"Here be Dragons ?" I queried, as I perused the map of our journey.
As you will be aware, I have joined my brother Rupert on his expedition to discover the source of the River Oooze.
He used to be a big game hunter, but when that became, more than somewhat, rather politically incorrect - he became a TV pundit on survival in the wilderness.
He prides himself on knowing everything there is about the dangers of the wilderness - but even he seemed a little perplexed about this particular warning inscribed on the map.
"Where exactly are we ?" I asked of him.
"Well, these surrounding mountains are the source of much of your wealth, my dear brother" he replied. "For they contain the Great Gold Mines that so many of the dwarfs of Homeward toil in. As for dragons, though, they are clearly just a myth put about by the dwarfs to scare off thieves and robbers !"
"They are no myth, if you beg my pardon, Sir!" piped up Goodman the Cat. "For I have read of these fearsome creatures in books from you very own library, Sir!"
One had to take Goodman's remark seriously - for he is a very well-read cat.
At this point, our party found itself surrounded by a horde of screaming and ranting dwarfs.
"What's all the fuss about, Old Monkey?" I bellowed.
"They seem to be angry with you, I'm afraid, Sir. They say that they are downing tools and taking industrial action !" he replied.
"Yeah, and if you think we are cross you wait till the dragons get hold of you - burn you to a crisp they will!" declared a red bearded dwarf, who was clearly the ringleader of the rabble.
At that moment, three giant scaly flying lizards swooped down towards us. Breathing fire and with fearsome expression they clearly meant to do us harm. Sadly, because, of course, a dragon is no match for an elephant, I had no choice but to protect the expedition.
"Take the fire extinguishers from the boats and let them have it!" I declared.
If there is anything a dragon cannot abide it is a dose of Co2.
They were soon lying in a spluttering heap at our feet.
"Huh" coughed the leader of the pack "Just the sort of behaviour we should have expected from a tyrant like you!" he ranted. "we were warned that you would not fight fair!"
"I had no choice - your behaviour is atrocious. Do you not know who I am?" I questioned the ill- mannered brute.
"Yeah! you are the pachyderm who has ruined our living!" he spluttered.
Using all my diplomatic skills I finally got him to explain his hostility to our group.
It seems that the dragons main source of income is in the making and selling of a certain delicacy from their native Cornwall.
"What exactly is a Pasty?" I murmured to the Old Monkey as the dragons raged on.
"It's a sort of pastry filled with diced or minced beef, onion, potato and swede in rough chunks along with some peppery seasoning. Rather crude for someone of your refined palate, Sir, but very popular with common dwarfs, I'm told" whispered the Old Monkey.
"Sound awful - I'd rather have a Whooshmeat Roulade, anyday!" I muttered under my breath.
"We love em!" declared the ringleader of the dwarfs "especially piping hot!"
"Yes!" chimed in the head dragon "we would fly down with our pasties for the dwarfs, and heat them up with fire from our mouths - fresh and hot! - Greggs Pasties (that's my name!)"
"Delicious!" shouted all the dwarfs in unison. "But now you have gone and bunged tax on it!"
"Tax! what tax! - I charge no taxes on foodstuffs!" I retorted.
"One of your tax inspectors came and told us you had ordered it. Short little fella with skewers. Said we had to send all the money we collected to your accounting office at Badfort" replied Gregg. "Then Mister Hateman came and told us you were coming and said we should give you a warm welcome ! - he cackled at that little joke, and said he meant we should make the miserable tyrant burn!"
"Will that ruffian never give me a moments peace!" I sighed.
The ruse that had been played on them was explained and we invited dragons and dwarfs to join us at our encampment for a feast.
The Dragons greatly enjoyed the Ballotine of Beef washed down with a rather nice Chablis.
Unfortunately, I had to reciprocate by eating one of their pasties - it is still repeating on me.