Children

The lazy dragon

Illustrations: Satheesh Vellinezhi  

“Get up, Slothy. Don’t you want to join your siblings in learning how to breathe fire?” wondered the mother dragon. “Please, mummy, let me sleep in just a little more. I know how to breathe fire,” muttered Slothy, turning the other way.

Slothy loved to sleep, watch television, and play games on his mobile phone. What he did not enjoy was learning anything: from breathing fire, to building stamina to fly fast and far. Slothy’s parents encouraged and motivated him, but he was a little couch potato.

One day, Slothy’s mother pushed him to go outdoors to get some fruit from the forest. Reluctantly, he agreed. The trees were dense, the flowers were pretty, the birds were chirping and the earthy smells were refreshing. But Slothy just wanted to get back to his TV show.

At the campfire

The lazy dragon

Plodding through, he arrived at a clearing, where some children were enjoying themselves around the campfire.

“Wow, a dragon! Are you a real dragon?” they called.

“Of course. I am a fire-breathing dragon,” said Slothy proudly.

“We’ll believe you when you blow out fire for us,” said one child disbelievingly.

“Here you go,” and Slothy puffed. But nothing happened. He tried again, but again, no fire. “You’re not a real dragon,” the children taunted him.

“But, see, I can fly.” Slothy flapped his wings and lifted himself just a little above the ground. Plonk, he fell right down.

“Little dragon, don’t fool us. Learn to blow fire and fly, and then come back to us,” the children chuckled.

With tears rolling down his cheeks, Slothy returned home and locked himself in his room. He felt humiliated. He decided that he would learn to be a real fire-blowing and flying dragon.

From that day, he diligently learnt all that his father taught his siblings and practised hard. In the beginning, he couldn’t breathe fire, but his father reminded him that only with regular practice would he learn to breathe fire, and soar high and fast. Sometimes, he made mistakes or failed at a task, but he continued to try repeatedly.

One day, while collecting fruits for his family, Slothy reached the same camp site. This time, there were two families who looked upset. Slothy went closer to see what the matter was. A little girl yelled out “Look, a fire-breathing dragon. He could help us!” They had forgotten to bring their matches and couldn’t cook on the campfire.

Help at hand

Slothy said that he could surely help. He mustered up his strength and puffed once. There was a spark but not quite enough. Slothy remembered his father’s teachings and took a moment to collect his thoughts and focus on the task. This time, when he puffed, he blew out a hot stream of fire on the logs and lit the camp fire. The little girl and other campers thanked Slothy. They roasted their marshmallows and had a great time.

Seeing them so happy, Slothy was elated. Waving goodbye, he soared high in the sky, realising that practice indeed makes perfect.

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Printable version | Nov 29, 2020 8:00:28 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/children/the-lazy-dragon/article32940966.ece

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