The frail little girl picks flowers for her flower basket on a warm, breezy summer day. The gentle smell of hay flows through the air, creating a rich atmosphere, and a calming sense of familiarity.
Puffy white clouds crawl across the bright open sky, constantly shifting and changing shape. The girl plops down on a grassy rise and looks up, seeing different animals and people amongst various evanescent shapes.
The girl adjusts her tattered and faded blue dress and settles in for a good, long, satisfying cloud-gazing session, putting the growls from her stomach out of her mind.
She thinks to herself, there is a puppy! And there is a space car! And my old school teacher!
Her eyes burn and tingle from staring at the sky, so she gingerly rubs them, taking care to avoid the broken capillaries at her temples and over the bridge of her nose.
She opens her eyes again, suddenly bored of her short-lived journey through cloud land. Without much thought, she sits up and makes a wish to the sky, an old habit from a game she used to play. She wishes for nothing in particular, but on this specific summer day, with the warm comforting air, the soft grass, the wild flowers, and the fluffy, beautiful clouds overhead, the wish resonates throughout the universe. A perfect wish, a perfect day.
As the girl sits up, something in the sky catches her eye. It is a large writhing cloud, moving more than any other cloud above. This piques the poor girl’s curiosity, holding her curiosity steady.
With every passing second, the movement of the cloud grows more and more violent. The writhing and squirming turns to thrashing and crashing.
After no more than half of a minute, there is a sudden expansion in the sky. Every cloud to be seen is cast out of sight over the horizon by a magnificent and terrible force emanating from the single cloud in it’s active glory. A moment later, the girl hears a clap louder than any thunder she had ever heard, yet it does no harm to her little ears. A moment later still, a wave of cool air pushes down on the field with a huge WHOOOSH!
The girl blinks a few times, returning moisture to her eyes, curiously staring into the clear blue sky.
Just then, the cloud stretches out and begins to take shape, all the while little sparkles of electricity begin to branch out among the edges.
First there is the snout, with giant teeth and long whiskers. Then there are legs and a long belly. Then the tail, narrow and nimble.
The creature flies down to the little girl with incredible speed and agility, whilst displaying finesse and skill at the same time. Grace an beauty surround the beast, accentuated by its shining crimson scales.
Of course, to a young girl, this is more frightening than majestic, so she promptly attempts to make a run for it, fearing that she may lose her short-lived life!
However, the speed at which the girl limps away is vastly outpaced by the monster’s magical flight, and it overtakes her with no noticeable effort.
The girl, so frightened by the sharp fangs and horns atop the animal’s head, is unable to even make a peep, let along the blood-curdling shriek you would hope to expect.
The being surrounds the scared little girl with its slender body and puts its face to hers. She covers her eyes by instinct and shivers with fright.
There is a long silence. Silence, except for the frantic gasping and breathing from the girl. However, she notices that she hasn’t been eaten yet, and she barely gets up the courage to peek out from between her fingers.
Hello, my young child.
No reason to be afraid.
I come to see you.
The creature’s voice immediately calms the girl. With every word spoken, an orchestra of gentle strings and serene woodwinds intertwines with a thousand harmonious voices. The breath is warm apple pie with a touch of cinnamon.
The child takes her hands down from her face, now calm, but remaining cautious.
“Please don’t eat me.” The girl requests.
The being laughs gently, the sounds of gallant trumpets ringing through the air.
Child, that would not do.
You see, I come to give gifts,
Not to feast on snacks.
“I’m sorry,” the girl says, “but daddy is expecting me home soon. I better be on my way.”
Dear child, your eyes speak.
Worry not about father.
It will be okay.
“Daddy will be angry if I don’t leave soon.”
I promise you this:
We will see your father soon.
Together, we walk.
And with that, the monster unwinds around the girl and they set out toward the farmhouse.
After a minute of walking, the girl says, “I apologize, but I don’t know what kind of animal you are. I’ve never seen you in a schoolbook or in any of my story books. You aren’t a dog or cat, or any other farm animal. I’m really confused.”
The trumpets thunder for a moment.
Fine lady, you jest!
No farm can contain this one.
A Dragon, I am!
The poor child looks confused, having no idea of the nature of dragons. This does not deter the dragon’s majesty in any way though, and it goes on to explain to the girl.
Dragons are mighty!
Dragons are the wisest things!
Dragons do not lose!
“Are they all like you?” The girl asks timidly after the fanfare of the dragon’s voice fades.
In all shapes and size.
With power to fly high.
And grant great wishes.
“You can grant wishes?” The girl asks in disbelief.
The dragon merely nods, smiling wisely.
“So, why did you come to see me?” The girl asks this, attempting to not let on what she really hopes. Wishes are every little girls dream and pastime, you know.
Little girl, listen.
This one comes to grant wishes.
To one who needs them.
I grant every wish.
Every one you ever need.
Wish away, for me.
The girl just stares, wide-eyed and fascinated.
Again, the dragon nods and smiles.
The first thing that comes to the child’s mind escapes her mouth before she can think twice.
“I want a pretty dress!” she exclaims.
The dress is now yours.
Azure and cotton with frills.
Cutest dress around.
The dragon digs itself into the earth with its powerful claws, bracing itself for the magic it will call into use. It breathes three deep breaths, and on the last one, it sucks in so much air that the little girl’s ears pop. Then the dragon sneezes a tiny sneeze.
When the girl opens her eyes, her dress, once worn, torn, and forlorn, is now repaired, with the colors to bright and beautiful that she is truly glowing with joy.
“Wow!” the girl cries as she twirls around in amazement.
After no more than a few seconds, the girl exclaims her thanks in embarrassment for forgetting her manners.
“I… I have no money to pay for this…” she says, and looks downtrodden and broken.
Have no worries, child.
The wishes are yours to keep.
Wish for all you need.
The girl thinks for a moment, determined to be frugal and modest with her wishing.
“I wish…” she hesitates, “I wish I had beautiful flowers for mommy.” The child held up her flower basket, which was filled half with dainty flowers, and half with weeds and dandelions, though they were all pretty to the girl, she knew mommy liked big colorful flowers more.
Flowers for mommy.
Carnations and roses now.
As before, the dragon braces itself, digging its claws into the earth, breathing three times, then sucking in an alarming sum of air. Then it sneezes a tiny sneeze and suddenly, the little girl’s basket is overflowing with magnificent beautiful sweet-smelling flowers.
Unfortunately, the basket is too heavy for the girl, but the dragon, without hesitation, picks up the basket with its tail and together they continue the journey home.
For awhile, they walk in silence, the girl wondering what she can wish for next, not quite sure what is appropriate. She scratches her head inquisitively, and immediately recoils in pain as she remembers the bruises there. she then gets a very embarrassing idea.
Timidly, shyly, she asks, “Can I make one more wish?”
Every wish you want.
All are available now.
Wish for all you need.
The girl pauses and instinctively looks over her shoulder, then looks down and snivels and sobs.
Dear child, what is wrong?
Surely no wish can sadden?
Pray tell me your fear!
“I wish daddy would stop hitting me…”
There is a moment of silence.
Child, that is a wish.
A wish that you truly need.
Our walk is soon done.
Sure enough, the farmhouse is just ahead, the candle-lit windows glowing through the recently dimmed night sky.
As they approach the door, the girl looks into the dragon’s great blue eye. It smiles in reply and they pause for a moment on the front porch.
The dragon takes three deep breaths while digging down into the earth. Its whicskers fan out and little static sparks shimmer around its body.
The front door opens and there stands a confounded drunkard in his sweatstained shirt and filthy trousers. He mumbles something incoherent until his eyes focus upon his daughter, at which point his eyes grow wide with anger.
He gets no chance to advance upon her.
The dragon snaps its head forward and rips the farmer’s head off his body in one lightning fast motion. Blood sprays across the area, splashing the walls and urine-stained carpet while the body twitches in place and tendrils of gore spew from the neck. Bits of sinew and flesh twitch rapidly as the body crumples to the floor and begins to secrete a large pool of black blood.
The girl’s dress, however, is unmarred.
Now you have it all.
My work here is done, young one.
I leave you new life.
The poor little frail girl doesn’t move, doesn’t speak, and hardly feels any remorse or pity.
And with that, the dragon smiles and flies away into the night sky, and explosion of flame signalling its exit from the life of a young, newly hopeful little child.