Monday, July 9, 2012

The dragon who liked to sunbathe

The dragon who liked to sunbathe
(Favourite stories from Singapore)
Once there was a lonely old dragon that lived in a cave beneath a river. He liked to live under the sun, and because he looked fierce, villagers were afraid of them.
Actually, the old dragon was not fierce at all. He had lost his horns and had only one large yellow tooth left. Sometimes he would look at himself in the water and say. “I am still quiet handsome.” But mostly he lay in the sun and thought about the old days.
One day a fine young dragon stopped to talk “Hello, uncle,” he said.
“I’m not your uncle,” said the old dragon. “Go away and leave me alone.”
The young dragon laughed and flew away. When the old dragon tried to fly, but his wings were stiff, so he just lay in the sun, wishing he were young again. 
Just then, he heard someone shouting “help me, somebody please help me.”
Looking up, the dragon saw a young girl had fallen into the river. He jumped into the water and quickly pulled her to shore.
“What were you doing in the river? He asked.
“My washing floated . and I try to catch it.”
The dragon smiled. “And aren’t you afraid to me?”
“My grandfather says you’ve never eaten anyone.”
“That’s true, but how do you know I won’t eat you?”
“You save my life,” said the girl smiling. And I must try to repay you. What food do you like best?”
The dragon told the girl that he liked to eat swallows, but that he was too old to fly up to catch them. The girl said that she would bring him some. The next day she brought the old dragon some fine fat swallows, and after that she came to visit him often.
Now, the young men of the village saw the girl with visit the dragon. “She likes that old dragon more than she likes us,” they said. Soon they thought of a plan to frighten the dragon.
One day, as he  was sleeping in the sun, the young men tied ropes and nets around the old dragon’s body. When the dragon woke up, he saw what had happened. he pulled at the ropes and the nets. As he moved, he tore many trees out of their roots and  threw rock high into the air. He made such a noise that the villagers were very frightened. The young girl ran to her grandfather.
“Grandfather,” she said, “What is that noise?”
“The young men tied up the dragon,” he replied
“But he wouldn’t hurt anyone. I must go and help him.” Said the girl. She ran to the river side, but it was too late. The tired old dragon had died, and his body slowly sank into the muddy water.

Source: Favourite stories  from Singapore by Irene-Anne Monteiro and Jenny Watson

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