I seriously considered doing this on Martin Luther King, Jr. today, but then I thought that perhaps it’s even more important to be reminded right now that dragons can be faced and slain.
Appreciate a Dragon Day was started in 2004 by Donita K. Paul to celebrate the release of her book, DragonSpell, which has now been joined by several others, three more in this series, and others, mainly about dragons.
Dragons appear in the myths and folklore of nations all over the world. In fact, the myths are so widespread, it’s tempting to think that the creatures actually once existed, but alas, it seems very unlikely. There are various explanations for why the beliefs should be so extensive, but the one I find most convincing is that ancient peoples might have discovered the bones of dinosaurs and called them dragons. According to the Smithsonian, this happened at least once in the fourth century BCE in China by Chang Qu, a Chinese historian
Dragons have been depicted in many different ways in fiction. Sometimes they are simply monsters. Other times they are drawn as an ancient race full of wisdom. Often they represent greed as they lay on their beds of treasure, as in The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien, or Voyage of the Dawn Trader by C. S. Lewis. In The Dragonriders of Pern and Eragon dragons have riders and bond with the humans whose lives they share. And there is the discovery Bilbo made: Never laugh at a live dragon.
Also, dragons have had many different shapes. We see probably the oldest kind of depiction in Chinese New Year festivals, the long snakelike body. Sometimes in very old literature, serpent and dragon are synonymous. In the old Babylonian myths, we see Tiamat, the earth goddess of that religion, portrayed as a sea serpent or dragon. Gradually, however, at least in Western folklore, they came to resemble something more like a dinosaur with wings.
At any rate, today is a day to celebrate dragons. Read a book about them, or draw a picture, or dig out your old recording of “Puff the Magic Dragon,” by Peter, Paul, and Mary. Or think about how dragons might be defeated today.
Quotes about dragons:
I do not care what comes after; I have seen the dragons on the wind of morning.–Ursula LeGuin
Fairy tales are more than true: not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten.–Neil Gaiman
Do not meddle in the affairs of Dragons, for you are crunchy and good with ketchup!
The ultimate challenge of a teacher lies not in the slaying of dragons, but rather in exposing them as beasts no longer to be feared.–Alan Burton
Beyond this place, there be Dragons.
The question is always the same with a dragon: will he talk with you or will he eat you? If you can count on his doing the former, and not doing the latter, why then you’re a dragonlord.–Ursula LeGuin
I believe in everything until it’s disproved. So I believe in fairies, the myths, dragons. It all exists, even if it’s in your mind. Who’s to say that dreams and nightmares aren’t as real as the here and now?–John Lennon
If the sky could dream, it would dream of dragons.–Ilona Andrews
As in most fairy tales, there’s a prince and a princess, dragons and some magic, and the feeling it gives you that anything is possible if we could stay this way forever.–Crystal Woods
The best thought any writer ever come up with is of having a world with Dragons.–Viraj J. Mahajan
Never accept help from a dragon. Dragons do not offer help. They offer fate.–Steven Poore
I know how to talk to a dragon, and that it’s best not to.–Karen Joy Fowler
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