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Children's Stories
by Margo Fallis
Ian & Mac Bedtime Stories - The Dragon

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 raccoons. 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 stop shivering.”

“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?”

“Keep talking, 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 airplane?”

“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 idea, Mac!”

“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.

“Jock was 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 warmer?”

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.

“Goodnight, Ian.”

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