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Kevin G Hare

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A Dragon's New Colour

Reds, blues, purples and greens. Each dragon with its own blend of colour that makes each unique. Valin was a young dragon, about twelve in dragon years, and he had not yet grown into his colours.  He sat by the lake and yearned over all the colours of the other older dragons. Every so often he would glance at his reflection in the calm waters and try to envision himself as a grand red dragon with orange and yellow flashed down his back, instead of the dull brown and dark green that all young dragons had.

Valin saw his mother, Naneen, come towards him. She had noticed him sitting by the lake by himself.  “What is wrong, my son?” she asked him, “you have sat here for most of the morning just looking about.”

His gaze did not leave his reflection, “When am I to get my colours, Mother? I have been waiting a long time.”

“Oh Valin, I am afraid you must have more patience. All dragons get their colours in their own time.  Yours will come too.”

“Well it seems to me that I should have them now!” He said, “I am of age?”

“Soon, Valin. I am sure of it,” she reassured. “Besides, young dragons have no colour for a reason.  You do not have the fire breath yet and your wings cannot fly, having no colour is your only protection.”

Young Valin was dismayed at this. He wanted his colours right away so that he could be among the older dragons to play their games and hunt for food. He ran off down the lakeshore to think about what to do. He did not need to go far though when he came upon an embankment where a patch of red mud sat under the shade of some surrounding evrgreens. On top of the hill he noticed some wild purple berries. He didn’t know just what kind they were but they gave him a colourful idea.

First, he jumped into the patch of red mud, the muddiest part of the mud he could find and he rolled and rolled in it until he was completely covered and completely red. Satisfied, he then gathered a bunch of the purple berries and spread them out on the ground. Then he rolled in these carefully but not too much so that when he got up, he was a very red dragon with purple spots! He was quite pleased with himself now and wanted to show off his new colours to his friends.

When he reached the nesting site, he held his head up proudly and pranced in. Dragons of young and old started to take notice of Valin’s new colours. Younger dragons went to him to gaze in amazement and the older ones stopped flying about to pay more attention. But then something started to happen.  The sun was very warm that day and the mud on Valin’s body began to crack. The more it cracked, little pieces started falling off. Then bigger pieces fell off and before long, there stood Valin, back to his dull brown and green. Valin’s heart sank with the last of the mud and berry mixture that fell to the ground. The young dragons laughed at him now and the elders merely smiled and took back to the air.

Valin was again very upset. He bowed his head and ran off into the forest. All he wanted now was to get away. He did not want the other dragons to see him like this or laugh at him anymore. He wanted his own colour and could not stand to wait any longer. He ran and ran, until his legs grew tired and he had to stop to catch his breath. Valin dropped down in a hollow between the roots of large, old oak where the shade offered some cool relief from his hot run.

His rest had not gone undisturbed however. A little ways down the hill Valin heard footsteps and the clanging of metal and the voices of men. The little dragon peered around quickly for a place to run but the men were closing in very quickly. Then it was too late, he was trapped with no place to go. Scared, the only thing he could think of was to sink back into the hollow of the roots and hope.

The small band had finally stepped up the hill and Valin remembered from his mother’s warnings that these men were dragon hunters. Valin feared the worst. He closed his eyes and waited but to his surprise they passed by him by mere paces and they did not see him. They could not see him!  His dull brown and green had blended perfectly in that little hollow of the great oak. Now he understood why young dragons had no colour.

When the men moved along, Valin dared to sneak out of his hiding place and he watched the band of warriors make their way off toward the great sea, well away from the dragon’s valley. Quickly then, he dashed off for home to tell his amazing tale and when he had finished, everyone about him praised his great courage and luck!

Naneen then said proudly to him, “You have heartedly earned your colours today, Valin!”

And he replied, “Maybe, Mother.  But I will wait for them. I am no longer rushed to lose the colours I have!”