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How to Train Your Dragon (The Heroic Misadventures of Hiccup Horrendous Haddock III #1)

Cressida Cowell

CONTENTS

A Note from the Author ........... l

1. First Catch Your Dragon. ...... 2

2. Inside the Dragon Nursery 14

3. Heroes or Exiles ............................................. 31

4. How to Train Your Dragon 46

5. A Chat with Old Wrinkly, 6l

6. Meanwhile, Deep in the Ocean ........ 67

7. Toothless Wakes Up 69

8. Training Your Dragon the Hard Way, 81

9. Fear, Vanity, Revenge, and Silly Jokes 89

10. Thor'sday Thursday 103

11. Thor is Angry 127

12. The Green Death.............................................145

13. When yelling doesn't.........................................156

14. The fiendishly clever plan................................. 166

15. The Battle at Death's Head Headland 177

16. The Fiendishly Clever Plan Goes Wrong ............... l82

17. In the Mouth of the Dragon................................ 186

18. The Extraordinary Bravery of Toothless ... 190

19. Hiccup the Useful, 200

20. Epilogue by the Author 211

vi

[Map: Isle of Berk]

vii

[Map: Meathead islands ]

viii

[Page Blank]

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A Note from the Author

There were dragons when I was a boy.

There were great, grim, sky dragons that nested on the cliff tops like gigantic scary birds. Little, brown, scuttly dragons that hunted down the mice and rats in well-organized packs. Preposterously huge Sea Dragons that were twenty times as big as the Big Blue Whale and who killed for the fun of it.

You will have to take my word for it, for the dragons are disappearing so fast they may soon become extinct.

Nobody knows what is happening. They are crawling back into the sea from whence they came, leaving not a bone, not a fang, in the earth for the men of the future to remember them by.

So, in order that these amazing creatures should not be forgotten, I will tell this true story from my childhood.

I was not the sort of boy who could train a dragon with a mere lifting of an eyebrow. I was not a natural at the Heroism business. I had to work at it. This is the story of becoming a Hero the Hard Way.

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Chapter 1 FIRST CATCH YOUR DRAGON

Long ago, on the wild and windy isle of Berk, a smallish Viking with a longish name stood up to his ankles in snow.

Hiccup Horrendous Haddock the Third, the Hope and Heir to the Tribe of the Hairy Hooligans, had been feeling slightly sick ever since he woke up that morning.

Ten boys, including Hiccup, were hoping to become full members of the Tribe by passing the Dragon Initiation Program. They were standing on a bleak little beach at the bleakest spot on the whole bleak island. A heavy snow was falling.

"PAY ATTENTION!" screamed Gobber the Belch, the soldier in charge of teaching Initiation. "This will be your first military operation, and Hiccup will be commanding the team."

"Oh, not Hic-cup," groaned Dogsbreath the Duhbrain and most of the other boys. "You can't put': Hiccup in charge, sir, he's USELESS."

Hiccup Horrendous Haddock the Third, the

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[Image: Gobber]

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Hope and Heir to the Tribe of the Hairy Hooligans, wiped his nose miserably on his sleeve. He sank a little deeper into the snow.

"ANYBODY would be better than Hiccup," sneered Snotface Snotlout. "Even Fishlegs would be better than Hiccup."

Fishlegs had a squint that made him as blind as a jellyfish, and an allergy to reptiles.

"SILENCE!" roared Gobber the Belch. "The next boy to speak has limpets for lunch for the next

THREE WEEKS!"

There was absolute silence immediately. Limpets are a bit like worms and a bit like snot and a lot less tasty than either.

"Hiccup will be in charge and that is an order!" screamed Gobber, who didn't do noises quieter than screaming. He was a seven-foot giant with a mad glint in his one working eye and a beard like exploding fireworks. Despite the freezing cold he was wearing hairy shorts and a teeny weeny deerskin vest that showed off his lobster-red skin and bulging muscles. He was holding a flaming torch in one gigantic fist.

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"Hiccup will be leading you, although he is, admittedly, completely useless, because Hiccup is the son of the CHIEF, and that's the way things go with us Vikings. Where do you think you are, the REPUBLIC OF ROME? Anyway, that is the least of your problems today. You are here to prove yourself as a Viking Hero. And it is an ancient tradition of the Hooligan Tribe that you should --" Gobber paused dramatically --

"FIRST CATCH YOUR DRAGON!"

Ohhhhhh suffering scallops, thought Hiccup.

"Our dragons are what set us apart!" bellowed Gobber. "Lesser humans train hawks to hunt for them, horses to carry them. It is only the

VIKING HEROES who dare to tame the wildest, most dangerous creatures on Earth."

Gobber spat solemnly into the snow. "There are three parts to the Dragon Initiation Test. The first and most dangerous part is a test of your courage and skill at burglary. If you wish to enter the Hairy Hooligan Tribe, you must first catch your dragon. And that is WHY," continued Gobber, at full volume, "I have

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brought you to this scenic spot. Take a look at Wild Dragon Cliff itself."

The ten boys tipped their heads backward. The cliff loomed dizzyingly high above them, black and sinister. In summer you could barely even see the cliff as dragons of all shapes and sizes swarmed over it, snapping and biting and sending up a cacophony of noise that could be heard all over Berk.

But in winter the dragons were hibernating and the cliff fell silent, except for the ominous, low rumble of their snores. Hiccup could feel the vibrations through his sandals.

"Now," said Gobber, "do you notice those four caves about halfway up the cliff, grouped roughly in the shape of a skull?" The boys nodded.

"Inside the cave that would

be the right eye of the skull is the Dragon Nursery, where there are, AT THIS VERY MOMENT, three

thousand young dragons having their last few weeks of winter sleep."

"OOOOOOOH,"muttered the boys excitedly.

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Hiccup swallowed hard. He happened to know considerably more about dragons than anybody else there. Ever since he was a small boy, he'd been fascinated by the creatures. He'd spent hour after long hour dragon watching in secret. (Dragon-spotters were thought to be geeks and nerds, hence the need for secrecy.) And what Hiccup had learned about dragons told him that walking into a cave with three thousand dragons in it was an act of madness.

No one else seemed too concerned, however.

"In a few minutes I want you to take one of these baskets and start climbing the cliff," commanded Gobber the Belch. "Once you are at the cave entrance, you are on your own. I am too large to squeeze my way into the tunnels that lead to the Dragon Nursery. You will enter the cave QUIETLY-- and that means you too, Wartihog, unless you want to become the first spring meal for three thousand hungry dragons, HA

HA HA HA!"

Gobber laughed heartily at his little joke, then continued. "Dragons this size are normally fairly harmless to man, but in these numbers they will set upon you like piranhas. There'd be nothing left of even a fatso like you, Wartihog -- just a pile of bones

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and your helmet. HA HA HA HA! So . . . you will walk QUIETLY through the cave and each boy will steal ONE sleeping dragon. Lift the dragon GENTLY from the rock and place it in your basket. Any questions so far?"

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