Frizzle's Scale Burn

Taleweaver and Betty Harmon
© August 6, 2005

A long time ago, in a land far, far away lived a little dragon named Frizzle.
One day during a very hot summer, Frizzle woke up feeling hot. His scales felt as though they were too tight, his nest felt too small and he was grumpy! Without leaving his nest, Frizzle looked around his family’s cave. They all looked as grouchy as he felt! No one was smiling or wishing anyone else good morning, no one was moving and Uncle Nelg even had his tongue hanging out a little! Usually their cave was cool, moist and a nice place to live. Today though, Frizzle did not want to be at home!
“I think,” rasped Mama “that we all need a trip to the waterfalls.”
Frizzle and Flame, who was Frizzle’s baby brother, cheered. Even Papa Dragon looked pleased. Flame had never been to the waterfalls before, but Frizzle had told him all sorts of wonderful stories about it and it sounded fun.

It didn’t take the Dragon family long to start trooping through the woods. Papa was in the lead, followed by Nana, Uncle Nelg, Flame, Frizzle, Mama and then Daddy. A Knight riding his horse through the woods saw the family and rubbed his eyes because he thought he might be seeing things. But the dragons were still there! Daddy stopped and stared hard at the Knight, as if he was daring the human to do something. (Daddy was very grumpy) Then the Knight’s horse caught the scent of dragon, reared up and dumped the Knight on his behind! There was a mighty clatter as the Knight’s suit of armour rattled and banged, and the horse ran off so terrified that it would take hours to catch him. All of the dragons had stopped now, and were staring at the poor Knight. Wisely, he raised his hands and backed away, muttering about the cowardice of horses. The dragons waited until he had clanked out of sight, and continued on their way to the waterfalls.

As he and his family walked through the forest, Frizzle tried very hard to spot some of his woodland friends. When he saw the large, black rock that sat beside the old maple tree, Frizzle knew they were very close to the cave that his friend Baby Bear lived in. Even though Frizzle looked and looked, Baby Bear was nowhere to be seen. Sighing a little sadly, Frizzle walked quietly behind Flame. As they trod past the big pond, Frizzle hoped he might see Turtle and introduce him to the Dragon family. But Turtle was not sunning himself on his favourite rock. Deep in the trees once more, Frizzle hoped he might see Raccoon playing in the branches. But as they left the ring of oak trees, it seemed they would not see Raccoon after all. Frizzle sighed again and his ears drooped with dejection.
“Frizzle? What is the matter?” Mama asked from behind him.
“I was hoping to see some of my friends, Mama, so they could meet all of you. But I can’t see any of them.”
“You must remember, son, that many animals are afraid of our kind.”
“But they aren’t afraid of me!”
“To a turtle, there is more safety in one small dragon than in a group of seven hot, grumpy dragons.” Frizzle knew his mother was right, but he was still sad his friends were hiding.

As Frizzle walked and walked, he thought the air tasted more refreshing. It smelled cleaner and wetter. As he and his family trooped through the woods, he could hear a sound that got louder and louder, until it became a mighty roar! Flame pushed closer to Mama Dragon and said, “Mama, I’m scared. Is it a huge dragon, bigger than Daddy?”
“No, Flame, it’s the waterfalls! C’mon, I’ll show you!” Frizzle called out as he ran towards the sound. Flame didn’t run after his big brother, but he did follow. When he finally got to the edge of the forest, he could see a cliff higher than he could ever imagine, and water pouring over the top of it.
“That's the waterfalls, Flame. It’s a fun place! I’ll show you how to swim, and dive and catch fish! Come on!” Frizzle was very excited.
Flame wasn’t so sure. He carefully dipped one green toe in the water, and a big smile little up his face. “It’s cool, Mama!”
Mama Dragon smiled and waded into the water with her tail dragging behind her. “Come along, Flame, there’s nothing to be afraid of.”
Flame followed his mother more bravely now. He knew that while his big brother might not have any fear, his Mama understood that little dragons are sometimes afraid of new things. And huge waterfalls were definitely scary!

While Flame played in the water, Frizzle dove among the rocks, startling schools of little fish and sleepy eyed turtles. He was having GREAT fun! His uncle, Nana and Papa had found a shady nook, and sat in the water humming old dragon songs. His father had joined Mama and Flame, and was teaching Flame how to puff up his little chest with air so he could float. They all enjoyed themselves immensely and by the time the sun started to slip behind the trees, they were all very tired and ready to go home. Daddy Dragon led the way since he could see the best, then Papa, then Nana, Flame and Frizzle, Mama, and Uncle Nelg guarded the rear. Their tails all drooped, but it was a good kind of tired. When they reached their cave, Frizzle was exhausted! He went straight to his nest and flopped into it as if he had no bones at all.
“YOW!” Frizzle hollered as he jumped back out of his nest.
“Frizzle! What’s the matter?” Nana asked.
“My scales hurt, Nana! They feel all tight too!”
Nana led Frizzle over to the cave door where the light was better. “Ahh, I see. The sun has changed the colour of your scales from green to shiny red. It happens sometimes when dragons spend too long out of the shade.”
“But why does it hurt?”
“Because dragons are not meant to have our scale-colour changed like that. They change as we become older, but when the sun does it, it dries out our scales, even when we are playing in the water. It hurts to remind us not to be out of the shade as long as we were.”
“Will it hurt long?”
Mama came over. “I have something that will help, Frizzle.” She looked at Nana Dragon with love, even though she was still talking to Frizzle. “Nana used to pick certain plants when I got a scale-burn. She would stomp them until they got all gooey and then she would spread it on my scales. I always felt better after that.”
“Gooey?” mumbled Frizzle. “Sounds gross” But he knew that Nana would never have hurt Mama when she was young.
“Can you make the goo for me, Mama?”
Papa was already heading out the door muttering, “It’s a good thing I know what those plants look like by moonlight.”

Soon, Papa was back with the plants that Mama needed. She took them to a corner of the cave, stomped on them until they were all quite gooey and then called Frizzle over.
“Now Frizzle, I’m going to be as gentle as I can, but this might sting at first. It will start feeling better very soon.” Frizzle gulped and nodded, trying very hard to be brave.
Mama began to gently rub the goo over Frizzle’s red scales. At first the goo stung on his tender scales, and Frizzle wiggled in place and puffed out sparks between his teeth. After a few moments, though, the burn in his scales eased a bit and Frizzle sighed with relief. Mama wrapped the remaining goo in a large leaf and placed it carefully on a ledge of the cave wall. Then she gathered Frizzle carefully in her arms and sat in the big rocking chair. She was very careful not to touch the worst of the scale burn. Frizzle laid his head on Mama. Mama rocked slowly and hummed a little dragon lullaby under her breath. Frizzle relaxed and his eyes began to close. He was getting sleepy now that the hurt had eased.
Frizzle raised his head a bit and asked, “Can we go back to the waterfalls tomorrow Mama?”
“No, Frizzle. We better stay at home in the shade until your scales are better,” Frizzles mama answered. She smiled a bit at the frown that appeared on Frizzle’s face. Then she went on to explain, “If we go back before your scales heal, you could burn them even more in the sun, and then your scales would feel even worse. They might even fall off and leave your skin exposed. That would be very dangerous for you, my son. Exposed dragon skin can be badly hurt. No, we must stay close to the cave in the shade of the forest trees until your scales are better. And the next time we visit the falls, you must remember to spend less time in the sun.”
“Yes, Mama.” Frizzle sighed and laid his head down on Mama’s shoulder again.
“That’s my good dragon.” Mama kissed the top of his head and began to hum the dragon lullaby again. The last thought Frizzle had before he fell asleep was the fun he and Baby Bear could have playing checkers at the big stump in the forest tomorrow.

The End

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