Once upon a time there was a little dragon called Elliot. He lived in a lovely cave in Panda Bear Country with his Mama Dragon, Dadda Dragon and little brother Callum Dragon. They all loved one another and their life in Panda Bear Country very much.
But then one day they had to go to Dragonland for a while. Elliot the dragon and Callum Dragon started to feel a bit nervous about that. Callum Dragon wondered if they would have a garden in Dragonland. What would his bed be like? Would they still be able to get the oil for Elliot the dragon’s massages?
Elliot the Dragon remembered Dragonland from last time, so he was pretty confident the place would be OK, but he was worried about himself. He said to his Mama Dragon, “I don’t belong anywhere.” Elliot the Dragon started to worry.
Because he had lived most of his life in Panda Bear Country, some of his dragon scales were black and white like a panda. He remembered how sometimes in Dragonland, people didn’t always understand that. Sometimes the other dragons snorted when they saw Elliot’s panda bear scales, or gave him a blank look when he talked about eating bamboo. He was just so different. Did that mean he was a problem? Was there something wrong with him? Was he a kind of misshapen dragon, not quite right?
Elliot the Dragon thought very hard. He didn’t want to go to Dragonland and feel all out of place and, well, monstrous. He wanted to stay in Panda Bear Country, where he knew who he was and he liked who he was. But his family were going to Dragonland. What was he to do? Where did he belong? Who did he belong with?
Elliot the Dragon was thinking so hard about this that he started breathing fire out of his nostrils without even noticing. He was so absorbed that he didn’t even realise when little sparks became a rushing bushfire. Mama Dragon dashed into the fire, and over the roar of the flames, she yelled, “Hey Elliot! Look what you’re doing!”
That snapped Elliot out of his deep thoughts, and he looked around the cave, seeing it as if for the first time. There were scorch marks everywhere!
“Oh no,” he thought, “look what I’ve done! Maybe I really am a monster.” He pictured himself staying in Panda Bear Country while everyone else went to Dragonland. He saw himself standing alone on the ground while the other three flew away. A big tear sizzled down his hot snout.
But Mama Dragon was not looking at the burnt bits of the cave. She was looking straight into Elliot the Dragon’s eyes. She picked him up – panda bear scales and all – and she said to him, “My Elliot, I am never ever ever going to stop loving you. You are always going to be mine.”
Then she told Elliot a secret. She whispered in his ear that she really loved Panda Bear Country too, that she was nervous about Dragonland, and wished they could stay settled in Panda Bear Country for a bit longer. Elliot the dragon hadn’t realised that Mama Dragon felt just like him, but it helped to know that she did.
He thought to himself, “I may not belong in Dragonland, but I do belong with this dragon family.”
Tamie Davis is an Aussie living in Tanzania, writing at meetjesusatuni.com.