Dragon Slippers by Jessica Day George

Description : Dragon Slippers
The Brown Dragon of Carlieff

It was my aunt who decided to give me to the dragon. Not that she was evil, or didn’t care for me. It’s just that we were very poor, and she was, as we said in those parts, dumber than two turnips in a rain barrel.

My father had been a terrible farmer, and too proud to admit it, so he had struggled on year after year despite countless failed harvests. It had only been my mother’s skill with embroidery that kept us from starvation. She had sewn fancywork for all of the merchants’ wives and once for the lady of the manor. But now Mother and Father were dead from a fever, leaving me and my brother, Hagen, to the mercy of my father’s sister and her husband, who weren’t exactly wealthy themselves.

After the sale of our farm brought only enough money to pay off the mortgage, my aunt proposed the idea that I might marry into money and so pull the rest of the family out of poverty. But while I was pleasant enough to look at, with blue eyes and a small nose, my straw-yellow hair was also straw-straight and I was sadly freckled. To be blunt, I was no beauty, and as I could not spin straw into gold or cry diamond tears, there was no reason for a wealthy suitor to overlook the fact that I had no dowry whatsoever.

“It will have to be the dragon,” my silly aunt declared as we all sat around the hearth, holding what my uncle called a council of war. “Surely a brave adventuring knight will save her from its clutches,” she continued, “and then we shall all be taken away to live in his castle.” She was also very fond of reading romantic tales.

“All of us?” My uncle looked up from where he sat by the fire and whittled a rattle for my newest cousin. “Throwing yourself and myself and our youngsters into the mix as well?” He winked...
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