Free today and tomorrow only:
In the woods, Nickolas's father tells him stories to pass the time as they cut down trees...but one story, he won't tell. Not until Nickolas grows old enough to hear it. Finally, the time comes: the men in Nickolas's family were always good at cutting things, but in older times, they were too good, and did monstrous things, eventually angering a local dragon.
The dragon cursed the men of their family to fall into a deep sleep that lasts from fall to spring, like a bear's. And in their dreams, they must serve the dragon.
More than that, Nickolas's father will not say.
Now, Nickolas is eating enough for many men...and getting sleepier with every step. The townswomen think it's funny, but Nickolas has made up his mind: he will not sleep.
No matter what the cost.