10 October 2004

The thirsty dragon

There are big dragons, there are small dragons. There are nasty vile, flame-spewing dragons and there are cute, cuddly floppy-eared dragons.

Axmagorian was of the cute kind. But he also wasn't the cleverest. Indeed, his story hinges on the fact that he liked to travel but really wasn't much good with directions.

For this poor little dragon's life changed rather drastically when he got lost in a forest one day. It was a huge forest though, and many people would have got lost there given half the chance.

When Axmagorian found a river, he stopped to drink. The river was bright, clear and sparkling, and the dragon lowered his head into the cool water. Before he could take a sip, he felt a few little taps on his shoulder. It was a troop of people, possibly gnomes or forest imps of some sort. They all looked very similar, and the little dragon had never seen any of their type before.

"Get back from our river,
It's not yours it's ours.
If you don't stay away
We'll use magic powers!" they sang in rather lovely block harmony.

Axmagorian was a bit put out. He said sorry, and shyly walked away. He didn't want to upset anyone, but he was thirsty. Maybe if he came back at night, he could sneakily have a drink without them knowing.

At nightfall he returned, and drank heartily in glistening moonlight. As he savoured the refreshing water, once more came the taps on his shoulder. He was caught!

"We'll zap you with lightning,
Curse you for good,
You'll lose all your scales
And be turned into wood."

Axmagorian was suddenly struck by a huge bolt of blue light. His joints froze, his body went hard and he tumbled onto his side. They really had turned him into wood!

"That'll teach you!" they jeered. They all walked up to the petrified dragon and gave him a mighty push into the river.

The dragon made a great splash, but bobbed up to the surface and sailed along with the current.

He drifted along the river for days on end. Axmagorian wasn't sure whether he liked being made of wood, but one thing was definite; he certainly wasn't lost in the forest any more. He also didn't feel hungry or thirsty. In fact he quite enjoyed being taken along by the river. He did love to travel, after all. He could watch the fish and the birds, and all the scenery you could possibly take in. And best of all, he felt entirely safe from harm.

Axmagorian floated all the way to the estuary and into the sea. The landscape was beautiful. He saw things he'd never seen before, and passed through storms and squalls, witnessed stunning sunsets, waves as tall as mountains, and had a thoroughly good time.

Eventually he washed up on a shore. It had fine white sand, palm trees and coconuts, and in the distance he could see forests and mountains. Turtles and lizards crawled along the beach, brightly coloured birds flocked in the sky: he couldn't have asked for a nicer home.

Within a few months of being on solid ground, Axmagorian started to feel the sand below. After months of having no feelings at all, it was a wonderful experience. But it was an odd feeling, much unlike anything he'd felt before, and he realised he was growing roots.

He soon had a firm grip on the earth, and he was growing upwards too. In the spring he grew shoots and with shoots came leaves. He was becoming a tree. Every year he grew taller and birds built nests in his branches. This really was the high life, and he had those malicious creatures in the forest to thank. They would never get to see what he'd seen, and they'd never get to visit his paradise, living all of their lives in their murky dank forest.