This is a light hearted story I wrote on St David's Day this year. I got my ideas from legends about Welsh Dragons, combined with a related discussion with a couple of work colleagues.
Percy was a pink Dragon. He was a magenta shade almost as dark as red but still very definitely pink. Most dragons are either Red or White. Percy’s brothers and sister were either one colour or the other; none of them was the mixture like he was. In fact, Percy hadn’t ever met any other pink dragons. There were plenty of rumours and legends about pink dragons, but these dragons were always somewhere else, at another time. Still, as Percy was undeniably pink, it was obviously possible for there to be pink dragons.
No one knew why some dragons were born red and some white, so there was no chance of explaining why Percy was Pink. Both of his parents were red, but further back in his ancestry, there was a mix of the colours, the same as with all dragons. There had been five eggs in Percy’s clutch and the others were red or white. The only clue to something odd in Percy’s family was that one of his cousins was white but had one red leg. Both Percy and his cousin were singled out for special attention, particularly by the other young dragons. Special attention wasn’t always good. They were teased for being different.
The elders, however, were very pleased with Percy because the best and more fantastical legends in his clan’s histories often featured a pink dragon at some point. By his very existence, Percy gave weight to the truth of the legends. Because he was singled out by the elders, the other young dragons were jealous and this gave them another reason to pick on Percy.
Percy’s dragon clan lived high in the Scottish Cairngorm mountains, far in the north and hidden away from human settlements. However, the dragon legends mostly told tales from many hundreds of years ago when they had lived further south in the Welsh Breacon Beacons, making them Welsh dragons and not really Scottish. In those days, the only people to be found in the area lived very wild lives, mostly hunting but also farming small holdings, growing just enough to survive, and fighting wars with neighbouring tribes. On the whole, these people had shown little interest in the dragons. On the few occasions when dragons and people had met, the people showed due respect. Now, people just didn’t see the dragons. This was because being magical creatures, only those who believe in them can see dragons and so few people believe now.
Percy had seen people at a distance, when he had been flying over the mountains but he tried to avoid them most of the time. This was not because they posed any danger, but because they looked so tasty and tempting a food. Recent experience had taught the dragons that eating humans tended to lead to vast numbers of people coming into their territory, trying to find the missing person. Because there was no body to find, the searching tended to last quite a while and risked leading to further disappearances and searches. In addition to these problems, one of the legends said that Pink Dragons were the easiest for humans to see, but generally the humans had to have consumed a lot of alcohol or other mind altering substances to see a pink dragon. As most human’s didn’t believe dragons existed, stories were told about pink elephants and flying pigs instead. So, Percy was encouraged to avoid areas where people were likely to be. Instead, he spent a lot of his time around his home settlement.
As pink dragons were the main characters in so many of the legends, Percy liked listening to them. He often spent time with the elders, asking them to retell the stories. Everyone’s favourite story was the one about the first pink dragon.
* * *
Once, when all of the Dragons had lived in the Breacon Beacons, there had been red clans and there had been white clans. The two colours of dragons kept separate from each other and when dragons of the two colours met, there were fights. This feuding got so bad, that several dragons were killed and humans had started to notice the fighting. Some dragons were tricked into taking sides with the people in human battles that were being fought at the time. Soon it seemed that the dragons were fighting in place of the humans, as they were so much bigger and better at it. Once the dragons realised what was going on, the leader of the white dragons and the leader of the red dragons decided to fight a duel to end the slaughter of their clans. Dragon duels were fought in caves deep under the mountains, where there were no witnesses; whoever emerged from the caves was the winner. If both made it out, they had to go back and finish the fight. So the two warring dragons headed for the caves. For days, there were constant rumbles as the dragons fought below ground. These lessened over time, but just when everyone, dragon and human, thought it was all over, there would be another faint rumble. This went on for months and months. The rumbles were heard less and less. Eventually, it was all quiet, but no dragon emerged from the caves.
By this time, the red dragons and the white dragons had spent a lot of time together awaiting the outcome of the duel. They had realised that in fact, they weren’t that different to each other and that with a bit of effort, they could get along.
At about this time, a young human man came along to find out the result of the fight. He had to let the humans know which army was the victor and so the winner of the disputed territory. The dragons explained that it was against their tradition to interfere with a duel; however the young man was insistent and said that he would go down into the cave. After much discussion, it was decided that an elder of each colour would accompany the man into the cave.
The trio travelled deep into the cave. There they found a strange site. There was no sign of the either of the duelling dragons. All there was, in the largest of the caves, was an egg. To the dragons, it looked like an ordinary dragon egg. They couldn’t see anything special about it, other than that it was beginning to crack. The two elders stood back and watched as the baby dragon broke its way into the world. In the dark of the cave, the baby looked red. Therefore, the red dragon elder claimed this as victory for his clan. The white dragon was not happy. The man merely looked bemused at the bickering of the dragons and suggested that they take the small dragon out of the cave. The red dragon carefully picked up the baby and the trio returned to the surface.
Meanwhile, a crowd of dragons and people had gathered around the entrance to the cave to await the outcome of the duel. As the trio emerged from the caves, there were roars of shock from the dragons, which made the people run for cover. What had shocked the dragons was that the baby wasn’t a red dragon, or a white dragon, it was very definitely pink. In the daylight, this so shocked the red dragon who was carrying the baby, that he nearly dropped it.
Apart from being pink, the baby dragon looked healthy. One of the mother dragons, who had a new clutch of her own to look after, offered to take care of the pink baby. As no one could think of what else to do, this was quickly agreed to. The dragon and human elders then settled down to discussing the pink dragon.
* * *
Percy wasn’t so bothered about the rest of the story because it was about politics, which he thought was boring. However, he knew that in the end, the fighting stopped because it was agreed that the pink baby was a sign that no one could win the war.