The Dragon's Question

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The First Lesson

The next day, the dragon flew back to the olive tree. The woman was waiting for him with six men and women. The dragon landed so hard that the tree shook. "When will everyone come?" he asked.

"This IS everyone," the woman said.

"What?!" the dragon roared. A little fire came out of his mouth, and all the people looked very scared. "I told you to bring many people! Six is not many!"

"But you are a great and terrible dragon," the woman replied calmly. "You are very scary, but they came to listen to you. Finding six brave people was not easy."

The dragon thought about this for a moment. "You are right," he said. He pointed at the people with one sharp claw. "We will start now. Sit down and listen."

Everyone sat down very quickly.

The dragon also sat down, but his head was taller than the olive tree. "You are too tall," the woman said. "Please lie down so we can see you better."

The dragon lay down on the grass. He opened his mouth to speak, but stopped. "I do not know how to start," he said unhappily.

The woman tapped her chin. "Ask your students for questions," she said. "That will give you ideas."

The dragon nodded. "Ask your questions," he said to the group.

One young man raised his hand. He looked very nervous. "Great dragon," he asked quietly, "how old are you?"

"In human years, I am four thousand and twenty-one years old," the dragon replied. "I am not a young dragon, but I am also not an old dragon."

Another man raised his hand. "Great dragon, did you meet King David the Wise? He lived more than three thousand years ago."

"Yes," the dragon said. "He was very wise, and I learned many things from him. I did not eat him."

"Did you also meet King Robert the Brave?" asked the young man. "I heard that he was ten feet tall and had one hundred wives!"

The dragon laughed. "King Robert was short. I think he was shorter than you."

The young man was surprised. "Really?"

"Yes," the dragon said, "and he was very mean, perhaps because he was so short. He only had one wife, but he loved her very much. He did not need one hundred wives."

An old man asked the next question. "Great dragon, there is smoke coming from the mountain near Blackstone Castle. Do you know why? My king is very worried."

"That mountain has many names," said the dragon. "One name is Fire Mountain because it is a volcano. It erupts every five hundred years or so."

The old man's face went white. "May I be excused, great dragon?" he said, sounding very scared. "I must tell my king right away."

The dragon looked annoyed, but nodded. "Yes, you may leave."

The old man ran away very quickly.

Next, a woman raised her hand. "Great dragon, I am a doctor, and I have a very sick patient. His stomach really hurts and he is very hot, but my medicine does not help him. Do you know his problem?"

The dragon thought for a minute. "Yes, I read about this in one of my books," he said. "You must cut open his stomach and cut out the sick part."

The doctor was shocked. "But how can I do that?!" she shouted. "That will kill him!"

"Perhaps, but he will die if you do nothing. Try, and he might live," replied the dragon.

The doctor looked worried, but she nodded. "Tell me what to do," she said. She took out a pen and paper and wrote down everything the dragon told her. "I understand now. Thank you, great dragon."

"Go see your patient," the dragon said. "You do not have much time."

The doctor bowed and left quickly.

The dragon answered questions and talked for many hours. The woman stood next to him the whole time and helped him when he needed help. However, he got very angry when he saw a man sleeping. "Why are you asleep?!" he roared. The man woke up and looked very scared. "I am still talking!"

"It is very late," the woman said, "and everyone is tired."

The dragon looked around and saw that it was night. "I forgot that humans need to sleep every day," he said. He looked at the group again. "Before today, I only knew one brave human. Now I know seven. Go home and rest."

The people thanked the dragon and bowed, then went home.

"Do you want them to come back tomorrow?" asked the woman.

"Yes," said the dragon. "I liked talking with them. I want to talk with more people."

"So you will not eat me today?" she asked with a smile.

The dragon smiled back. "Not today, but perhaps I will eat you tomorrow."

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