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When I was in elementary school (late 1960s - early 1970s), I read a volume of dragon stories from my school's library. I recall little about the physical book: I remember it as a hardcover with a paper and cellophane dust jacket; there was little color on the jacket, perhaps some green. The book's interior illustrations were detailed line drawings. The book seemed old at the time when I read it.

I think that all or most of the stories featured Asian dragons. There was a story about a peasant man who encountered a hungry dragon while walking home. The dragon wanted the man for its dinner. The man begged the dragon to allow him to go home to say farewell to his wife. The dragon allowed this, eliciting the man's promise to return and become the dragon's meal. The peasant said goodbye to his wife, but did not tell her about the dragon, insisting that she could not follow him where he must go. She insisted on coming with him regardless. When the couple approached the dragon, it declared with joy, "My dinner comes double!" The wife then understood her husband's peril. She did not panic, but said, "I have already eaten several dragons for breakfast, but I still have room. I will eat this small dragon for you." Upon hearing this, the hungry dragon fled in terror.

I recall details of another story about a human man who assisted an important dragon. This dragon lived under the sea, and could assume human form. There was a threat to the dragon - possibly an evil dragon or other monster - which was defeated with the human's assistance. The human then married the dragon's daughter, and gained the ability to live underwater.

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This is A Book of Dragons (1977) by Ruth Manning-Sanders.

30 pages, fourteen stories, with a colour illustrated title page,and black and white illustrations of the fairy tales, each concerning a dragon and the occasional dragoness

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  • I believe that you have found it. At first I doubted your answer because of the 1977 copyright date, but I conducted a search and found an earlier copyright-1964-which puts this anthology in the right time period, and a search for the illustrator's work located several drawings which jogged my memory. Thank you. Oct 6, 2023 at 16:53
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    @StanleyWebb - I'm sure that various of the stories will be much earlier. It's an anthology after all.
    – Valorum
    Oct 6, 2023 at 17:01

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