Art, Creativity, Photography, Travel, Writing

Soulfood chocolate – dragon


I chose my chocolate because it was wrapped in metal foil with an oriental design on it and this is what I found inside:

‘”Colouring dragons
To enter simply click the image of the beautiful Chinese Dragon and print out an enlarged copy. Colour it. Write the phrase “Once upon a time in a faraway village…” and then put some action words in your draft book.” Actually my dragon is one which I embroidered on a dressing gown I made for my husband,
Once upon a time in a faraway village on the other side of the world there lived a little boy called Yan. He lived in a small fishing village on the banks of the river.

One day Yan was sitting on the riverbank fishing. It was a warm, sunny afternoon. The fish didn’t seem to be biting much that day and he was beginning to doze. So he wasn’t surprised to hear the sound of sobbing coming from close at hand. In his dreams he thought it must be his little sister, who had fallen and hurt herself but the sound became so persistent that he completely woke up again. It seemed to be coming from behind a pile of rocks. He crept closer until he could peer round them.

Sitting on the river beach was a small, brightly coloured dragon; sobbing as if its heart would break. Yan was a kind boy who hated to see anyone in trouble and he didn’t seem the least bit surprised to see a dragon. He climbed over the rocks and went down on to the beach.

“Hello” he said to the dragon which lifted its head mournfully, looked at him with huge, tear-filled eyes and carried on crying all the harder. “Who are you?” asked Yan, and then “what’s the matter?” The dragon wiped a five clawed foot across its nose and whimpered “I’ve lost it. They’re all so angry”. “Lost what and who will be angry?” asked Yan, deeply perplexed. “Why, the flaming pearl, of course. What else do you think I’m talking about?”
Yan realised that this was going to take a while and sat down on a sun-warmed rock. “Please start from the beginning and tell me who you are and what’s happened, otherwise I can’t possibly help you”. The dragon sniffed and appeared relieved that someone was willing to listen to it and it started to recount its tale of woe.

His name was Rang Chu and he was an imperial dragon – as anyone could see who knew anything about these things because he had five toes. He lived in a celestial palace, decorated with all the colours of the rainbow, with his imperial parents, brothers and sisters. It turned out that, just for a lark, he and two of his brothers had “borrowed” the flaming pearl and had been having a game of football with it. In a fit of enthusiasm he had kicked it too hard and it had flown out of the window and had now disappeared. In everyone’s bad books, he had been temporarily banished from the heavens until he found it. This was how he came to be sitting on the riverbank.

Yan knew enough about rivers to know that anything that fell into the river would eventually find its way to the sea.

“My father has a boat which we could sail down to the sea. Come with me and I’ll help you look for the pearl”. Rang Chu gratefully accepted his offer. “But you must promise not to breathe any fire while you’re in the boat or it will catch fire and we’ll both be drowned”. The dragon agreed to this condition.
Together they got into the boat, which leaned dangerously to one side with the weight of the young dragon prince. As an afterthought Yan said “wait a minute, I’m just going to fetch my cormorant. He might be very useful”. So saying, he climbed out of the boat, ran up the beach, untied the cormorant from the piling on which it was perched and carried it back triumphantly to the boat. “If the pearl has fallen to the bottom of the sea he will be able to dive for it”, he explained to the dragon.

The current took them swiftly down river, through the flat marshy estuary and finally to a beach of fine white sand. They tied the boat to an old tree and set off to look along the tide line to see if the pearl had been washed up. As they kicked the piles of seaweed to see if it was hidden underneath, Yan found bits of coloured sea glass, shards of broken porcelain and brightly coloured shells. Soon his pockets bulged with his trophies. Rang Chu had no pockets but he had good eyesight and eagerly scanned the beach for anything he thought Yan might like.

After several hours of fruitless search they began to feel hungry. Yan’s cormorant caught them some fish which Rang Chu carefully grilled with a blast of fiery breath, so as not to scorch it. In the meantime Yan explained the problem to the cormorant. It asked Yan leave to go and consult the shore-dwelling cormorants.

It was quite excited when it eventually returned. The mermaids have got your flaming pearl. Except that it’s not flaming anymore”, it added. Yan was aghast to hear this for he knew how difficult it was to get back anything lost to the mer-people. “Do you have any ideas?” he asked the cormorant. It thought for a while and then said that the mer-people would return it if they were given something in exchange. Yan racked his brains to think of something. “Why don’t you fashion a necklace?” asked Rang Chu at length. “with what?” “Well, you’ve got pockets full of stuff” replied the dragon, whose eyes had just fallen on a piece of slivery wire. “Use the wire to wrap round some pieces of sea glass and put the wire through the holes in the shells. Then you’ll have a wonderful necklace”. Yan thought this was a great idea and found a large, flat stone to use as a work surface. He selected bits of green glass and pink shells and, in no time, had assembled a necklace fit for a queen. He proudly showed it to the dragon and the cormorant. The cormorant agreed to act as go-between and flew off with the necklace safely wedged in its beak.

Yan and the dragon eagerly scanned the horizon for the cormorant’s return. They waited and waited. The sun was just beginning to go down and the beach was flooded with pink and gold when the bird returned. He flew down to join them and carefully put the pearl on the sand before them. The dragon was so pleased he could hardly restrain himself from breathing a veritable fire ball. “Careful” warned Yan. “It’s all very well to dry the pearl but you don’t want to incinerate it”. The dragon agreed this that this would not be a good idea and asked Yan to look after it for him. He would return to the celestial palace next morning but, for now, he wanted to spend some more time with his new-found friends. They had another meal of fish and then settled down for the night, with Yan leaning against the dragon’s side to keep warm.

At dawn the next day Rang Chu took his leave and flew into the sky. Yan and the cormorant stared after him until their eyes hurt and he was no more than a speck in the sky. “Do you think we’ll ever see him again?” asked Yan. “Depends on whether he plays football again, I suppose” smirked the cormorant who was feeling very pleased with its role in the story.

Although Yan and the cormorant watched for him, all they ever saw, or thought they saw, was a dragon shaped cloud apparently chasing the sinking sun from time to time.

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