Once, a very long time ago, there lived a king whose greatest desire was to see and capture one specimen of the major fantastical creatures in his realm. Therefore, he called upon the great wizard Ildor to counsel with him on how to obtain his greatest want.
Ildor told the kind to send his three children to capture a creature each from the three races of magical beasts in the kingdom.
So it was that the kind sent his eldest son, Harbid, to seek the mighty dragon; his youngest son, Calidor, to find the clever gryphon; and his only daughter, Fymere, to capture the graceful unicorn.
The chosen three set off the next morn. Harbid, clad in steel and bearing a great spear, mounted his black charger and rode off for the stony plateaus. Calidor rode his high-stepping steed off into the mountains, wearing a leather hide and bearing a scimitar. Fymere took off for the woodlands, her bare feet and simple skirt wet with dew, and in her hand a small knife. The kind watched them departing from beside the cages he had prepared for the beasts.
Harbid reached the plateaus the next day. The black hooves of his steed sounded loudly upon the sooty rock. Upon the horizon, a bulge of rock stirred, and became a dragon.
Harbid halted his mount and called to the beast. “It is Prince Harbid! I have come to bring thee to an audience with my father, the king.”
The dragon stood, and his red scales gleamed as he made his ponderous way forward. The stones shook at his approach. Harbids’s horse screamed, rearing. Then, from within his own mind, the prince heard the high melodious voice of the dragon.
“Ye have come to challenge me?”
Harbid raised the visor on his helmet. “No, mighty one. My king wishes to see you.”
But the dragon was within the prince’s mind, and knew what the king truly intended. His voice was as sweet as steel as he replied.
“Those who lie are bound to die!”
And with a single blast of flame from his cavernous jaws, the Prince Harbid was no more.
Calidor rode his grey stallion high into the mountains until he at last found what he desired – a hole in the face of the mountain. A cave.
Not daring to dismount, the youngest Prince rode to the mouth of the darkness and called loudly, “Gryphon, if you live within, come out to speak with me!”
His clear tones echoed throughout the blackness of the tunnel. The prince Calidor and his steed waited for a long while, until they had almost decided to try elsewhere. Then, suddenly the horse’s ears twitched forward, and Calidor heard the steady clicking advance of talons upon stone. Into the sunlight stepped the creature.
Its front half appeared to be a raven, while the back was the tawny of a lion. The eyes too were a cat’s, but the beak was as clever as a parrot’s, or the gryphon spoke in understandable English.
“It was you who wished to speak with me?”
The Prince , openly awed, nodded. “I, Prince Calidor. Yet, it is my father who truly requires your presence.”
The gryphon purred. ...