The Serpent of Handale

Another Yorkshire Dragon! I tend to tweak these stories, making sure I keep the core of them the same of course, but whenever I come across unusual names I always make sure they stay the same. I like that the hero in this is called Scaw, as it is apparantly from an old Norse word (Skagi) for a “headland”. Fitting as this is near the coast, AND Yorkshire was settled by vikings for a significant length of time, giving many words to Yorkshire dialects.

A green dragon sat on a grey rock
A dragon.

Handale is a quiet spot these days, set in lovely countryside, with woods and open fields set around it, but also with the coast nearby.

In ancient times, however, Handale wasn’t so pleasant to live in, as these quiet woods were infested by a huge and powerful dragon, which had the power to control young women. For many years it would bring young maidens under its spell, bewitching them into leaving their homes and entering its lair, where it would feast on their youthful limbs.

A brave young man called Scaw was enraged by this waste of life, and after losing a friend to the vile worm, swore to destroy the dragon, or to perish in the attempt.

Amid the tears and prayers of his friends and family, he buckled on his armour, and made his way to the serpents cave.

He drew his sword, and struck a rock near the entrance to announce his presence. The dragon immediately came out, blasting fire from his nostrils, and rearing high his crested head to display the poisonous sting, which had destroyed many an angry young man before.

Scaw, however, was made of braver stuff, and he held his ground. After a long and exhausting fight, the young hero prevailed, killing the dragon in the entrance to its own cave.

Clambering over the body of the beast, he found an earl’s daughter still alive in the cave, whose family were so pleased with her timely rescue, they signed huge estates over to him.

The wood where he killed the dragon is called Scaw Wood to this day, and the stone coffin in which he was buried can still be found in the grounds of the old Benedictine priory nearby.