Stories For Thing

How I did not kill a Dragon

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So, when I was a little child, I wanted to kill a dragon. Why did I want to kill a dragon – I don’t really think I know. There were vague things about them breathing fire and destroying crops and stealing sheep etc, but to be frank, no one had seen a dragon in a very long time, and my parent, who told me these stories, did not really know what dragons were, on account of never having seen one.

Well, I grew up like that, hearing stuff like dragons, and of heroes in the ancient days who had killed dragons and brought peace to the country. And Maize and rice and wheat had flowered and we had grown into a prosperous country populated with obese farmers like my father. Well, that would have been it, but they did tell me about dragons, and it was a bad year for crops, and I blamed it all on the dragons and, ergo, I decided to go to the northern islands where the last few remaining dragons were to be found. To try and slay all of them.

***

Well, if you have heard as many stories as I have, you know, that real life doesn’t work like stories. In a fairy tale, I would have reached the dragon island with a silver sword, a brass shield and an invincible aura, with all the people on the way helping me out just because I was out to kill the dragons. Sadly, it was not so. I reached the northern islands in rags, without a sword (because I had lost it in my last shipwreck-iron is heavier than water), not a shield (same reason), and tattered clothes (because I had travelled in the same clothes for three months.

Well, I landed on the island, and saw no one around. So I shouted and shouted. ‘Is anyone around?’, I said, and ‘Are you dragons listening to me?’ and ‘Hey, come and fight me.’. But no one came. And so, (remember that I had no sword or shield), I walked inward. And what should I stumble upon, but an elephant’s trunk! I fell over it, got up, kicked it, and said some words I would rather you did not know. And then the trunk parted and showed itself to be a part of a mouth, and full of foot-long, razor sharp teeth.

***

‘Who are you?’ the mouth asked.

‘I….I am here’, I replied, trembling, ‘to kill a dragon. I am the last dragon hunter of the world.’

‘And I…am the last dragon of the world’

‘How…how’, I said, ‘do you speak human?’

‘Spent many centuries, listening to your fears. Watched you grow stronger, and stranger. I am surprised not more of you want to hunt me down and kill me.’

‘I do not really want to kill you. You seem a nice enough chap.’

‘Then why are you here to kill me?’

‘Ohh, because no one has killed a dragon in a few centuries. And the maize is failing. And we think it is you. Have you been breathing fire over our crop?’

‘Look at me. I am a tired old body which cannot even move itself. Do you think I would find fun in trying to ruin your crop?’

‘Maybe your kids.’

‘You mean there is a dragonina, somewhere?’

‘I am here to kill you, not to matchmake.’

‘So go on.’

‘Did you know I have 76 kinds of teeth and 284 scales on my back?’

‘…’

‘Did you know that had I half the mind to do so, I could eat you alive?’

‘…’

‘Did you know, I never hurt your corn, I never tried to kill you, but I could eat you alive in 30 seconds?’

***

And that was how I did not kill a dragon. Or how a dragon did not kill me.

By Moroheus

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Lil’un finds her name

So, once upon a time not very long ago, there was a little girl who did not have a name. Every one called her little girl, or young one or little one, and this, naturally, did not please her. Not one bit. ‘Mama, what is my name?’ she would ask her mama, and mama would be unable to answer, because even she did not know what had happened to her name. So she would ask her papa, and even he would be unable to answer, because he also did not know what had happened to her name. Perhaps they had written it down on a piece of paper and the wind had taken it away, they said to the little girl. Or that afternoon they went to the beach, perhaps they wrote her name on the sand, and the sea took it away. Or maybe the rains, or the sun. They simply did not know. Naturally they were very sorry, but they did not know what to do about it. Nobody did.

Since the grown-ups could not decide what to do about her missing name, and the little girl did not think she would enjoy being called lill’un for the rest of her life, she decided that she would just go and find her name. And so, she asked her mama to give her a six slices of cake (as she intended to return on seventh day), a bottleful of water, cape and good, sturdy sandals. And off she went to find her name.

First she went to an open field and stood there and asked the wind if he had taken her name. She told the wind that it was fine even if he had taken it; he could return it now because she really needed it, that she was growing up, and if the wind returned her name, he could have some of her mama’s delicious apple flavoured cake. The wind told her that much as he would like to eat the cake (his mouth was watering), he had not taken her name, and so could not return it. The little girl was disappointed, but saw that the wind was very much eager to eat the cake (his mouth was watering), and so gave the wind a slice of the cake anyway. The wind was very grateful, and told her he would not forget her kindness.

Then the little girl went to the sea next, and made the same promise, but the sea had not taken her name and so could not return it. And the sea also wanted a slice of her cake and even his mouth was watering (haha), and so she let him have a slice of the cake. And the same story was repeated with the rain and the sun. The little girl was very disappointed as she had finished her list of probable people who might have taken her name, and did not know where to go from there. But she was a brave little girl, and so she decided that she would not give up. So, she sat down on a rock (she had met the sun on a hill so that he would not have to come down too low to talk to her- she was a thoughtful little girl), and opened her satchel and took out a slice of cake to eat.

And just as she was getting ready to take a bite, with a flash and the billowing of smoke and a big bang sound, a strange person appeared before her. He was very tall, almost seven, or maybe even eight feet tall, thin as a scarecrow, and dressed in clothes all very shiny and sparklingly splendid. He had a long face and a short pointy beard and round, crumpled hat, and he spoke, his head was so high above her, it seemed to the little girl that it was actually the hat which was speaking.

‘Can I have a slice of cake too? Please, I have not had apple cake in years, and I love it so!’ he said.

‘Who are you?’ The little girl asked.

‘I am magic. I was not always magic, instead, at one time, I was a human being. Then, I was called the magician.’

‘Then why are you only magic now, and not a magician?’

You see, the little girl was wise too, she understood even then that being a human being was more important than being pure magic.

‘I was scared of cats.’ The magician replied.

‘Cats!’ The little girl laughed a little. ‘What is there to be scared about cats! Cats are adorable! I love cats, in fact.’

‘I know, I know. I know now, but fact is, I was afraid of cats, and did something horrible to one of them. A long time ago, I was conducting a magic show, and a little girl’s kitten came on the stage, and I got so scared I turned her into a parrot. The little girl was very angry, and told me that since it was my magic which enabled me to turn her cat into a parrot, she did not want magic anymore. I was very sorry, but I did not want magic to die also (you see, little girls’ wishes have a lot of power), and so, I volunteered to turn myself into magic, and was exiled from the world of people. Which is why there is no magic in the world today, and which is why I have not eaten apple cake for years.’

As he said these last words, the magician almost cried. The little girl had never seen a grown up cry but somehow understood that it might be embarrassing or wrong or not-doable thing for them, and so, to prevent the magician from crying, she offered him her slice of cake and bottle of water. The magician sat on a nearby rock, and wolfed it down. And as he was wiping the crumbs off his lips, the little girl saw that he was slowly shrinking in size, till he finally turned into a normal sized human being (with slightly less splendid sparkly clothes and a slightly less pointy beard), but definitely human.

‘Thank you, dear girl,’ he said, ‘you have lifted the curse from me. For it was also said that when a little girl willingly accepted me to her company, and did me a good turn, I would finally be able to become human again. And so, now I am the magician again, and magic is free in the world.’

The little girl was very happy for him, and bade him well. But the magician would have nothing of it. She had given him cake and made him human again (yes! Cake has great powers!), and now he wanted to her a good turn. So, she asked him, if he knew where her name could be found.

‘Alas, that is something I do not know. I know it is not the wind or the sea or the rain or the sun, but that is something you know too.’ He shook his head sadly and grew quiet for a moment, and then smiled a bright smile and said, ‘but I do suspect my cat might know something about it.’

Saying so, he took out of his coat’s pocket the most gloriously green-plumed, red-beaked parrot the girl had ever seen. The parrot was so beautiful that the girl insisted that before answering any of her questions, he eat the last slice of bread she had, and drink some water, and then speak to her. The parrot, who like the magician, had not had apple cake for years (and who was really the cat the magician had turned into a parrot long ago, and cats love apple cake), gratefully ate the cake and drank the water, and turned into a soft, cuddly kitten.

‘Why yes, I do know where you might find your name,’ the kitten said, curling lazily on the warm rock, ‘300 miles from here, out in the sea, there is an island. On the island is a castle, and the castle is guarded by a moat which is full of crocodiles, and inside the castle lives and old dragon. This dragon has the ability to turn into a pigeon, and it is he who stole your name. You will have to kill him to get your name back.’

The little girl was overjoyed. She finally knew where to find her name. But she did not know how to get there: and the cat said she was unable to help with that. Not could the magician help (it was her quest, he said, and she would have to complete it alone), and with apologetic smiles, both of them disappeared.

Now, as I have told you, the young girl was a very brave one. But she was also a very smart girl. She did not lose hope. Instead, she called the wind, and told him his problem. The wind said he could not help her get to the island or kill the dragon, but he was sure the rain could help her in reaching the island, and sun and the sea could help her in killing the dragon. So, he told the little girl to find a tree trunk, and once she had found one, told her to cling to it tightly. Once the little girl had done that, the wind blew itself into a furious storm and lifted the tree trunk in its hand and flew and flew higher and higher till the sun, noticing this commotion, came down to see what was going on. And so, the little girl told the sun her problem. And the sun told the wind to get the little girl to the sea shore, and told the wind that his role in this story was not yet over.

So the wind set the little girl down at the sea shore, and the sea came up and listened to the little girl’s story. The sea said that he would help out with the crocodile problem (he had liked the apple cake very much, thank you), but he could not help the little girl get to the island as she would become all wet and catch a cold if he transported her, and he could not allow that to happen. Hearing this, the sun, who was listening in, got very very angry, and blazed down hard at the sea. Naturally, the water of the sea became vapors and turned into a cloud, and it started raining. And the rain (who had also liked the cake very much, thank you), was more than ready to help. So, rain sent down a small, pony shaped cloud to the girl, and girl sat on the cloud, and the wind lifted the cloud high up and helped them cross the sea till they reached the island. Then they set her down, in front of the gates of the castle of the dragon.

The problem, was the little girl could not get in. There was a moat all around the castle, and in the moat, there were crocodiles. So, as the sea had told her to do, the little girl got up on a hill, and called out to the sea to help her. And the sea came in, and flooded the moat and the castle and everything on the island that was lower than the hill the little girl was standing on. The crocodiles were washed away in the sea.

But at this, the dragon, who was sleeping, and did not like being awoken from his sleep (and specially not with cold water), woke up and got very very angry. He flapped his wings and flew over his castle and roared and roared at the sea, calling it names for having wet him without any reason. The sea told the dragon that the little girl had given him cake, and so it was his duty to help her, so maybe the dragon should go talk to the little girl. And then the dragon saw the little girl, sitting on an old tree trunk atop the hill, watching him flying angrily around. So he turned into a pigeon again, and went and perched on a rock in front of the little girl.

‘Little girl, what do you want? Why do you throw cold water on me this early in the morning? If your mama awoke you like that, would you like it?’

‘Please sir, dragon sir, I would just like to have my name back.’ The little girl said, ‘this was why I had to wake you up, sir.’

‘But I cannot give you your name back, little girl,’ the dragon said, ‘because your name is a treasure, and we dragons hoard treasure and never let it go. And your name is a particularly shiny treasure. In fact I quite like it, and have kept it in my heart. So, go back, little one. I am not giving your name back to you.’

‘How mean of you!’ the little girl exclaimed! ‘You would let me pass my entire life being called little girl or little one just because you like my name!’

‘Yes, because I like your name very very much,’ said the dragon.

At this the little girl got very angry. She stood up from the log and told the dragon, ‘Why, Mr. Dragon, that is not nice of you at all, and I am very angry at you.’

At this, the dragon laughed and said, ‘Why you are such a little girl, and I am such a big dragon.’ And turned again from pigeon shape to dragon shape. ‘What can a little girl like you do to me, then?’

The little girl was very angry and said, ‘Why, I will…I will…I will pinch your nose, I am so angry!’

At this, the dragon got very angry, because dragons love their noses very much and the thought of having it pinched by such a little girl angered and scared the dragon. He stood tall to his full height, and prepared to breathe fire at the girl. But the wind, who had been warned by the sun to be ready, started blowing again, and the little girl smartly held on to the log and the wind lifted them in the air. The dragon, very angry, gave them chase and up and up and up and up they went. And they went up till they came close to the sun.

And the sun (who had also liked the cake very much, thank you) was very angry at the dragon blazed very fast and very hard at the dragon and burnt him black as coal, while the wind smartly took the little girl away from the sun and set her down back at the dragon’s island, on the little hill. The dragon, burnt as hard and black as coal fell through the air and fell through the air and fell through the air, until he reached the hill, too. And he fell very hard. In fact, he fell so hard that he broke on contact with the hill and little black coal like pieces of him scattered on the hill. But one golden, shiny like fire piece remained and the little girl went to it, and picked it in her hand. And it burned like fire to look at, but was very cool to touch, for it was the dragon’s cold heart. And on this heart was written the little girl’s name.

And that was how the little one found her name.

By Morpheus

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