This month it’s my birthday and instead of reliving memories of old folk tales I am telling one of my own stories, written by yours truly, for 8’s to 88’s ( and with animation in mind, if anyone is interested) I hope you enjoy.

Not long ago, in a country not far away, lived Dewi, driver of the local engine and train. Dewi was plump of stature, with a mop of silver hair, a fluffy moustache, twinkling eyes and a big friendly smile.He lived alone but for his animals he cared for on his small holding.
Every day he drove his train from his village, down the big valley, passed a mountainous of rocks called Dinas Emrys to a small resort on the coast. One day, he stopped to pick up an attractive oval shaped stone that had caught his eye on a previous journey. It was smooth to touch, white in colour with a tint of red, he thought it would look attractive on his mantle back home. He placed the stone in the corner of his engine cab, next to the boiler, for safe keeping until he got back. It soon got covered in coal dust and forgotten about.
Some weeks later, to his surprise the supposed stone broke open, as an egg, and out popped a baby dragon. The warmth from the engine boiler had hatched the unexpected dragon’s egg. Dewi although shocked, was also delighted with his new care and called him Ffred.
Fred as he grew up, learned quickly and became a great help. Dewi arrived at the station each morning to find his engine all steamed up from the boiler fired by Ffred’s hot dragon’s breath, plus a mug of lovely hot tea. Each day he accompanied Dewi on his journey down the valley, perched on top of the coal tender behind the engine. He became a much loved sight, grown up’s waved and the children all shouted ‘hi Ffred’. The village and church fete saw Ffred at his most useful and friendly best— the roast pig on the spit, as with the burgers, always cooked to perfection by the flames from his dragon’s breath.He was a great success with the crowds that gathered to see him perform.
Ffred enjoyed his work, travelling daily with Dewi, at night he slept in the barn on the small holding, all the other animals enjoyed the warmth and protection he give them. Although happy with this life, longed to know where he came from, in particular who is parents were. Dewi having avoided this question for a long time, eventually told him , in as kind a manner as he could, having no desire to hurt or disappoint him.
He described his arrival from an egg found amongst the rocks of Dinas Emrys. That his parents had been imprisoned there many years ago, because they had filled the whole nation with fright with their terrible screams(see earlier tale, The Plague of the Two Dragons) How they were captured and buried under the rocks.
Ffred being upset with this story of his heritage, decided to visit his birth place hoping to have words with his parents. Luckily they could hear him and confessed their guilt. But in mitigation, they did not realise how loud their screams were. They were sorry that the people thought they were fighting as it was a dragon courtship ritual. They fully understood the feelings of the people and in remorse told their son to make it up to them with kindness and friendship.
He returned home to Dewi, feeling a lot happier, having met his parents and fully accepted their recount of events leading up to their imprisonment.Meanwhile, mum and dad dragons had become aware they had a kind , loving son and perhaps with his devoted help could escape from their prison of stones. They hatched a plan. They recalled the old legend that Merlin, the wizard of King Arthur’s court had supposedly buried a casket full of his gold amongst the rocks of Dinas Emrys. With this in mind, during Ffred’s next visit, they told him of another mysterious that all dragon’s possess. As well as having fiery breath, they have tails that can act like metal detectors, finding precious metals like gold, in particular. This excited Ffred, with the prospect of finding gold and rewarding his friend Dewi with such riches. His parents with escape foremost in their thoughts, had other ideas. They asked their son to seek out the remaining gold reserves in the old Roman mines in the nearby hills and to collect as much as possible, then sprinkle it amongst the rocks of their prison. Like a kind and dutifully son, this he did.
Being aware of the legend of Merlin’s gold, the locals, inspired by greed, which the dragons had banked on,we’re soon disturbing the rocks in their pursuit of personal wealth. Eventually, the two dragons shed themselves of the last remaining rocks imprisoning them and under the cover of darkness escaped to the high peaks of the neighbouring mountains.
Did Ffred put his kindness before good sense?
Did the people allow greed take precedence over the prospect of the return of the terrible plague?
Only time well tell

One nice thing came out of the disturbed rocks, Dewi found another egg shaped stone, which is now safely in his engine cab. Perhaps a brother or sister for Ffred. If so what will he name it? Any ideas? E mail me.

Don’t forget, as mentioned in an earlier posting, when you visit my country of mystery and magic, if you are privileged to see a dragon, do not be surprised but keep it a secret. It is said that by so doing you will be rewarded with good health, happiness and good fortune.

Have I seen a dragon? That’s for me to know and you to guess. But I’m in my eighties, in good health and more than happy with my lot. What does that tell you?

There are more tales featuring Ffred the Friendly Dragon and his family and if you wish I will tell them at some future date.