Author's Note: Ugh, the FP formatting is really, REALLY messing up the poem.

This is the result of me being bored and Shadow Gryphon posting so many little poems on her LJ.

Have fun!

Far, far away in Fantasyland,

There lived a prince brave and bold.

The years of his childhood had swiftly passed by

And soon the prince was twenty years old.

Knowing he had come of age,

The prince knew he'd to build his life.

"Perhaps I'll get a title, a dukedom

And to complement them a lovely wife."

Unfortunately, a problem stood in the way!

A problem most accursed, dreadful and bad!

When the heralds brought the news

In the nearby kingdoms there were no prospective brides to be had!

"Son," the king said, dismay on his face,

"Of this matter I must wash my hands.

If you must have a maiden of noble birth

I guess you'll have to look in faraway lands.

Indeed, son, I know of the rules

That govern Fantasyland from the gods to the trees.

I've had some experience in my time;

Been dafter than Iolo and more drunk than Dupre.

But I'll tell you a great secret, my son.

My court magicians have laboured and spent

Time and money, just to find

If the rules of Fantasyland can truly be bent.

They've discovered loopholes, you see.

There are conditions, big and small

If these perquisites aren't met

The rules-they won't be enforced at all!

Now, son, even if you were to fail,

Your two younger brothers can't fill your shoes.

After all, who in Fantasyland

Gets wedded at the ages of ten and two?"

Hearing the truth in his father's words,

For his quest the prince made ready to depart.

And so about a week thereafter

Did the prince pass the castle ramparts.

Days did he travel along the road

For company he had wild grasses, the sun, and dust.

Many miles went under his booted feet

In a small town he came upon an inn, at last.

Weary and glad to be off his feet,

The prince pushed open the with much good cheer

Headed for the bar, pushed over a coin,

And sat down to nurse a tall frothy beer.

"Now comes the hard part," the prince thought.

"Where am I to find a wife true?

Should I follow the grass green

Or should I head for the sea blue?"

Now alas, our poor hero was confused!

He simply had no idea what to go about

In order to find a damsel to bring home,

So he took his father's guidebook out.

The well-weathered book was very much used.

Dog-ears and creases lined its pages.

Within the tome, the king had claimed,

Lay the wisdom of many wise sages.

"If thou seekst to wed," the prince read aloud,

"Thou must first find a damsel in distress.

Then thou must focus all thy energies

This young maiden thou must impress."

The prince was rather flummoxed at this.

Such a contrived relationship shouldn't be able to stand

The trials of life together later,

But after all, these were the rules of Fantasyland.

Where swords and bows were the only weapons,

Where villains were one-dimensional and dressed in black.

Where village girls were always mysteriously stunning

With feminine curves and also good in the sack.

Where all sorts of monsters were mindless sword-fodder

For heroes and knights of dubious renown,

Where by the accursed laws of Fantasyland

Only the youngest should inherit the crown.

"Well then," the prince did muse aloud,

"What should I do in order to get

This damsel to favour me without knowing

Her likes and tastes, or having even met!"

Once again the prince consulted his guide,

His finger paused at page ninety-four.

For the chapter that began

Was titled "Impressing damsels and more."

"Now you on that quest," the prince read aloud,

Eyes scanning the lines as he emptied his flagon,

"The traditional way to impress a maiden

Is to kill a suitably large dragon."

Solving one problem simply brought another!

For where was a large dragon to be found?

Most were seen out of reach in the sky

Or otherwise hidden in caves underground!

"Bartender! A moment of your time, if you may.

I'm an adventurer, look! I have a sword!

Would you mind pointing me in

The direction of the local tourism board?"

"That would be me!" the barkeep said with pride.

"Certified by the king himself!"

To prove his point the barkeep did

Point to the license displayed on the shelf.

"I can direct you to all sorts of places

Within this immediate vicinity!

Bridges and monuments, waterfalls and lakes!

All sorts of wonders for you to sightsee!

Vineyards with their grapes rich and red!

Hard ripe cheese waiting to be had!

Buy some of our produce for sustenance on your travels!

Months will pass and they won't go bad!

Culture and people out there await!

Nymphomaniacs all attractive and willing!

Don't be alarmed, it's a local custom!

They won't even charge a single shilling!"

"I'm sorry to interrupt you," the prince said.

"But I only want to know where a dragon might be.

I have to chop off its head or something

In order to impress a damsel, you see."

The barkeep did look rather sad.

"You're certain you don't want to sample the cheese?

Well, if you're in that much of a hurry

There's a local beastie to the northeast.

I wouldn't suggest you go right now.

Dusk is falling, do stay the night!

People before you have never returned from there!

You'll need your strength-have a moment's respite!"

So the next day did the prince leave,

The morning sun bright upon his head.

When he did approach the cave the barkeep had mentioned

Amazingly, he was not filled with dread!

The scene out there was a sheer riot!

The forest was crammed with many a warrior and knight!

Livery of all colours flashed in the daylight

Dazzling the poor prince-but what a sight!

Stereotypical feisty princesses run away from home!

Amazons who claimed themselves superior to men!

Destined Heroes who relied on deus ex machina!

All these covered the forest like sand!

"Hey, queue-jumper!" A voice rang out.

"If it's the dragon you wish to meet

Go to that machine right up front,

Take a number and have a seat!"

Trembling, the prince jostled his way up front,

Noted the sign declaring "The dragon is in."

Carefully reached out and retrieved

A number-stamped paper from the whirring machine.

Occasionally the machine would beep

And a bright red number would hover in the air.

Someone would hastily jump to their feet

And move to enter the dragon's lair.

Sighing, the prince sat down on the grass.

He'd see the dragon, whatever it took.

He was just rather glad that

In his pack was a thick fantasy book.

For long did the prince wait

Under the shade of the big oak tree

Until a number flashed in the air!

"Ninety-four! Why, that's me!"

Picking up his belongings with haste,

The noble prince bold and brave

Readied his sword, and made to enter

The mouth of the dragon's cave.

Deeper and deeper did the prince venture

Into the heart of the dragon's lair.

Abruptly, the tunnel widened into a chamber!

Surely he'd find the monster there!

As he stepped in, the prince's jaw dropped.

This wasn't like anything he'd heard

About dragons, no matter who had told it,

His mother, the nursemaid or that guru with a beard!

Oh, the dragon seemed ferocious enough all right.

It was nine times as large as the prince was tall!

Burnished black scales gleamed in the light!

Suddenly, the prince felt very small.

He didn't want to face up to those wickedly curved claws

Or to those jaws full of serrated teeth.

Nor to the spines that lined its back and tail;

He didn't even know what it could breathe!

Oh, the dragon he'd expected all right,

Most people were right to quiver and quail

In front of a monstrous beast

Of which tales would make children wail.

No, what was indeed surprising

Were the furnishings in the dragon's lair.

He'd never heard of those creatures collecting books

But they were scattered here and there.

Arranged in shelves, racks and cases

Were tons of fantasy books galore!

High, urban, transformative, science fantasy!

Sword and sorcery and even more!

The black dragon scribbled on a sheet of paper

With a traditional fine-feather quill.

Looking up at the prince, it growled,

"Go on, do as you will.

Are you going to stand there all day?

You're no goldfish, you sot.

Are you going to draw that sword

And try to kill me, or not?"

Trembling, the prince managed to stammer.

"Mr. Dragon, I don't think so.

Might I buy some of your scales?

I can pay-I have gold!"

Setting down his pen, the dragon managed a snort.

"Why, good human? Whatever for?

I know my scales have many uses,

Blessing, curses, potions and more!

Now don't give me that look, soft-skin.

I'm the socially responsible type.

So tell me your intentions right now

Before into your flesh I bite!

Now stop wasting my time!

I'm writing a novel, can't you see!

The publishers and readers are getting annoyed!

I've got an important deadline to meet!"

"Well then, sir, if I must.

A personal secret I must confess.

I was looking for a suitable wife

Apparently some damsel I have to impress.

I'd thought to kill you and bring back your head,

But as matters developed I knew that would be bad.

So I thought I'd buy some scales

That all dragons naturally shed.

From those scales I'd craft a cloak

Soft yet durable, of draconic make.

If that doesn't impress some vapid princess

I seriously don't know what it'll take!

Normal relationships I do know about,

But I couldn't help but be born a prince!

Now the rules of Fantasyland

Have turned my life into a series of twists!"

"So you have some brains, human.

You're a very interesting character indeed.

At least you didn't use the stupidest method

To go about meeting this need.

Tell you what, we'll make a trade.

I'll give you some of my scales.

But as payment I don't want gold;

I want you to tell me your tales!"

"But why my stories?" the prince asked.

"Surely you have better than what I could give!

Within this room there are thousands of books!

What tale to better them could I weave?"

At this, the black dragon roared and laughed.

"Now I know you're no Mary-Sue!

Perhaps you didn't understand me,

I want to hear about you!

You're an somewhat complex character, I can tell,

Having a life outside of the tapestry you're in.

With your own wants, desires and thoughts

Outside of the plot that's often too thin!

All those people you saw outside;

They're all Mary-Sues through and through!

Why, their total unique characterization

Couldn't even fill a gnome's shoe!

They step into this chamber alone,

Their minds full of treasure, glory and song!

Imagine their terror when they find their auras

Of deus ex machina and authorial intervention gone!"

A snap of the dragon's claws, and the prince saw

The gleaming machine move into the light.

Blades and bludgeons lined the contraption's edges

Until they vanished into the machine, out of sight.

Seeing the prince's fear, the dragon chuckled.

"That, human, is my sausage machine!

Sues go in one end, sausages out the other!

Why waste all that good protein?

Stunning looks, curves in all the right places!

Muscle-bound hunks, depending on gender!

Just the right combination of fat and lean

For the sausages to be delicious yet tender!

Then the sausages go into sealed containers

Before being sent far and wide!

What's in your lunch? Chicken? Pork?

Ha! No, that's Sue inside!

Now, human, you have nothing to fear.

You're a decent character through and through.

Since you asked a reasonable question

I'll show you what it is I intend to do."

The dragon spread his ebony wings,

Threw back his head and let out a roar.

Shadows seeped from every crevice

To fill the chamber from ceiling to floor.

Taken aback, the prince stumbled.

Into the darkness he let a fearful cry.

Yet when the light returned

He beheld before him an incredible sight!

The dragon's lair had vanished, and now in its place

Was a strange chamber that twinkled with stars.

There seemed to be no walls or floor

But yet the prince was on firm ground so far.

A loom was before him, one of old-fashioned make,

Hewn from some substance that glowed.

While no feet seemed to work the pedals

It seemed the device never slowed.

But most magnificent were the threads that moved

Upon the harnesses of the great loom.

Glimmering softly as they were woven,

The resulting tapestry lit the whole room.

More spools of thread lay to one side,

Amongst them moved a hound of great size.

Picking each spool and sorting it by colour

The hound set it down as if it were some prize.

A gryphon sat down by the loom,

Her feathers black as night.

A fairy hovered by the gryphon's wings

Her aura glowing bright.

The gryphon's talons were blurred to the prince,

For they worked so fast,

Yet the magical weave that came from the loom

Was durable, it would last.

The fairy set upon each spindle

According to her desire

Colourful yarn, thread and other string

It seemed she did not tire.

As the dragon strode towards his friends,

The prince trailing behind,

The three creatures in the chamber

Looked up to see the dragon's find.

"Why, you're back! And with a friend!"

The gryphon exclaimed with glee.

"You were gone so long we were afraid

That you wouldn't see

What we've laboured to create

For the good part of a year!

All of our precious woven tales

We've packed and stored right here!"

"This is a prince," the dragon said,

"A most marvellous character, I say.

I brought him here with the intention

So that he may

Appreciate what it is we do,

We mythical creatures of old.

He will sup with us

And his tales shall be told."

"Then let it be!" the gryphon replied,

And she emitted a loud shriek.

Table and tablecloth came from nowhere

And the gryphon fetched with her beak

Tea and wine, cakes and fruit

Chocolate, candies and more,

A platter of sugary biscuits for the hound

Was set upon the floor.

Five chairs of differing sizes

Appeared round the table.

Slowly did they float down through the air

Until they appeared to be stable.

"Come, human!" the dragon boomed.

"Don't hold back today!

Come and have tea with the four of us

And we'll hear what you have to say!"

The prince hesitated, sat down,

Nursed his tea in little sips

When he'd finally caught his nerve

The words came from his lips.

He told them of his desires and wants

His brightest hopes and deepest fears,

The prince spoke of all the events

That happened to him through the years.

His first time holding a wooden sword

On the training field,

The time he'd spent amongst the farmers

Coaxing from the land its yield.

As the prince spoke on, he noticed something!

He couldn't help but wonder

That golden threads formed from his words

And floated in the air asunder!

The fairy deftly snatched the loose ends

And twined them into a ball.

"Don't worry," she said to the hound.

"I think I've got them all.

This thread is the finest stuff!

It makes a stuck loom move along!

For it's called Inspiration, you see!

Without it, everything goes wrong!"

More glimmering strands and filaments

From the prince's mouth flowed,

The threads were of all colours

Not just the initial gold.

"Red for passion from where comes

The story's voice and soul!

Making the reader remember it

Long after it's told!

Blue for Issues and Morals

Those are carefully used,

Lest too many choke the story;

They're so easily abused!

Silver for the plot, the mighty plot,

That holds everything together!

Yellow for the story's characters

That will decide whether

The reader will cry and balk

When a character falls!

Or will the book end up being

Thrown against a wall?"

Yet more colours came

Till the prince had nothing left to say,

The fairy handed the balls to the hound

Who took them far away.

"I agree with you, dragon," the gryphon said.

"A character of this sort

That the prince is the likes of

Doesn't deserve such a cruddy plot.

He needs to be woven in

A story with a life,

Where people change, grow and relate

Through love and peace and strife."

With that, the gryphon leapt to her feet

And she rushed headlong

To the magical story-loom

And started its familiar song.

Her talons set to their work

Moving with deft familiarity,

The magical cloth poured out onto the stars

Its radiance a sight to see.

The dragon, hound and fairy

Moved along to aid

The gryphon's endeavours

And soon the tapestry was made.

The prince, fascinated at the work,

Gazed into the picture's depths.

He felt giddy for a moment

And then all went black.

The prince awoke in his bed.

Where had he been? Who could tell?

Changing out of his sleeping-garments

He headed towards the summons of the morning bell.

Yet in the void between the stars

The four story-weavers may be found

Creating their works on Imagination

Dragon, gryphon, fairy and hound.