Dragon denial is not a very good idea
DRAGONS are wonderful creatures. Diverse cultures symbolise different aspects of them. In Western culture, the dragon represents chaos and destruction and embodies fearsome energy. Ancient cartographers used to write “Here be dragons” over the most dangerous or unexplored parts of their maps. In the East, dragons bring good luck, yet still retain the understanding of randomness and unpredictability. Fearsome creatures as they are, small wonder that dragons feature in many children’s stories. Most famous perhaps is Smaug, in Tolkien’s The Hobbit. It is worth remembering that in the story, Smaug the dragon sleeps on gold. The implication being that if you can get your dragon to calm down and go to sleep you may be able to take a reward of insight and wisdom: those rare-as-gold human qualities. My favourite children’s dragon story is by Jack Kent and titled, There’s NO Such Thing as a Dragon. It can be found, being read aloud on YouTube. In the storybook, Billy Bixby wakes up one morning to find a little dragon, the size of a kitten, in his bedroom. He pats the dragon and it wags its tail. Billy rushes to tell Mother who firmly denies Billy’s reality. So Billy goes back to his room and ignores the dragon, because you can’t relate to something you have been told doesn’t exist! Well, this denial is not a good idea. The dragon keeps growing, devours all but one of Billy’s breakfast pancakes, and falls asleep in the hall where it continues to grow. All morning Mother tries to clean the house around the dragon but with it growing she eventually has to climb outside through windows and into other rooms because the dragon now fills all the rooms. By noon, the dragon has occupied the entire home. Neck and head sticking out the front door and tail out the back. Then the dragon wakes up and is ravenously hungry. The bakery van drives by and the smell of fresh bread sends the dragon crazy. It rushes after the van, carrying the entire house with it “like the shell of a snail” . Poor Mr Bixby gets home for lunch and the first thing he sees is his house is gone. He asks the neighbours and then goes searching for his home and family. When he finds them, he asks how all this happened and Billy begins to describe the dragon. Mother again tries denying dragons but Billy cuts her short. “But there IS a dragon,” he shouts and begins to pat the dragon. The patting causes the dragon to shrink back to kitten size. Mother finally accepts she can live with the reality of a small, manageable dragon and Father asks why it got so big. Billy ends the book saying, “Maybe it just wanted to be noticed”. Debt, addiction, bitterness and trauma are just a few forms dragons may take. Deny them at your peril. ý Woods is a pastoral therapist.