The Egg (Story by Risa Peris)

If you find a dragon egg then you must keep the dragon egg. Dragons were nearly extinct in our land. There were a few to the south who were tired and formed lazy puffs of smoke. They no longer took to the crystalline pink sky and haunted the land with their immense power, wingspan, and hardened beauty.

I was not looking for an egg. I was looking for persillas – white, petite flowers – that I twisted into crowns and necklaces. One day, as I plucked a persilla I found an egg. It was iridescent orange, large, and marvelous. I was quite delighted to have it. I rushed home and piled blankets on it. Dragons must be kept warm, especially in the hard eggshell that was actually remarkably sensitive to temperature and sounds. Crashing noises could produce angry dragons and cold eggs could produce weak ones.

I told my grandmother. “I found a dragon egg.”

She nearly dropped a pot of potatoes. “Oh, no.” She became very pale.

“It’s safe in the barn with blankets. Only the chickens look at it strangely. I’m afraid Donsil, the rooster, may peck it.”

“Roosters know better than to peck dragon eggs.”

The egg cracked in the winter and out popped an orange dragon. It spit, staggered and I offered it water from a dish.

“You are Tagen,” I declared.

I raised the dragon and soon the kingdom knew I had one. The dragon grew immense and I learned to ride it. The dragon was very hungry and ate livestock throughout the land. Farmers were angry. I flew on the dinosaurs back and traveled the land. As I grew, the dragon became unwieldy, angry – a beast that could not be tempered. The southern dragons had already died. I had Tagen. Grandmother was very old by then and we didn’t know how to tame Tagen. But the dragon was mine. It was the law of the land.

King Igris came to see me. “You must control Tagen.”

“I cannot,” I said bowing.

And so the king launched a campaign to destroy Tagen and he was brought down in the Battle of the Flute, which took place on an inlet that resembled the shape of the musical instrument. I cried for Tagen. He was indeed mine and my responsibility.

King Igris was harsh. “If you can’t control power, then you are nothing.”

“Tagen was dear to me. I loved him. He was unruly, yes. But how could he be otherwise? He had no example of exemplary behavior. The dragons in the south were dying when Tagen was a babe spouting small arrows of fire. We learn how to act by the example set by our kind and by others. You wielded violence and he responded in kind. Remember that King Igris. We act by your example and you have waged five wars since Tagen’s birth.”

“Careful. I will remove your head if you raise your voice again.”

I quieted and left the court. Grandmother died in my arms. I buried her facing the Inlet of Flute.

“Don’t worry, grandma. I loved Tagen. I tried to teach him but with such a violent world how could we expect any other behavior from Tagen. Rest in peace, grandma. And Tagen. May you learn your true nature.”

THE END

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