For my first post of the new year, have a fairy tale.
Once upon a time, there lived a dragon. She lived in the side of a mountain surrounded all about by a wood, and it was good.
The dragon was big and dark and looked as if she were made of coal, all over. She delved deep into the tunnels and caves of her mountains. There she found jewels and veins of metal, and so she spent her days finding them, refining them. Her fiery breath molded gold and silver, and her claws carved gemstone and rock into delicate shapes. She made necklaces and rings, statues and shields, and she enjoyed creating them. And so she spent her time, busy at her work, and was happy.
The animals of the wood came to see, and they marveled at the beautiful things she made. Little creatures played about her claws and old creatures praised her talents of creation. The dragon liked this, and was happy.
But seeing the animals of the wood, she came to notice something. Other animals had sleek fur, or russet colors. She had neither - she bore scales, and she was the color of burnt stone. Other animals had long ears, or mossy antlers, or soft paws or delicate whiskers. The dragon had none of these things. All the animals in the wood were quite beautiful, in their way; a way that matched the rustling trees and leaves and the wind over the heather. The dragon resembled the mountain she lived in. Perhaps that was beautiful too, she told herself, as she went into the dark tunnels. It just wasn't the beauty of the wood she was so fond of. And looking into the eyes of the creatures who praised her, looking at the way they looked upon one another...she decided that she was not beautiful. At least, not to them.
However, the dragon still had her gems and her talents, and those made her happy. So she continued as she ever had, still happy creating those things of magic and beauty and shine. Compared to her joy in these things, her joy in creating and enjoying the beauty of the world, that one sadness seemed very silly and small. So she took that sadness, that she was not beautiful to the wood, and hid it deep in her heart. She laughed at it. It was such a silly sadness.
Even so. It remained, small indeed. But it remained.
Years passed in the wood and the mountain, and the dragon was quite content. Then, one day, a deer came.
He was odd, for a deer. Most deer leapt and bounded, like birds given hooves, never quite in one place but the next. This deer walked quite surely, and he walked up to her cave. The dragon saw him, and smiled, and showed him what she was doing - like she showed all the creatures of the wood. The deer showed great interest - in fact, he was similar, quite similar, in his enjoyment of creating things. And so they talked, and laughed, for many long hours. And the dragon found she quite liked the deer.
And so the deer and the dragon became friends.
Years passed, and the two remained good friends. Time went on and the dragon found she liked him more and more. He was odd, for a deer, but in the best way. His eyes were bright and his smile was wide, and he was handsome. He made her smile and laugh. And she found herself hoping that he liked her as well.
But it was a vain hope, she felt. She would smile inside and sigh. After all, she could make beautiful things, but she herself wasn't beautiful.
A day came, though, that at last she told her feelings to the deer...and was astonished to find he returned them. She was even happier than before. But still, that one small sadness remained, strangely. For the dragon felt that the deer must feel that way, because of what she was inside, not outside. She was still not beautiful like the wood.
Then one day the deer told her, "You're quite beautiful. Do you know that?"
She laughed, and the deer laughed too. But then another day, he told her again - "You're quite beautiful." And the dragon laughed inside. Surely, surely he doesn't mean that, she thought. I'm not beautiful. I'm a dragon, with heavy claws and hide like coal. He is being kind, but he doesn't truly mean that.
Days came and went, and still, the deer told her she was beautiful. She marveled at it. Finally one day she said, laughing in a sad way, "How can you tell me I'm beautiful? I'm big and dark as soot..."
The deer smiled at her, and shook his head. "You ARE beautiful - you must not see what I see. Where you see only coal and soot, Dragon, I see diamond."
"That can't be right." She said, eyes wide. "Diamond is what I make...diamonds are what I craft..."
The deer only smiled and said, "You are diamond, Dragon, and you are beautiful."
The dragon couldn't believe it.
But as the days went by, one by one, and the deer told her she was diamond...a change came. Small and slow. To the other animals of the wood, perhaps they saw it, perhaps they didn't. But the change was that the dragon came to believe the deer. She came to see herself in the way he must see her - not as the work of her claws alone, but all of her, one whole. Diamond. And she laughed, and she smiled, and she made her beautiful creations, and for the first time in her life, she felt beautiful herself. Because he saw her so.
And she was happy.
...actually...to be continued. Because this story's not over yet. The deer and the dragons' paths are separating for a season...so I don't know what will be, when two years have passed.
But I'll always be grateful.
I love you, Khoa. :3
Art (c) me