Penelope The friendly Dragon
“Mommy, I want to learn more about the Golden Apple”. Penelope squeaked, cuddling closer to her mother.
Penelope had large, bright eyes, and a very friendly smile always lit her face. She hardly got angry, but beware! If you behave well with her, she will do the same to you. However, anger turned her so fierce that she exhaled fire, which could go far and wide and burn anything within its reach.
Squeaking like a mouse was a sign Matilda could understand well. Her little girl, Penelope, did that only when she looked for a little more affection, either from her mother or from someone else she was close to.
Penelope lived with her family and friends, in Dragon Land. They enjoyed playing under the shade of palm trees which surrounded the place.
“Penny, come help me with dinner honey. I’ll tell you about the Golden Apple in the morning.” Matilda planted a soft kiss on her daughter’s forehead.
Tring…Ring! The loud, shrieking sound hit Penelope’s ears like thunder. Despite hating the alarm clock, she could never avoid it. It was the only way she could get up on time for school.
“Penny, don’t stay up so late every night. That way you’ll reach school on time without that naughty alarm clock.” Matilda wanted her daughter to follow the early- to- bed, early- to- rise routine. But Penny did not go to bed early, ever.
“The fire I breathe out, looks so nice in the darkness. I want to see that.” Penelope often started shouting without any reason, just to see flames coming out of her nose and mouth.
Though dragons hardly ate berries, Penny did enjoy munching on strawberries or grapes at times. Only humans could grow such delicious fruits. They knew how to take care of their farms and orchards, something which dragons were not really so good at.
“Oh, mommy! I really wish I could be like the humans. Then I could eat everything I want. Pastries, cakes, chocolates and of course, lots of fruits.” Penelope would whine quite often.
“Sweetheart, dragons can do a lot of things too, and I’m sure some humans would want to be like you if they could.” Matilda replied with a smile.
Thump! CRACK! The ground crushed under Penelope’s heavy feet as she trudged forward, with a cute little backpack loaded with books.
“Hi, Penny!” Penelope grinned ear-to-ear when she saw her best friend, Meridith, waving at her.
“Hey Merry!” Penelope waved back. “How’ve you been?”
“Nope, not so good. We had so much homework to do that I couldn’t finish them all. Could you?”
Penelope held Meridith’s hand, a darker shade of green compared to her own skin color. None in Dragon Land could fly as fast as Merry could, but she always had a sad, gloomy look on her face.
“Those math? They were quite simple. I loved doing that English homework.”
Meridith giggled. “Yes, we know you like playing with English words. God! I could never play those games so well, girl.”
Penelope spent another wonderful day with her amazing friends. She not only enjoyed her studies, the little dragon was also excellent at other activities like painting or writing poems.
“School’s always so much fun.” She told her mother.
“Glad to hear that my girl enjoys school. Many humans make excuses to avoid school, you know?” Matilda told Penelope as she passed another tray of cookies all around.
“They teach a lot there, and I have Merry and the others to play with.” Penelope spoke between bites of coconut cookie.
“Well, you should tell that to a human. Some little humans also think that mommies are not good. Do you think that too?” Matilda made a false face, as if she was about to cry.
“Nope, I’ve got the world’s best mommy! Love you!”
That sudden display of love came as a pleasant surprise for Matilda. Penelope did show her love in many ways, but she had never said I love you before.
Days passed. Penelope was enjoying the school activities more than ever. There were lots of extra-curricular competitions being held, and she always loved to take part in those.
One day, while she was playing during recess with Meridith, Penny noticed a little human girl. The human had a totally confused look on her face. She just glanced here and there, toying with a corner of the gorgeous dress she wore.
Penelope stared at the female human in awe. Long, silky golden braids hung loose from her head. Her hands were hidden behind a pair of milky-white gloves. That dress she wore? Oh wow! The layers of various shades of pink made her look like a fairy. The dazzling crown on the girl’s head only added to her beauty.
“Oh, how I wish I had those long tresses!” Penelope said to herself. “I’m just a huge, fat nothing! I can’t even fly like some of my friends can!”
“Hey Penny, back off. Those humans look innocent, but they can be very harmful for us.” Meridith tried to warn her friend but Penelope had no time to listen to her.
“Quiet now, Merry! I want to see her close.” A small flame came out of Penelope’s mouth as she spoke. Cautiously, she tiptoed forward. She didn’t want to scare the young female human off.
Jennifer wiped off a drop of sweat with the back of her hand. She had wandered far away from her own castle. Her tired feet could not carry her any further. She sank into a bed of dry grass, burying her head into folded arms.
“Hello! Human!” Penelope greeted with a timid smile.
“AHHH! Shoo! Get away, you beast!” Jennifer screamed, shocked at the sudden sight of a giant dragon.
“Don’t worry, little missy. I won’t harm you.” Penelope grinned at the human female.
Jennifer gritted her teeth. It was getting darker, and colder for her. The dragons hardly ever felt cold in that atmosphere. They were already used to that particular temperature.
“Little missy, why are you shaking like that?” Penelope did not see someone shiver before.
“I…its just way too cold over here.” Jennifer managed to stammer after a while.
“Oh, I know! Here, punch me.” Penelope extended a hand to Jennifer.
“Can’t. My fingers are getting numb.” Jennifer’s tone was so faint, she couldn’t recognize her own voice.
Meridith stood a little away from them all this time, carefully watching and listening to every word they said. She picked up a pebble, and threw it as hard as she could, aiming at Penelope’s tail.
“Ouch!” Penelope groaned in pain, and out came a small flame. That flame caught hold of another tiny pile of grass, creating a proper fire for Jennifer. “Thanks a lot.” Gratitude showered from Jennifer’s voice as she warmed her almost frozen hands.
The little human seemed harmless, so now even Meridith joined in the conversation.
“Glad to meet you, human. I’m Merry.”
“I’m Jennifer, friends call me Jenny.” Though she was still a little bit scared, Jennifer was beginning to enjoy the company of the giant, friendly creatures.
Matilda paced to-and-fro in her front porch. Neither Penny nor Merry could be seen anywhere. Normally, Penelope would take permission from her mother if she wanted to stay over at her friend Meridith’s place. She had not informed about any night stay that day.
“I wonder where she is. I’ll go look for her, it’s getting pretty late.” Matilda thought aloud.
“I’m the human princess. My mother had sent me to look for some strawberries, she wanted to bake my favorite pie for me.” Jennifer sat closer to both the dragons. The fire Penelope had made, kept her warm. Color returned to her pale cheeks.
“Don’t you have any in your farm?” Meridith looked shocked.
“It’s not that we can grow everything forever, silly! Our farmers did not look after the farms and orchards as well as they should have. We ran out of supplies way sooner than usual.”
“Huh? We thought humans could do everything.”
“Not we, say I instead, Penny.” Meridith made a correction. You’re the one who always wants to be like people.”
Penelope blushed. She looked really different with a hint of red on her green cheeks. Now it was Jennifer’s turn to be surprised:
“You, the mighty dragon, want to be like the feeble humans?” Jennifer giggled in her hands. “Why, no human can ever breathe out fire like you can. Do you know how useful fire can be during winter?”
In the meantime, Matilda had reached the play area after several hours of searching. She didn’t expect to find her daughter talking to a human.
Many years back, a human prince had killed Matilda’s father, only because he had entered their orchard.
“Penny! Get back here right now!”
Startled, Penelope looked back to find her mother glaring at her:
“But mommy, she’s my new friend. She’ll give me berries if I talk to her.” Penelope knew it was no use arguing. Ever since her Grand-Pop was murdered by one of the adult humans, her mother hated them:
“Don’t you dare come near my girls, cruel human!”
“No, I don’t mean to harm them, Mrs. Dragon. I had heard that my father once killed one of you. He didn’t know that all dragons are not bad. He repented a lot after he got to know that the poor dragon only wanted some fruits.” Jennifer wondered how she could utter such a long sentence in one go.
Matilda came closer to take a better look at the human female. Her soft, bright eyes reflected innocence.
“You look cute, and sound sweet too, little lady. You won’t slay like those grown- ups did.” She commented after a long pause.
“That’s why I want to be like a human.” Penelope found it pretty hard to stay silent for a long time.
“Silly Penny! It’s true that humans can do a lot of things, but dragons can also do plenty of other works humans will never even dream of doing.” Jennifer informed the curious young dragons.
“My father used to say it’s always wise to count your own blessings and be yourself.”
“My father says that too, Mrs. Dragon. So once we become friends, we can share our blessings with each other and we’ll all be happy.
From then on, all the humans and dragons lived together. Penelope and Meridith got the friend they wanted. Now they could eat as many berries as they wished to, and the humans got all the warmth they could ask for during winter.