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The Princess and the Dragon
When she was a little girl, she loved fairy tales. She could listen to them over and over, delighting in how the hero defeated the villain time and time again. Everything could be counting against the hero, but he (it usually was a man) would always triumph.
The girl was older now, but something very much like a fairy tale was going on in her village. A dragon-like enemy was terrorizing the small, peaceful village. The monster would drag people from their homes and shoot them into pits its’ poor victims were forced to dig themselves. Those who were not killed were taken away by the monster. Where to? The remaining villagers didn’t know. The poor girl was sad and afraid as there was nothing a young girl like her could do about these deaths.
One day after many people in the village had died, one of the enemy came to her home. She wondered why the man had come. Their family was not Jewish. The girl could only watch as her three older brothers were taken away. They had tried to fight the enemy but had been tracked to their home. Her father and mother tried to stop their sons being taken away but were shot in their own home. The girl was alone. And the enemy was looking for the one they had missed.
She found herself in company of the group whom her brothers had belonged to. Even though she was still young, they welcomed her with open arms. The leader had known her and knew she was trustworthy. No one cared she was just a young girl. They needed anyone they could get.
No one spoke each other’s given name in the Partisan camp. Instead, they used code names. The girl’s was her eldest brother’s nickname for her: Princess. Princess adapted to life quickly in the Partisan camp. Though full of grief for her lost family, she knew this was the best way to get revenge. When the Partisan leader asked her if she would complete a difficult assignment, she was excited at the prospect. When the Partisan leader told her what she was to do, she was very afraid.
The plan was simple but exceedingly dangerous. Princess would enter the Gestapo headquarters and tell the guards she was a present for the Gestapo chief. She would be dressed as a common whore. What the guards wouldn’t know was that she had a piston concealed in her clothing. From there, she would go to the office of the chief and knock on his door. He would let her in. She would be very suggestive in her movements and speech. It would look like she was simply taking off her clothes when she pulled out the gun. The man would be removing his pants, a very vulnerable position. Then she would shoot him and stuff his body under his desk. Then she would leave. The Dragon would be dead and the Princess would be victorious.
The day the plan was to take action was a cold, wet one. Princess barely noticed the weather. The journey to the headquarters was long. Princess was not bored. The guards shouted lewd things at her when she told them her purpose in being here. Princess only smiled and stuck out her chest at them. She was not scared, only numb. There was a job to do and she was here to do it. When she reached the door of the office, Princess began to panic. And then she remembered the fairy tales. In this story the Princess would be the one to slay the Dragon.
The Dragon was in full uniform and smiled rather twistedly when he saw her.
“My name is Princess,” she smiled back, “and I am the girl of your dreams.”
The Dragon said nothing and began to remove his pants.
Princess took her opportunity and shot. Her aim, honed by months of training, was true. As the Dragon lay dead on the floor, Princess whispered,
“My name is Lila Kyer and I am the woman of your nightmares.”
Like a hero in a fairy tale, Princess returned home triumphantly. Yet she and the Partisans could not celebrate long. There were many more dragons to fight and many more to kill. Unlike the fairy tale heros of her past, who would return from their quests live happily ever after, Lila Kyer’s battle had to continue and would continue until Poland was free. If she lived, there could actually be a happily ever after.