Because of the misfortunes of her parents, a young princess must be married to a fearful dragon. When the king and queen tell her she becomes frightened for her life. She goes out to seek a wise woman, who has raised twelve children and twenty-nine grandchildren and knows the ways of dragons and Men.
The wise woman tells the princess that she indeed must marry the dragon, but that there are proper ways to approach him. She then gives instructions for the wedding night. The princess is to wear ten beautiful gowns, one on top of the other.
The wedding takes place. A feast is held in the palace, after which the dragon carries the princess of to his bed chamber. When the dragon advances towards his bride, she stops him, saying that she must carefully remove her wedding attire before offering her heart to him. And he too, she adds (instructed by the wise women), must properly remove his attire. To this he willingly agrees.
“As I take off each layer of my gown, you must also remove a layer.” Then, taking off the first gown, the princess watches as the dragon sheds his outer layer of scaly armour. But then the princess removes another gown, and then another. Each time the dragon finds he too must claw off a deeper layer of scales. By the fifth gown the dragon begins to weep copious tears at the pain. Yet the princess continues.
With each layer the dragon’s skin becomes more tender and his form softens. When the princess removes her tenth gown, the dragon releases the last vestige of dragon form and emerges as a fine prince. Princess and her new husband are then left to the pleasures of their bridal chamber.