The Purple Dragon

by Karl Schmidt (C)1984


Once upon a time, in a land far far a way, lived a grand purple dragon. He spent his days in his cave on an island of sea guarding his family jewels (as that is what dragons do).

One day, he started to itch in the middle of his back in that place where you can't quite reach.  The itch got worse and worse until he started to sweat! Now sweating is very a bad thing for dragons, for if they start to sweat, their scales will fall off and dragons need their scales!
 
The purple dragon knew he would have to get help, so he went out of his cave and jumped into the air and began to fly. He flew a long time over the ocean all the time itching so bad that he was really beginning to sweat now!

Finally, he saw land ahead, and he flew over and saw a little girl standing in a corn field that looked just like you!  He went down and landed, bowed to the girl and told her that he needed her help.purple_dragon.jpg

"You see I have an itch in the middle of my back in that place where you can't quite reach. Can you help me scratch it?"

The little girl was a little scared, as she had never seen a Purple dragon before (actually she had never seen any dragons before)! She told the Dragon with a bit of a waver in her voice,

"I will try, but I am so small I don't think I can quite reach."

At that point, a farmer saw the dragon and was very afraid - so he called his friends and they came towards the dragon swinging their shovels, rakes, and pitchforks.  The dragon backed slightly and took a deep breath and blew out a great ball of fire.  The farmers ran away, dropping their rakes and shovels, but the ball of fire hit the corn in the field, and because it was a field of popping corn, it popped (and made a lot of noise!) - so much popped that there was now a small hill of freshly popped popping corn.

Then the little girl, who looks just like you, had an idea. She grabbed one of the rakes and climbed up the hill of freshly popped popping corn and called to the dragon to come next to the hill. Now she could just reach with the rake and scratch the dragon in the middle of his back in that place where you can't quite reach. 

The dragon was so relieved now that the itch was gone. He bowed again to the girl, who really looked just like you, and politely thanked her. He told her he would always be her friend and the girl smiled from ear to ear.  Then the dragon said he must get back to his cave and the girl asked if he really must leave so soon. He told her that he must, for the farmers would come back and he really didn't want to hurt them, besides he had to guard his jewels. He said he only had time to give her a short ride if she liked. So she climbed up the hill of freshly popped pop corn and got on the dragons back and the dragon ran a few steps and off they flew as she held on tight.

The girl squealed with delight as she looked down and waved at the people that looked like ants from up so high. The dragon came back and the girl climbed back onto the hill of freshly popped pop corn and waved good by as the dragon took to the sky and returned to his island in the sea.

Now at night, the little girl dreams of riding on the back of her friend, the purple dragon.

The end.


Some notes on the purple subspecies of Asian dragons:  

There are five species of Asian dragons known: Draconis rubeus (the Red dragon), Draconis aurum (the gold dragon), Draconis thalassinus (the green dragon), Draconis sapphirus (the blue dragon) and Draconis purpura (the purple dragon).  Dragons are related to cephalopods, giant squids in particular.Like most molluscs, cephalopods use hemocyanin, a copper-containing protein, rather than hemoglobin to transport oxygen. At some point there was a mutation that gave dragons  a much more effective red blood with a very similar molecule to hemoglobin that is thought to be why they were able to develop such high intelligence.

While some biologists disagree, the rare purple dragon breed is thought to be result of a hybrid cross between the red and the rare blue Asian dragons species that were bred to protect castles. The winged European dragons, Draconis alaruos are thought to have descended from the Asian blue dragons.  The Asian blue dragon, has recently been shown by DNA evidence to have been bred from the red during the early Ming dynasty putting an end to a long and ugly controversy by past dragon paleontologists over thoughts that it had come from the diminutive green dragons genes. A breeding back to the original red dragon is thought to be the source of the largest and most intelligent of the dragons, the rare purple dragons.  (By the way, the very dangerous gold dragon was almost as long, but  lacks any hint of the purple dragons advanced intelligence.)  

Why the European dragons lost their levocorpus or had non functional ones is highly controversial, some think it had to do with the different diet available on the European continent, while others insist that it was due to the evolution of much larger wing buds - the Asian dragons don't always even have this structure. Still others insist the winged dragons are a completely different species descended from giant bats.

Little is know about the purple dragons other than their incredible length, their amazing  intelligence and speech ability. We also know that they had the largest known of the fire producing organs (called the incendio gland) of any dragon, .  Non winged, the purple dragon had the most well developed levocorpus of any dragon which extended over 180 degrees so that most of the sides could also produce lift. This is thought to explain the highly maneuverable body. 

The purple dragons hybrid vigor and intelligence was coupled with a rather low fertility rate which is thought to have limited the species along with the violent and sometimes lethal mating courtship. The purple dragons mated for a lifetime - now thought to be over 800 years!

While the purple dragon mostly believed to be extinct like the other dragons, occasional sitings are still reported and it is possible that this elusive dragon my still be with us. The extinction of dragons during the middle ages is thought to be from over hunting.  The hide of dragons produced better armor than leather, but unfounded myths of the properties of 'heart stings' caused countless dragons to be slaughtered only to find inside their bodies a heart not unlike those in cephalopods.

(C) Copyright 1984-2007