At last Una and the Knight came to Una's kingdom, where her parents were held captive, and all the land lay wasted by the terrible dragon. As they drew near their journey's end, Una began to cheer her companion with brave words.
"Dear Knight," she said, "who for my sake have suffered all these sorrows, may Heaven reward you for your weary toll! Now we have come to my own country, and the place where all our perils dwell. This is the haunt of the horrible monster, therefore
be well on your guard and ready for the foe. Call up all your courage, and do better than you have ever done before, so that hereafter you shall be renowned. above all knights on earth."
At this moment they heard a hideous roaring sound, which filled the air, and almost shook the solid ground. Soon they saw the dreadful dragon where he lay stretched on the sunny side of a great hill. Directly he caught sight of the glittering armour of the Knight, he quickly roused himself, and hastened towards them.
The Red Cross Knight bade Una go to a hill at some distance, from where she might behold the battle and be safe from danger. She had scarcely done so when the huge beast drew near, half flying, and half running in his haste. I
He was a dreadful creature to look at, very big, covered with brazen scales like a coat of steel, which he clashed loudly as he came. He had two immense wings with which he could fly, and at the point of his great, knotted tail were two stings, sharper than the sharpest steel. Worse even than these, however, were his cruel claws, which tore to pieces everything that came within their clutches. He had three rows of iron teeth, and his eyes, blazing with wrath, sparkled like living fire.
Such was the terrible monster with whom the Red Cross Knight had now to do battle.
All day they fought; and when evening came, the Knight was quite worn out and almost defeated. As it chanced, however, close by was a spring, the waters of which possessed a wonderful gift of healing. The
[paragraph continues] Knight was driven backwards and fell into this well. The dragon clapped his wings in triumph, for he thought he had gained the victory. But so great was the power of the water in this well that although the Knight's own strength was utterly exhausted, yet he rose out of it refreshed and vigorous. The dawn of the next day found him stronger than ever, and ready for battle.
The name of the spring was called the Well of Life.
All through the second day the battle lasted, and again, when evening came, the Knight was almost defeated. But this night he rested under a beautiful tree laden with goodly fruit; the name of the tree was the Tree of Life. From it flowed, as from a well, a trickling stream of balm, a perfect cure for all ills, and whoever ate of its fruit attained to everlasting life.
The strength of the Red Cross Knight alone would never have been sufficient to overcome the terrible Dragon of Sin, but the water of the Well of Life, and the balm from the Tree of Life, gave him a power that nothing could resist.
On the morning of the third day he slew the dragon.