Once there was a boy who dreamed of being a knight. He crafted a little sword out of paper and spent all his playtime pretending to be a knight. As soon as he was old enough, he started his training. He strengthened his body with hard work. He learned to ride a horse at the village stables. He befriended some of the men in the king’s guard and learned all they would teach him. He learned how to survive in the wild from the herdsmen who spend weeks wandering with their flocks in the wilderness. He learned how to treat wounds from the village herbalist. He followed the code of the knights which he learned first from books and then from observing the world and then from his heart. When he was ready, the king called on him and dubbed him and sent him out into the lands to protect and serve the people. He spent many happy years of service as a knight.
One day he got word that there was a dragon terrorizing a nearby village. He mounted his horse straightaway. He tracked the dragon to its lair in the mountains high above the village. He used every bit of his skill and knowledge and training to fight the dragon. And he was triumphant.
The villagers were ecstatic. Many wanted to know how he had defeated the dragon so they could do it themselves if another dragon came.
The butcher asked, “What blade did you use when you fought the Dragon?”
The blacksmith asked, “What technique did you use when you fought the Dragon?”
The philosopher asked, “What were you thinking when you fought the Dragon?”
The poet asked, “What were you feeling when you fought the Dragon?”
The tailor asked, “What were you wearing when you fought the Dragon?”
The knight thought long and hard about how to help them. He created a program for them to follow; a stripped-down version of his knight training. He stayed in the village and worked with them every day. The knight had hopes that the villagers would grow stronger. Instead, they grew more dependent on him as the days passed. They started asking him for advice on all manner of things. They pleaded with him, “Stay with us. Lead us and protect us from dragons.”
The knight realized the villagers were not interested in defeating a dragon on their own. They wanted him to protect and lead them. He explained to the villagers that he was a knight, not a leader, and that he could no longer stay with them. He bowed graciously and departed the village.
After the knight was gone, there was confusion and upset in the village. Some tried to keep up with the training, but slowly settled back into their old lifestyle. Some sent out letters to other villages in search of a new knight to lead and protect their village. Some traveled out of the village to try to find the knight and plead with him to return.
But there was also something else that happened. Just after the knight had said goodbye and left the village, several children quietly went into their rooms and crafted little swords from paper and started dreaming of being knights.