DR FRANK JACKSON, 59A, PRINCES ROAD, BRIGHTON, EAST SUSSEX BN2 3RH
TEL. 01273 603766 - EMAIL [email protected] - www.fulltable.com/fj
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The wounded Dragon
Amir looked out again at the sky. For some reason he felt restless and worried. There was something wrong about this evening, he thought. Something that he felt was not quite right. He suddenly remembered about what the dragons had told him, about far-off dragon wars, and how they were having to fight strange battles in distant lands. So far from his home here. But he had a business to run, and customers to look after. So he sighed and went back inside.
It was some time later that he heard something. Something very strange. It didn’t sound like a police helicopter. It didn’t sound like and aeroplane, either. It was something else: a peculiar scraping sound, as if something was coming towards him, but was struggling badly. It almost sounded as if it was turning on itself, trying to keep level and straight. ‘Perhaps it is an aircraft with engine trouble. Perhaps, it really has something wrong with it. And it seems to be coming this way. Oh, no!’ he shouted loudly. ‘It’s not going to be another dragon, is it!’ At his cry, his wife, and one of the other waitresses ran out to join him. They all stared up in the dark sky, trying to see what on earth it could be.
And just then, they saw it, silhouetted against the brightness of the moon. A small flying shape. But it was not beating it’s wings in a normal way. One wing seemed to be hanging down, as if it was torn. The dragon, for they knew now that it was, was struggling desperately to keep going. As it grew larger, and came closer and closer, they all drew their breath. For the dragon was crying with pain. Every broken wing-flap he made made him sob, and it was clear that he simply could not fly much longer. Before the three of them realised, the dragon crashed into the street in front of them, and lay there groaning bitterly in pain and misery.
Amir, his wife, Marianne, and the lovely waitress ran over to the sad and wounded dragon. They could see, by the light of the streetlights, that he was indeed badly hurt. ‘Right’ said Amir. ‘Quickly now! We must get him inside! ‘What’, gasped Marianne. How are we going to do that!’ ‘Some of the customers will help,’ answered Amir, firmly. ‘They will, and then we can look after him. Let’s go! Sure enough, some of the customers got up, ready and willing to help, and then they began to get him up the steep stairs, where the dragon was going to stay.
It was a terrible struggle. Though he was only a young and small dragon, he was still heavy and big. Everybody heaved and struggled to move him up the narrow stairs. Nor did they want to hurt him, since his left wing was dragging behind him. Gradually, stair by stair, they got him up, and into Amir’s upper room. There, they laid him down on his side, and covered him with blankets. Then Amir thought of the next thing to do.
‘We need to find a dragon doctor. Have a look. And get him over here, as soon as possible!’ About two hours later, the dragon doctor arrived. He was a very small man, with a briefcase, and a very large pair of black spectacles. He was a rather disappointing figure, Amir thought. ‘Where is the patient?’ he demanded. Amir showed him up to the room where the dragon lay. It was breathing heavily, and did not look well. The dragon doctor looked at the dragon thoughtfully. I will do what I can, but he needs more help. I will start now’. After half an hour later, he came down. ‘I must call the dragons’. he said. ‘Can you do that?’ asked Amir, somewhat amazed. ‘Oh yes’, said the doctor. ‘They’ll be here soon’. And then he left.
Everybody waited, feeling worried for that poor young dragon upstairs. Finally Amir got up. ‘I will have to close now’. he said. ‘It’s nearly ten o’clock’. But just at that very moment. Everyone heard something. It was a ‘thrum, thrum’ sound, as if something was coming through the air towards them. Without a voice, they all went to the window and looked out. As they looked at the clear moon, they saw again, not one, but two shapes, moving swiftly towards them. With a ‘clump’ they arrived, just outside the restaurant.
One was the biggest dragon that Amir had ever seen. It was very nearly ten metres tall, with large, fearsome head, that turned slowly this way and that. People in the street scampered away as quickly as they could. The other dragon, by contrast, was very small and pink, and wore, of all things, a monocle! But it looked intelligent and pleasant to meet. Plucking up his courage, Amir went out onto the sidewalk to meet them.
The large dragon looked at him, carefully. Then he turned to the very small dragon by his side. “Will you look at him, doctor, and see if he is fit to travel?’ ‘By all means’ said the doctor-dragon. ‘”let me have a look at him’. and he went upstairs, without much trouble, because he was quite small. The staff and customers stared at him, opened-mouthed. They had never seen a dragon before, let alone with a monocle! But in the meantime, the big dragon turned to Amir.
‘I want to thank you. For your help, and for your kindness. It means a lot to dragons. Please, I want to give you this. It is part of our dragon treasure. It is an emblem of our friendship. Again, please. Will you go up and see what is happening?’ ‘Of course’ said Amir, and he turned and went upstairs. There he saw the dragon-doctor, gently stitching the young dragon’s wing. They were tiny stitches, and the small dragon’s claws moved so quickly and gently across the injured wing. After a while, he remarked, ‘He will be fine now. But we have to get him home’. And he turned back to his work. Amir went back down, and saw the huge dragon waiting patiently. ‘How did this happen?’ asked Amir.
‘A few days ago’, said the large dragon, quietly. ‘You see. There is a war between dragons and demons. It does not affect you, and it is far away from you. But it is still a war. We have to fight people, or things, that are evil. We do our best, but they are still there. So we continue to fight them. But it is a hard struggle. This is why we sometimes have to come into your world. We mean you no harm at all, but it does happen. Perhaps it is good for you to know that we are there, and fighting battles for you. It will keep you safe’.
The dragon was silent for a while. Then he reached into his pouch, that all dragons seemed to carry, and gave Amir a small leather pouch. I want to present you and your family, and your friends, with this. It is a token of our friendship, and I want you to know that all of you are now known as DRAGON-FRIENDS. We know that you will always help us, and we will always help you. Please think of us, and know that we are there for you’.
He was interrupted by the small dragon, who bustled out of the door. ‘It is time for him to come home’, he announced importantly. ‘Very well’, said the large dragon. ‘Let us go’. He and the doctor-dragon unrolled a large canvas bag, and laid it out on the sidewalk. ‘Could you please bring him down?’ said the large dragon. So Amir and his wife, and his staff, brought the dragon down. It was easier this time, for the dragon had lost weight. But it was still a hard struggle!. The young dragon was laid in the bag, and the large dragon took hold of it firmly. Both dragons prepared to take off.
‘Wait! shouted Amir. ‘Why did you come back for this small dragon! What does he mean to you?’ The large dragon bowed his head, and smiled. ‘He is my son’. he said simply. Without another word, they flew away, their wings flapping, as they soared away out of sight.
Amir looked down at the small leather pouch that the dragon had given him. His wife looked at him. ‘Open it’ she said. Amir opened it and gasped. In his hand was one of the largest emeralds that he had ever seen. It lay in his hand, glowing and glistening in the light. It was one of the most wonderful things he had ever seen. ‘What should we do with it?’ asked Marianne. ‘Keep it! said Amir, firmly. ‘It is a token from the dragons, and I will never lose it’. And so they kept it.
Frank Jackson (5/03/07)