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Children's Stories
by Margo Fallis
Fraser, the Christmas Dragon

Fraser lived in a huge, but very dark and damp cave, way up in the northeastern part of Scotland. His dark purple scales kept him warm most of the time, but when the snow fell in the heart of winter, he would often get so cold that he would shiver. To make matters worse, Fraser didnít have any friends. None of the other animals in Thistleberry Glen wanted to be friends with a dragon.

Fraser spent most of his days cooking and baking. This helped keep his cave a bit warmer. He was quite a good cook too. He made the best caramel shortbread in the whole glen. On days when he went down to the river for a drink, if he was lucky enough to see a fish or two, heíd catch them with his sharp claws, take them back to the cave, and make fishcakes. Heíd add a little onion and mashed potatoes and fry them up to perfection.

On the 23rd of December, Fraser spent the whole day baking Christmas sweeties. He made tablet and fudge, dumplings and cakes, pastries and biscuits. "Itís almost Christmas Day. Iíll bet some of the other animals in Thistleberry Glen would enjoy a few Christmas sweets," he smiled. He divided them into five portions, wrapped them in red and green striped paper and tied a big golden ribbon around them. As soon as the sun set below the heather-covered hills, Fraser put the packages in a big brown bag and headed into the woods. "This will make their Christmas brighter," Fraser giggled. Even though none of the animals ever spoke to him, he enjoyed being nice to everyone.

"Aha, thereís Carly, the highland cow," he whispered. She was sleeping. Her long, shaggy, reddish-brown hair hung to the ground and was touching the snow. Her eyes were shut and she was snoring! Fraser, being such a big dragon, had to be careful that his sharp horns didnít bump into the tree branches. He had to watch out for his long, pointed tail too. Sometimes it knocked over bushes or bumped into rocks. Silently he approached. He opened his big brown bag and took out one of the packages. He hung in carefully on Carlyís long, handlebar horn. He giggled with joy as he snuck back into the woods. "Hee, hee, hee. Sheíll be surprised when she wakes up!"

A few minutes later he spotted Siobhan, the highland sheep. She was standing in a meadow filled with wildflowers. Her thick fleecy wool looked nearly black in the evening sky. "Iíll set the package on her wool. Itís so thick that sheíll never even feel it," he chuckled. He crept towards her, taking her package out of his big brown bag. Very carefully, he put it down on her wool and then snuck back into the woods. "Hee, hee, hee. Sheíll love all the sweets!"

Rabbie, the raccoon, was snoozing in one of the ancient oak trees. The dragon nearly bumped into a branch with his horns! "Whew, that was close," he frowned. "Iíd have woken him up and then it wouldnít have been a surprise." He took Rabbieís package out of his big brown bag and put it in a hole in the trunk of the tree, near Rabbieís paw. "Hee, hee, hee. When he wakes up, heíll see his sweets right away." He tiptoed quietly into the woods, giggling the whole time.

Harry, the hedgehog, was curled up in a ball under a bush. The sharp claws on Fraserís huge feet nearly crunched him as he walked through the woods. "Oops! I almost didnít see Harry sleeping down there." He bent over and heard Harry snoring. "Hee, hee, hee. Iíll just set the package down right here in the bush and when he wakes up, heíll see his sweets." Fraser took the package out of his big brown bag, put it down in the bush and then crept away.

He had one more package in his big brown bag and went walking through Thistleberry Glen, looking for Gillian, the grouse. Gillian was in her nest, curled up. Her brown and black feathers were tucked away nicely under her body to keep her warm. She heard the noise of snapping twigs and opened her eyes. Coming towards her was a huge, black shape. "Whatís that?" she gulped. Just then she saw that it was Fraser. "Och, no! Itís the purple dragon that lives in the cave? Is he coming to eat me? What should I do?" she whimpered softly. She was too afraid to move, incase the dragon saw her. She sat frozen with fear in her nest as Fraser came closer and closer. She saw him take something out of a bag. "Whatís he doing?" she mumbled. His big hand with sharp claws moved towards her. "Heís going to smash me and rip me to shreds with his claws!" she sobbed, but was surprised when Fraser put a lovely package down on the ground next to her nest. He was giggling and tiptoed away. "What was that all about?" she wondered.

She climbed out of her nest and picked up the package. She took a sniff of it. "That smells lovely," she said. Gillian pulled the ribbon and took the wrapping off. "Why, the big dragon has made me some sweets." She read the tag that was attached to the package. ĎHo! Ho! Ho! Merry Christmas! Here are some sweets from your secret friend!í "Well, isnít that nice of him. Maybe heís not such a bad, scary dragon after all.

Fraser crept back to his cave and curled up in the corner. Water dripped from the ceiling and he shivered all night long.

The next morning, Gillian flew around Thistleberry Glen. She saw Carly, Siobhan, Rabbie and Harry standing talking. She flew down and landed next to them. "Whatís going on here?" she asked.

Carly mooed, "In the middle of the night, someone delivered a package of sweets to each of us. We donít know who it was!"

Gillian smiled. "I know who it was!"

Siobhan went baa. "Tell us. Who would do such a nice thing? Iíve never tasted such delicious tablet, shortbread and pastries before."

"It was Fraser, the big purple dragon that lives in the cave. I saw him myself," Gillian answered.

"Fraser? That clumsy dragon?" Harry squealed.

"Surely youíre mistaken," Rabbie added.

"No, I saw him. He left me a package too. I think we should do something nice for him. I imagine he must get chilly in that damp cave," the grouse said.

"Iíve got a splendid idea," Siobhan said. "Letís use my wool. Itís nice and thick and warm, and weíll make him a blanket. You can all knit, canít you?" she asked the others.

They all nodded. They spent the day plucking wool from Siobhanís back and knitting. When they were done, they sewed each strip together. "Thatís lovely," Carly said, looking at the finished blanket. "It will keep him warm all winter long."

Rabbie wrapped it in some beautiful silver and gold paper. Harry tied a golden ribbon around it. "Letís get him a tree too," Harry said. "Iíll make the decorations if youíll find the tree."

Carly and Siobhan found a wee pine tree. Harry and Rabbie hung nuts and rowan berries on it. Gillian used some of her feathers to decorate it. "Thatís lovely," she said as the finishing touches were added. On Christmas Eve, after the sun went down, the five animals carried the tree and the wrapped blanket and set them down outside of Fraserís cave.

Christmas morning came around. Fraser was feeling rather sad. His fingers were cold and his claws were almost frozen like icicles. His horns had frost on them and he couldnít feel his tail, which had been lying on the ground. He stood up and rubbed his arms and went outside. "Whatís this?" he gasped. He picked up the package. "Itís a Christmas present," he laughed. He opened it up. "Oh, a lovely woolen blanket. Who made this?" he wondered. He looked at the tree. "Rowan berries, nuts and feathers. How pretty! Itís the best Christmas tree Iíve ever had!"

He went back inside and turned on his oven and started to make himself a Christmas meal. As he was chopping the leeks, he heard a noise coming from the entrance to his cave. "Can we come in?" Carly asked.

Fraser was surprised. He had guests on Christmas Day! "Come in, all of you. Iím about to fix supper. Would you like to stay?" he asked.

Carly, Siobhan, Rabbie, Harry and Gillian spent the rest of the day in the cave with Fraser, nibbling on his leeks and potatoes, haggis, sausages, bacon, sweets of every sort imaginable, bannocks, raisins and boiled eggs. "This is the best Christmas Iíve ever had," he sighed, happily. "Thank you for the blanket. Thereíll be no more cold nights for me now." He noticed that Siobhan didnít have as much wool as usual and smiled at her. "Merry Christmas to you all," he shouted.

"Merry Christmas to you too, Fraser," they replied.

From then on, the other animals in Thistleberry Glen stopped by Fraserís cave for tea and caramel shortbread whenever they were nearby and even invited the dragon to their houses, even though he was too big to fit inside. 

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