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Many once upon a times ago, there lived a large and dangerous dragon.

This dragon – all bright red and gold - he loved his scales and he loved his sharp claws and most of all he loved his hot fiery breath. His name was Skylar.

His partner, Corid a small, round pink dragon watched and listened in awe to his every word, and kept his fires stoked so that he could continue to keep the land free of knights and kings, so that all the treasure of the world would come under his reign.

Every day the dragon would go out roaming the countryside, defeating knight after knight, and bringing home gold and silver and jewels to store in the back of his cave.

The other smaller dragon stayed in the cave and tended the dragon eggs, which were slowly hatching into tiny new dragons.

The first egg split open, and out popped a small, fiery, spitting little red dragon.
He was feisty and energetic, and loved to go out with the huge dragon and follow in his footsteps.

The second egg hatched and out popped another little dragon, blue, with plenty of fire,
and because the first little dragon was out every day with Skylar, stayed home and kept the fires burning with Corid.

The final egg hatched and out popped a large fiery dragon, with a bent wing. This wing was faulty which meant that he could not fly, and could not get about like the oldest of the three dragons and follow the journeyings throughout the countryside.

The pink dragon spent much of his time looking after the youngest dragon, tending to his faulty wing, and helping him to live a normal life.

The biggest baby dragon went out one day with Skylar, and came home early, for the little dragon had fallen down a crevasse and broken one of his claws. Corid
spent much of his time tending to the broken claw, which never really grew back, and teaching the youngest dragon to manage in the world without wings.

The little blue dragon felt lost. There seemed to be no place for him – Skylar was too busy collecting gold and jewels, and Corid spent much of his time making life easier for the oldest and youngest dragons.

When Skylar came home, sometimes his mood was dark; he would spit fire and smoke around the cave particularly on days when there were no gold or jewels to be had.

And life moved on – gradually all three dragons found their way out into the world.

And the time came for the two oldest dragons to move on to another age.

Skylar grew tired, and grew weak, in his mind he called out to the other dragons to return to his home, he promised jewels and wealth beyond compare, if they would only return to the lair and feed his dying fire, for since the cave had emptied his breath had become weaker and weaker.

Corid did not have the strength to continue stoking the fires of his breath, and took a rest instead.

The youngest dragon returned home and for a short while continued to help stoking the fire, but found it impossible to continue – so moved away to a far off land, never to be seen again.

The oldest dragon moved closer to the cave and from time to time, would visit and restoke the fire, and yet it still was not enough.

The blue dragon had moved many miles away, and in his mind, Skylar yearned for the blue dragon to come home, to look after him, and to restoke his fire in the same way he had always done in the past.

The blue dragon did not respond.

Repeatedly Skylar sent visions of jewels, gold, silver, and every temptation possible, and yet the blue dragon did not respond.

There were times when the blue dragon would appear – whilst flying past on the way to visit a far off land, would stay to exchange a few words, then go on with the life he had made for himself.

Skylar grew very weak, and his time came to move on to another place.
He lay down his weary head and began to dream the most incredible dream.

Skylar found himself standing on a straight road leading to a castle made of fire.

Standing in the middle of the road was a huge knight wearing a silver coat of armour.

“Ho there sir Knight – will you let me through to the Castle of Fire, for I wish to rekindle my breath and live forever.”

Slowly the knight raised his head – and his sword.

“No Skylar, I cannot let you through, we must fight first…”

“I am not able to fight you any more, for my breath is very weak, and I do have plenty of silver and gold, look”

Skylar turned round and pointed to the huge pile of wealth that he had amassed in his cave.

“No Skylar – you cannot take any of the silver and gold with you to the Castle of Fire, and I cannot let you in, for entry to the Castle of Fire has to be empty handed”

“Sir Knight, I have spent much of my days in this land of ours, scourging the countryside, fighting men such as you and winning, and gold and silver is all I have to offer – please take it”.

“I have no use for any of your wealth Skylar, for my life is not about amassing wealth,
I carry with me the heart stories of many people, those I have loved, and those I have cared for, those I have fed with warmth and joy – I can only leave you with your cold wealth which is the real fire that has consumed you for most of your life”.

The Knight held up his shield, which was a shining mirror in the sunshine, and Skylar
looked into it.

Reflected back he saw his shrivelled skin, his sunken eyes, and most of all, his tiny grey shrunken heart, and realised the one truth that he had missed all his life.

Money and wealth may oil the wheels of life, but they could never buy happiness or love from anyone.


Astorymouse.

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