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Why Dragon Breathes Fire
Long ago, back in the days when kings and princes ruled the lands far and wide, lived a great and all-powerful Dragon king. The earth would tremble from his massive girth, and the animals would run and hide in utter terror at the very mention of his name. he was ruler of all, and he flaunted his power with boundless vanity.
After many generations had gone by with hundreds, or even thousands of innocent woodland and farmland creatures losing their lives in the seemingly eternal fight against the Dragon King, the Elder’s Council of the animal realms called an urgent meeting amongst themselves.
The Elders of each kingdom came from miles around, some by land, some by air, and even some by sea to attend the conference that could literally mean life or death for them and all of their kinsmen. Creatures of every age, gender, and species came to have their say in finding a permanent solution to deal with Dragon. Even rivaled species were cooperating for once, all for the sake of the greater good. Once all the Elders had gathered and taken their rightful places at the large stone table, Elder Bear called the meeting to order.
“My fellow beings, we have let this go on for far too long! For many centuries and all throughout the generations, we have suffered impeccable losses due to the inconsiderate, blackened heart of Dragon. We must stop this onslaught of destruction as soon as we can, or fear the loss of our remaining followers! I hereby open the floor to anyone who may hold a suggestion in their heart, so that they might share it and thus prevent any more disaster!”
“I would like to speak,” said Elder Herring, popping his bright red head up out of the cerulean river water that ran beside the council’s table so that the Elders of the Sea could actively participate in the discussions held by the group.
“You have the floor, Brother,” Bear said, giving an acknowledging nod in the other’s direction. Herring cleared his throat before he spoke loudly, his voice echoing through the dense forest like the resounding chimes of a church bell.
“Elders, we creatures of the sea have suffered much loss at the hands of the Great Menace who rules the earth. He laps up our homes like a colossal dog, greedy with thirst, and leaves those of us who manage to escape his long, snaky tongue for dead. Few of my children have lived through this ordeal, and we are all at wit’s end! I say we must find a way to make him suffer as much as we have for so long!” Elder Herring’s final words reverberated like thunder around the council table, illuminating what so many were thinking, but few were bold enough to voice.
“Herring is right!” exclaimed Elder Goose. “My brothers and sisters and I fly through the air peacefully until Dragon takes flight! Then we must scatter or land quickly for fear that his gargantuan wings will rip us to shreds when he flies near! How can we migrate safely if we must land so often in order to survive?”
Bear nodded knowingly, as the Elders of the Air resounded similar cries to those of Sister Goose. As the commotion grew unruly, Bear slammed his huge paws down on the stone table, silencing the crowd.
“Thank you,” he said once the noise had died down entirely. “Now, Elders of the Land, have you anything to add? You have not spoken since the meeting was inaugurated.” The Elders of the Land looked quietly amongst themselves, unsure of who should speak. Suddenly, a miniscule but mighty voice rang out, breaking the uncertain silence.
“We, as Elders of the Land,” the voice began, slowly getting nearer and more confident. The Elders of the Land, Air, and Sea all looked around, trying to decipher where the sound was coming from. “We have suffered just as equally as our Brothers and Sisters of Air and Sea.” As a small white figure scampered across to the center of the stone table, it became evident to whom the voice belonged.
“Brother Door Mouse, you speak with much confidence. Is there something that you suggest we do?” asked Bear, astounded by bravery the tiny creature presented. The door mouse stood on his hind legs, chest poked out with pride and valor.
“Brother Bear, we must trick Dragon into believing we are surrendering, and then we attack!”
“But Dragon has such thick scales; any external attack would be useless!” Elder Eagle said, evoking nods and mumbles of agreement from the rest of the Elders.
“This is true, my Brothers and Sisters, which is why we shall not attack with weapons. We shall attack… with sacrifices!” Elder Door Mouse spoke with such force that the group gasped in shock. Murmurs rippled through the crowd as the Elders tried to understand the meaning of this seemingly unreasonable plan.
“Elder Door Mouse! That is blasphemy of which you speak! Are you suggesting that we sacrifice ourselves for a plan that is not sure to work? I am afraid we will not do such a thing!” bellowed Elder Bear, appalled by the mere thought of sacrificing himself. The tiny animal chuckled gaily, obviously humored by the misunderstanding.
“No, no. Not us! We must sacrifice meals to Dragon. Sister Coyote, you shall steal one of the local farmer’s cows. We then shall slaughter it and leave it for Dragon to find. However, in the center of this ‘sacrifice,’ we shall place a large firestone. When Dragon eats it, the fire will form in his belly, and he will no longer doubt our strength! Never again shall we have to deal with the Great Menace!” The other Elders nodded in approval, and Bear sighed in relief. They voted in favor of the devious plan, and the details were drawn out.
The next day, Sister Coyote stole the largest, fattest heifer she could carry and brought it to the council table deep in the heart of the forest, where a few of the other large carnivorous Elders were waiting to help her slaughter and prepare it. Once the cow had been prepared, Elder Raven, (whom at that time was able to withstand the overbearing heat from the volcanoes), dropped the hottest firestone she could find into the belly of the sacrifice. The Elders dragged the “meal” to the riverside and scattered into the bushes to hide and wait.
Dragon soon landed, intoxicated by the scent of fresh meat, still soaking with blood. With one large chomp, the entire heifer disappeared into the gargantuan jaws of the Dragon King. The animals waited silently for the stone to work its magic. Suddenly, Dragon’s eye began to water, as the fire grew larger inside of his belly. He lapped up water until there was not a single drop left, but the flame inside of him only grew more intense. As he attempted to scream into the sky, a burst of fire replaced his voice. Embarrassed by his ordeal, Dragon flew back to his cave, where he locked himself inside with a heavy boulder. The Elders, once certain Dragon was truly gone, left their hiding places and met together at the table.
“Brother Door Mouse, though you are small, your cleverness has exceeded that of us all. Thank you, for you have saved all of the kingdoms and made it safe for future generations to grow and live.” The door mouse was rewarded with shouts of joy and appreciation from the rest of the Elder Council, and as for Dragon, well… now he only terrorizes the human villagers!