Where did the Dragons go?

 

A very long time ago, before there were cities, or cars, or airplanes, there were dragons everywhere.

You could see them playing tag with the clouds, or leaping from the waves, or sunning themselves on the rocky sides of mountains. Hardly a week went by when some little boy or girl didn't call out "Look! Dragons!"

The dragons more or less thought that the sky, the oceans and the high mountains belonged to them.

But people started building things- roads for their horses and carts, and walls for their cites, and little wooden boats for the sea. And a lot of things happen in a hundred years, And a thousand years, and ten thousand years.

For a long time, the dragons shared the world with the people. But the roads got wider, the walls got higher, and the boats got bigger and bigger. Smoke from their fires went up into the clouds higher.

The dragons started to feel crowded.

Every now and then, a strong hero from the city would go out dragon-hunting. Most of the time the dragon won.

But sometimes not.

Finally, the dragons became so vexed, they had a meeting on top of the highest mountain in the world, and tried to decide what to do about people.

"Pretty soon there won't be any sky without smoke!" complained a red dragon with a great sneeze.

"Or sea without boats." added a green dragon, who had a large bump on his head from hitting one.

"And five knights came hunting for me just last century" said a sky-blue lady dragon with gold-edged scales.

"What shall we do about it, then?" asked the grey dragon, who was the oldest and wisest of them all.

"Why don't we just smash their cities and burn their boats?" growled a large indigo blue dragon with red eyes. "Besides," he added with a smile "people are so tasty."

But the other dragons didn't want to do that. "We could just go and live in the deepest ocean and the highest mountains, far, far away from the cities." A silver dragon said.

"That won't work," the red dragon growled. "Sooner or later they'll get in our way. And anyway I saw people making some queer flying things. What if they started flying?"

All the dragons groaned at that idea.

A tiny brown dragon spoke up: "Well, it's just that we're so big. It's hard to share the world when we take up so much room."

Nobody could agree what to do. Then the wise old grey dragon spoke.

"I have an idea. Does anyone here like to have their back scratched?"

They all loved to have their backs scratched.

"And how about meat. Do you like meat?"

They were all crazy about meat.

"How about milk-- do you like milk?"

Dragons love the taste of milk.

"But how often do you get enough of it? And when was the last time someone scratched you behind your ears?"

No one could remember the last time that happened. "But what's your point?" asked a fat golden dragon.

"Well, how would you like it if we could not just share the world with the humans, but have them give us a place to live, feed us, meat, and milk, play with us, and even scratch our backs for us?"

Everyone agreed that that would be wonderful-but how?

"Well," said the grey dragon, with a mysterious smile, "Here's what to do…" And he described his idea. The other dragons agreed, and it was done.

Now, dragons have always had the power to change their shape. So the next morning, when people everywhere opened their doors, they found little furry creatures looking up at them. They were cute and cuddly-adorable, in fact-- and they made a nice sound when you stroked them. They liked to play with string, and were very, very good at chasing mice away. So the people took them in to live with them, and they've been there ever since.

So now, when you see a cat, curled up on a blanket or sitting looking at you with its tail curled around its feet, look into it's eyes, and you'll be looking into the eyes of the great, great, great, great,

great, great, great, great

great, great, great, great

great, great, great, great

great, great, great, great

great, great, great

great

grandchild….

…of a dragon.

 

© Jeff Grygny, 2004

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