Once upon a time there was a little boy who wanted more than anything to have a little pet dragon. Not the giant, terrifying kind that would breathe fire through its nostrils while scorching villagers. That kind was scary and seemed to have severe emotional problems. No, he simply wanted a tiny one with wings that was small enough to fit on his shoulder or in the pocket of his coat. The ability to fly was crucial as the boy himself had always dreamt of being able to fly. Once, when visiting a pet store with his mother, he looked in all the little glass aquariums hoping to spot a little dragon to take home with him. When he asked his mother where they kept the dragons, she simply smiled and said, “This isn’t that kind of store. Those stores are far, far away in another land, dear. And, seriously, what’s wrong with that hamster?” The little boy simply looked out the window of the shop, squinting into the distance, wondering just how far that land might be. Tossing and turning that night, he awoke the next morning with a plan. And nothing would ever be the same.
He quickly gobbled up breakfast and rushed out the door, running as fast as he could to the nearby creek. Walking along the water’s edge, he eventually found the clearing with a tiny patch of leaves he’d remembered. Digging into his pocket he pulled out a shiny marble and set it on the ground there. The glint of the sun through the trees caused the marble to sparkle and glow. He jumped behind a tree and peered out at the marble, to see if his plan was working. Just moments later, he saw what looked like too tiny marbles sparkling nearby only to realize they were actually little eyes! Could it be? He knelt down and crawled closer, until he finally saw a little purple lizard-like face staring back at him. It was just a head peering through the leaves, but he knew it must have wings as well. It rocked its head back and forth as if analyzing the boy, deciding what to do, now that it had been discovered. The little boy stared back, willing it to fly over and sit next to him. An hour passed, and neither boy nor creature moved from that spot. The sun was setting and the boy looked away only briefly to see that the marble had stopped glowing. When he looked back. His dragon was gone.
The little boy searched the sky, but couldn’t find anything but ordinary clouds. And then he suddenly felt very alone. He sadly stood up from his spot, walked over, and reached down to pick up the marble. That’s when he saw it. There, in the swirled purple center was a shape he’d not seen before. Turning it just right, he could now clearly see a tiny winged dragon inside. His heart started racing. Had the dragon leapt out of the marble just for a moment and then jumped back inside? It was getting dark, so the boy rushed home, cradling the precious marble. For many days after, he tried putting the marble in the sun, but the dragon never made another appearance. He carried that marble with him for months, than years, until one day when he looked inside it, he could only see swirls of purple and not a dragon at all. The now older boy, smiled to himself, as he spotted the much littler boy who lived next door. He walked over and asked him, “Do you believe in dragons?” to which the littler boy nodded vigorously. He gently handed him the marble and pointed to it as the sun caused it to glow and the littler boys eyes grew large as saucers in astonishment. The older boy turned, and started to walk away, but then turned back and quietly said, “Be sure to take good care of him.”