The Dragon and the Candlemaker
A Bedtime Story
Once upon a time there was a charming village named Cozyville filled with happy, contented people and delightful, homey homes and bright, well-kept shops. Everyone in Cozyville loved making things just so. The baker loved to bake fresh breads and cinnamon cakes, the scents of rising dough and vanilla sugar wafting from his ovens. The tea shop had perfectly polished porcelain from which she would pour her carefully steeped and brewed concoctions of teas and herbs, and of course every home had a roaring fireplace and a comfy chair next to a stack of the most delightfully aged, leather bound books.
But of all the things that made Cozyville so cozy, the villagers most loved their candles from the local candle shop. These were not just any candles. Their crackling wicks created the perfect light in which to read or rest, but more than that the magical candlemaker had discovered a secret spell to capture all the wonderful scents from around her village and mix them into the wax. It was said lighting her candles was as good as stepping into the bakery or the tea shop or opening one of those beloved old books.
So for many years, all was peaceful and good in Cozyville, but then one fateful day a shadow fell across the cottages and cobblestone streets. The people gasped in horror as a great green dragon swept through the sky and landed right in front of their candle shop. A flash of fire and a puff of smoke later, all the shelves were empty. The dragon fled into the setting sun carrying the candles in a massive burlap bag in his talons.
At first, the people despaired, but the candlemaker would not be deterred. If anything this was a chance to make something new and brilliant. She would fill the shelves again, with even better, stronger, cozier candles.
So through the night the brave candlemaker worked, mixing fragrances with her magic tricks, pouring pure wax into vessels, and setting the crackling wooden wicks just so.
Soon the shelves were once again full, and everyone in Cozyville rejoiced and rushed to restock on their favorite candles.
Alas, their joy proved short-lived. That very night they heard the thunderous flapping of the dragon’s wings as once again it returned to steal their precious candles.
Now this time, the candlemaker was furious. She had poured so much magic into those candles, and this selfish dragon was keeping them all for himself. Her candles were meant to bring joy to all the people in the village, not just one greedy reptile.
This had to stop, so packing her satchel filled with the best pastries from the bakery and a flask of fragrant floral tea, she set out to find this dragon and give him a piece of her mind.
Finding the dragon proved easier than anticipated, for when she entered the woods, she discovered a path of dripping wax, clinging to the branches of trees above, leading to the rocky hills to the west of town. Just as the sun set, she saw a strange fiery glow emerging from a cave in those very hills.
Now the candlemaker was not a warrior by trade, but she had brought her father’s sword with her. With one hand on the hilt of this great old blade, she crept to the mouth of the cavern and that was when she heard it. The soft but unmistakable sound of … crying?
Bewildered, the candlemaker slipped through the shadows into the cave, and it was there she saw him, the Great Green Dragon. Tears streamed down his scaly face, evaporating into steam when they mixed with his fiery breath. Between his front talons he clutched one of her candles, the amber glass vessel glistening. Then, with a great breath, the dragon sent forth a stream of flame, consuming the candle. It melted into a puddle, even the glass itself, within his claws. The wax ran all over the stone floor of the cavern. The dragon stared at it for a moment then burst out blubbering, rolling over on his back with his back legs kicking in the air like a spoiled toddler.
Upon witnessing the tragic death of the precious candle, something snapped within the candlemaker. She rushed forward, shouting out, “What have you done?”
The dragon scrambled to his feet and hid behind a craggy stalagmite, not very well as most of his body stuck out from either side, and his tail stayed completely exposed. Peeking out, however, he recognized the candlemaker. He reached behind himself into a massive hoard of candles and pulled out one of her favorites, a cinnamon-scented candle that reminded her of the traveling merchant who visited the village market bringing exotic spices from afar.
“They melt so fast,” the dragon wept. “I love them so much, and they burn so brightly, but then they are gone. They are gone, gone … g … g … gone!” The dragon collapsed again, clutching the candle to his heart, sobbing wildly.
“Well, of course they are gone. You have to treat them kindly!” The candlemaker no longer felt anger or fear at the dragon for he seemed so very sad. “Here, let me.”
The dragon reluctantly released his candle, passing it into her expert hands. She carefully trimmed the wooden wick and set the candle on a stone where it could be properly displayed. From her backpack, she took a long wooden match and lit the candle. For a moment the tiny flame sputtered and flickered, then it blazed forth, the wick crackling beneath it, a cheerful glow spreading from it to pool upon the cavern floor. Soon a scent of calming spices filled the cave.
“Ohhhh,” the dragon breathed. He curled up like a cat, staring at the flame, and slowly fell asleep.
The next morning the dragon helped the candlemaker carry the stolen candles back to Cozyville. He stayed for a while and had tea and scones with the villagers, begging their forgiveness for his previous act of selfish greed. They all forgave him, for who would want to remain unfriendly with a dragon?
From that day on the dragon would often visit the village, trading his gold pieces and gems for candles and matches and sometimes staying for tea.
So the candlemaker, the dragon, and the entire village of Cozyville lived happily ever after.