Short Fiction for Children: The Loch Belle Monster

Note:  This is the second in a series about the five knights.  The first story is Short Fiction for Children: The Dragon Who Was Afraid to FightThis second story was written because my children were a little disappointed that the dragon turned out to be a good guy in the first story. What good is fighting an enemy that’s not evil?  So this story was my concession at writing a more Grendel-like villain.  Since the story takes place in Scotland, it seems like it should be Loch Bonnie rather then Loch Belle.  I’m sure we can come up with some hand wave explanation that the loch was named by Normans or was “mistranslated” from Olde English or something…

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The Five Knights and the Dragon

Versus

The Loch Belle Monster

The five knights that tamed the dragon became famous throughout the land.  The pottery the dragon made was famous too, and people came from all over the world to buy the only pottery made with the help of a dragon.

One day word of the knights’ cleverness and bravery reached an area of Scotland that for months had been besieged by a horrible swamp monster.  They called it the Loch Belle Monster.  Loch Belle used to be the most beautiful lake in the country, but now the monster was driving people farther and farther away from its lovely shores.

The Loch Belle Monster only came out at night, and few people who saw it lived to tell.  Nevertheless, many had seen and experienced the devastation it caused.  The destruction began at the houses and farms nearest the loch, where the roads to the lakeside were wide and well kept.

The monster would slither along the roads until it came to a house or barn.  Then, like a hurricane in animal form, it would spit great gushes of water at the building.  The force of the water and the monster’s breath would collapse the walls and in one gulp the monster would swallow any animals or crops inside.

The monster ate people too, but most people were too quick for it.  They would hear the great snuffling, gurgling sounds the monster made as it slithered along and run for their lives before the monster unleashed its storm on their property.

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Those who had a glimpse of the monster described it as having the head of a giant fish with great gills sticking out of the side of its neck. It had a huge neck pouch, almost like a pelican, that held the hundreds of gallons of stinky lake water that it spurted on its victims and their homes.  Its body and tail were covered with smooth blue-green scales and it had four legs, like giant otter legs, ending in rubbery webbed feet.

Anyone who tried to fight the beast was soon overwhelmed and drowned by the seemingly unending stream of lake water that spurted out of its mouth like a fire hose.

When the five knights were begged to come and help, they first asked lots of questions about the monster to everyone from the area.  Then they formulated a plan.

They learned that the monster preferred wide easy roads, although now the monster was forced to take smaller paths to find new places to devour.  A few residents had successfully deterred the monster by putting barricades on the paths to their homes, but these only worked temporarily. Once the closer dwellings were destroyed, the monster would blast down the barricades as easily as the houses and barns.

The knights decided they would set a trap for the monster and they sent for their friend, the dragon to help. The dragon was due for a vacation from the pottery shop and was ready for an adventure.

The knights reached Loch Belle in the morning, when the monster was asleep in its murky depths.  They chose a spot in the forest a short distance from shore where there was no path or easy access so the monster would not discover their work at night on his raids.

All the knights helped dig a great pit as a trap,. When it was ready, the knights who were experts at war axe, mace and sword cut down a wide smooth path through the trees and underbrush from the trap to the lake shore.

The knights and the dragon hid in the trees and brush surrounding the path and waited for night to fall. Once it was dark, they heard the waters churn as the giant monster rose from his bed in the depths of the loch.  They heard the monster snuffling and gurgling as it explored the lake shore and discovered the new wide path.  They could smell mud and slime and fish breath as it neared their hiding places. The monster slowed, perhaps sensing danger.  However, it did not stop, and the knight with the lance suddenly stuck his longest lance out of the bushes, tripping the gigantic monster, who fell into the pit with a thud.

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The Loch Belle Monster was furious! The monster snuffled and gurgled and shot out a huge stream of slimy water into the air hoping to sweep away the knights with its force.  The knights were prepared.  They had run away from the trap and were holding their shields as umbrellas, but the dragon flew toward the trap.

As the water spurted upwards, the great dragon opened his mouth and blew a stream of fire at the water.  The heat of the fire immmediately turned the water to steam.  The hot steam encircled the trap and filled it as the dragon directed his breath downward.  The monster, hot and angry, continued to spurt water upward and the dragon continued to turn it into steam until the monster had no water left.

The monster continued to blow fishy breath as hard as it could to blow away the scorching steam, but the heat of the steam was starting to cook the creature like a fish in an oven.  The five knights hurried to the edge of the pit but couldn’t see the monster through the cloud.

loch-belle0004The knight with the bow and arrow shot into the pit.  Although he could not see the monster, he had often practiced shooting in a morning fog, locating his targets by the sound his squire made by tapping on the apples with a very long pole.  As a result, the knight shot at those gurgling sounds with expert aim until the gurgling and snuffling stopped forever.

By morning light, the knights found that the Loch Belle Monster had been thoroughly cooked by the steam, so they called the people from the surrounding area to a giant feast.  The monster had lived for months on the best vegetables and the best fed cattle, sheep and swine in the region, so he was very tasty.

The five brave knights and the dragon received much thanks from the people who lived in the region of Loch Belle. Many who had fled their homes were happy to return and rebuild in safety near the shores of the beautiful loch. The knights and the dragon stayed for a while to help the people get started on rebuilding, and to spend some time enjoying the loch.

Eventually, the knights and the dragon returned to their homes, looking forward to their next adventure.

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