Sir Delbert thinks the Knights' Day medal is the most important prize . . . until he meets Edwina.

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  Sir Delbert sat dejectedly on a rotting tree stump.
 
Sir Delbert sat dejectedly on a rotting tree stump.

Sir Delbert sat dejectedly on a rotting tree stump. He had almost no chance of winning the award tomorrow, and he knew it.


Every year, the knights held a special festival called Knights’ Day. They played games, had tournaments, and ate lots of food. The highlight of the day was when the king awarded a medal to the knight who had performed the most dramatic feat of daring during the past year.


Sir Delbert never won because at the crucial moment of every attempted rescue, he always fell off his horse, Edgar, or ran into a tree or tripped over a rock.


Loud screams interrupted his dismal thoughts. He clumsily leaped onto Edgar and galloped away to investigate.


At the top of a steep cliff, he dismounted and peered over the edge. Below, on a narrow ledge, stood a young woman. She shrieked as a chunk of the ledge crumbled, disappearing into the chasm below.


Delbert flung himself on the ground and reached down for her. But he slipped and quickly found himself hanging upside down over the cliff. Only his feet, tangled in a bush, prevented him from falling farther.









"The humiliation, the embarrassment, the dizziness. . . ."  


“The humiliation, the embarrassment,
the dizziness. . . .”
 

Suddenly Sir Ulric burst onto the scene. In one swift motion he reached down, grabbed the woman’s hand, and lifted her to safety. Then he carried her away on his horse.


“The humiliation,” murmured Delbert, still hanging by his feet. “The embarrassment, the
dizziness. . . .”


He felt someone tugging on his boots, dragging him onto solid ground.


“I’m glad you’re not any heavier!” said a cheerful voice.


Delbert rolled over to see another young woman, this one with a friendly smile.


“I’m Edwina,” she said.


“I’m Sir Delbert,” he replied. “Thank you for your efforts, although I did have the situation under control.” Delbert paused awkwardly, then said, “Well, I’ll be seeing you!”


Edwina stood by her horse and watched as Delbert stumbled over a tree root, climbed onto Edgar, and galloped away.


It wasn’t long before he and Edgar whipped around a bend and crashed into a dragon that was carelessly napping in the road. The dragon awoke, snarled, and raised his claws to strike. Delbert tried frantically to pull out his sword.


There was a whooshing noise, then a loud bonk as a boomerang struck the enraged dragon on the snout. He fell to the ground with a thud.









  "I would have had him myself in another minute."
 

“I would have had him myself in another minute.”

Edwina rode into view and snatched up her boomerang. Grabbing Edgar’s reins, she led horse and rider to safety just as the dragon started to awaken.


“Thank you,” said Delbert. “I would have had him myself in another minute.”


Edwina waved and rode away.


The day was nearly over. Just as the sun was setting behind the hills, Delbert heard cries coming from the river. A child was bobbing in the water, shouting, “I can’t swim!”


Delbert leaped into the water feet first, holding his nose. It wasn’t until he found himself floundering helplessly that he remembered he couldn’t swim either.


Sir Baldric crashed out of the bushes, tied a cork-tipped arrow to a rope, and shot it across the treacherous waters. The child grabbed it, and Baldric pulled him ashore.


Meanwhile, the current carried Delbert downstream. Edwina was standing on a point of land, holding out a long branch to him. Delbert grabbed it and climbed onto the bank.


“Sir Delbert,” said Edwina, her eyes twinkling, “you need someone to look out for you.”









"You need someone to look out for you."  


“You need someone to look out for you.”
 

Waterlogged, cold, and choking, Delbert looked up at her. “Maybe you’re right,” he said, coughing. “Say, would you like to attend the Knights’ Day festival with me tomorrow?”


“I thought you’d never ask,” said Edwina.


The next day Delbert wore mismatched boots, and his shirt was askew, but with Edwina beside him, he didn’t have a single accident.


When it was time for the medal presentation, everyone waited breathlessly to see who would win. Would it be Sir Ulric? Sir Baldric? Another knight?


“We’ve seen many impressive deeds during the past year,” the king began, “but yesterday, in a feat unequaled by even the best of knights, Edwina rescued Sir Delbert three times. Instead of awarding the medal to a knight, I’m giving it to Edwina!”


Amid cheers, Edwina stepped forward to accept her award. Delbert slunk away, ashamed. But his mismatched boots left unmistakable footprints in the soft dirt, and Edwina easily caught up with him.


“Why are you hiding?” she asked.


“Go away,” he said. “Congratulations and all that, but GO AWAY! You may be a hero, but I made a fool of myself.”









  "I couldn't have done it without you."
 

“I couldn’t have done it without you.”


“But, Delbert,” she protested, “I couldn’t have done it without you. We’re a great team. You’re a very brave knight. You selflessly tried to rescue a woman in danger and a drowning boy. When faced with an angry dragon, you didn’t turn and run; you stood your ground. With me to help you, think of all we could accomplish.”


Sir Delbert considered this several times, from all sides. If there was a flaw in her reasoning, he couldn’t find it. “Together? Us? A team?”


She nodded.


“Are you sure?”


“Absolutely,” she said.


“OK, then,” he said, smiling. “You’re on.”


They headed back, arm in arm. As Edwina carefully guided him around a mud puddle, Delbert knew he had won a prize far more precious than a mere medal.