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Red Winged Black Bird on a fence post in a field.

Why Heroes are Boys

2004-07-21

Category: prose

The little girl asked, "Daddy, why are the heroes always boys?"

The father blanched and stammered a moment before answering. "Because a princess can't marry another girl."

"But Angie's mommy married another woman. Angie has two mommies."

Father wrung his hands together. "Uh, sure, people can do that now, but they didn't allow that sort of things back in the olden days."

"That doesn't sound very nice."

"Uh, I'm sure there's another reason, uh just let me think a moment. I'm sure I recall a tale or something that explains it." The father glanced around the room for a minute before his eyes landed on a stuffed dragon. "I know the real reason.

"You see, boys get really stupid around women. You can ask your mother tomorrow and she'll tell you all about it. It's this stupidity that gets princes, who are boys, to go off and do heroic stuff."

The little girl tilted her head. "Stupidity, daddy?"

"Well, think about when a princess gets captured by a dragon. He should just eat her and be done with it. Instead, he gets stupid and keeps her around. Her being there attracts knights and princes who want to kill him, but the dragon just won't eat her. Instead, he waits to get killed."

"Daddy, doesn't that mean he gets to eat knights?"

"Sure, he could eat knights, but he has to fight them first. Those knights fight back and then they got armor that makes them hard to eat. The dragon has to eat them like crab legs where you break them apart and then suck the meat out. "

"Ew, daddy, that's disgusting."

"See what I mean? If he was smart, he would just go eat farmers." Daddy shifted on the edge of the bed. "So, here come the knights and princes to see what all the commotion is about and what do they find? A dragon and a princess. Now, if a prince were smart he would think, 'I bet there's a princess somewhere else who is just as pretty as this one,' and then he would turn around right then and leave. Unfortunately for him, he's already too close to the princess and that makes him what?"

"Stupid," cheered the little girl.

"That's right; he's stupid. So, instead of leaving the area and finding a princess who isn't captured by a dragon, he plunges forward to fight the beast. He even rides by the armor and skeletons of other knights and princes who have already been eaten by the dragon. Does that scare him? Nope, he's too stupid. So he moves forward."

"What happens then, daddy?"

"Well, you've heard enough of these stories, the prince and the dragon fight it out. Eventually a prince comes along who can defeat the dragon and rescue the princess. What does he do then? He marries her."

"Of course they get married, daddy, that's what princesses and princes do."

Daddy shifted uncomfortably. "Yea, well, it's not always a good idea. You remember the Petersens? They got married and that went really bad."

"Will I marry a stupid prince when I grow up, daddy?"

Daddy hung his head and stared into the floor. "Yea, princess, I imagine you will." He sighed. "Now go to sleep. Daddy suddenly has upset stomach."


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