A long time ago, in a faraway land,
Lived hundreds of dragons, majestic and grand.
Their eyes – how they glistened! Their scales – how they shone!
They had hordes of treasure they claimed as their own.
Their claws were like swords! Their wings lifted them higher!
But what the dragons prized most was their fire.
Each night, as the sun set, they all would swoop down
From the caves they called home to another small town,
And they’d set it ablaze! And then off they would lurk
Away back to their caves to admire their work.
They all cheered for Scarlet, whose fires burned brightest.
They cheered, too, for Ember, who proved herself lightest
On her feet, and Crimson, whose hide was like leather,
And Coal, who set fires no matter the weather.
Inferno was praised for his blazes most hot.
And Pyre was cheered on for setting a lot.
They all had formidable skill when it came
To billowing smoke and to roaring, red flame.
Well, all except one. She could barely ignite
Enough of a fire to give off a light.
Young Sparkle’s wee fire was much like her name;
It was more of a flash than a real, true flame.
And thanks to her cold, unformidable snout,
Sparkle was always completely left out
Of her friends’ expeditions to burn, break, and play.
But that will all change, Sparkle promised, today.
At dusk, the dragons awoke and took flight,
Off to a village to rip through the night
That hung in the air like a black satin cloak
With their pillars of flame and their tendrils of smoke.
They left Sparkle behind to look after their treasures,
As she was unable to join in the pleasures
Of burning and breaking and smashing and scorching
And scaring, ensnaring, upending, and torching.
At least, that’s what they thought, but wee Sparkle was sure
That tonight they would change their opinion of her.
Fanning her wings, Sparkle whipped up a gust
Of wind that soon covered the treasures with dust,
And with all the treasures now hidden away,
Sparkle set off to go join in the play
Of her fellow dragons – to ravage and pillage
And finally be part of destroying a village.
By the time she arrived, the air was thick with smoke.
Sparkle felt her eyes water. She started to choke.
And despite her best efforts to join in the game,
She couldn’t make even the tiniest flame.
And to make things worse still, when they saw her about,
All the big dragons raised up a great shout.
“GO BACK” they roared, “AND ATTEND TO OUR TREASURES!”
And perhaps they were right, for no matter the measures
She took to cause destruction – no matter how small,
Sparkle found herself causing no damage at all.
With eyes full of tears and heart full of despair,
Sparkle spread her wings, and she took to the air.
She flew and she flew ‘til she could fly no more,
And she crashed on the sand of the rugged seashore
That lay below the caves where the dragons resided –
A place where the darkness most always presided.
A vast, empty place where the humans lived not.
A place that was empty – or so Sparkle thought.
So, as you can guess, she was full of surprise
When she turned around and met a young boy’s eyes.
As she blinked in the darkness, eyes wide, mouth agape,
Behind the boy shadows of buildings took shape.
A tower rose up! Houses stretched up and down!
Sparkle couldn’t believe it. There was a whole town
Hiding here by the sea – silent, still in the dark.
So, this was how she would at last make her mark!
When she told the dragons that under their noses,
Sprung up from the ground just like so many roses,
Was an entire town of stuff ripe for the taking –
Of buildings for burning and rooftops for raking,
Why, surely, then she’d have done something great
And be someone to whom all her friends could relate!
But just as the dragon was ready to fly,
The boy, once forgotten, now started to cry.
Sparkle looked sideways. She tried not to care –
Not to notice the little boy’s growing despair.
But despite her best tries to avoid and ignore,
Sparkle did something no dragon had done before:
She opened her mouth, and instead of a flame,
Out of her wee snout a small question came.
“Why are you crying?” she said to the boy,
Who, sniffling, explained that his town had a ploy
To keep themselves safe from a dragon attack
By dousing their lights, fading into the black
Of the night, and remaining so silent and still
That the dragons in their caves above on the hill
Would never know, even if they looked down,
That under their noses lay the tiny town.
Tonight, in the darkness, he’d wandered too far,
And not even the light of the shiniest star
Was brilliant enough to show him the way back
To his home in the town hidden there in the black.
He had a small candle, but he dared not light it.
He was scared of the dark but knew he had to fight it.
For if he lit his candle, the trouble, he knew,
Was that his little light might give dragons a view
Of his little home town – and then it would be gone
By the time the sun rose and brought with it the dawn.
And, to make matters worse, now a dragon was here,
Bringing to life the boy’s very worst fear.
As he sniffled again, Sparkle started to wonder
If maybe those trips down to burn, break, and plunder
Weren’t quite as great as they had always seemed –
And, maybe, all that time that she’d sat and dreamed
Of joining her friends had been wasted, for now,
Looking at this small boy, she just couldn’t see how
She would have one bit of fun burning down
The buildings that made up his little home town.
Then, she had an idea. Though it wasn’t much,
Sparkle got thinking that maybe the touch
Of her wee little flame to the candle the boy
Held tight in his hand could deliver some joy
By lighting the candle and, thus, the way home.
She could ensure that he was safe to roam
Through the night with his light, for she was aware
The big dragons were busy and, thus, would not care –
Why, would not even know – about one little light
Shining all the way down here – no matter how bright.
So, she lit the boy’s candle. He scampered away
Into the town where most everyone lay
Silent and still, overwhelmed by great fear
Wearing a grin that stretched from ear to ear.
The boy woke his parents and told them his story,
And – from the high gardens way down to the quarry –
The news quickly spread of the dragon whose fire
Did not make their town the folks’ funeral pyre,
But helped a young boy to return to his home.
Then, slowly, doors opened. People began to roam.
And the boy, with his candle – flame still burning bright –
Offered his neighbors in turn each a light.
And, before long, the whole town was lit with a glow
That would give even the biggest, best blaze a go!
And it didn’t burn out! It did not fade away
Even as the sun rose and night turned to day.
Sparkle heard a kind of a gravely caw
And turned to see big dragons staring in awe
From their caves up above, for while their smoking pyre
Had long turned to ash, Sparkle’s glimmering fire
Had spread far and wide and showed no signs of dying.
And, though tired, the big dragons soon started flying
Down to the town to admire her feat
And ask Sparkle how with a flame so petit
She’d managed to make the most fabulous blaze
Any of them had seen in all of their lived days.
So, she told them, and the dragons learned something new,
And from that day on, all their fires only grew
Until the whole land glowed bright – not just with flame,
But with all the happiness and light that came
From the love that they shared with the people they met.
And now all dragons know and they’ll never forget:
Though a talent for wonderful, roaring, red fire
Can thrill and enthrall – even truly inspire,
It’s the power to be kind in ways big and small
That sparks warmth and joy and unites one and all.