The Slaying Of The Dragon
(Henry Camp's Bull)
Thomas Mahoney

(If I’ve embellished this story in any way it’s only because my memory is faded, It was still, however a great adventure.)

I grew up in Harwinton. I still have fond memories of my childhood there, and this is one of those memories.

The rolling rock strewn pastures and woodlands behind the Barber’s house on Burlington Road provided many adventures fueled by the imagination of growing boys. A large fallen tree back there served as a pirate ship where many battles on the high seas were fought. I think we may even had battles to save damsels in stress, the damsels being maybe Winnie Haas, Rosemary Poole, and Susan Barber the girls we grew up with. My memory’s not so clear after all these years on the damsel part, but I do remember having long hours of fun back there, sometimes into the darkening hours of the early evening when we scattered for home because of thought of lurking monsters in the woods. The woods between the Barber’s and the Kish’s were kind of scary, even when I showed them to my wife in the early nineties.

One adventure involving myself and a friend, whose name long since has been forgotten, took place in that land of adventure behind the Barber’s.

In those days we all had those famous Daisy Red Ryder BB Guns.

That made us all cowboys, gangsters, and in this case dragon slayers. That particular day me and my friend had our Daisy’s with us and were exploring behind the Barber’s. If you walk far enough back there, you can reach Henry Camp’s farm, which we did that day. We came upon the dragon in the form of Henry Camp’s bull where he always kept it, in that small fenced in area to one side of the farm house near Locust Road. We immediately decided that we should slay this massive beast of a dragon before it blew its flame breath on Henry’s house, burning it to the ground. We would be crowned heroes and would forever more be famous throughout the world as brave dragon slayers. Such an imaginative plan! We never really intended to hurt the poor beast, for after all what damage could a Daisy really do? So we proceeded with the gallantry of other famous dragon slayers, took aim with our daisys at the poor beast, and commenced our onslaught.

I have never told this story for fear the Camps would have us incarcerated for life. The spectacle that unveiled I can still see vividly in my mind today. It scared us, or at least me within an inch of our lives. At first we missed, but as our aim got better the bull became agitated with the annoying sting of the BB’s. It wasn’t to long before we became so engrossed in our task that we aimed for more sensitive parts of that poor beast. When we finally managed to hit a spot that I imagined was extremely painful, all hell broke loose. That massive beast exploded with an anger never before seen. I swear at one point all four feet were off the ground. He snorted great puffs of steam and let out a horrendous bellow that must have been heard for miles. I’m thankful he had no idea where the source of his agony was coming from because I’m sure we would have been dead meat. He, however, was going to take his anger out on something and he broke through that fence and proceeded to destroy Mrs. Camp’s prize garden. We ran for our lives before he finished, fearing he would discover us after all.

We never heard about the incident, so to this day I think no one knows except us what happened. All in all, I apologize to any of the Camp family that remembers that day and to the bull that must be in Bovine Heaven by now. As for my friend that was with me that day, I would like for him to come forward so we can again revel in our fine adventure as boys now men must do.