A cowardly knight becomes dragon specialist, knight school hero and debauche. Bolstered by a hint from the Headmaster (""Rumplesnitz""), Gawaine le Coeur-Hardy battle-axes his way to fame, slaying fifty in a row, meanwhile becoming a thoroughly dissolute character. The Fiftieth almost gets him when he's too hung-over to remember the magic word but it lights up in time; then the Headmaster reveals ""there isn't any such thing as a magic word. . . . It wasn't magic in a literal sense. . . the word gave you confidence."" But the reality does not and he never returns from the fifty-first encounter, an ending which may be confusing to equally literal-minded readers. Emberley's capricious red lines (on peach-colored paper) are not his finest and the minimal humor depends on arch allusions that most children won't catch.