The snow fell,
carried through the woods on the wings of a howling wind. Ian and Mac lay
curled up in the tree, shivering. “You know what I’d love right now?” Ian
rubbed his arms.
“What’s that, Ian?
A thick blanket? A cup of hot cocoa?” Mac shook with cold.
“A roaring fire!
I’m freezing.” Ian’s teeth chattered.
We’re not supposed to feel the cold,” Mac said.
“Who made up that
rule? Probably some raccoon that lives on a tropical island. I’d love to
hear the crackling of a roaring fire, the smell of smoke floating through
the air and warmth making my paws thaw.” Ian shook so hard he nearly fell
off the branch. “Instead it’s cold, snow is sticking to my fur and I can’t
“Maybe a bedtime
story will help you warm up. It can’t hurt.” Mac began. “Driningham Castle
stood at the top of a hill. It had Norman towers and a huge wooden door
and an iron gate made of bars. There was even a moat around it.”
“How is that going
to help me feel warmer? Castles are the coldest places on earth.” Ian
griped and rubbed his paws.
“This castle had a
huge fireplace in the main hall. Sir Malcolm Dunn sent his servants into
the woods to chop trees down to burn in the fireplace. All winter long the
fire burned; twenty-four hours a day; seven days a week. Can you imagine
how many trees they had to cut down to keep the fire going?”
Mac. I’m starting to feel my legs again,” Ian said.
“The servants cut
down so many trees that there were only a few left. Sir Malcolm’s fire was
going to go out in a week if he didn’t find a different way to keep it
going. One day his servant, Jock McTavish, was in the woods searching for
a tree to chop down. He came to a patch of pines. He picked up his axe and
was about to chop the tree down when he heard a noise.”
“What sort of
noise?” Ian’s eyes widened.
“A scary noise.
Jock dropped his axe and asked who was there. Nobody answered. He picked
up his axe and was about to chop when he heard the noise again,” Mac said.
“What sort of
noise, Mac? Was it crying? Was it someone hurt? Was it the sound of an
“Ian, they didn’t
have airplanes in those days. How many airplanes have you heard here in
the highlands? Not many, I assure you. Jock decided to go and see what was
making the noise. When he parted a bush, he saw a blue dragon. It was
huge, but it was crying. When Jock was brave enough he asked the dragon
what was wrong. The dragon told him that there were hardly any trees left
in the forest and he had no place to hide and no way to keep warm. Jock
had an idea. He whispered in the dragon’s ear. An hour later Jock went
into the main hall. Sir Malcolm was sitting at the table. The fire was
dying. Sir Malcolm asked where the wood was. Jock had no choice but to
tell him there was no more wood in the forest. Before Sir Malcolm could
order his head chopped off, Jock whistled. The blue dragon came through
the arched door into the main hall. At first Sir Malcolm was afraid. He
grabbed his sword and jumped out of his chair. Jock told him this was a
friendly dragon and then went on to tell Sir Malcolm that the dragon had
agreed to live in the castle, in the fireplace, and keep the castle warm,
if we’d feed him every day.”
“What a great
“It is a great
idea. The dragon lived in the fireplace and whenever Sir Malcolm came into
the main hall, the dragon would blow fire and warm the room immediately.
All Sir Malcolm had to do was feed the dragon a cow every day. The dragon
was happy and Sir Malcolm was happy,” Mac said.
“What about Jock?
It was his idea,” Ian said.
rewarded. His job was to bring the cow every day for the dragon. He also
got a bag of gold and got to live in the castle. Now, Ian, do you feel
Ian looked around.
“It’s not snowing anymore and the wind has died down. I do feel warmer.
Goodnight, Mac.” Ian yawned and stretched and went to sleep with a smile
on his face and a warm feeling in his heart.