This little Lusterware saucer—less than 4” in diameter—is a souvenir of Niagara Falls. It is also Moriage (slip decorated) Japanese Dragonware. I think I paid ten cents for it, because it was purple, and because all I could think when I looked at it was: what a cool title for a short story—“The Dragon of Niagara Falls”.
All entries remain under copyright to their authors.
Blue Eyes—Cathy Seckman
The moriage dragon lives in a purple lusterware sea, and he has blue eyes—very unusual for a white dragon. From the time he was old enough to notice the blue eyes, he’d blamed his mother for them.
“YOUR eyes aren’t blue,” he’d complained often and loudly. “You just HAD to fall in love with that blue-eyed freak, and now I’m a freak, too. Didn’t you even THINK?”
Mama had puffed an irritated burst of smoke at him on this particular occasion. “What I think right now, Son, is that I’ve heard this complaint one too many times. You’re 75 now, almost an adult, and maybe it’s time you started acting like one.”
“What the blessed blue flame does that mean?” Now Son was irritated.
“It means that I think it’s time you went to have a talk with your father, the blue-eyed freak.”
“Talk?!?!” Son nearly fell of his ledge. “What? You want me to talk to my father? Wait a minute!” he roared. The roar was actually quite good, for a 75-year-old.
“Are you saying you actually know where he is? You do, don’t you? Don’t you???” Now the roar filled their cavern. It shook pebbles from the walls, and dislodged an old bone from a shelf at the back. Mama was impressed.
“Yes,” she nodded. “Of course I know where he is.” She preened a little, smoothing a few ruffled scales on her glittering tail. “But never mind that. Tomorrow morning you’ll fly south across the Lusterware Sea, and when you see the Pointed Rock, follow it east. In two days you’ll come to Dragon’s Mount – you’ll know it when you see it. Your father lives on the highest level of the west face.”
wo days’ flying was a long way for such a young dragon. Son was flapping heavily by the time he sighted Dragon’s Mount, dropping low to the ground and struggling to keep level. He was slammed into an unexpected somersault when a guard dive-bombed him from above and crashed into his shoulder.
After a few embarrassingly long seconds of floundering, he righted himself, flapping frantically. Ahead of him a young female hovered. Son wished he could hover like that.
“Identify yourself!” To show she meant business, the guard shot a jet of flame that missed his nose by inches.
“S-S-Son of Wind Catcher,” he managed.
The guard snorted. “Wind Catcher’s our leader, you idiot. And he doesn’t have any sons. Follow me.”
She wheeled on one wing and shot off. Not knowing what else to do, he followed.
Wind Catcher, unlike the guard, was happy to see him. “I greet you, Son,” he boomed. “Last time I saw your mother, she told me I’d be seeing you soon. She said you’d have a question for me.”
Son was too busy goggling to catch that last bit. He was in an ornate cavern, the biggest he’d ever seen, at the top of Dragon’s Mount. At least two dozen dragons filled the hall. Every single one of them, as far as he could tell, had blue eyes.
“Well?” Wind Catcher boomed.
“Well – ah – well what? Um. Papa?”
“You have a question for me, don’t you? What is it?”
Son all but melted into the floor of the cavern. He felt like a 50-year-old. He sounded like one, too. He groveled, darting frightened glances around the sea of blue eyes. How could he – What could he --?
The young guard stood four-square beside his father, judging him, finding him wanting. Her pitying stare made him want to be better. It made him want to amaze her. So he straightened up.
He knew how impressive his wingspan was. It was the best thing he’d inherited from his mother, and he had just enough wits left to use it. In a sudden movement he flared his wings up and out as far as he could stretch them. Two immature dragons had to scramble out of the way. He felt his left wingtip brush a low spot in the cavern roof. Iridescent greens and yellows and golds flashed in a beam of sunlight from the mouth of the hall. A collective “Ahhhh!” issued from the crowd. Son held his head high.
“I came to my father,” he said, “wanting to know why my eyes are blue. It’s unheard of among my pride.” He turned slowly, meeting a hundred pairs of eyes with boldness. “Now that I’m here – I know. And I’m proud.”
The sound started as a rustle, wing against wing, then quickly grew to a thunder of susurration. He felt the approval of his father’s pride.
His father stepped forward, his own wings flaring. “Welcome,” he said, “Fierce Eyes.”
The Dragon of Niagara Falls—Susan Dexter
Heliotrope laired in a grotto beneath Niagara Falls, bathed in lavender twilight, where water fell past like endless rain. In a damp hollow in the bedrock, she kept a pearl like the moon, wrought by the tumbling waters of the falls, rounding a lump of quartz smooth as cream and white as snow new-fallen.
When she slept, lulled by water-thunder, the smoke escaping from her nostrils blended with the mist of the falls. She was not old, but she was older than the dragon of Angel Falls. She was not young, but she was younger than the dragon of Victoria Falls, for that was her mother.
Heliotrope slept, unaware that, not far away as a dragon flies, plans were being made to divert the Niagara River, stop the flow of water over the American Falls, and explore the talus heap beneath the falls.
The End? Oh, Noooo…