The Reluctant Dragon – Willowmarsh Village

Tobias the Reluctant Dragon is a mild-mannered, 400-year-old, fire-breathing dragon named Tobias featured on the half-hour Saturday morning Rankin/Bass ABC animated cartoon series THE RELUCTANT DRAGON AND MR. TOAD (1970-72).


Tobias the dragon is based on the children’s story “The Reluctant Dragon” by Kenneth Grahame (1959-1932) found in his collection of sketches” Dream Days” (1898). It told the tale of St. George, a young village boy and a reluctant cave-dwelling dragon named All the Dragon who just wanted to be left alone.

Loosely based on the original story, the ABC-TV cartoon is set in Medieval Willowmarsh Village, England where Tobias, the peaceful, kind-hearted dragon lived in the countryside. His best friend is a clumsy knight named Sir Malcolm Giles who protects Tobias from harm.

His royal majesty, King Herman ruled the nearby kingdom where other characters likes Irving the Bold, Sir Andrew, Ugliola and the Little Girl reside.


Because Tobias was allergic to daisies, he had to take care not to inhale the flowers. Why? Because when Tobias smells a daisy or similar flowers, he begins to sneeze violently and indiscriminately spew balls of fire about the landscape that frighten the local townspeople.

Tobias tries to keep his allergy in check, but occasionally, a certain little girl from the nearby village teases Tobias with an offering of flowers. She purposely like to make him sneeze.


The second half of the show featured the adventures of J. Thaddeus Toad (Mr. Toad), a “happy, carefree, gadabout guy” and “reckless driver” who lives at Toad Hall. His friends are a shy Mole, a clever Water Rat and a brainy Badger.

The characters in this segment of the show are based on Kenneth Grahame’s 1908 children’s book “Wind in the Willows.

In the 1942 film adaptation of “The Reluctant Dragon,” a boy visits the cave of what he believes is a ferocious dragon, only to find a shy dragon reading a poetry book. Later, Sir Giles, an aging knight in shining armor arrives on the scene, but the dragon, who hates to fight, refuses to battle the knight.

In the end, the dragon and knight come up with a scheme to save face. Staging a fake fight, the knight pretends to kill the dragon with his lance.

The story ends with the Dragon reciting the poetic verse: “I promise not to rant or roar, and scourge the countryside anymore!”



The Reluctant Dragon
c/o Willowmarsh Village
Medieval Era, England

The Reluctant Dragon and Mr. Toad (IMDB)
The Reluctant Dragon and Mr. Toad – Intro (Video)


Born in Philadelphia, Jerome Alphonse Holst worked 30 years as a librarian. He has since retired and lives in Thomasville, North Carolina. Mr. Holst is also the author of the children’s books “Norman the Troll,” "Norman the Troll and the Haunted House," and "Gretchen and the Gremlins." In addition, he penned the fantasy novel “The Adventures of Glinda Gale,” a retelling of “The Wizard of Oz" and the reference text “The Encyclopedia of Movie and TV Insults.” .

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Posted in Television

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