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How Dragons Got Their Wings

blue dragonLee, a little girl about seven years old, was sitting outside on a stone bench looking up into the sky.  It was mostly cloudy, but still bright enough for the sun to hurt her eyes.

Then she saw it.

A dragon!

It was white, like the clouds. And it was weaving in and out of the clouds like a needle and thread through a piece of fabric. 

Was it really there?

She squinted to get a better view and …

Yes, it was really there!

A dragon flying in and out of the clouds, almost the same color as the clouds, white, but it had silver scales on its back and pink claws. And pink horns. And red eyes.  And, Lee could see, a glimpse of a red tongue inside its pink mouth.

But no wings.

Of course this dragon didn't have wings, since no dragons had wings back then. This was two thousand years ago. In a country far, far away. Unless you live in China, then it was very, very near.

Another little girl, also about seven years old, who just so happened to also be named Lee, was sitting outside on a wooden bench looking up into the sky. It was mostly cloudy, but still bright enough for the sun to hurt her eyes.

Then she saw it.

Green dragon

A dragon!

It was greenish and brownish green. And it was weaving in and out of the clouds like a needle and thread through a piece of fabric.

Was it really there?

She squinted to get a better view and …

Yes, it was really there!

It was very easy to see.  A reddish, brownish but mostly greenish dragon flying in and out of the clouds. It had silvery white scales on its back and white claws. And white horns. But its eyes and tongue were both bright red.  

And it had wings, of course.

Of course this dragon had wings, since all dragons have wings now. 

This was two thousand years later. Yesterday. This was yesterday.  And this was, as I explained, a different Lee. In a country very, very near to here.  Unless you live in China, and then it was far, far away.

Suddenly, the white wingless dragon flew down to the small girl named Lee who, again was sitting on a stone bench.  This was the Lee from two thousand years ago.

Suddenly, the green winged dragon flew down to the small girl also named Lee, who, again was sitting on a wooden bench. This was the Lee from two thousand years later. Again, yesterday.

The wingless dragon coiled downwards until its silver and white head with its bright red eyes and tongue were just inches from thousands-of-years-ago-Lee. Lee was not scared. The dragon, though huge, was gentle-looking and friendly-looking. No, not friendly-looking exactly, but calm. Like a large teacher or coach who wants to help you understand something.

The winged dragon landed with a thump, its wings beating once which was like a giant fan sending a blast of air and then it curled its wings to its sides. Its bright red eyes and tongue were just inches from today Lee. Lee was not scared. The dragon, though huge was gentle-looking and friendly-looking. No, not friendly-looking exactly, but calm. Like a large teacher or coach who wants to help you understand something.

The wingless dragon’s voice was like ice boiling in a fire. What does that sound like? You tell me. The wingless dragon said, “Let me tell you a story. It happens exactly one thousand years from now.  And it’s how we dragons will get our wings.”

The winged dragon’s voice was like hot coals being dropped into icy water. What does that sound like?  Again, you tell me. The winged dragon said,  “Let me tell you a story. It happened exactly one thousand years ago.  And it’s how we dragons got our wings.”

 

The stories they told to thousands-of-years-ago-Lee and today-Lee were the exact same, almost word for word, so I will try to tell it to you as one story.

“A thousand years from now…” began the white wingless dragon.

“A thousand years ago…” began the green winged dragon.

The magic in the sky was no longer strong enough for dragons to fly, so they lost that ability.  They lost the ability to fly since the magic in the air could no longer carry them skywards. So, if you looked up into the sky, as you do today, you would not see one single dragon. They were all earthbound, like giant snakes with four tiny little claws.

Let me tell you about their feet and claws.

The two dragons showed their claws to the Lees.

The wingless white dragon’s claws looked like lizard’s feet. 

The green dragon’s claws looked like giant eagle claws. 

The white dragon, however, had tiny feathers around the ankles that looked like they were on fire. Because they were.

The green dragon did not have these rings of fire.

 

 

But back to the story.

The dragons then – a thousand years ago, in between these two dragons telling stories – had no wings and not enough magic to fly so they had to walk on the ground, which made them very slow and easy to catch. Some people captured the dragons and used them as pets, even allowing their friends to ride on them like trained ponies. Other dragons were easily killed by knights on horses with lances, since they could not fly over the horses and spit out fire or ice.  This is how St. George was able to slay that dragon. Had that dragon been able to fly, that story would not be called St. George and The Dragon, but would be called The Dragon and St. George, but that’s another story.

In shorter words: The Days of the Dragons were coming to an end!

Soon enough, there were only four free dragons left. All four of them were wingless, of course, since dragons did not yet have wings.  There was a red wingless dragon.  A yellow wingless dragon.  A blue wingless dragon. And a white wingless dragon.

“Like me!” exclaimed the white wingless dragon to thousands-of-years-ago Lee.

“There were no green dragons, yet,” added the green winged dragon to today-Lee.

The four dragons … red, yellow, blue and white … decided to meet on the top of the highest mountain in the world, above the clouds, where they would be safe from humans, to discuss what to do. 

“We all knew we would get our wings,” the white wingless dragon explained.  “We just didn’t know exactly how.”

The walk up the mountain was exhausting.  It was a long, long, long, lo-o-ong way up.

wizardHalfway up, the red dragon saw a large bird fly past, easily getting to the top of the mountain.  The red dragon said, “That’s why it’ll be great to have wings.” 

The yellow dragon agreed. “When we have wings like birds, we can fly to the top of the mountain quickly and easily, instead of walking so slowly.”

The blue dragon, who likes explaining things everybody already understands, added, “When we have wings like birds, we won’t need magic to fly.”

But how do you go about getting wings when you need them? 

Let me tell you.

There was a wizard who lived, very conveniently, on the other side of this mountain in a cave.  She was the very first and the very last human to have wings.

So, the four dragons walked around the mountain to the wizard’s cave and asked the wizard if she could make them some wings.

She heard their story and agreed that the only way they could fly, now with so little magic left in the air, was with wings.  However, she explained, “There is not enough magic for me to make four sets of wings. I might, and I say might, be able to make you one set.  So you will need to choose which of the four of you will get the wings.”

 

How could they decide who gets the one set of wings?

The red dragon offered, “We could race up the mountain.  First to the very top gets the wings.”

The yellow dragon offered, “We could each write a poem. Whoever writes the best poem gets the wings.”

The blue dragon offered, “We could do a treasure hunt. The one who returns in a week with the most gold and gems wins.” Even at that time, dragons loved gold and gems. I expect they always will.

The three of them looked at the white dragon to see what he thought and… the white dragon was near the cave, talking to the wizard.  The wizard was nodding her head.

Whatever could they be talking about?

The white dragon and the wizard walked, well … they wizard had wings so she flew … over to the other three dragons. The smart, white dragon started, “I knew we could never decide which one of us got the wings and which three of us did not, so I asked the wizard for a favor.”

The wizard, said, “I need all of you to hold hands … I mean claws … and spin in a circle as fast as you can while I cast a magic spell.”

 

 

The dragons did so. They held claws, stood up on their hind claws and started spinning in a four-dragon circle.  At first it was very slow.  And then they spun faster and faster and faster and even faster and then when they didn’t think they could spin any faster at all, the wizard started to cast her spell.

“Ora-ora-ora-oh. Make this circle go go go!”

The four dragons spun faster and faster until you would have had a hard time even naming the colors red-yellow-blue-white as they spun by. 

“Ora-ora-ora-oh. Make this circle go go go!”

And the dragons spun even faster and faster until they were a blur of colors and dizziness like the fastest merry-go-round or the fastest top you could ever imagine.  So fast you didn’t see the four colors red-yellow-blue-white at all. It was all just a whirl of dark brownish green!

The wizard finished her spell.  “Ora-ora-ora-ee. Into one these four dragons be!”

The circle of dragons started to slow down, just like a spinning top, and as it slowed down there was only one dragon. A dark brownish greenish dragon with white claws, white horns, red eyes and a red tongue.

“It looked Just like me!” shouted the green winged dragon to today-Lee.

And, like a top, when it stopped spinning, the green dragon, very dizzy as you would imagine, fell onto its side.

 

The wizard then cast her second spell.

I can’t tell you this spell.  

The wizard made the dragon promise not to share it, so we will never know the magic words that the wizard used to … poof! … give the dark brownish green dragon its wings.

--

The white dragon from two thousand years ago looked at two-thousand-years-ago-Lee and said, “And that is why all dragons in the future will be green and have wings.”

The green dragon from today, yesterday in fact, unfolded its giant wings, looked at today-Lee and said, “And that is why all dragons today are now green and have wings.”

But neither Lee heard the ending to this story, since both Lees had curled up on their stone bench or wooden bench and had fallen asleep.

Both dragons laughed and, at the same time, even though they lived two thousand years apart, and said, “Sweet dreams, my little human child. I will tell you this story again tomorrow night.”

The End.

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2022 Stuart B Baum and StuartStories.com 


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