Egan and the Dragon

 

 

To the little village that claimed a dragon lived in its cave, the young man came. He journeyed long miles and carried a heavy sword. He slept in wet leaves on the cold and muddy forest floor through the rainy nights.

 

Why did he journey so? To save the town? For fame? for glory?  To be like the great warriors in the tales told by wandering minstrels?  To do something else with his life

than  his brothers, farmers all?  Egan could not say. His own family laughed and mocked him, saying he would soon return to them after carrying that sword, eating from a bag of seeds and sleeping in rain and mud.  But he was driven by a dream in his heart, a dream he never shared with anyone. It was a dream like no other:

 

He soared through a shower of golden light into a pure and warm land to find a wizard who handed him a magic sword.  And that was all.  It so compelling that even as he looked upon this heavy rusted metal hulk he carried, he did not see the rust, but the gleaming sparkle from his dream. And so when the sun rose, it reminded him of that magical place.  In every passerby he saw a memory of that wizard’s face, and this drew him onward.

 

“You are but a boy!” the townspeople laughed when he arrived. Nevertheless, they fed him, but mocked him.  They gave him dry clothes and a place to rest.

 

“He is a fool!” they said among themselves, but all agreed, if the dragon made a meal of him that was one more day the town would be spared.   So, then a small parade was formed and the mayor and all the folk came to encourage him.

 

A young girl asked him if he would not first seek the old magician who lived alone in a hill outside of town. “Would you not add some magic to your armament?” She asked.

“I have a wizard inside myself,” He proudly said and marched forth to his mighty fate.

 

It was not much of a battle, for as the dragon saw the boy, she withdrew into the cave. Egan lit the torch the townspeople had given him and went into the caves, they were dark.  Rounding a corner, he came face to face with the dragon. Her face was as large as the boy himself.  She sighed, though it was just a tinge of fire, the boy’s clothes and hair alighted. He ran outside and rolled among the earth to put out the flames.

 

The next day Egan asked the girl to take him to the old magician.

 “Yes, yes, welcome young man,” the magician said.

 

The boy thought he recognized the face, but was not sure. In this old hut of squalor, and dirt, he could not tell.  Nothing was gleaming here. Old clay jars lined the walls, old tattered books.   But it was, it was neat enough for such a small place that held so many little things in it.

 “Here, here, sit down good knight.  Have a rest.”    The old man pushed aside some clothes atop on old and creaking stool for the boy, and another for the girl.

 

With youth, vigor and purpose, Egan asked “Do you know who I am?”.

 “No, no I am sorry. I do not.” Said the old magi, somewhat distracted.

 

Egan continued confidently: “My name is Egan, and I am here to fight the dragon.”

 

 “Edward?” The magician said, “What a lovely name. I have a brother named Edward. Or had. We haven’t kept in touch. Perhaps he’s gone. I don’t recall.”

 

“Egan.” “Oh, Egan, I apologize.”

 

And Egan asked “Can you help me fight the dragon?”

 

“Fight the dragon. Do we have a dragon again? Every

time we get rid of one,  another seems to take its place.

 

Is it in the big cave at the base of the mountain?”

 

The girl nodded.

 

“Where do they keep coming from?” said the magician, flustered.

 

Egan spoke up “Do you have any sort of magic or spell or, anything at all?”

 

“You mean something to heal you? Have you been hurt?” The magician asked.

 

“No, It’s to kill the dragon.”

 

“Well” said the magician. “You have such a mighty sword and are of such a large stature. Young and strong.  Surely you will not need my help.”

 

Egan said nothing but looked down. He did not want to talk about his first encounter with the Dragon.

 

The old man asked “Young man, do you know anything about magic?”

 

Egan shook his head, and said,  “No, but I can learn.”

 

“ Well, I’m sorry but I don’t know any magic. “

 

Egan was frustrated, “Then why did you ask if I knew any magic?”

 

 “Because I don’t and I was hoping you did.    My son, if I knew magic,  why would I ask you?. …Do you know much about this dragon?”

 

Egan shook his head.

 

“Let’s go and see the Dragon,” said the old man brightly.

 

The girl spoke up, “Should I go too, or maybe I’ll just go as far as the village.”

 

“No, no” said the old man, “You come with and keep us company. You can tell us both about what this dragon has been doing.”

 

By the time they arrived at the cave the girl had shared all the things that she had heard the dragon had done:  the children the Dragon had eaten, the homes the Dragon had burned.   This was usually at night and in other villages.

 

Egan did not want to go into the cave, but was too embarrassed to say so.  But he drew his sword and reluctantly stepped in front of the old magician. He told the girl, “You should wait here for us.”

 

“Yes, yes,” added the old man “That is a very good idea, Edward.   But if you would like, you can also join us.”

 

 “I don’t feel like being burned and eaten today, thank you.” She replied.

 

When the two came face to face with the dragon, the air became still. The Dragon inhaled. The old wizard looked into the Dragon’s eyes. She was transfixed by his gazed, bowed her head at his feet and started to cry. Large tears, bowls of water, then she began to weep and her whole body shook.

 

Egan exclaimed in a loud whisper “I don’t understand!”

 

“We know each other, she and I. We have history. We go back.” The old man said.

 

“What sort of magic is this?” Egan asked in shock.

 

“None at all, my boy. Just remembrance of the past, long ago. She was once my daughter. No more magic than that. Her time is short, and she will do no harm.” The old man placed a gentle and reassuring hand upon the weeping Dragon’s head.

 

And when the old man turned to the boy, the boy saw him bright and glowing.  He was the wizard of his dreams, perfect and wise.

 

I’m hungry, Edward, let’s get some lunch”. They turned to meet the girl and walk back to town.

 

Today let us become humble in remembrance of a past long ago, in remembrance of our true father, and in anticipation of our glorious future.

 

 

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