My retelling/review of this tale comes from my Illustrated Treasury of Scottish Folk and Fairy Tales by Theresa Breslin and Kate Leiper.
This story centres around a boy know as Assipattle. He was the seventh son of a seventh son and a little bit of a dreamer. He loved to make up stories and was generally known for being a bit lazy and useless. When it came to it though, Assipattle proved he was more than what he seemed.
The story is all about the Dragon Stoorworm which was the worst dragon to ever exist. It was so big that it nearly took up the whole of Scotland. The trouble for Scotland was that it was likely to gobble anyone up that came near it. As well as being massive, the dragon had an enormous tail with jagged spikes on it. When the dragon was in a mood it would lash out with its tail, doing considerable damage to buildings and even mountains. Another terrible thing was that the Dragon Stoorworm was eating everything in Scotland. The cows, horses, sheep and other livestock. It would even eat the crops and drink all of the water from the loch, so it didn’t take long for Scotland to be in a very bad way.
The King sent his three wisest men to try and talk to the Dragon Stoorworm and get him to stop making so much trouble. However, Dragon Stoorworm ate two of the men and the other got away. He came back with a message that the Dragon Stoorworm would stop only if the king sent him a pretty girl to eat for breakfast each morning. The men of Scotland went to hide their daughters, wives and sisters, but the women had already be intelligent enough to hide themselves already (Girl power!) The only girl left was the King’s own daughter who said she would sacrifice herself to prevent Scotland from being ruined. The King tried to encourage people to save his daughter and in return have her hand in marriage, his sword and his country, but the Princess was not impressed with that and said she’d marry whomever she pleased. A feisty Princess!
Each day, the King and the Princess were let down by knights, nobles and commoners who never seemed to come back. Until Assipattle came down the road. He was different to the others. He enjoyed singing, reading, making up stories and songs. He may have seemed lazy to his family who were hard-workers but Assipattle didn’t seem to mind. He saw the Princess and tried to get to talk to her as he wanted to share his poems and stories with her. He had told the King that she was ‘pretty enough!’ The Princess was offended by this as she was so used to being worshipped by others. However, Assipattle didn’t know she was a Princess and he intrigued her. The Princess revealed herself, but the King told Assipattle that he had to sort out Dragon Stoorworm first.
Assipattle and the Princess came up with a plan. When Dragon Stoorworm awoke and yawned, it would take in the water where Assipattle and the Princess would be in a tiny boat. They sailed into Dragon Stoorworm’s mouth, down his throat until they arrived at his lived. The Princess held the boat steady as Assipattle dug a hole in the flesh of the Stoorworm. The Princess had a peat that they’d taken from the fire and once blazing, they rammed it into the liver of the Stoorworm (aggressive!). Assipattle and the Princess waited.
Shortly, the fire began to hurt the Dragon Stoorworm. It writhed around in agony. It tried to get rid of the pain by vomiting which brought out the Princess and Assipattle. The Princess handed Assipattle the sword and he managed to swipe the Dragon Stoorworm around the head with such force that he was knocked out for ten thousand years and a day.
Assipattle and the Princess kissed and got married and lived happily ever after in Scotland! ❤