Faahvrigüo and His Mother
Dragons are not creatures given to long discourse, not even among each other. They think long and deeply, then act decisively, although young dragons are perhaps prone to less thinking and more rash actions.
Faahvrigüo's mother had never properly spoken to him until that day. Strange as it might seem to you, there had been no need.
After flying all through the night, the young dragon landed on the tip of his mother’s snout and sat there quietly at first, staring at his talons. But when he heard her open her eyes (for when a dragon the size of a mountain range as much as blinks, it makes a sound, believe me) he looked up with defiance, ready to defend his actions.
He relaxed somewhat upon noticing that the look in her eyes had softened. Her gentle booming voice filled his head, though the earthen lips never parted or moved.
“My son,” she said to him, “tell me what happened.”
Faahvrigüo shifted uncomfortably. He was not sure where to begin, and was himself quite confused by his recent experience.
“I… I wanted to see what the land was like,” he began reluctantly, “I only wanted a look. Uricchin told me to stay away from them, and I—”
“Yes… I met him one night when I couldn’t sleep,” answered Faahvrigüo, “Near… my nest.”
(He couldn’t quite bring himself to say, “inside your ear.”)
“He’s all drippy and moves a bit like a slug, and he’s got a little bunch of yellow light growing on top of his head.”
“I know Uricchin well,” answered the gentle, booming voice inside Faahvrigüo's head. There was a hint of amusement in the Earth Dragon’s soft amber eyes. “What did he say to you?”
“He said to avoid the elves as much as I could,” answered Faahvrigüo sullenly, “I did.”
“I see.” There was a faint rumble as the Earth Dragon slowly blinked. “What else did he say?”
“He… He said not to frighten or hurt them, but—”
“Then, why did you attack them?”
The voice inside Faahvrigüo's head had grown stern.
“I didn’t hurt them!”
“They were terrified.”
“I was too! I scared them so they would stop killing each other. They made the water of the lake I was playing in all bloody.”
His voice cracked slightly at the end of this outburst. He felt his motive sounded petty, and he couldn’t find the right words to say what he meant.
“Their blood was in me while I was in the water,” he choked, “It got all mixed up with me.”
“My dear, you cannot scare them into not killing each other. It doesn’t work that way.”
Faahvrigüo sniffled and lay down on his mother’s mossy snout.
“Why do they do that, mother?”
“That is not easily explained, my hatchling, But as you saw, they do themselves enough harm without outside help.”
“You must never, EVER raise your talons against them again.”
“But they attacked me first!”
“They can do you no real harm.”
The young dragon prince got on his feet excitedly. “I will not sit there while they fling their spears at me and do nothing, even if they don’t hurt me!”
“Indeed you should not. This time, and any other, you should have flown away from there.”
Faahvrigüo stared, speechless in his consternation.
“I’ve… I’ve got just as much right,” he began weakly. “Mother, they are everywhere! Uricchin said so. What shall I do?”
“Keep your distance, dear, as best as you can.”
Faahvrigüo sat in silence for a while, deeply troubled. “Why?” he asked finally.
“Faahvrigüo,” answered the Earth Dragon tenderly, “My beloved child, please forgive your mother’s unfairness. You are quite right —you have just as much right— but humor me on my whim. You may understand my motives better when you are older, or you may come to resent me for them, but I must implore you to try to do as I bid you.”
There was sorrow in her eyes, and a bitter lump in Faahvrigüo's throat. He swallowed it and asked his mother, “Why do you care about them so much?”
“They are my children, just as much as you are.”
A pang of childish jealously stung the dragon prince’s heart.
“Whom do you care for the most?”
The Earth Dragon gazed at him for a silent moment. The enormous earthen lids dropped and rose once with a faint crunch as the Dragon blinked.
“Whom do you love best, then? Mother!”
“I love you the same.”
Faahvrigüo caught his breath and stiffened.
“I don’t understand. Are they not like the grass, or the trees? They are so small. They all look alike. They are noisy and mean-spirited. There are so many of them —or so Uricchin tells me. There is but one of me. How can we matter the same to you?”
“I don’t expect you to understand, little one. You are so very young, and have seen so very little of the world, and of them…. Although (and here a grimace flickered across her face) I’m afraid you’ve seen too much of some things, too early. Perhaps…” She seemed to hesitate. “Perhaps you should go forth then, and see more. Go and see the world and let the world see you.”
She sighed —the first sound to come from her lips. Her breath shook the treetops on the valley below her snout.
“They might as well get used to you, and it’s not like I can prevent it for very much longer.”
“I don’t want to!” cried Faahvrigüo, lashing his tail against the ground and making it splash. He felt deeply contrary. He would rather they all went away, and not have to look at them or be looked at.
“Heed me, my beloved hatchling, and pray do not be obstinate,” said the Earth Dragon, soothingly, “Do you not realize how much you’ve grown since the last time I’ve been awake? My son, too soon you will outgrow this part of the land, and me. You cannot nest on mother’s back forever.”
A great sorrow filled the young Dragon Prince’s heart upon hearing these words, and tears filled his eyes. Gaze downcast, he asked in a low, tremulous whisper, “But I don’t have to leave yet, do I? We can still be together for a while longer, can’t we, Mother?”
The great amber eyes were shut. As the minutes passed with no forthcoming reply, Faahvrigüo began to fear that there would be none. But then, with a crumble, the eyes opened and the loving, familiar gaze fell upon him once again.
“Have you wondered yet, my child, why Mother must sleep season after season, for years, so seldom waking while you grow and explore and play all on your own?”
Faahvrigüo lifted his head. He realized that he had wondered this, and for a long time, too. But, as she’d never been awake to ask when the question crossed his mind, he would forget for a while, until some night when he felt rather lonesome and wanted for her.
The gentle booming voice droned on.
“As a species, we dragons are self-sustaining. Some of us, such as myself, can create a world from nothing. Others, such as your Father, can nurture that life and make it grow. The life we create becomes our own source of sustenance. We must feed from it in order to stay alive. However, I could never do that. I grow too fond of it. So I sleep. So long as I sleep, and conserve and regenerate my energy, I’ve found that I can stay alive and life can go on undisturbed. In this manner, I keep you alive as well. If I did not sleep, both you and I would grow weak and hungry. You do not need to eat as long as I stay alive.
I would die first rather than harming this world to keep myself alive, but I could not ask the same of you, and neither could I bear to see you kill to appease your hunger. So I must sleep. I must sleep deep and always, for during my every waking moment, I grow weaker, and so would the land in time grow weaker, since our energy flows as one.”
“I don’t understand,” Faahvrigüo said softly.
“My little prince, I must sleep so deeply, that I could not talk to you for hundreds of years. You would grow lonesome here, long before you grew so big that you could no longer find a nesting place on my back.”
“Oh,” was all that Faahvrigüo said. But something felt broken in his throat, and he struggled not to cry. You must remember that he was, after all, only a little dragon, not much older than a hatchling, and needed his mother very much still.
The Earth Dragon’s eyes had closed again, but her voice still filled Faahvrigüo's mind, loving and soothing.
“Go out into the world, my love, see it, and let it see you. Though they may not look like you, your brothers and sisters fill this land. Know them, harm them not, and I’m sure that in time you will come to treasure their existence as much as I do. And remember —though I may sleep, I dream of you. I am always with you, and you may count on Uricchin to guide you.”
The Earth Dragon did not speak again.
Faahvrigüo curled up into a tight ball and stayed on her snout a while longer. Then he dried his tears and flew away from there.