Perhaps the most famous of the European
dragons is the tale of St. George's dragon. There are two versions of the incident. The first was told by the frightened villagers
and appears to be somewhat of a cover-up.
In it a dragon appears at the village of Cappadocia and threatens to destroy
the region. In fear they first feed off the villages sheep and then finally start feeding the maidens via a lottery until
only the princess is left.
She is tied to a stake and this is when George came by and killed the dragon. But there
is another version that was first repressed by the villagers. But as the older people died their children started telling
a different tale.
In this version a dragon moved into the region as often happens when they are driven out by a more
powerful dragon or are young ones looking for a territory. Being used to catching and eating whatever he can this dragon starts
first with deer and wild game but then discovers the easy pickings the farm animals in the area are.
No people are
bothered but eventually someone (no one remembers exactly who) comes up with a plan to feed the relatively tame dragon at
a certain place and at a certain time with the villagers sheep. The idea appears to make this a more predictable dragon. Not
knowing knowing any better the intelligent but inexperienced dragon goes along with the plan. Then as he grows he needs even
more sheep to fuel his growing body. Eventually this growing young dragon finishes all the available sheep and comes into
this now small town and starts looking around for some food.
This same bright individual (likely having only sons)
who came up with the sheep plan now comes up with a lottery for feeding off the unmarried maidens in the town. Since after
sheep they were the most expendable asset the town agreed to the plan.
Unfortunately the town had no idea how much
food a dragon needs and how protective of his hunting territory he could become and eventually the princess was the only maiden
left. So she went out in her turn to the sacrificial pole. Here St. George came along and rather than slay the young and ignorant
beastie lectures him on the evils of eating people and the values of christianity in general. He and the princess then put
the tame but confused dragon on a rope and lead him back to the town where he is officially converted to christianity, leaves
the area, and troubles the town no more.