The Wisdom of Dragons

The Nest

Lady, Lavender and Sebastian were enjoying another glorious morning in the beautiful meadow in which their home tree was located.

Sebastian was now almost a full year old and approaching his full size. He no longer comfortably fit within the tree, but had built a beautiful nest in the crown of their tree.

The nest was not a twiggy, pokey nest. Nor was it a muddy, mucky nest. It was a dragon’s nest, and that means comfort.

Sebastian had constructed the nest initally out of fire hardened mud bricks. He had placed these in a pleasing arrangement that provided plenty of room for the young dragon. Over this was placed a layer of clay, gathered from the banks of the nearby river. Layered over all of this was a beautiful yellow metal that Sebastian found strangely appealing.

Sebastian had found this metal in a nearby mountain. It had sparkled inticingly from within some rocks. Sebastian had crushed the rocks and then used his fiery breath (now quite potent) to liquify it. Once in liquid form, it coated things quite nicely.

Once this was done, Sebastian was very pleased with his beautiful creation. Soon however, he became convinced that the shiny medal would be even prettier with some sparkly stones.

Cactus and the Sparklies

He had heard of sparkly stones being found in the river as it left the mountains, so he decided to fly up and take a look. The flight to the river’s egress from the mountains took the better part of a morning, but Sebastian didn’t mind. The air was cool, the sky was blue and the fragrant smells of apple blossoms filled the air. The ground far below was a riot of colors, mainly rich browns and verdant greens, but the river provided a cerulean ribbon through the landscape.

When he arrived he found an old hedgehog sitting next to the river fly fishing. He didn’t want to frighten the small creature as Lady and Lavender had imparted to him the importance of kindness and good manners to all his forest dwelling neighbors.

As he contemplated how he should best approach the ancient mammal, the hog called back over his shoulder, “If you’ve come to fish, fish. I’ve you’ve come to eat me, you can try, but these days I wouldn’t make much more than a mouthful of gristle and sinew, and I warn you, my spikes still have some starch left in ’em. If you’re here for something else, do it quietly so you don’t scare the fish.”

Sebastian, a bit taken aback by the small animal, didn’t quite now how to respond.

“Well, yes sir, I will. I mean, um, I’m not here to eat you, nor am I here to fish, but I will try to be as quiet as possible so I don’t scare the trout,” he finally stated as politely as he could.

“I’m glad you’re not here to try to eat me. Truth be told, I’m gettin’ a might arthritic and rollin’ into a ball isn’t as easy as it use t’be.”

Sebastian pondered this statement for a moment, trying to figure out a way to check for sparkly stones in the stream bed without scaring the fish. As he was a smart young dragon, it didn’t take him long before he realized that there was really no way to do this.

“Sir, I, um, am a bit curious. Do you know if there might be any sparkly stones in the bottom of this river?”

“Well of course there are ya ninny! Why d’ya think they call this place Shiny Rock River?” snapped the old hedgehog. He stopped the rhythmic flipping of his line and reeled it in. He turned toward Sebastian and opened the creel hanging from his shoulder. He turned it over and dumped out sapphires, rubies, emeralds and diamonds. Sebastian eyes got larger and rounder. These were exactly what he was looking for!

The old hedgehog was watching Sebastian with a glint in his eye. After a few minutes, he said “I’ve heard dragon’s like a bit of the flash. I’ll tell you what, you help me with the fish, and I’ll give you the sparklies there in front of you.”

Sebastian was thrilled with the suggestion. “Sir, you have yourself a deal! What type of help do you need with the fish?”

“First of all, my name’s not sir, it’s Cactus. If you can’t remember that we might as well quit now and save ourselves the aggravation.”

“I think I can remember that,” said Sebastian. “So what kind of help can I provide Cactus?”

“What kind of help can you provide? Were you born stupid or just raised by a she-bear? I want you to dive in the river and haul me out some fish boy!”

“How many trout can you get on a license, Cactus?” asked Sebastian innocently.

“You can catch 5 on a license,” replied the surly old creature.

“Well, how many do you still need, Cactus?”

“5.”

“Oh, um, I guess the fishing isn’t very good today,” said Sebastian.

Cactus gave Sebastian a withering glare that only age and experience can give to youth.

“That’s why they call it ‘fishing’ and not ‘catching’ you dillweed,” snapped Cactus.

Sebastian decided silence was the better part of valor at this point and casually snaked his long neck out over the river. Faster than thought, his head struck into the pool, creating a blur of motion. In a matter of no more than two seconds, a pile of six large trout lay on the ground at Cactus’s feet. Sebastian looked over at Cactus, ready for Cactus to make good on his end of the bargain, to find Cactus staring at him, mouth agape, and spines strangely drooping.

“Oh, I’m sorry,” said Sebastian, “Did you mean you wanted those prepared for you as well?” Almost as fast as the fishing had been, Sebastian’s talons drew a thin line down the underneath side of each fish, removed the offal, wrapped them in a large leaf, coated the mixture with mud and laid them in a neat pile. He then placed three large flat rocks atop one another and heated them to an orange glow with his fiery breath. Placing the leaf wrapped fish parcels among the rocks, he looked back over at Cactus.

“I’m sorry I had no herbs or spices to prepare them with, but being as fresh as they were, the should still turn out to be quite tasty,” the young dragon said. “Now if you don’t mind, how many of those pretty stones are you willing to part with?”

Cactus quietly, and quite slowly, handed over the entire creel to Sebastian. Sebastian, eye’s glowing, completely missed the shudder the ancient hog evidenced as the dragon hooked one long talon under the creel’s strap.

“Well, thank you. Thank you very much. I am glad we were able to come to such an accommodating solution,” finished the dragon without ever taking his eyes off the creel.

“Yessir, yessir, I am sure glad I was able to help you! I can see you are an inteljent dragon and nothing like a dillweed at all!” stammered Cactus.

Sebastian said thanks once more and began the flight back to his nest, leaving a much relieved Cactus staring a might cautiously at the fish wraps beginning to steam on the still glowing rocks.

A Rose is a Rose, is a…. not always…

Once Sebastian returned to his nest, he quickly and efficiently placed a number of the stones in strategic spots within the nest. After he finished, he looked at the stones he still had left, and began to wonder what he should do with them. Being a kind hearted and generous dragon, it should come as no surprise that before long he had decided to create presents for his loving mothers.

He chose a large green stone for Lady Bear, thinking, “Lady always looks so nice in forest colors.” He created a heavy chain out of the shiny yellow metal, and to hold the stone he created a setting that looked like a dragon’s fist, with the talons wrapping neatly around the faceted stone.

For Lavender, he chose a pretty pale blue stone, rationalizing that it was the closest of his stones in resemblance to her namesake. He found another shiny metal, this one more white in hue. He thought it would look very pretty in contrast to the stone. Rather than a necklace, he decided to craft something a bit different. He fashioned a tiny rose steam and leaves out of the shiny silvery metal, and then he cut the largest of the blue stones into a tiny rosebud with his adamantium hard talons. The bud was adhered to the stem through the simple process of molding the heated metal around the lower portion of the bud.

That night as Sebastian drifted off to sleep, he dreamed dragonish dreams where little bears were filled with delight and gratitude at the lavish presents bestowed upon them by their beneficent and loving son.

The Gifting

The next morning, Sebastian awoke planning to put into action the series of events that would make the nights dream a reality. He joyously went down to breakfast, stuck his head through the dining room window, and found the sweet little bears all ready enjoying their morning repast.

“Good morning Sebastian!” the two bears chorused.

“Good morning gentle mother, good morning wise mother,” replied Sebastian. Both bears beamed whenever he reverted to his original names for them.

“This morning, I have a surprise for you!” shrilled Sebastian in their heads. Although Sebastian was most careful these days not to startle strangers with this type of communication, it was still easier for him than trying to form words with a split tongue and a mouth full of fangs, and since the bears didn’t mind, he often communicated with them in this way.

And with this he presented the two bears with the products of his labors, and he waited to see their delight and hear there praise!

The two little bears looked in wonder at the creations placed before them.

“Where did you get these stones from?” questioned Lady Bear.

“Wow Sebastian, these are quite unique,” stated Lavender.

Sebastian, while he could tell the little bears were impressed and pleased, was a little disheartened for he had been expecting a more effusive display.

After he had answered there questions, Sebastian had flown up to his nest and morosely thought about what had happened. Not only had the bears not understood why he had created the individual gifts for each of them, they had traded!

Searching for Answers

Now to be fair to the bears, they hadn’t realized that either of the presents had been intended for either one of them, and so trading didn’t seem to be out of line. Besides, the two little friends shared absolutely everything, so this really wasn’t an issue as far as they were concerned.

Even his shiny nest wasn’t able to help Sebastian break out of his melancholy, so he decided to take flight and see where his thoughts would take him. As he flew he thought that maybe his dragonish nature just made it impossible for him to understand bears, which in turn made him more melancholy due to the fact that he loved the little creatures so much.

Without quite realizing it, Sebastian had flown up the river to its mountain egress. There far below was Cactus fly fishing from the bank. Sebastian decided to go place his queries before the little creature, for although he was no bear, at least he was a mammal.

“Hello there Cactus!” Sebastian said as he lightly touched down on a large boulder in the middle of the river.

Cactus, who, truth be told, had fervently hoped he would never meet the slightly terrifying young drake again, was a bit more polite this time around.

“Good morning young dragon,” replied Cactus. “Were you perhaps, needin’ some more of those sparklin’ rocks you seemed to be so fond of?”

“No. No thank you,” replied Sebastian with a sigh. “I still have more than I need.”

Now, considering a dragon’s love of treasure and tendency to horde, this acknowledgement startled the hedgehog to no little extent. Cactus began to wonder if the dragon had decided a mouth full of gristle sounded interesting after all.

“Well, is there, uh, something else I can do for you?” asked Cactus, quite bravely.

“Well, let me ask you Cactus, why did my mothers not like their gifts?” asked Sebastian, and then proceeded to tell Cactus the entire story.

“Hmm… well that is indeed a good question. Did this here Lady’s necklace match the rest of her jewelry?” queried the little hedgehog as Sebastian drew his oration to an end.

Sebastian thought about it, and realized that he had never seen Lady Bear wear any jewelry whatsoever!

“And, I’m curious, did the rose you made for Lavender fit in with the rest of her roses?”

Again, Sebastian was stunned when he realized that Lavender had never been seen with a rose!

“Umm… thank you Cactus, I think you’ve solved the riddle!” exclaimed Sebastian as he launched himself into the sky.

The Wisdom of Dragons

Upon reaching home, Sebastian immediately started crafting again. He worked through the night and through much of the next day. As evening approached, his work completed, he flew down to the meadow to be with Lady and Lavender.

As the rose of dusk filled the western sky, and the cool evening breezes cooled them all from the afternoons heat, Sebastian presented the two bears with the latest of his creations.

First he approached Lady Bear and gave her a long narrow wooden box.

“For you, Wise Mother, I have fashioned a clarinet from the darkest ebony I could find, and I placed the silver filigree around the bell and keys in a pattern unique to dragons. In the language of the ancient, it states, “I love you, Wise Mother.”

Sebastian then turned to Lavender and gave her a small parcel.

“And for you Gentle Mother, I have created these simple dancing slippers from my own scales. They should be light, comfortable, and never wear out. I have embroidered them with golden thread, again in the language of the ancient, and it similarly states, “I love you, Gentle Mother.”

At first, Sebastian was worried that he had failed again, for neither bear said a word, or even looked at him. Both continued to stare into the boxes he had given them, and then almost as if directed from an unheard cue, they both carefully set the boxes aside, began bawling like little cubs and through themselves at him.

After a time, the tears subsided and they eagerly returned to their gifts. They proudly showed each detail to the other and soon began using there new presents.

Lady played and Lavender danced late into the night. The moon shown and laughter accompanied all the songs. The faerie folk soon joined in and the meadow was a source of music and mirth long past the time it had normally gone quiet.

Eventually, as all creatures must, Lady, Lavender and Sebastian needed their sleep and retired to their beds.

As Sebastian lay in his nest, he could hear the bears talking about their gifts and how much they loved the “little” dragon whose heart had grown so large.

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