There is a secret connection between the most Beautiful and the most Terrible things, just as there is between mountain peaks and abysses, between calm lakes and the rushing streams that feed them, between noble, laughing Life and the dark Death that lies near us all the time. … But one naturally could not let the maiden anywhere near the Dragon … .
The world of Rilke’s tale is one besieged by the Dragon. This is the world of the wasteland, where people are living inauthentic lives. In most fairy tales, a successful hero is the answer to the wasteland. Rilke, however, presents the tale not as a deliverance from the Dragon but rather as a slow descent into the shadowy realm of the Dragon.