Day 289: The Dragon and the Clown

The men of the world today say that dragons do not exist. Then who am I?

I’m invisible to them, but only because the eyes of men have changed, not me. The medievals saw me long before I could get close enough to steal a sheep or torch a town, but I can perch upon a church in New York City, and no one will see me.

Hunger overtakes me quickly, and though I have the wisdom of a thousand years, I can be rash when my appetite roars. Thus it was as I soared above a circus encampment, and I was keen for an elephant feast.

I alit in a large corral they used to move animals into and out of different care sections and into the big top.

“Dragon! Dragon!”

The bellowing voice surprised me. I turned to see a clown in orange polkadots running at me, managing his floppy feet like an expert.

Others looked my way and waved him off. How sad it must be, a clown never to be taken seriously, but then I realize how sardonic it is that, invisible as I am, few ever take me seriously.

The clown threatened me with a broom, and I couldn’t help laughing, puffs of smoke bursting out of my mouth.

“You see me.”

“Of course, I see you, foul beast.” The clown jabbed the broom in my direction.

“Come now, little one. You wouldn’t fault a dragon for craving an elephant, would you? The worm must survive.”

“You can’t have one. Go hunt somewhere else.”

“I’m going to wait right here, and grab the first one that comes out.”

“Go into the wild and find a hart or a wildebeest.”

“Why should I? What’s the difference between a wildebeest and one of the elephants here?”

“We rely upon the elephants to attract audiences and tickle them with delight.”

“Chattel entertainment means little to me. What’s the difference?”

The clown jabbed the ground with the broom handle. “One’s a friend, and the other is dinner.”

The smoke drifted up from my nostrils as I considered this.

I stretched my neck low and positioned my face direct in front of him. He stood his ground, and his unflinching determination impressed me. “How is it that you see me?”

The clown leaned more casually on his broom. “I see many things that others don’t. When I was a child I was the only one who could see that our emperor was naked. There once was a cat who hid behind his smile, but I could always see him there, hiding behind his own grody countenance.”

“And today?”

“Today I see reality, where the eyes of others only see their darling ideas, which come alive in their minds and obfuscate the reality in this world that contradicts them.” The clown actually had the courage to take a step closer to my sulphuric nose. “Why can’t anyone else see you, dragon?”

“It’s as you say.” I smiled, and the clown shuddered. “I am contrary to their ideas, so I must be untrue.”

“And, yet, here you are.”

“Precisely, my friend.”

“I’m your friend now?”

“Aye. You are. It is a rare pleasure to commune with one who sees me.”

“Then you will leave the elephants? And the horses?”

“I can’t eat a friend of a friend, can I?”

“It wouldn’t be genteel.”

“Then I shan’t do it.” I drew my neck back and stretched my wings. “I’m honored that you regard me enough to see me.”

“I wouldn’t sweat it. Last week I saw a unicorn.”

“Very funny,” I said. “I’m going to eat you now.”

The clown’s jaw dropped. I laughed, and took to the air.

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