Once Upon a Time (Part One)

April 26, 2021

This story is the first in a four-part series that will be posted every Monday for the next four weeks. We hope that you will enjoy this fairy tale! Please leave us a question or comment; we’d love to hear from you.

Once upon a time, there was a small, quiet village in a non-descript, but pleasant township. The village was surrounded by a broad spectrum of life: from poorer villages, to wealthy ones in a hodgepodge relationship with easy travel between them all. In this general area of maybe 25 miles, unbeknownst to many, if anyone, lurked Frederick, a hungry and irritable dragon. Please don’t call him Fred, whatever you do! The villagers did not believe in dragons; they were far too sophisticated, even the least educated and poorest of them all. Frederick’s unpleasant mood and demeanor stemmed from a general lack of respect. He couldn’t breathe an intensity of fire like his brothers, and he wasn’t as big. Though he could fly, he wasn’t as agile. Frederick had been teased and deprived because of these supposed shortcomings, and became an expert at sulking. He did develop a sly sense of disturbing the peace. No one recognized dragons. They blamed all sorts of people and circumstances for the commotions. While his siblings made the news—some thought flying dragons were UFO’s, and the fires in the nearby not-so-quiet village were caused by human arsonists, which made all the dragons laugh, Frederick learned about a special power that not many other dragons had or even knew. Instead of breathing fire and wreaking destruction directly, he would cause a smoldering, smoky cloud of unrest inside of people, sometimes in the nicest of people. They were his favorite targets. It gave Frederick the greatest satisfaction to nag away and intrude on their thoughts and feelings. Humans! Always thinking they are so special and superior! Ha!

There was a local family headed by a person we will call a “king.” He certainly thought he was a king, with all his pronouncements and opinions. This king and his queen loved their only son, Prince Walter. They didn’t call him prince, but anyone who knew this family knew he was one. Also, please don’t call him Walt! Walter had potential. He wasn’t athletic, but he was intelligent. Walter didn’t have street smarts by any means, but he did have book smarts, and he was a thinker. Though shy, Walter also was friendly. He knew he could achieve; and though he knew it would be in some professional or academic field, at least in the outer world, he couldn’t fathom what it might be. Only God, if there was one, knew the inner longing that tugged at his heart.

Frederick smelled Walter’s confusion. With his cunning and magic, he added self-doubt. Anytime Walter thought of what he might do in life, it suddenly felt like he was in a smoke-filled room, and eventually he couldn’t see clearly or even breathe easily. Every choice, even of what books to read, became a chore. Walter managed to continue fighting and succeeding as long as someone else lead the way. Ah ha! Frederick saw his chance. Now, in addition to smoke and clouding Walter’s direction, this conniving dragon would add what he hoped was the coup-de-grâce—he would make Walter doubt his own abilities. Frederick did not want Walter to be in despair. No, that would be too quick and not subtle at all. It was more like something his brothers would do, and it was gross. No, Frederick would just add to Walter’s need to look to someone else for direction. “This is such a gentle and disarming nudge that poor Walter, the prince, will never notice. I’ll just make sure he never fully trusts and guides himself, especially about that inner longing he feels. What an elegant plan!” Frederick smiled at these thoughts, and sent his toxic smoke and magic spell for Walter to breathe in deeply and unknowingly.

To be continued….