THE BUNNY DRAGON
(c) 1994, Dominique Millette
Donald the Dragon was very big and strong. He could shoot flames six feet high, and terrified many people. His large feet made enormous craters wherever he went. Sometimes he would smash up houses by accident.
But Donald was so timid that he always hid his face and never looked where he was going, or saw what he did.
People got angry at Donald, and cursed him heartily every time he made a mess. However, Donald didn't understand why so many people shouted at him.
You see, Donald thought he was a bunny rabbit.
Many years before, when Donald was a dragonlet, some of the villagers had mocked him and called him a rabbit. So Donald was quite certain that this was still true. He didn't like being a bunny rabbit, because it made him feel small and helpless. So he was often upset. Donald wanted to be like the dragons, who were strong and quite friendly, as far as he knew. But he despaired of ever being anything like them.
Even though Donald could breathe fire, the young dragon wasn't exactly sure why, or how, he did this. He just thought he was a fire-breathing rabbit. He couldn't aim properly, and often burned down local forests. This made the villagers even angrier with him.
Whenever local villagers cursed him and waved their fists in his face, Donald would tremble with fear and feel very hurt. He would run away and leave even bigger holes in the ground behind him. He thought the villagers were hunting him for food.
Most of the villagers were afraid of the dragon, but they didn't dare confront Donald, because they didn't want to be trampled or incinerated. Most of all, they didn't want to remind Donald of how strong he could really be, since they thought he was evil, and wanted to hurt them.
But Donald didn't really want to hurt anyone. He just wanted to hop around, eat his food, and have a good life.
One day, a group of villagers got together with pitch-forks, and drove Donald away to the mountains.
Donald was terrified. He breathed flames at everyone, and scarred a few of the angry villagers very badly. This made them glad they had got rid of him. "Go off and be with those dragons of yours", they shouted as they left.
Once he was all alone, Donald the Dragon cried and cried. "What will I do now?" he sighed, burning a pine tree to a cinder in the process.
Suddenly, he heard some heavy footsteps coming from just ahead. The trees parted, and a wise old dragon stood before Donald with her hands clasped over her large, proud belly.
"Hello Donald. Do you remember me?"
Donald rubbed his eyes and stared. Why, it was Daniela the Dragon, who had played with him when he was a baby! His heart filled with relief and gratitude. A friendly face was before him at last.
"I'm so glad to see you," he cried out with joy. "The villagers are constantly hunting me, and now they've chased me away!"
Daniela the Dragon smiled. "Well, now that you're here, why don't you come and practice your flame-throwing? You'll have many companions to help you. That way, you can learn to aim properly, and heat the world instead of starting fires and burning everything down."
Donald hopped happily to a clearing where many other dragons were assembled in a circle. They greeted him warmly.
Donald didn't feel like a helpless bunny rabbit anymore. As he breathed fire just like the others, Donald caught sight of his reflection in a pool of water.
He was a Dragon after all!
Donald suddenly felt very foolish, though he was quite happy. "The next time I go to a village, I'll step more carefully", he vowed to himself. "And I will try not to burn anything down."