The Reluctant Dragon is an 1898 children's story by Kenneth Grahame (originally published as a chapter in his book "Dream Days"), which served as the key element to the 1941 feature film with the same name from Walt Disney Productions. The story has also been set to music as a children's operretta by John Ruttler, with words by David Grant. The story takes place in the Berkshire Downs in Oxfordshire (where the author lived and where, according to legend,St. George did fight a dragon). It is Grahame's most famous short story. It is arguably much more well-known than Dream Days itself or the related"The Golden Age". It can be seen as a prototype to most modern stories in which the dragon is a sympathetic character rather than a threat.
In Grahame's story, a young boy discovers an erudite, mushroom-loving dragon living in the Downs above his home. The two become friends, but soon afterwards the dragon is discovered by the townsfolk, who send for St. George to rid them of it. St George, by this time, is quite elderly and has little interest in slaying dragons, though he resolves to do it as it is his duty. The boy introduces St George to the dragon, and the two decide that it would be better for them not to fight. Eventually, they decide to stage a fake joust between the two combatants. The dragon appears to have died, and the townsfolk rejoice (though not all of them, as some had placed bets on the dragon winning). St George then reveals that the dragon had not died, and assures the townsfolk that he is not dangerous. The dragon is then accepted by the people.