where the neighbor lived that no one had ever seen! So I figured the chain would be safe there.
I went inside and Mom had fixed supper. That’s dinner, to some folks.
I don’t recall what it was but I can tell you there never seemed to be enough. I was always hungry!
As I was going to bed, I heard a sound out back. Sounded like a large animal. We had a big
backyard even though we lived the city. I don’t know what was behind our yard cause we were
fenced in or maybe something was supposed to be fenced out! I think it was a swamp or something
scary. Didn’t smell but could be the wind always blew towards the swamp!
whatever it was.
Mom was getting the little kids to bed so I just went out the back way through the back porch. It was
dark now, so I switched on the outside light.
Oh my gosh! What do you think I saw?
There, in the backyard, was a dragon! The darn thingwas really huge. It was
green with shiny scales, like a fish but much prettier. I was so scared I thought
I’d run and hide but for some reason, but I didn’t. Then, I noticed the collar! This
was someone’s pet and it had gotten loose!
I loved animals even though dad would not let me have a pet. I made friends with
all the animals I met. I thought I’d make friends with this one too.
Then I remembered the chain.
I ran around the corner of the house and grabbed the chain.
There sat this green huge dragon, very scary. But it didn’t seem dangerous, it
I walked closer kind of crouched over but I don’t know why. The dragon was
watching me with both eyes for sure.
As I got closer, I could smell it’s breath. Smelled like hamburger! Huh!
I decided to go ahead and use the chain, I was going to hook it on the dragon’s collar!
I don’t know what I was thinking because it was bigger than a car and I’m a kid but I figured if I could handle big dogs on a rope so why
not a dragon!
I kind of jumped and hooked the collar. The dragon pulled! He wanted to go for a walk just like a dog. He started off towards the back
fence that I’d never crossed. I pulled hard and he stopped and looked at me.
It was as if he were talking to me! He said “Come on, get on and we’ll go!”
So I climbed on and he spread his wings. I hadn’t noticed them before as he had them folded and they looked like short arms or
Anyway, he spread these wings and up we went. I was sure I would faint or fall off or something but I didn’t. My knuckles were white from
holding onto that chain.
It was that chain that got me up into the air you know!
So, off we flew.
You know there were swamps just behind the city. We flew east over them. I know it was east because the sun always came up over the
After a little while, we came to a mountain with a big castle looking thing on its top. The dragon seemed to know where to go and landed
in a big grassy area by a wall that was hundreds of feet high. I’d never seen a wall that high.
There sitting in a swing under a tree limb was a little girl. She was shining and looked like a princess. When she saw us, she was
I thought for a moment she was excited to see me but nope, she knew the dragon.
It was her dragon! I was excited and saddened too. I had wanted to keep the dragon for myself. It was going to be my first pet and one
that could fly too. Yep, I was sad.
The girl spoke. I’d try to tell you what she said but it made no sense to me at all.
She noticed that I seemed confused and spoke again.
This time, her voice was crystal clear and sounded like a rainbow.
She said, “Thank you, Master for bringing Maestro home. He wondered away and I was so worried he would get lost between the
I must have looked confused again because she said “Oh pardon me! I am Princess Gwen and you have just returned my pet, Maestro
She went on, “How can I pay you?”
I thought, “now why would she pay me?” I’d just gotten a ride on a dragon. None of my friends ever told me about doing this.
“Princess, you don’t owe me anything. I just found him in my backyard and he gave me a ride here to your place.” I was still looking
around as this was the nicest yard I’d ever been in.
“But it’s dark and I have to go home.” I started to realize I didn’t know how to get back home.
“Maybe you can show me which way it is I need to walk to go home?”
She smiled. What a sight that was! I swear that the sun must have come back up for a minute.
She said, “Come on. Maestro can carry us both and he’ll fly you back home!”
She got on and I climbed up behind her. She dropped the chain off his collar as we took off. She smelled good.
The trip seemed to go too fast and there I was back in the backyard.
We hadn’t talked much, none at all, in fact.
As I climbed off, I asked her, “Can we play together sometime?”
She smiled again and the sun was up again. “Yes” she said as she started to fly away.
So I guess that chain was a magic chain. If I ever see her again, I’m going to ask her what ever happened to it.
Continued The Crawdad
By Carl Watts
Illustrations by Marcy Eiben
Stories by Carl