Ancestral tales tell of fire breathing dragons that ruled the lands and lived in caves. They flew through the air and terrorized villages, snatching up children and flying away. Great battles were waged by the people to bring the dragons to extinction and defend their homes and families. These were dark days when the meadows were blood red from injured dragons, lifeless humans and natures anger that there was no harmony in the land. Mother nature drew a mighty breath and raged a storm that neither man nor beast could endure.
To appease mother nature a pact was made with one of the remaining dragons, his name was Tatsu. The villagers promised to take it baskets of food so that their children weren’t taken in exchange the dragon was to protect their village from other dragons. The deal was made and harmony was seemingly restored. The villagers did as they promised and brought wagon loads of food to the cave entrance where the dragon would eat the offerings then fly around and kill any dragons that dared challenge him and/or go any where near the village.
The villagers even erected a statue in Tatsu’s honor. Tatsu had apparently warned off all opposing dragons or none dared to come and challenge him. The skies were clear of dragons and the villagers were able to repair the village. They planted and farmed extra fields in order to feed Tatsu. Tatsu was now the only dragon around and was growing restless for dragons are warriors by nature. Tatsu one night in its restlessness drank up the sake from the sheds and became drunken. It faltered and fell upon some of the villagers huts. It stepped clumsily on the grain silos and smashed them. Tatsu, hick-uped and fire came bellowing out of his mouth and it started a fire that nearly burned half the village down.
The next day the villagers banned together to decide what they should do. Winter was coming and the food supply was nearly gone, most of it burned up in the fire. The elders came to a decision and they loaded up the wagons with all the food they could gather and took it to the cave where Tatsu slept. Hearing the horses and wagons approaching Tatsu awoke and saw that the villagers were still bringing food to him. Tatsu made humble apologize for its drunkenness and the damages it had done under the influence of sake. But the elders assured the dragon that they under stood because they too had made drunken mistakes. They left the wagon of food and Tatsu gobbled down every last bite. What Tatsu didn’t know was they laced the food with sleep aides. Tatsu became sleepy and went into a deep sleep.
As soon as Tatsu was snoring, in a deep sleep the villagers band together at the entrance of the cave and they began working. They worked all day and well into the night, chipping away at the entrance to the cave. Causing huge boulders to fall from the mountain top and rolling them to the caverns opening till there was nothing more than a small hole that would allow air to flow into the cave. When Tatsu awoke it was angered, but still clumsy from being drugged. He made attempts to knock the barrier down but it was well crafted and too heavy for him to remove. Tatsu bellowed out a fierce cry and strew trails of fire all about to no avail. He then lay back in the dark corners of the cave and went back to sleep.
When Tatsu awoke, he saw a young boy piling food into the cave. Tatsu watched with curiosity. His stomach growled for something to eat but now he was not sure if the food offered him was safe to eat. “What is this? Poison morsels to finish me off.” the dragon grumbled.
“Not at all,” the boy replied as he continued to stack the food as it was handed to him through the small opening. Tatsu arose, stretched out his wings and moaned as he made his way toward the pile of food and sniffed it.
“Why would you seal me in a cave and still feed me?” Tatsu asked with curiosity. The boy slightly frightened coward back into the small opening. “Will you not answer me?” Tatsu bellowed.
“Honor,” the boy stated meekly. Tatsu did not understand and the boy could sense this. “We have given our word that we would feed you as needed for your survival. It is our sense of honor that ties us to the task of keeping you fed.”
Tatsu began eating the food offered to him. His sense of hunger over whelmed his sense of caution. “Why would you entomb me in a cave and then keep me alive?” Tatsu said with a mouthful of morsel.
“We gave you our word that we would feed you. We said nothing about protecting our village from you. You burned down half the village. It is in our best interest to keep you from destroying our home.” The boy said and then left.
The villagers fed Tatsu everyday as promised. The young boy befriended Tatsu, while piling the food up everyday and having long conversations with Tatsu to keep the dragon company. Dragons live a very long time and soon enough the young boy had become a man. One day the village was being threatened by a waring tribe. Their army was massive and was marching towards the village. The boy (now a man) struck a deal with the dragon, “We will let you out of the cave in exchange, protect our village once more.”
Tatsu agreed, and the villagers worked night and day to release the dragon from the cave. When Tatsu was able, he crawled from the cave, stretched his mighty wings and flew in the air. Tatsu went to the army marching toward the village and sprayed his mighty fire upon them till they fled back from which they came. The villagers rallied in cheers, Tatsu came back to his cave and struck a new deal with the villagers. The villagers would continue to feed the dragon in exchange for protection and Tatsu promised never to go near the village to ensure the small humans and their village would remain safe from a giants mishap footsteps. The deal was struck and the legend was born of Tatsu, (Japanese for dragon) the dragon, protector of the people. Mother nature was proud that man and beast had learned to live in harmony and gave them both a warm sun and mild rains so they could flourish.
(moral; it may take a long time and a few hardships but even the most hated of enemies can learn to live together, like that of man and beast. Honor above all things, prevail)
(this story grew and grew as I wrote it. It was inspired by a poem I wrote about government (below) I hope you enjoyed this tale)
tell of fire breathing dragons
that ruled their lands
and lived in caverns
they took it baskets of food
so that their children weren’t taken
and yet today
in the electronic age
we offer it our teens and a tax,
an internet fix of calculated percentages
and suffer from its political decisions
praying we don’t get burned
the larger you are the more you eat
devouring our declaration rights
snacking on our morales
we’ve fattened the
have a harmonious day