Hello, everyone! I was gathering conkers yesterday for the annual inter-village conker championships when I had a sudden thought. Where did, or indeed do, dragons come from? I’d already gathered a decent amount of potential champions, so I rushed back to my study to research this very topic. Now, there’s a great deal of such information available, much of which is myth and legend. I’ve sorted through the chaff to bring you what young folk would call the tl;dr (too long; didn’t read) version. This is my interpretation of the whole dragonology field, with some notes taken from my encounters with the scaled ones.
Let’s go back in time to when the humans had evolved enough to begin asking questions. One day, our ancient human, we’ll call him Leslie, stumbled upon a huge bone sticking out of an eroded cliff face. As he studied the bone, he saw more and more of them, until a huge skeleton was revealed. To you and me, of course, it’s a dinosaur. To Leslie, with his lack of a frame of reference and several centuries of research, it can only be one thing, a dragon! Hurriedly, Leslie rushes back to his village and tells everyone what he’s found. They all go ‘yeah right!’ or at least the ancient equivalent, but he persists and soon everyone is gathered around the skeleton and going ‘wtf!’ or its ancient equivalent. And from then onwards the stories begin to tell of gigantic beasts which roam the earth and fill the skies, preying on cattle and sheep and, for some reason, maidens (how they can tell I don’t know, maybe they smell different.)
This fear of predators, which is a built-in mechanism for a species that evolved from a prey animal, meaning the stories spread from culture to culture and around the world as humans travelled across the globe. Some of the cultures have their versions of dragons, like the wingless oriental ones, but they’re still dragons. These myths were further strengthened by encounters with living creatures, like crocodiles and huge snakes like anacondas. The huge lizards found originally on the island of Komodo are even named Komodo dragons. Over the centuries, these tales increased in variety, the dragons got bigger, began to talk, and even breathe fire. And now, bringing us up to date, we see dragons in films, video games, and table-top games such as Dungeons & Dragons. So, the circle is complete. Dragons were born from myth and have now faded back into legend.
Those who don’t agree with the above often have their interpretation of the origin of dragons. Some people claim they were hatched from eggs at the beginning of time, others that they arrived from space, plummeting to the earth in balls of fire. Some claim dragons were created by an evil and powerful mage to slay his enemies. (This would explain the different colours. ‘Dad, make me a green one’. ‘Wait for a second, I’m making a red one for your mother’) Others claim they came from another plane of existence, the veil between the worlds opened by the old mage, or by some other evil creature, or even by accident. Further theories suggest they come from our psyches, fear and dread made flesh. The collected nightmares of so many humans manifesting as a physical thing. And some people claim dragons don’t exist at all. Never have and never will. (I can tell you otherwise, lost a good Land Rover to one of the buggers only a few years ago.)
I’m going to tell you about my encounter now, and I must ask you to 1) keep an open mind, and c) keep this story to yourself. I’ve not told many people the truth of how I stumbled upon a window to another world and witnessed the birth of a dragon. I don’t want to be the laughing stock of the village, and I have no proof of the events I’m about to reveal.
I was sitting in my library one evening, my wife was out at her accuracy landing skydiving class when I decided to choose a book at random and peruse its contents. My hand was guided by fate to a large tome, which I noticed had no title on the spine. I heaved the book over to my desk and opened it at random. There revealed to me was a double-page illustration of a strange world circled by two moons, one much like our own, and one red, like an evil eye. There was a symbol near the red moon, which seemed raised, embossed into the page. I ran my finger across it to test the texture, and the map changed, much to my surprise, and the pages now showed only the moon. The red colouring was vivid, and I thought my eyes deceived me as it began to move. But no, the picture had come alive, the moon turning on its axis. Another symbol appeared, and again I touched it.
Despite my dread, I was fascinated by the images displayed to me as the picture moved closer still. I watched the scene unfolding, as the moon’s surface began to ripple and bulge. A few seconds later it split, and out came a long head, as red as the moon and only just visible. A neck followed, then a thin body and a long tail. The creature birthed from the moon floated nearby, swelling and changing, growing horns, opening its eyes and flexing its limbs. It was a dragon, of course, whole and complete, terrible and wise. It floated there for a while longer, then, stretching its wings, it moved towards the planet below, driven by some unseen force. Before it disappeared from view, it turned its huge head and looked at me, looked directly into my eyes, into my very soul. I felt such fear and dread I immediately slammed the book shut with trembling hands. I managed to stand up and return the book to the shelf, where it’s sat ever since. One day, when the memory of that event has faded a little, I might take another look, but for now, I’m keeping well away.
I now believe dragons originate from this one moon in orbit around that beleaguered world, and they travel from there, crossing realities like we cross the road. I feel nothing but sympathy for those people who inhabit that world, living under the baleful gaze of such an evil moon. They must be powerful indeed just to survive.
So, there you have it, the science and the truth about dragons. Let us know if you’ve had any encounters with dragons, or if you have any theories of your own about them. Until next time my dear friends, toodle-pip.