The Legend of the Hungry Dragon
Long, long ago, near the banks of luminous sky-river known as the Milky Way, there lived a great and fearsome dragon. Dragon was a fierce creature, known throughout the heavens. The smoke and fire from his monstrous nostrils could be seen streaking through the skies at night, causing terror amongst the primitive people of Mother Earth. It was not just humanity, though, that cowered before the great Dragon, but also the majestic stars. You see, children, Dragon, in his quest to keep the fire in his belly stoked, had taken to devouring these powerful infernos. To the stars dismay, Dragon thought them a choice delicacy.
As it happened on that fateful day so many seasons ago, Dragon's path took him close to the most powerful of the stars, the mighty Sun, ruler of Day. Dragon had for some time been looking for a large star to be his next meal. In fact, it had been such a long time since he had last eaten that the blaze within him had nearly died. Not wishing to look pathetic in the eyes of the universe, he decided that he must consume the next star he came upon, to nurse the flame back into all its former glory. As he soared closer to Sun, he grew excited. This truly would be a satisfying supper.
Unfortunately, Sun, observing great Dragon's approach, did not share in his joy. Sun knew that Dragon would find come eventually but had always prayed that somehow this confrontation might be avoided. Sun knew that physically he was no match for Dragon. Therefore, Sun was naturally slightly distressed.
Soon, Dragon had come close enough to Sun to shout a greeting. "Mighty Sun, it is I, Dragon! I ask you, do you have anything about to satisfy my raging appetite? I am very hungry!" Dragon smiled deviously to himself.
"No, dreaded Dragon, I do not! Please leave my domain!" replied Sun, with more than a little trepidation in his voice.
"You must have something, Sun. Perhaps something--hot?"
Sun knew the inevitability of his fate if he remained paralyzed with fright. Fortunately, Sun had quite a clever mind and prided himself on being a very good cook. While Dragon continued on his course towards him, Sun concocted a plan.
Dragon quickly covered the remaining distance between himself and Sun. His lips watered as he felt the tremendous heat emanating from the blazing star. A few wisps of smoke came from his nostrils. He stretched open his mouth to swallow Sun whole.
"Wait, Dragon!" Sun cried. "I have a gift to offer you."
"A gift?" asked Dragon. "What sort of gift?"
"One of food!"
"Food?" Dragon was confused. What was Sun trying to do?
"Yes! It is a cookie," Sun said.
"Why would I be interested in a cookie?"
"It is made of green cheese," Sun answered, waving it enticingly in Dragon's face.
"Green cheese! My favorite!" Dragon snatched the cookie from Sun. He hovered a distance from Sun, near Mother Earth, and admired his new prize.
Sun was greatly relieved to have outwitted Dragon. He watched as Dragon slowly nibbled the cookie, savoring every morsel. From that day forward, Sun always had a fresh green cheese cookie waiting every time Dragon finished the last one. So far, Dragon has always chosen the cookie over Sun, though the flames inside him are nearly extinguished. Therefore, for now, Sun is safe from an untimely death.
The people living on Mother Earth soon grew accustomed to the sight of the diminishing cookie visible in the night skies. They gave it the name Moon. Because Dragon ate his cookie so regularly, the people also began to count their days and months by it. The time when Dragon returned with his new cookie was called "full moon," and, when his cookie was entirely consumed, the time was known as "new moon."
That, children, is how Moon came to be.
Copyright © 2002 Colleen Fischer | Last updated October 7, 2002