As the music played and people danced in the center of the village, the lonely dragon watched from his cave at the top of the mountain.
He was a sweet dragon, who wouldn’t hurt a fly. But all of the townspeople were afraid of him. They had heard frightening legends and assumed every dragon was mean and dangerous.
Hearing the children’s laughter, the poor dragon longed to join the festivities. But he didn’t want to scare anyone, so he stayed alone in his cold, dark cave.
Below in the village, a little girl named Penelope was restless and bored. Her parents were dancing, and her brothers were playing tag. She didn’t want to be at the celebration any longer. She wanted to go home.
Walking away from the loud music, she sat on a low, stone wall overlooking the majestic mountain. Legends told of a fiery monster that lived deep inside one of the caves, but she didn’t believe them. The only thing that lived in caves were bats!
Suddenly, she saw a bright flash of light at the very top of the mountain. She thought it might be a falling star. But when she saw it again, she knew it was coming from one of the caves.
Meanwhile, the big dragon sneezed again. Each time, flashes of fire flared from his nostrils. Perhaps he was getting a cold? Do dragons get colds?
Wondering out of the cave, he peered at the villagers below. Oh, what fun they were having! Then, he spotted a little girl, sitting all by herself. She was looking right at him! Scurrying back to his cave, he wondered if he had scared the poor little maiden. But when he poked his head out, she was still there, looking straight at him.
Timidly, he ventured out. Then, he took a few steps down the mountain. They were big steps, of course, because dragons don’t know how to take little steps. Within a few minutes, the little girl and the big dragon were face-to-face. She stared into his glowing, green eyes. He stared into her wide, brown eyes. Then, she gave a little smile, which caused the dragon to flash a great, big smile.
Bravely, she reached out to touch his face. It felt scaly and rough. The dragon swept the top of her head. Her hair felt soft and smooth.
Then, without warning, the dragon sneezed, a spark of light flashing from his nostrils. The little girl screamed and jumped back. Oh, no! He had scared her! But then, the dragon heard her giggle. She was laughing!
He laughed with her, knowing he had finally found a friend. And for the first time, in a long time, he was a very happy dragon indeed.