Ham's Dragon

January 28, 2011
By , Baton Rouge, LA
Dragons used to fly. They used to fly all the time. My great grandmother would tell stories about then at night to all us kids. They were fascinating stories about dragons of all shapes and sizes and the people who encountered them.

My favorite was about a man named Ham:

Ham was a young man of fifteen when this story begins. He was supposed to have grown and been mature at this point in his life but he wasn’t. We call people like Ham dreamers now, but they were declared lazy and a liability then.

When Ham was supposed to be helping gathering the grown wheat in the fields for the village he would suddenly stop and watch as a dragon soared over head. He would stand doing nothing for several minutes until someone found him and asked what he was doing. His usual response was, “Wondering where the dragons go.” He would stay in that far and distant way that made you think he was somewhere else.

His fits of staring off into space became natural but irritating. His haul from the fields was always considerably less than anyone else. Most people didn’t want anything to do with him, but he did have one good friend, Alf.

Ham told all his dreams and thoughts to Alf, which were a lot. One day while Alf was talking about the big harvest party that would be coming soon Ham interrupted suddenly and said, “I’m going to find my dragon.”

Alf looked up and said, “What do you mean? That purple one that flies over head all the time?”

“Yeah Alf. I’m going to follow her. I don’t do anything good here. No one would miss me and I want to know. You don’t really get it Alf. Every time I see my dragon fly over I have this feeling that I have to know where they live. I want to know. I HAVE to know.”

Alf heard this sometimes twice a week and was somewhat used to it but he had never heard it this intensely before. For a moment he was taken aback and he said, “Ham you really mean it don’t you?”

Ham nodded and said, “Yeah Alf I do. I’m going to do it.”

Alf just nodded. He didn’t understand this desire to seek out where dragons lived but he did understand wanting to do something. So he said, “Do it Ham. Just go now before you change your mind. I’ll tell everyone; just go!”

Ham heard the seriousness in his friend’s voice and so he did go. He got up, said goodbye to Alf, packed a few things and left.

He waved goodbye to Alf at the beginning but then he turned in the direction that his dragon went and he walked. He didn’t turn back and the last thing Alf knew of his friend was his brown hair disappearing while a soft whistling tune reminded him that somewhere out there was his friend Ham.

Alf told everyone about how Ham left and some people cried, others smiled amused, while others smiled with happiness that he was gone. Some just shook their heads in wonderment of the strange person they all knew.

Years and years went by and Alf was beginning to think that Ham had never found what he had searched for. Then one night Alf received a strange visit.

He was walking out to a small clearing behind his small house and after his business was done and he was about to return home when he heard the sound of dragon wings. The dragon landed three feet in front of him. Alf was frightened stiff but he heard a sliding sound followed by a soft plop of something heavy hitting the ground from behind the dragon.

Ham rounded the corner with a bright smile stretched across his face. Alf ran to him and they both embraced each other. Alf started talking very fast, “Ham I can’t believe you’re back. How long are you staying? Come in, come in and have some tea with me.”

Alf continued rambling and Ham just stood smiling. Finally when Alf stopped for a breath Ham said, “I’m sorry my good friend. I can’t stay very long. As soon as the sun starts to peak over the hills I have to fly away.”

Alf’s face saddened but he knew every moment counted so he said, “Fine then. Tell me all about yourself.”

So, they talked till dawn. Ham told of his adventures to the land of the dragons and showed the scars he had received along the way. Alf told about the few things that held any importance or told anything good that had occurred in his life so far. So, Ham did most of the talking.

They talked and talked only stopping to breathe but the sun still came too quickly.

Ham flew away and Alf watched him go a second time.

When Alf tried to tell of his talk with Ham no one believed him. It didn’t bother Alf in the least though because he knew he had met his friend.

Years and years went by before Alf was to hear of his friend again. This time it occurred during the afternoon and everyone would see him.

Alf had been mending a torn sock of his when suddenly he heard the beat of dragon wings. Nothing interesting had happened for months and he knew who’s dragon it was that was coming. So, he ran outside and saw the outline of a dragon up in the sky. He followed it until it landed in the middle of the village and Alf was the only one running to it because he knew that it was Ham’s dragon. Although, from the back of the dragon came someone else. He resembled Ham but only slightly.

Alf stood still while the young man approached. The young man stood and said, “You are my father’s friend Alf?”

All Alf could do was nod.

“I knew it was you because my father talked of you often and you appear just as he described. Although, a bit grayer.

“But I have come to bring you sad news. My father has died. He was taken by a sickness and his last wish was to be buried here.”

Alf cried and wept at the news and Ham’s family joined him. Everyone was saddened by the news because Ham had ceased to be a liability and had become a legend. He was the strange and courageous boy who went in search of the dragons. Stories were told of him even if they were just fantasy tails.

Ham was now someone that people wished they could be. People wanted to be adventurous even if few admitted it. Ham had gone off and done what he had dreamed of doing. No one in the village ever did that. They stuck to their ways of life and lived in a never ending cycle that met with few interruptions.

Everyone shed at least a tear while Ham was buried in the family grave yard plot.

Join the Discussion

This article has 8 comments. Post your own now!

EmilyGram said...
Mar. 17, 2011 at 5:13 pm
Really interesting story!  I like how the town's perception of Ham changes without him changing at all.  At first I thought your style was too choppy, but as I continued reading, the simple sentences grew on me, because it reads like a legend, which it is!  I also wondered why you introduced characters in the beginning that were never revisited, but that also adds to the legendary tone and structure.  One criticism is that there are a few spelling mistakes, and you might want... (more »)
spotty said...
Feb. 14, 2011 at 7:06 am
Almost a valentine story of love and value of love. The story aroused my curiosity.  How did Ham live among the dragons that was different from the life he lived with Alf? How did he gain acceptance in that life?
bball21 said...
Feb. 13, 2011 at 10:52 pm
I thought this story was a great and hope to see more by the same author :) 
koolwords replied...
Feb. 19, 2011 at 11:16 am
thank you for commenting you unkown person
charmiypiggy said...
Feb. 12, 2011 at 7:35 pm

I must agree with the other two commenters. As they said, your story is greatly lacking descriptions and commas. Also, some of the sentences just didn't flow right. I think you use too many unnessecary words. The storyline was a little abrupt, and things change too fast. Also, (just because I like to get my facts straight) Alf shouldn't have been mending an old sock unless he was unmarried. In the olden days women always did jobs like that. You also could have used  better words to repla... (more »)

koolwords replied...
Feb. 13, 2011 at 9:18 pm

Yes Alf was mending a sock becuase he was unmarried. That was the point of it. To show how different his life was from Ham's.

So, Ham went off, got married, and had kids, but Alf stayed in the villiage never amounted to anything much, and never married.

lilmartz This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Feb. 12, 2011 at 12:49 pm
Something is missing. I feel like a lot was left out this story. Description would have been a nice thing to incorporate. You could have added some description about the dragon, Alf, Ham, and even some minor adjectives and adverbs would have been nice too. It was also really choppy. It didn't flow like a story should. It was almost like you were stating facts. Even the transitions that you did have seemed awkward and stated. There also was a great need for commas in this story! Normally I would ... (more »)
youngpilot said...
Feb. 12, 2011 at 11:19 am
Not big on Fantasy or anything of relevant nature, but this was very interesting. I have a friend who is obsessed with fantasy and often have to listen to him about it, but I have to try hard to stick to reality sometimes. This was good, though I have to admit some of the dialogue was sort of point black, which is ok, I guess, but can weaken the story sometimes. Also, some major descriptions were lacking, but other than that it was good. :) I sincerly hope that I am not being to harsh, and if I ... (more »)
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