The Enchanted Peafowl - The Story of the Golden Apples, the Wicked Dragon, and the Magic Horse
So they both ate and then the dragon mounted the magic horse and in no time at all they had overtaken the fugitives.
"I ought to tear you to pieces," the dragon said to the Prince, "but I won't this time because you gave me a cup of water. However, I warn you not to try this foolishness again!"
With that he clutched the poor weeping Princess in his scaly arms and carried her back to the castle.
What was the Prince to do now? He tried to plan some other way of rescuing the Princess but he could think of none. In spite of the dragon's threat he went back the next day and tried the same thing again. Again the dragon overtook him and snatched back the Princess.
"I have spared you one time," he said to the Prince, "and I will spare you this one time more for the sake of the water you gave me. But I warn you if you come again I will tear you to pieces."
But what man worthy the name will accept such a warning when the safety and happiness of his loved one is concerned? The next day while the dragon was out the Prince again returned to the castle.
"It is plain," he said to the Princess, "that we can never escape until we, too, get a magic horse. We must find out where the dragon got his. To-night when he comes home, speak him fair and caress his head and when he is in fine humor ask him about his horse—what kind of a horse it is and where he got it. Then I will come back to-morrow at this same hour and you can tell me."
So that night when the dragon came home the Princess allowed him to put his head in her lap and she scratched him softly behind the ears and petted him until he was purring like a giant cat.
"Urrh! Urrh! Urrh!" purred the dragon. "How happy we are here, just you and I! What a foolish young man that Prince of yours is to think I'd let him carry you off! Urrh! Urrh! Urrh!"
"Yes," the Princess agreed, "he is foolish or he would never suppose his horse could outrace yours."
"Urrh! Urrh!" the dragon purred. "You're right! He seems to think my horse is an ordinary horse.