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Literature / How Droofus The Dragon Lost His Head

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How Droofus the Dragon Lost His Head is a 1971 children's storybook by Bill Peet.

Droofus, a young dragon, crash-lands during a flight far from home. In time, he becomes happy in his new place, munching the grass and helping a nearby farmer. Then the king gets wind of Droofus and wants his head for the palace wall — but a bit of quick thinking may yet save the dragon's neck.

This book contains examples of the following tropes:

  • "Eureka!" Moment: When the farmer's son says that Droofus rests his head by his bed at night, the king gets an idea which all parties find acceptable — he'll pay the farmer if Droofus will agree to stick his head through a hole in the wall on special occasions. He gets his special decoration; Droofus keeps his head.
  • Never Trust a Title: The title seems to indicate a Downer Ending where the heroes are unable to stop the king from beheading Droofus. Actually, Droofus only "loses his head" in the sense that he has to stick it through a hole in the castle wall occasionally so that it looks like a mounted dragon's head.
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  • Off with His Head!: The king wants to behead Droofus and the farmer and his son have to talk him out of it.
  • Taxidermy Terror: The king wants Droofus' head because of the impressiveness of having a mounted dragon's head on his castle wall. In the end, the king allows Droofus simply to pretend to be taxidermy.
  • Vegetarian Carnivore: Droofus is a dragon, but after picking an insect out of a spider's web, he finds he doesn't want to eat it and begins eating the grass instead. This makes him useful to a local farmer, who uses him as a plowhorse, letting him pull up and eat the grass while his tail breaks up the soil.