In the mystical mountains of Scotland, created millions of years ago by huge volcanic eruptions, sat a great loch, deep, dark, and icy. Those magical, almost spiritual waters, surrounded by steep hills and sloping glens, lay between two small, isolated communities. Clouds like crumpled leather drifted hauntingly over this remote land. Above this loch, so mysteriously calm, it felt as if time stood still …
Late at night, deep below this watery world and unbeknown to life above, could be heard the gentle laughter of a small water dragon and her friends, happily skipping and dancing. When she wasn’t playing, the little water dragon, Nesy, spent a lot of the time daydreaming. One of her dreams was that one day she might have the power to blow fire through her nostrils, just like her cousin Alex who lived in Transylvania.
At dawn, when mist sat over the loch, Nesy often sneaked to the surface and hid behind a big rock. This concealment in the middle of the loch was Nesy’s secret shelter. It allowed her to watch the beautiful, long-haired highland cows, chewing on sweet grass, and the flock of sheep, happily bleating in morning gossip. Both cattle and sheep were protected by a watchful collie dog. Nesy admired this dog and the way he clearly loved protecting the other animals. She could see how close they all were to one another. Nesy dearly longed to talk with them all.
One morning, the cows and the sheep, closely followed by the collie dog, came down to the loch to quench their thirst. The young water dragon, Nesy, popped her head out of the water and politely asked them, “Excuse me, I am Nesy, and I live at the bottom of the loch with my friends, the water snails, cockles, fast-moving lobsters, crabs, and black mussels, but I would love to have friends above the water world too. Would you like to be my new friends?”
The animals were bewildered by Nesy’s appearance, especially by her different colored eyes. They took a step back, not knowing what to reply. Finally, the collie approached the edge of the water. “I am Kieran, and I am responsible for my friends, these cows and sheep. Every morning, I bring them here to graze and to drink fresh water from the loch. I would like to introduce them to you, but firstly, what type of creature might YOU be, Nesy?”
“I am a water dragon, Kieran, and I was born here, in the loch, many years ago, but I am still growing, as we can live for hundreds of years!” replied Nesy.
Kieran was astonished. “My goodness, that IS a long life,” he gasped. He turned to Rona, the leader of the flock, and saw that all his friends’ eyes were wide open in amazement. “Rona, did you hear that? Bring the flock to meet Nesy!”
Rona and the flock advanced, closely followed by the cows, who were equally shocked by this appearance of a water dragon.
“Yes, Kieran, it is truly remarkable!” Rona exclaimed.
“Rona is my trustee sheep,” added Kieran. “She helps me keep the flock together and does not allow any of them to wander into the fields of heather. There are dangerous adders there. When these venomous snakes don’t sleep, they await to strike any moving creature that passes through their territory.”
“One bite from them could kill you,” added Rona.
“And here are the most beautiful highland cows in all of Scotland,” continued Kieran, looking toward the cattle a few feet away from him. “Their long, shaggy hair has the color of a Scottish summer’s sunset, and their magnificent horns could pierce any wolf that might dare to come too close to their calves,” Kieran added, full of pride.
Just as Kieran finished talking, one of the cattle approached.
“This is Lutza. She has a very docile nature, which makes it easy for my flock of sheep to forage alongside her on these green pastures.”
Little Nesy was listening, fascinated at Kieran’s introduction to all of the lovely animals. She was so excited and very happy to have made new friends.
Lutza looked at Nesy inquisitively and ventured, “Now, my new friend, please tell us about you and your life. Are there other water dragons in the loch?”
“I am the only water dragon in this loch, Lutza, but I have a cousin called Alex in Transylvania, who is known as a fire dragon! I have never met him, but I am told he can blow fire through his nostrils. I know that from my dear friend Pol. He is a lobster who lives at the bottom of the loch. He is as old as time! Pol’s wisdom is legendary. We even joke with him and call him ‘The Fountain of Knowledge’! He knew my parents, Maga and Kool, before the great tornado came over this land. According to Pol, it all started with a thunderstorm and very strong winds, so strong that they lifted half of the water and every creature in it from the loch and sucked them away above the clouds! Perhaps, one day, we will be reunited. Pol has this theory: what goes up … comes down, eventually! If he believes that, I believe it too! This has happened in other parts of the world, he says, that’s why strange-looking creatures have ended up here in the loch. They were brought by the great tornado, all the way from the bottom of other oceans and waters. When the great tornado brought its fury to this land, thankfully, my mummy, Maga, had safely hidden me in my eggshell, in the crevice of a rock, so I would be safe from its rage.”
Amazed by Nesy’s story, Kieran, Lutza, and Rona made a pact to stay friends and help one another if any other disaster were to strike their land or loch.
Her new friends came to see her every day, and one morning, Nesy decided to share with them something that was very dear to her heart: her longing to discover the secret of making fireballs, just like her cousin, Alex.
“Kieran, do you think there may be a secret to being able to blow fireballs?” Nesy asked him curiously. “I know I am just a water dragon, but I think it would be so much more fun to blow fireballs. I sometimes wonder how I could find the secret. Can you imagine how scary that would be? I could protect all of you from the poisonous snakes and the other enemies you have, like the wolves you mentioned!” continued Nesy.
Kieran looked at Rona and Lutza and then, turning back to Nesy, he replied, “None of us know the secret, but I promise we will help you solve the mystery of blowing fireballs!”
Several days passed. Strong winds and heavy rain prevented Nesy’s new friends from coming to the loch. Finally, one glorious morning, Nesy surfaced to find her friends already there! This time, Lutza was smiling, as she had a great idea to share with Nesy:
“I was thinking that the only creatures who may know the secret of blowing fire are some other kinds of dragon, the dragonflies! It makes sense to me that one dragon may be able to help another dragon! They fly across the moors and meadows, mountains and glens. They see a lot on their travels, and perhaps they could help you.”
“It does make sense, Nesy! However, you will have to wait until the spring. It’s then when they start to arrive in their millions,” added Kieran.
“What a great idea!” Nesy leapt with joy. “I will wait, Kieran! Of course I will!” continued our water dragon. “Yippee!”
The weather was getting colder by the day, but in spite of that, the herd of cattle and the flock of sheep led by Kieran continued coming to the loch for water. Nesy met them every morning, and they shared stories about both life on the farm and inside the loch, two worlds that were so fascinating, but so completely different from one another.
One morning, Nesy looked up to the gray sky and saw straying snowflakes falling from the clouds. Food became scarce and Nesy met her friends less and less. As the loch started to slowly freeze, she bade farewell to them all until the spring and dived deep into the loch to prepare to hibernate for the long winter.
As she slept, the entire loch froze over and everything on land became carpeted in snow.
Of course, there was another world of which Nesy knew very little. At the farm where they all lived, her new friends were also preparing for the long, cold winter ahead. There was plenty of good food, including nutritious hay, oat straws, and corn stalks. And, of course, there was the warm shelter of the cozy barn. Kieran’s little hut was insulated with lots of hay and wool. The farmer loved his dog very much and never failed to recognize the good job Kieran did. Both farmer and dog were aware that the wolves were never too far away. Wolves were always on the lookout for daydreaming sheep. Kieran knew everything about his flock and their individual personalities. He knew which sheep were adventurous, a bit lazy, or a little elderly. This helped him protect them all from the danger that threatened them daily.
The winter months passed and Nesy slept as her friends lived safely, snug and happy. The little farm was now totally inaccessible, owing to the deep, deep snow which left all the roads to and from it impassible.
By the end of February the days gradually warmed up, the ice started to melt, and Nesy gently awakened from her slumber. As she did every year, she spring-cleaned her little nest and removed all the shells that her underwater comrades had shed over the winter.
Early one morning, Kieran’s bark echoed over the loch, and Nesy rushed to the surface to see her friends and ask how they had passed the winter.
“It’s spring, it’s spring, it’s finally here,” shouted a playful Rona, jumping about like a spring lamb.
“Nesy, it’s so good to see you, my dear friend,” Kieran added happily. “Yesterday, I spoke with some dragonfly scouts about your dream of blowing fire, and they are coming to meet you today.”
“TODAY! YIPPEE!!” And she thanked her friends as she splashed with joy.
Kieran then led the flock and the herd away from the loch, toward the green pastures, leaving a dreamy Nesy to await the dragonfly scouts.
By mid-morning, Nesy began to hear the buzzing of millions of tiny wings above the loch! As she looked up, she could see how beautiful those ancient creatures were, with colored patches on their transparent wings and their huge eyes. They were very agile fliers, who would eat those annoying midges in the summer.
As they flew overhead, Nesy flapped her fins in the water to attract their attention.
One of them hovered over her. “Hi, what a beautiful day this is,” the dragonfly remarked. “We didn’t see you last spring; are you new to the loch?”
“No, no, my tiny friend! I have been here many years. This is my home. I am a water dragon, and my name is Nesy. I have watched you arriving here every spring. I would like to get to know you all and I think you may be able to help me with a dilemma I have. I’ve been waiting for months for you to arrive, and it’s wonderful to see you safely here.”
“Thank you very much, Nesy. I am Mac, and these millions behind me are my family. We have traveled a long way and are looking forward to a lovely holiday in this glen. Of course, we will help you in any way we can. What is this dilemma you have?”
“Come and sit beside me and I’ll tell you, my little dragonfly.” Mac landed on a rock beside Nesy while she explained: “My dream, Mac, is to know the secret of blowing fireballs. You see, my cousin, Alex, lives in the land of the dragons, called Transylvania! He is a fire dragon. Have you ever been to that mystical land?”