Gathering Together

Angie the dragon Tamer

I am not quite sure when it was that I first met Angie. She has remarkable golden hair that always seemed to ruffle in the morning breeze. I was walking down the lane through grandpa's orchard, when out of the corner of my eye I saw something dark and sinister. It had long ears and slanted eyes that seemed to rip the breath right out of my lungs. Suddenly there was a flourish in the brush and over the top of the hedge there appeared a green headed dragon. Now I don't mind telling you that I am just not accustomed to such things, and let out the most horrifying scream of my life. The black figure loomed ever closer and its teeth gleamed fervent white in the morning sun. Then without so much as a sound, sprang over the hedge and stood on its hind legs. I was petrified and just stood there trembling as this monstrous beast put its paws on both sides of my head and looked me in the eyes. Oh, how foul its breath was, and still peering into my eyes, it spoke, "Say, mate, what's a nice looking young man like you doing in a haunted place like this?" Looking over its left shoulder it spoke again saying, "Arthur, should I eat this boy or do you want to?" "N-n-no, I cried. This is my grandfather's orchard. What in the world are the two of you doing in here, and get your paws off of me. Your breath is atrocious. What do you think you are doing? Who is this Arthur, anyway?" "Sorry there little mate, but I had an ogre for lunch, and they don't taste so good, do they Arthur?" "Now there, you go again with that Arthur stuff, who is Arthur?" I asked. "Oh well, since you're not going to eat him, you might as well show yourself and explain who you are to the lad. It is a shame to let such a tasty morsel go, isn't it?" Just in the twinkling of an eye, there stood the biggest greenest, dumbest looking dragon I have ever seen. Come to think of it, this is the only dragon I have ever seen. "OH, MY," I exclaimed. "Are you Arthur? You don't look so ferocious. Have you been ill?" "I beg your pardon, young Mr. Smarty Pants, but you look far too scrawny for a dragon of my reputation to waste nibbling on your bones and I doubt very much that William would want you either," said the dragon. I was taken aback at that last remark. "Reputation; just what kind of reputation would someone as pathetic as you have?" I asked so rudely. Just then the most beautiful young woman I have ever seen seemed to float right over the head of Arthur and landed right in front of me. How beautiful her green eyes were as they sparkled in the warm morning light. Her flaxen hair shimmered in the sunlight and slightly waved in the breeze. "Hello, boy." she said. "My name is Angie, I am the dragon tamer and queen of all that you see. Tell me son, you claim to know the master of this forest. Do you know his name? Tell me quickly or I shall let William eat you just for the sport of it." "Whoa there, Miss Angie, I am his grandson, and I am no boy. I am twenty seven. My name is the same as his. I am Arthur William Winslow the Third. I am to become the heir to all of this property, quite soon I guess. Grandfather has been missing for nearly a year now. I don't want to be the landlord; I just want my grandfather back. He is my very best friend." The young woman took a step closer. She was four inches from my lips when she said, "Young Arthur William of Winslow, I am so happy to meet you.  I am Princess Angela of Winslow; do you remember your mother?" “N-n-no," I stammered. "How is it that you have the same last name as me?" I asked. "Are you an enchanted fairy or something like that?" "No, my dear boy, I am not. You may want to sit down. What I am about to tell you is going to sound preposterous to you, but every word of it is the truth." "I met your grandfather sixty years ago. He was thirty one and I was still a young girl of 125 of earth's years." "Now wait right there," I yelled back at her. "My grandfather was married to Emma Williams Clarke. She died last year at 92 years of age. I have known her all of my life and my father remembers her as a beautiful young woman who raised him and me after my mother died. There can be no truth to what you are saying." At that I drew my sword and set out to destroy her. Then all of a sudden, the strangest thing happened. Right before my eyes, Arthur changed into grandfather. Well, right there, I fell back and lit on my behind. "But, grandfather, you look like you did in the pictures when my father was a little boy on Winslow farm. How can this be? Have you become bewitched by this temptress?" I asked. "No, Arthur," he said softly. "Nothing is ever quite as it seems. Now I want you to listen very carefully to what I am about to tell you. Do you remember much about your mother, Arthur?" "No," I said. "I was only three when she went away." "Angie is your mother," he said. "She had to leave because her life was in grave danger. The world that she came from was overrun by the Brogus, a terrible and cruel bunch of thieves and cut throats. They followed her trail to earth and they found her on Winslow farm. I managed to hide her and bring her here to the orchard where she has lived and taken care of me and l looked after you--from a distance--of course. I was eighty-seven when you were born. That was twenty seven-years ago. Your mother is indeed Angela. Your father married her two years before you were born. When you were three, the Brogus came, and your father and I brought her here for safety." "My father, you say? He was killed in the war. He is buried on the farm alongside grandmother." "Yes, yes, I know. It was such a tragic wound; no one thought that he could survive. I brought him here to be attended to by your mother. I buried an empty box, to protect you and him. You see, your mother has very special powers. She saved his life and he stayed here with us."Just then I whirled and looked at the dark creature and asked, "So I guess I am supposed to believe that you are my father. Is that about right? Are you my father, Arthur William Winslow II?" Calmly, my father appeared. "Yes, my son, it is I. I am so grateful to finally hold you in my arms again." At that I ran to his waiting arms. I hugged him long and hard, then grandfather, and finally my blessed mother. "Oh, mother, I have longed for this day all of my life. I'll never let you go again." "Nor shall I," she answered. We had a jolly good visit and I promised to come there every day, and when I married, I would bring my bride and children to the orchard as often as I could. Upon leaving, I held my beautiful mother in my arms and hugged her close for the longest time. Then I turned to leave. I hadn't gotten ten yards away when I looked back, for one last look. To my disbelief, there stood the dragon, the black creature, and the most beautiful butterfly I had ever seen. To this day the butterflies come to my garden regularly. Life is strange, isn't it?

Glen Bear Smith