A tale of leather, lace and liquorice by Angus Von Stulpnagel Jnr.
Once upon a time there was a dragon, who lived seven hills from here. On Glenwhargen Craig to be precise. His name was Ivan Ivanovich McIvor. Ivan was just an ordinary dragon, the usual grey and green with just a hint of red. The sort of colour which makes dragons hard to see when they lie still, which is probably why you have never seen him. He had a sister who lived at the side of the Glenmanna burn. For some reason her mum had named her Susan Ferrari Lamborgini McIvor, but the family always just called her Sue, and her brother Ivan (or I I McI, when they were feeling silly).
Sue and Ivan loved where they lived, as it was so quiet. They loved lying very still on the side of the hills watching the people coming for a picnic in the summer, and thought it great fun when they would set up their picnic baskets and rugs right beside them, and never know there was a dragon right next to them. Their great big leathery wings looked just like rough bits of rock.
Now, one day, Ivan was lying sleeping, when he was woken by the smell of liquorice, which dragons love. As he carefully opened one eye, he saw, right in front of him, and looking straight in his eye, a beautiful little girl, about three years old, and with the most wonderful curly fair hair, and wearing a dress with lace on the collar and cuffs. She had two handfuls of blue liquorice strings, and had been putting them in ‘caves’, which were in fact Ivan’s nostrils. She saw Ivan’s one eye open, and took that to mean he was winking at him, so she winked back.
Normally dragons do not find human children attractive, not having leathery wings, long snouts or claws, but this little girl was special. Dragons can sense lots of things which people have no idea about, and Ivan could see that this girl understood. She was not afraid, even though she could see all of Ivan, which no one else in her family could. Ivan immediately knew he could be friends with this girl; the first time Ivan had had a human friend for over three hundred years (dragons live a long time). The little girl, who was called Annie, by the way, pushed the liquorice forward again, but this time, without thinking, Ivan lifted his lips and very gently his tongue grabbed the liquorice. Annie thought this was the funniest thing she had ever seen, and would have giggled with glee, but as she was completely deaf, and unable to speak, she just gave the most wonderful smile. Ivor knew then that Annie was not going to tell anyone he was there. After a while Annie’s mum started to tidy up the picnic, and stamped the ground twice to attract Annie’s attention then waved for Annie to come. Annie winked again at Ivan and left.
When they were gone Ivan went to Glenmanna to visit his sister Sue. When he told her what happened she was very cross, because it is against the dragon code to be seen by humans. “but it was the liquorice, I couldn’t help it, It was as blue as my tongue, and tasted wonderful” (did I forget to say dragon’s tongues are the brightest blue?)
As Annie lived only seven hills away, she often came up to Glenwhargen for picnics, always bringing big bunches of blue liquorice laces for Ivor. As she got older she was allowed to go a little further away from her family, and eventually Ivor started to take her on his back and they would fly down the glen to see Sue, which did not please Sue, but she eventually accepted it. When Annie got a boyfriend the visits became less frequent, and Ivor missed Annie’s visits. By this time Annie was almost fully grown up, her friends changed and most had cars or motorbikes. All her life Annie liked to walk up in the hills, always coming back very fresh faced and her beautiful fair hair swept back, as if she had been facing into a very strong wind. She always wore strong windproof clothes, because flying along the glens on the rough back of a dragon can be sore on your clothes, but Annie always wore a little piece of white lace somewhere; which other walkers only sometimes noticed, but which was special to Ivan and Annie. It was like saying hello, and reminded them of that first meeting long ago.
I suppose Annie and Ivan, and maybe Sue too, still meet up the glen, and if you look very carefully, and are very quiet, you might even catch a glimpse of them, or feel a puff of wind, which could be a dragon’s wing beat, and not every snow flake you see will be real snow, some may be little pieces of lace tugged free by the wind.