Long ago, though not so long as you might imagine, a sea dragon left his home in the Far Seas, where all the Old creatures dwell. He was a young and dashing beastie, with shining pearl-pink scales and proud coral horns and great green eyes that gleamed in the dark, dark waters. He was happy in his home with his family and his shark-friends and whale-friends, but he had a curious nature and often he would watch the sun sink below the edge of his endless sea and wonder what might lie beyond it.
One day as the sea dragon basked on the surface, a great white bird perched itself in the fronds of his horns.
“Hello, flying friend!” said the sea dragon.
“Hello, deep friend,” said the bird. “I have been flying very far, thank you for letting me rest in your lovely horns. I will tell you stories of my travels to show my gratitude.”
This was the way of birds, and the sea dragon was very excited by his first visit from one of the feather-folk. The bird told him of many wonderful things–tales of sky dragons who danced in the clouds and firebirds who chased lightning–but the most wondrous were the stories the bird told of a place called Land and the two-legged creatures who lived on it.
“Oh, I would very much like to see this Land!” said the sea dragon. “Tell me, feather-friend, how can I find it?”
“Follow the sun towards Her rest in the day and the red Pole star at night until the waters become green and warm. There you will find Land,” said the bird, and took flight again.
So the sea dragon told the elders of his pod of his journey and he began to swim, following the sun and the red Pole as the bird had told him. He swam for many days and many nights. The waters grew warmer and greener as the bird had said they would, and at last at the edge of the sea he saw dark mounds rising like the coils of the Great Serpent. But these coils did not move. The sea dragon dove onward, splashing his long tail in excitement. He had found Land!
When he next came up from the water, the sea dragon saw a strange pod floating on the surface, filled with the two-leg creatures the bird had described. These were fisherfolk at work in their boats, though the sea dragon did not know to call them that.
‘I should sink and swim closer,’ the sea dragon thought. ‘It is rude to frighten new friends.’
As he swam closer below the surface, the sea dragon spotted a delicious shiny fish, flashing silver in the green water. The sea dragon was very hungry after his long, long journey and he gobbled up the fish. He chomped on his snack and a horrible sharp pain stabbed deep into his tongue. Frightened, he tried to swim away but the pain became worse. Something pulled on the sharp thing in his tongue and he followed it up, hoping it would stop. His gleaming pink head with its proud coral horns broke through the surface with a great splash.
“Ow ow ow!” he roared. “Help me!”
The fisherfolk in their little boats down below his head were not cruel people, but they had never seen a sea dragon before. The roaring beast that surged up from the deep was surprising and strange. They screamed and sped away. They did not know his roars were words, and were too afraid to see that the creature needed help.
“Please come back, Land-friends!” the sea dragon cried after them, but the two-legs only skimmed away faster.
The sea dragon’s horns drooped in despair. His tongue was hurting terribly and he had frightened his new friends! With his head bowed, he swam sadly away to look for a place to rest.
He swam along the edge of Land and found a quiet cove where the water was calm and shallow. As he rested he heard a sound coming from somewhere on Land. It sounded like a bird, but not a bird, and when the sea dragon looked around he spied a two-leg behind a rock. It was smaller than the other ones, and it was curled up on itself like a snail shell. The not-bird sound was coming from it. The sea dragon did not know what crying was, but he knew was sadness was and because sea dragons are friendly beasts he knew he had to help.
The sharp thing in his tongue was still hurting, but he flexed his flippers and wriggled up onto the soft Land to get closer. He bent his long neck down and nuzzled the small two-leg.
“Don’t be sad, small-friend,” he crooned. Sea dragons can make very pleasant sounds.
The two-leg jumped when it felt his nose on its head and it squeaked, but it did not run away. They looked at each other, the young sea dragon and the young human, and the sea dragon smiled.
“Oh. Hello,” said the small human and she put a tiny hand on the sea dragon’s snout. He huffed a ‘hello’ back and the little two-leg laughed.
“Little Land-friend, will you help me?” said the sea dragon.
The human girl did not know the meaning of the creature’s crooning noises. So it is when two beings of different kinds meet for the first time. But she saw how the great beast’s long neck was tensed and the purple blood that dripped onto the sand. When the creature gently opened its mouth, she did not fear the sharp and shining teeth. She looked into the mouth that could have swallowed her whole and spied the trouble straightaway: a fish hook stuck through the poor creature’s tongue! She reached inside, grasped the metal tight, and yanked.
“Ouch!” said the sea dragon and the little two-leg jumped back. His tongue was sore, but the sharp thing was gone!
“Thank you, little Land-friend,” he said and the two-leg smiled. The sea dragon curled his long neck around the little human, cuddling her against his pearly scales, and the two taught each other how to speak. They became fast and dear friends, and even now that the sea dragon’s scales are worn with age and the little human’s hair is white, they still sit together in the cove. For that is the way of sea dragons–where they are welcomed, compassion grows.
Seed to be planted
Filled with potential
Waiting for spring to come
With love and with light
Refract through our hearts
Gleam bold strong and true
Go out into the world
To shine forth anew
Making friends with a sea monster was one of my favorite childhood daydreams. I’m going to write out this story and attach it to this beastie that I made, then leave it somewhere to be found by whoever may need him.