John Rutter - The Reluctant Dragon lyrics
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John Rutter - The Reluctant Dragon lyrics

Narrator: This is the story of a boy, a saint, and a
Dragon. It happened one Christmas-time long ago, when
The world was different, and there were more dragons
About than there are nowadays; although nothing much
Has really changed. People are still people, good and bad;
Boys are still boys; and you can still find the occasional
Dragon ' or can you? Listen, and see for yourself.
All: Once upon a time, a time long ago;
Dream days and dragon days when life was full of
There lived a shepherd and his son all alone.
Each day and every day the shepherd watched his sheep;
Each day and every day the boy sat reading and
Reading myths and legends of the wonders of the world.
Knights in shining armour bearing banners all unfurled;
Tales of elves and goblins and the spirits of the woods;
Monsters in the sea and monsters on the land, and
How he longed to meet a real, fierce, fiery dragon!
A fire-breathing, fearsome, fabulous, fairy-tale,
Scaly, taily, green-bodied, red-eyed dragon.
Narrator: And sooner than expected his chance came.
One night the shepherd came home all of a tremble.
'It's all up with me! ' he exclaimed. 'Never more can I go
Up on them there downs! You know that cave up there?
Well, I saw this creature sticking halfway out of the cave.
As big as four cart horses and all covered with shiny
Scales! '
The boy yawned. 'It's all right, father... Don't you
Worry. It's only a dragon. He won't give us any trouble.
I'll go up there and have a talk with him. '
So, after tea, he did.
The boy visits the dragon's cave
All: Out through the cottage door and skip across the
Went the boy with his head full of dragons breathing
Up along the village street and down beyond the inn: 23
At last his chance had come for real adventure to begin.
Up across the hillside all crisp and frosty white:
Down the winding woodland path the boy ran swiftly
Through the night
To the secret hiding place, the fearsome fiery dragon's
What adventure, what excitement, feels like magic in the
Now at last he'll know the answers to a plethora of
Does the dragon say his grace and such before he chews
And guzzles?
Does he use a table napkin or a knife and fork and
Does he wash his claws and whiskers carefully when he
Dines at noon?
When he tries to eat an ice-cream does his fiery
Breathing melt
All the ice and cream and send it trickling down his scaly
If he sniffs at plants and flowers does he make the
Blossoms droop?
Does he singe his hair and whiskers when he blows upon
His soup?
By the time the boy had reached the highest point among
The hills
He was dreaming all of dragons and their instant damsel
Do they kill before they grill or do they like to hear the
Of their gently roasting victims spitted right along their
And in case you all are thinking that this subject's done
To death '
Well, don't worry, we shall stop now cause we've all run
Out of breath.
Narrator: And sure enough, just outside a small but
Comfortable cave in the hillside, a dragon lay stretched
Out, purring contentedly.
The boy approached... Rather nervously...
Boy: Good evening, dragon.
Dragon: Good evening, good evening, good evening!
Can you think of a rhyme for 'moon'?
Boy: How about 'June'?
Dragon: Splendid, splendid, splendid! I've tried
'Baboon', 'pontoon' and 'macaroon' ' but they all lack
Something... I'm a poet you see. Would you like to
Hear one of my early efforts?
Huff, little dragon through your little baby nostrils,
Huff, my little scaly one, and light papa's cigar.
Snort, little fellow, with your little baby dragon snout,
Blowing steamy bubbles through your honey in the jar.
What do you think?
Boy: Well, yes...
Dragon: Mind you, I also cultivate a more contemporary
Style: here's a passage from my Three Quintets:
Seething pitch and betting slips
Coagulate the battleships...
The villagers and St George arrive
Dragon: But hark! What do I hear in the distance?
Villagers: We want the dragon! Scrag 'I'm, do 'I'm, chop
'Is 'ead off!
We want the dragon! Scrag 'I'm, spike 'I'm, cut 'is froat!
We got St. George and 'is 'orse and sword and buckler;
When St. George 'as done wiv 'I'm, 'e won't be worth a
We want the dragon! 'e's bin lootin', rape and pillagin'!
We want the dragon! 'e's bin scorching all the crops!
St. George'll spike the perisher, the awful scaly ravisher;
St. George'll swoosh 'is great big sword an' thump 'I'm
Round the chops!
Dragon: Oh how uncouth, how vulgar! How
Unutterably awful!
And it doesn't even rhyme! But who is this?
St George: Saint George, at your service! The hour of
Reckoning has come, sir! Never more shall you wreak
Your terror upon these poor simple folk! What weapons
Do you choose?
Dragon: Weapons, dear fellow? None, dear boy! Can't
Fight, won't fight! Anyway, why must I be defeated?
St George: Because it's in the story!
St George: I say, old boy, look here, old chap, you've got
To do your stuff,
It's not British, it's not pukka just to sit there in a huff;
So pull yourself together, man, and strike a stoic pose!
I have read the Army manual and I'll show you how it
Dragon: Army manual! Stoic poses! Stuff and
Nonsense! Don't you see?
I'm a literary dragon; not a drop of fight in me.
All my Sturm and Drang is pantomime; I wouldn't hurt
A fly.
If you're going to cut up rough then I'll just sit down here
And cry!
Boy: Stupid dragon! Can't you think of what a noble
Sight there'd be:
Nostrils flaring, scales a-flashing, armour glinting,
Banners waving, don't you see?
St George: It's a case of King and Country, do or die,
Show the flag:
With a gin and T. To brace you it'll soon be in the bag!
Every chap with any feeling feels a quivering of his lips
When the fighting is all over and the foe has had his
All: But what shall we do?
Dragon: I've no wish to fight you.
St George: And frankly, old chap, I don't want to fight
You either!
All: So what shall we do?
Boy: Why don't you rig the fight?
Dragon and St George: Why don't we rig the fight?
Boy: That's right!
Dragon and St George: Yes, why don't we rig the fight?
What a splendid idea! But how?
Boy: Oh, let me show you!
Planning the tournament
Chorus: With a one and a two and over to you!
Boy: First he waves his spear around,
St George: Yes, I wave my spear around,
Dragon: Ah! He waves his spear around; oh! How
Boy: Then his charger paws the ground,
St George: Yes, me charger paws the ground,
Dragon: Ah! His charger paws the ground; my! How
Boy: Now you let him have a burst '
St George: Right, you let me have a burst,
Dragon: Oh! I'll give him quite a burst; how
Boy: Then you both begin to lunge,
St George: Good! We both begin to lunge.
Dragon: Nice! Let's have a jolly lunge ' so stimulating!
Boy: Then he sticks you in the gut '
St George: Wow! I stick him in the gut?
Dragon: What, he sticks me? Tut, tut, you nasty person!
Boy: No, it's just a bag of tricks '
St George: Make it look as though it sticks
Boy: So the crowd'll get their kicks.
Dragon: I hope you're certain!
Chorus: And now, Mr Jackman, take it away!
Boy: (sings scat)
Chorus: Mr Ives!
Dragon: (sings scat)
Chorus: Now Mr Holt!
St George: (sings scat)
Chorus: Second half!
Boy: Now you speed it up from there:
St George: Feint and lunge and claw the air,
Dragon: Wave your sword all debonair ' I've got the
Boy: Make it nasty, make it mean,
St George: Make it start to sort of seem
Dragon: Like we meant it ' what a dream, oh the
Boy: Then you screw it up to pitch
St George: Till the crowd begins to itch
Dragon: For a killing, for a victory, for curtains!
Boy: Yes, but you're the one they want
St George: Spitted neatly through the front!
Dragon: We must fix it so it looks '
We must be certain!
Boy: Never fear, St George will do it,
St George: Yes there's really nothing to it: where's a bit
Of you with no sensation in it?
Dragon: You could pin me in the wing; see, it's really
Only skin,
Boy: That's the place, St G., so take it to the limit!
Chorus: The limit, just about the limit!
All: And now we all know what to do. Oooh!
Narrator: And not a moment too soon. Already it was
Time for the tournament to begin, and a crowd of
Villagers had gathered.
The tournament
Villagers: We want the dragon! Scrag 'I'm, do 'I'm, chop
'Is 'ead off!
We want the dragon! Scrag 'I'm, spike 'I'm, cut 'is froat!
Master of Ceremonies: Silence, pray silence, ladies and
Gentlemen! On my left, the fearsome, fiery dragon! And
On my right, the fearless St George! Right now, gentlemen.
I'm sure I needn't remind you that we are observing
King's Rules. On the word of command ' charge!
Round one ' no hits; a draw! Round two: take your
Marks ' charge!
St George: Come, fiery fiend, your doom is sealed; Your
Fell career is at an end, sir!
Dragon: Seal on, you animated scarecrow! Come let
Me roast you like a capon!
St George: My sword your lips shall soon extinguish!
Dragon: It might if you'd the strength to lift it, putrid
St George: Mangy monster!
Dragon: Feeble, faint-hearted, feather-brained,
Frivolous, ferret-faced, flea-bitten, festering fool!
Master of Ceremonies: Round two: Dragon wins on
Points! Round three, and the last round. Take your
Marks ' charge!
Dragon: Aargh! Alas, I die!
Villagers: Hooray! St George has vanquished the
Boy: Oh Dragon, are you really hurt?
Dragon: Not a scratch dear boy ' didn't I do it well!
Boy: Shush, they'll hear you! Just keep acting...
Villagers: Well now, I reckon all this vanquishing
Deserves a celebration: let's have a banquet! Yes, yes, let's
Have a banquet!
Narrator: So that night there was a great banquet. I'm
Not certain if he was actually invited, but the dragon
Went along too, and even took some of his poetry, just in
Case anyone asked him to read it. Everyone feasted and
Banquet fugue
All: Guzzle, guzzle, munch, munch, gobble, gobble,
Chomp, pass the salt and the pepper and the mustard and
Vinegar and the bread There's a fly in my soup! Well, it
Won't drink much sir! Fetch the doctor, I'm feeling rather
Strange. Guzzle, guzzle etc.
Two villagers: 'Ey! Just a minute ' what's the dragon
Doin' 'ere?
All: I thought St George had slain 'I'm once and for all.
Cut off his 'ead!
St George: Cut off his head? I can't do that! He's a jolly
Good chap. I'll give him a stern talking to: now that
Should do the trick instead! Why don't we let bygones be
Bygones ' turn a new leaf ' make another start? After
All, dragons aren't so bad if you just get to know them a
Bit; and besides, it's nearly Christmas...
All: So let's begin again; try another way;
Let's begin again; there's a better way.
Rule a line and start once more;
Learning from what's gone before.
Let's begin again;
Let's find a way to start again.
So can we get it right this time? Possibly.
Another chance in sight? Take things easily.
Is there time to care again;
Time to hope and share again?
Is it all too late?
Too late to try it out again?
The starlight in the skies and the moonlight;
The firelight in your eyes and the candlelight
Ev'ry creature softly bless,
Touching each with tenderness,
Helping us to see,
To see a better way ahead.
The snow upon the downs wraps things silently;
Nothing mortal shows; let's step carefully.
Make new tracks together,
Walk hand in hand;
And never run and hide;
The paths that we must tread lie side by side.
Narrator: So at length the banquet ended. They set off
Up the hill arm in arm, the saint, the boy and the dragon.
The lights in the little village began to go out; but there
Were stars, and a late moon, as they climbed the downs
Together. Soon they reached the top, and it was time for
Their ways to part. They stood silent for a moment; then
Wished each other goodnight; and a merry Christmas.
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