The Dragon and the George

The Dragon and the George by Gordon R. Dickson Read Free Book Online Page B

Book: The Dragon and the George by Gordon R. Dickson Read Free Book Online
Authors: Gordon R. Dickson
Tags: Fiction, General, Science-Fiction
that made this possible; and someone with a doctorate in history, with a fair number of science courses along the way, ought to be able to figure those laws out—and, having figured them out, make use of them to his and Angie's advantage.
    He would have thought that language would be the main problem in this other world. Only, it wasn't. The more he thought of it the surer Jim was that he, in this Gorbash-body, was not talking modern English—or any other form of English. Apparently he was talking dragon with no trouble at all; although the mental channels that seemed to translate this into modern English—colloquial modern English at that—in his head, were puzzling, to say the least. As a medievalist, Jim could both speak and read Middle and Old English, and with a doctorate he could also read and make himself understood in modern French and German. In addition to these languages, he had a smattering of modern Spanish, a few words of modern Italian, and a good knowledge of all the Romance languages in their medieval forms. Finally, he could read both classical and church Latin with facility, and work his way through classical Greek with the help of a dictionary in that language.
    All in all, a pretty fair set of qualifications for anyone adventuring into any period of the European Middle Ages. Only, it seemed, none of these were useful. It was not his major areas of interest that he would find useful here but his minor ones. Still, there had to be a system of logic behind any operating environment; and if he kept his eyes open and put two and two together…
    He soared on steadily through the air, thinking intensely. But his thoughts eventually went in a circle and ended up getting nowhere. He simply did not have enough data yet to come to conclusions. He gave up and looked around below him once more.
    The wood had evidently not been as close as he had first thought. Although he was making very good time indeed—Jim estimated his air speed as somewhere in the area of fifty to seventy miles an hour—the green band of trees was still the same small distance off. On the other hand, he did not seem to be tiring at all. In fact, he felt as if he could soar like this indefinitely.
    He did feel the first, slight tickling of an appetite, however. He wondered what, as a dragon, he ate. Not—he winced away from a thought—no, definitely not human beings. If that was ordinary dragon fare, he'd just have to go hungry. Perhaps the magician could help him out in the food department as well as with the means of getting Angie and himself home again. He was finally beginning to get close to the wood now. He could make out separate trees. They were all pine, spruce and balsam, growing close together. For the first time a doubt crossed his mind. If he had to search through that forest on foot… But then he reassured himself. He could not have been expected to know exactly where this Tinkling Water place was, or Smrgol would not have reminded him that it lay to the northwest. On the other hand, if it had been a hard place to find, the older dragon, with the low opinion he had of Gorbash's mentality, would have given more explicit directions and double-checked to make sure his grand-nephew had them straight.
    Possibly there would be something he could see from the air, Jim thought, as he began to swoop down on a long arc that would bring him in close above the treetops.
    Suddenly, he saw it: a tiny clearing among the trees with a stream running through it and cascading over a small waterfall at its upper end. Beside the stream was a pool with a fountain, and a small, oddly narrow, peaked-roof house surrounded by grass and flower beds, except where a gravel path led from the edge of the dense woods up to the house's front door. A signpost of some sort stood to one side of the path just before the door.
    Jim set down on the path with a thump.
    In the silence that followed his rather heavy landing, he

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