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January 19, 2006

Dragon Slaying

I have a list of fifty-five great topics to write about and I've chosen this; it's not even on my list.

Callum came to my house last night; he wanted to slay dragons, and the sword is at my house. I equipped him with his little shield and his little sword and he said "You be the jagen and I'll be the knight." I roared my terrible roar and raised my scaly hands above my head. His eyes widened, his body froze, he pulled his head back, and he tensed his jaw. Breaking from character, I said "Run!" He turned and ran into the living room, me bounding after him, puffs of smoke billowing from my long and hideous snout.

As I came around the corner, I was confronted with a fearsome sight: three feet tall he stood, with powerful, piercing eyes; his sword held aloft ready to strike, his shield held before his heart. Like a scared puppy, I came to a halt in front of him, awed by his mystical power. He brought the sword down into my hind leg. Reeling in pain, I turned and fled, that little Percival chasing behind me, yelling and waving his sword.

Into the dark corridor I went, emerald blood spilling in my path; stoking my internal fire, I lay in wait. He entered the corridor from the side path, treading cautiously. I saw him and as I approached, I let out a wave of searing flame towards him. He tensed, momentarily feeling fear, and then he lifted the shield to protect his face. Once I was in range, my scaly tail banging against the wall, he pulled his shield away and came at me, delivering a quick succession of slashes and thrusts with his sword.

Some parrying took place: I deflected some of the blows and my claws came within inches of his skin at times, but I was unable to compete with the deadly sequence that he dealt me.

As I lay on the floor, out of breath, smoke wafting from my nose, my body almost lifeless, he lifted his sword and drove it down into my green heart. Victory was written across his face, and his chest was held high. He had slain the dragon.

After this initial introductory role-playing period, we moved into advanced dragon slaying techniques. He quickly identified a pile of cardboard boxes as a sleeping dragon and set off to slay it, running at it screaming. I demonstrated how to creep up on the dragon, so as not to wake it; to walk quietly, to hide around corners, to move stealthily from cover to cover. And then finally, to hold the sword like a dagger, to raise it above his head, to bellow out his presence and to drive the sword into the dragon's heart. He accompanied me on this mission, paying great attention.

The final stage in the training was free-style dragon hunting. In this phase, he would identify a dragon: "That green fing, that's a jagen." And he would run into the room, stand in a perfect warrior's stance, proud and strong, and yell as loud as he could: "Aaaaarrrr, I'm going to get you jagen." Around and around the house he ran while I tried to keep up. He would encounter me and say, slightly fearfully, "You're not a jagen, don't be a jagen." And I would reply calmly, "I'm just watching." Again and again he would say that and I would reply, "I'm just watching."

Then he asked if we could play some "muse-kick". I turned on my electric keyboard and he went to fetch the flute. I don't really know how to play the keyboard, but as I plucked out the harpsichord-notes with him squatting next to me, he began to nod his head to my rhythm, and standing up, to swing his hips also. He skipped across the room in one direction, playing random and shrieking notes on the flute and then returned, marching. As I continued to play, he started to twirl the flute in front of him, and to the side, and above his head, while lifting his legs straight in front. He shuffled away on the wood floor, wiggling his bottom, and then marched towards me again, twirling his flute, his head tilted to one side, a painted smile on his face.

"Callum," I said. "Yes." he replied. "Come here." I said softly. "Yes." he said and walked over to me "Yes." he said again once there. I lay on my back, and held him above me, and I ticked his ribs. He giggled and wiggled; "Don't tickle meeee." he said, a grin on his face, "I don't want you to do that any more." "Okay." I said and stopped. I stroked his head and cuddled him; I told him that I love him; I told him that I will always love him. I lifted him up on my feet and he flew like a plane.

And then it was time to drive home, and he said he didn't need to go in the car because he was an airplane: his arms, the wings; his tummy, the cockpit; his legs, the wheels; all the passengers were inside of him. And so on the drive home he was my co-pilot; we flew up to the edge of space and then back down, just skimming the tops of trees; we flew upside-down and banked through perilously sharp turns.

In the scriptures of India, the parent's love for their child is called sakhya bhava. I am the archetypal father within you and Callum is the archetypal son; we stand patiently at the door of your heart, knocking gently. We want you to share this joy, because it's yours as much as it is ours. This is also true for those without children, especially those who cannot have children. Please enjoy this, it is yours.

"Thank you for letting me peek in the window at you and Callum playing Jagen Slaying. A lovely gift! ... Your writing is fantastic, because your soul shines so bright and you are expressing that light in words on the 'page'." — Rosie

"This is so beautiful. I am crying." — Mary

"I did enjoy this piece very much, I even cried a little." — Charlie

"That's magical! From my work in Jungian psychology, I have learned that dragons symbolize the unconscious mind and slaying it means facing it and embracing it as our own. In my own imagery using a technique called GIM, guided music and imagery, I entered the unconscious (a cave) to slay the dragon but there was such a sadness in his eyes that I felt deep love and compassion for the dragon instead. In subsequent sessions, I befriended the dragon and even brought him out of the cave and taught him to fly again. I had this inner experience of flying on the dragon's back and was amazed when I saw a scene in a Harry Potter film of him flying on a bird like creature." — John


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