It's the least I can do," said the Prince.
   "What I'm afraid of is that it'll be the most you can do," said the Princess.
   "It's the only thing I can do," said he, "unless I kill the dragon."
   "Why you should do anything for me is what I can't see," said she.
   "But I want to," he said. "You must know that I love you better than anything in the world."
   When he said that he looked so kind that the Princess began to like him a little.

    So they make plans. Nobody will actually be looking when he frees her from the dragon, so he will come and cut the cords that bind her, then they will fight the dragon together. And so it happens, but then they agree that the ceremony could just as well have been done without a dragon, and since he's the last, it's a pity to kill him. So they decide to offer it some biscuits and train it. They reach the cave and call out, and it turns out the dragon is really ho-hum about the whole game, too. And he says he doesn't know what he'd do with a Princess if he had one. Yuk, he wouldn't eat one. He's not interested in the biscuits either, even the ones with sugar on top.
    So they try to figure out how to solve the dilemma. The dragon won't even come out of the cave. Finally, the Princess calls "Dragon! Dragon, dear!"
    "WHAT?" shouted the dragon. "Say that again!"
    Then he comes out, but not to fight. He's like a puppy wanting to play. They realize he is sobbing. Nobody had ever called him "dear" before. The Princess tells him not to cry. They just want to tame him. He tells them he is tame and would eat out of their hands.
    He said he would drink to their health, since they were supposedly to be married that day. What would he drink?

   "Yes, sir, just a tiddy drop of puppuppuppuppupetrol—tha—that's what does a dragon good, sir----"
   "I've lots in the car," said the Prince, and was off down the mountain like a flash.

    Anyways, they all return to the castle and the marriage is held. The Princess names her new pet Fido. Then they fit him up with something like little tramcars—one hundred fifty seats. Now he can take little parties of children to the seaside. And the children loved to call him "Dear."
    HA! That one is by far the best story in the book. I can't wait to read more of her books. As linked above, she has a Project Gutenberg Page, and I've already downloaded a number of her works.
    Anyways, on that I will end. In spite of its uneven quality, there are a few gems in this collection that make it worth reading. Being published in 1931, the copyright should have expired here in the U.S., so perhaps it will appear as a free eBook on one of the numerous sources available.


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