The shepherd was looking after his sheep and walking around them when he saw a man. He was coming towards him from the direction of the Evil Forest. He was coming on foot and he looked tired. He was dressed in an old armour and he had his helmet in his left hand.

When he came to the shepherd he told him: ‘Good day, old man. I am quite thirsty. Would you have something to drink?’

‘Yes. I have some water, if you like,’ said the shepherd.

‘Some wine would be better, but OK, I can have water today,’ he said as took the bottle from the shepherd and started to drink.

While he was drinking, the shepherd looked at him carefully and then he asked: ‘Can I ask you who you are and where you’re coming from?’

‘Yes, you can,’ said the man in the armour and handed the bottle back to the shepherd. ‘I am knight Ulrich and I am coming from there,’ he said and pointed with his thumb behind himself.

‘But there is the Evil Forest. Did you walk through it?’

‘Yes, indeed,’ said Ulrich proudly.

‘So how come you’re not dead?’ said the surprised shepherd.

‘What do you mean? Why would I be dead. I am a knight. Knights don’t die in any evil forests.’

‘I have never seen a knight without a horse. Where is your horse?’ asked the shepherd.

‘I lost it.’

‘How can you lose a horse?’ asked the shepherd and shook his head to show that he couldn’t understand how it was possible to lose a horse.

‘Have you ever had a horse?’ asked the knight.

‘No sir, I am just a poor shepherd. I have never had a horse.’

‘Well then, of course, you don’t know that you can lose a horse quite easily,’ said Sir Ulrich and started to explain. ‘One night, me and my horse were very tired after a long travel. I made a camp, cooked the food, got some water for the horse and then I got ready to sleep.

‘I was lying close to the fire and I was looking at the horse, when he closed his eyes. I watched him for a little longer, but he didn’t open his eyes again. He was sleeping. And so I closed my eyes and fell asleep as well.

‘When I opened my eyes in the morning, the horse was gone. He ran away,’ said the knight to the shepherd.

‘So you didn’t lose him. Your horse ran away from you!’

‘The same thing,’ said the knight.

‘Maybe the horse didn’t like you. Had you beaten him often?’ asked the curious shepherd.

‘No. Not often. Only here and then, when I was in bad mood. But most of the time I am a cheerful chap, so my horse didn’t have it that bad.’

‘I hope you’ll find him soon.’

‘Ah, let the wolves eat him. I just want my saddle back…’

‘And where’s your sword? I’ve never seen a knight without a sword!’ said the curious shepherd.

‘My sword? I lost it,’ said Sir Ulrich and took his helm to his right hand.

‘How can you lose a sword? You’re a knight. You always have it on you!’

‘Have you ever had a sword?’ asked the knight calmly.

‘No sir, I haven’t. I am just a poor shepherd.’

‘Of course, you are. Poor and a shepherd. It’s no wonder that you do not understand these things,’ said the knight and started to explain. ‘When I lost my horse…’

‘But he ran away!’ interrupted him the shepherd.

‘Shush! I said I lost him!’ said the knight angrily and then he continued. ‘When I lost my horse, I had to continue on foot. But it was a long way for me to walk and so I decided to take a shortcut…’

‘through the Evil Forest!’ interrupted him the shepherd again.

‘Yes. Through the Evil Forest,’ agreed the knight. ‘In the Evil Forest there is no sunlight, so you cannot tell if it is a day or a night. I drew my sword and started to cut my way through the bushes. It was very tiring and difficult task, but I went on without a break day and night. I didn’t stop walking until I got out of the forest.

‘It was evening then and the sun was setting down. I was very tired. I was so tired that I didn’t even eat anything. I just lay down on the ground and fell asleep.

‘When I woke up in the morning and opened my eyes, …’

‘Your horse was back!’ said the excited shepherd.

‘No, stupid! I have told you that I had lost it. The horse was not there. But my sword was not there, either! I think that the evil spirits of the forest stole it, while I was sleeping.’

‘So you didn’t lose it. They stole it from you!’ said the shepherd.

‘It’s the same thing, old shepherd,’ the knight rolled his eyes. ‘When you see a horse without a knight, take the saddle off and keep it for me. You can eat the beast,’ said the knight and started walking again.

‘Where are you going?’ shouted the shepherd after the leaving knight.

‘I’m going to slay a dragon and get me a princess,’ shouted the knight back.

dragon - jan vrabec - sparrow's english reader - level 3 Easy English for students
blog: L-3: How to Slay a Dragon

‘A dragon? How will you slay a dragon? You have no horse and you have no sword!’

‘I have a knife.’

‘A knife? You can’t slay a dragon with a knife,’ shouted the shepherd to the knight.

The knight was very far away now, but he shouted back to the amazed shepherd:

‘You’re stupid!’

slay /sleɪ/ – to kill somebody/something in a war or a fight

armour /ˈɑːmə(r)/ – special metal clothing that soldiers wore in the past to protect their bodies while fighting; special clothing that soldiers or police officers wear to protect their bodies

helmet /ˈhelmɪt/ – a type of hard hat that protects the head, worn, for example, by a police officer, a soldier or a person riding a bike or motorbike or playing some sports

point /pɔɪnt/ (v) – to stretch out your finger or something held in your hand towards somebody/something in order to show somebody where a person or thing is

thumb /θʌm/ the short, thick finger at the side of the hand, slightly apart from the other four

indeed /ɪnˈdiːd/ – (vskutku, naozaj) – used after very and an adjective or adverb to emphasize a statement, description, etc.

proudly /ˈpraʊdli/ – in a way that shows that somebody is proud of something

curious /ˈkjʊəriəs/ – (zvedavý) – having a strong desire to know about something

calmly /ˈkɑːmli/ – in a way that shows you are not excited, nervous or upset

interrupt /ˌɪntəˈrʌpt/ – to say or do something that makes somebody stop what they are saying or doing

shortcut /ˈʃɔːtkʌt/ – a quicker or shorter way of getting to a place

beast /biːst/ – an animal, especially one that is large or dangerous, or one that is unusual

amazed /əˈmeɪzd/ – very surprised