As the children passed into the cave, the dragon’s tail slid into position along the wall next to them, his head followed them into the cave. As he drew his head back inside, he used it to block the cave entrance. His huge bronze body, now in a huge C-shape, filled most of the cave. As the children passed the end of his tail the dragon flicked it behind them and laid his head on it. Now they were trapped inside a huge circle of dragon.
“Have a seat,” The dragon rumbled. “Sit on my tail at whatever height suits you.”
Susie walked along the tail of the dragon until she reached a spot as high as a chair. She felt the dragon’s huge scales and sat in the middle of one. Henry sat next to her.
The dragon let out a huge sigh of relief. “Ahh, It feels so good to have some friends, again!”
Henry looked at Susie and mouthed the word, “Friends?” Susie shrugged.
“I used to have a princess,” the dragon continued. “She was so beautiful! Her hair was like strings of gold and her eyes were as blue as sapphires. She was a sight to behold. She was proud and confident. And she was smart. Oh, the conversations we had! We had a couple of wonderful years together.” The dragon’s huge eye half closed as he got lost in his thoughts.
Susie looked over at Henry and raised her hands, as if to say, “What now?”
Henry said, “We are not royalty. We’re just village kids.”
“I know who you are,” The dragon said. “I’ve been watching you just like I watched the princess before she came to live with me.”
“What happened to the princess,” Susie said in a scared whisper.
The dragon breathed a rapid ragged breath and whimpered a tiny sob. Then he coughed trying to cover the sob. When he coughed, a fireball burst from his nose and flared against the wall in front of his face. His eye flew open and darted around the room until it found Henry and Susie. Seeing them, the dragon let out another sigh of relief.
“Sorry. I didn’t mean to make fire. It just happens, these days,” the dragon said. “It was a knight. Shiniest armour I ever saw. He came raging in here like he owned the place. The sun was just setting outside the cave and his armour lit up like a thousands diamonds in the sun. I was blinded, just for a moment. But, that was long enough for him to grab the princess and run.” The dragon went quiet for a couple of seconds, then added, “She was my best friend, ever. She was mine, and he just took her.” The dragon’s eye glistened wetly until a massive tear fell to the ground. His huge eyelid, like a warriors shield, closed over his eye.
Susie grimaced at Henry, she’d obviously hit a sore spot in his story. “Are you lonely?” Susie asked the dragon.
The dragon remained quiet and unresponsive.
Henry thought a change of topic might be good. “Why do you keep sneezing fireballs?”
The eye opened and focused on Henry. “I’m just getting old.” The dragon said. “In my warrior years, I would save up my fire and scare entire armies of men with huge bursts that covered an entire valley. Now, I just snort and sneeze fireballs without meaning to.”
“That must be embarrassing!” Henry said.
“Yes, but it’s worse than embarrassing,” the dragon said. “I had a pet frog a few months back. He told me a joke that made me laugh and I fried him to a crisp.”
|The Hidden Path
a fairytale by David Edgren
“Awww, that’s sad!” Susie said. “Is that why you never face us? You always look at us with just one eye.”
“Exactly,” the dragon said. “I keep my head above or to the side of whoever I’m with. I don’t want any more accidentally fried friends.”
“Thanks for that,” Henry said.
The Dragon laughed a small fireball. “You’re welcome, kid.”