No one throughout the Enchanted Fairy Kingdom can have failed to have noticed the growing numbers of dragons that come screaming out of the skies to reduce farmsteads to burning embers and make off with the plumpest cattle. "They're a menace," said local serf, Titus Cooper, co-ordinator of the Fairy Kingdom Neighbourhood Watch.
"The best advice we can give is that people keep their windows closed, but frankly that kind of guidance is next to useless if you wake up to find a dirty great lizard perched on your rooftop, pouring red hot molten death down your chimney, and generally spoiling your breakfast time. Something needs to be done about this, once and for all."
Many citizens are becoming angry that Good Prince Casper has failed to address the issue. In a recent proclamation issued by the Emerald Palace, Prince Casper recognised that the attacks were becoming more serious, with dragons carrying off not just cattle, but horses, small children and, in one case, the post office. He expressed sympathy with his subjects, but his lack of affirmative action has led some people to call for the restoration of his Evil Uncle Silas, who was banished to the Screaming Badlands of Hath last year, following an expenses scandal.
Help for the victims of dragon attack may be just around the corner, following the launch of DragonWatch, a new partnership of advice agencies, community groups and charities. We spoke to Project Co-ordinator Princess Kate of the Sparkling Grotto, who was very excited about this new initiative.
"We've had a very positive response from a broad range of organisations, including the local council elders. I think that reflects strongly on the power of our branding. We spent a long time deciding what kind of image we wanted to present, and finally settled on the name DragonWatch after drawing on the results of a number of focus groups and research projects.
"There were some important questions to be asked. What kind of organisation are we? How are we structured? Who are our prospective partners? What colour is our logo and where does our choice of stationery place us strategically on the advice-information axis? It was only after getting to grips with these issues that we were able to move on to the next stage."
The group has now embarked on a programme of promotional activities to publicise the values of the partnership. Representatives have attended a number of strategy meetings and events across the kingdom, and ran a very successful stand at this year's Ideal Cart Exhibition, during which they gave away DragonWatch pens, key rings and balloons on sticks.
"We are currently in the process of targeting potential partners, so it's very important to establish brand recognition and position ourselves as an organisation which is trustworthy, dependable and 'confidence-inspirable'. For the future we are looking at bar charts, colour-coded maps or even an appeal thermometer to help get our message across. Who knows? The sky really is the limit."
DragonWatch, the partnership set up in response to the recent increase in attacks by flying lizards, is an expensive joke, according to its most vocal critic, Count Squiffy the Munificent of Upper Bongolia. The Count, a former Director of Policy for the DragonWatch partnership, slammed the project in a recent interview, pulling no punches when it came to describing just how he felt about the organisation.
"Pah!" he told us when we asked him for his opinion. "Ha!" he further elaborated, and then "Bollocks!" he ejaculated when we pressed him further.
"DragonWatch - stupid name, by the way - is too wrapped up in its own governance, corporate image and constantly shuffling game of management musical chairs to pay any attention to the actual problem.
"I don't think that it's naive of me to hold the view that a charitable organisation should be run for the benefit of its clients. The reality is that while people are being driven from their homes by flame-spewing monsters, these clowns are sitting around conference tables with their tea and biscuits, salivating over the headline of their latest press release."
Count Squiffy believes that DragonWatch should be tackling the problem head on. "Well, maybe not 'head on'," the Count corrected himself. "It's best to creep up on your actual dragon from behind, unless it's a little one. Then you can stab 'em in the soft bits with a rusty blade. I'm reliably informed that they don't like it up 'em."
Amid the on-going outbreak of dragon terror, DragonWatch has issued an official response to increased calls for action. In their statement they say that the sort of violent campaign suggested by Count Squiffy the Munificent of Upper Bongolia would be reckless and premature, and the partnership will not even begin to consider such things as 'death squads' and 'vigilante dragonslayers' until the board has signed off on the wording of their mission statement.
And in the face of continued public pressure, Julius Flopsy, the Council of Elders' Director of Fiscal Policy, reaffirmed support for the DragonWatch project, claiming that it represented real value for money at a time when public funds are in short supply.
DragonWatch, he said, would give the victims of dragon attacks a voice, and also provide a much needed stimulus to the local economy. When asked if he had any response to Count Squiffy's comments, he told our reporter
"The Count is entitled to his opinions, of course. He is a very talented campaigner and a genuine trailblazer, but I think his ideas about tailoring the service to the needs of the public - rather than those of its project partners or the local authority - are painfully unsophisticated. In fact, I don't believe he comprehends the value of establishing a really powerful corporate identity; I think he underestimates just what can be achieved by a balloon on a stick."
Over 600 designs available by post
Jez Moonbeam discovers the joke particle
At last a cure for squeaky shoes
No. 128: Chinese Shelves.
Training sandwiches for fun and profit
The Metropolitan Police Choir in concert
21 March 2017: Hypnotic Wipes to Tackle Information Leakage
16 March 2017: Space Junk
14 March 2017: Ladder Ordeal Enters Sixteenth Hour