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It's an Awfully Big Responsibility

By , Chaska, MN
Truman the dragon was used to being alone. No, he wasn’t an only child, and no, he didn’t, ‘just enjoy the solitude’, but rather Truman was the last dragon in the world. And that, Truman thought, was an awfully big responsibility. His entire life was composed of his entire family telling him exactly what must be done. “Now Truman,” his mother would say, “being a dragon is an awfully big responsibility, you can never be too careful when it comes to breathing fire. Why, your father once burned down an entire village just because he sneezed.” She paused “The townspeople never really got over that, but anyway, you must uphold the family name once we all leave.” Truman never completely listened to what his mother said, mostly because he thought she always seemed to be blowing smoke, but he did always remember one thing, “being a dragon is an awfully big responsibility.” Five thousand years had passed and everyone Truman knew had succumbed to the dragon sickness. This disease was what haunted all dragons no matter how old or tough. As a dragon reached a certain age, his scales would fall off one by one, and by the time all the scales fell off the dragon turned into stone. This is why mountains are so big and bumpy and not to mention, randomly placed. Dragons traveled in packs so they never had to go through dragon sickness alone. It was a time of change and fear which Truman had to go through alone.
The morning he woke up in his dingy cave to see a red flaking scale on the ground changed his life forever. Truman had sat on his tail all day, staring and staring at the scale, wishing and pleading that it wasn’t his turn. Convinced by now that it was his time, as 50 scales had already fallen off since that fateful day, he had not given up. It was his responsibility to carry on the dragon name and he wasn’t going to let a little sickness stop him.
So he began a journey throughout the entire enchanted forest, asking whoever came across him, about a cure. He asked ferrets and frogs, enchanted trees and even a fairy yet no one knew. He even went so far as to ask the creepy troll that lived under the bridge. Needless to say, the troll didn’t know and quickly shooed him away as he was “waiting for dinner to cross.” Truman began to despair, I’m going to be a tiny hill, he sighed, I can’t be a mountain all by myself. He sighed; being a dragon is an awfully big responsibility. He sat down on a log in despair and began to cry. Flames extinguished, he sobbed even harder, wishing and hoping for a little help.
A tiny voice interrupted his thoughts, “Excuse me sir, I can’t help but notice…you’re crying.” Truman looked up startled, searching around him until finally his eyes fell upon a small cloverleaf. The clover spoke again, “Can I help you? I’ve been told I’m good luck,” the clover sighed, “to everyone but me.” Truman was intrigued now, a lucky clover, what were the chances? He bent down,
“Well, small one, I am sick and I need a cure to carry on my family name.” Truman stood proudly, “After all, I am the last dragon.” The clover laughed,
“That must be an awfully big responsibility, being all alone.” He paused, “What do you mean, sick?” Truman then went through and explained everything watching Clover’s face as it grew more and more shocked.
“I know of a cure!” Clover shrieked. “My mom always told me one day I would be given an awfully big responsibility and it would be my job to help,” Clover seemed exceedingly pleased to have been given this chance. Truman nearly jumped with joy,
“What’s the cure? I’ll do whatever it takes!” Clover smiled and proudly stated that they needed to get to Mount Eragon, which was a three day walk. Truman’s face fell. He knew he would be stone in less than three days, but he told Clover they’d try it anyway. And so they began their quest to Mount Eragon. Truman and Clover talked the entire way, and soon they became close friends. They knew everything there was to know about each other. For instance, Clover knew that Truman was allergic to mermaids, “something in their hair”, and Truman knew Clover couldn’t stand the sight of a turtle because “it just wasn’t natural for an animal to be attached to their homes.”
The aging dragon had never had a friend before and sometimes he didn’t know exactly how to act around Clover. Clover was carefree and easily excitable, where Truman was taught from day one to never get excited or emotional about anything. Of course, Truman had broken those rules many times, but that’s just what made being a dragon such an awfully big responsibility. Despite these difficulties, Truman was determined to be a good friend. Along the journey, an angry elf had tried to eat Clover insisting that “clovers couldn’t talk” and that Truman was “a crazy delusional dragon.”Needless to say, the elf was promptly singed in an “accidental sneezing fit.” While the elf was horrible and mean, that wasn’t what had really bothered Truman. He was constantly plagued with thoughts of his sanity. What if his sickness was causing Clover to talk? It was true he had never heard of a talking clover before, but that didn’t mean there couldn’t be one. Truman smiled, he had won the battle with himself today but tomorrow could be another story. Abruptly he stopped smiling and glanced behind him and saw a steady trail of red, flaky scales following them. Truman sighed, and insisted that Clover once again tell the story of the Leprechaun that rampaged into his home. Clover eagerly agreed and started telling the story but soon stopped and looked up into the sky. “There it is”, he whispered.

Mount Eragon towered over the rest of the forest, looming into the sky. Truman could barely make out the stony bodies of his ancestors. He shivered at the thought that it could soon be him in that mound of stone. Bravely, he walked up the mountain, Clover close behind. “What is it that we’re looking for, Clover?” Clover, open mouthed, just pointed with his leaf toward an old gnome sitting at the top of the mountain. Truman nodded and continued his pace, but poor Clover couldn’t keep up and yelled for Truman to keep going without him. Truman hesitated but when he saw he was nearly out of scales he continued his journey. Tears filled his eyes as his muscles began to slow and contract. It was beginning. He was turning to stone.
Forcing his way to the top, he stumbled to the sitting gnome. “Wise gnome,” he started, “I can feel my change beginning and I am not ready to give up my dragon name. What can I do to evade this sickness?” The gnome glanced up, surprised at the enormity of Truman. In a creaky voice the gnome began,
“Your journey, I’m afraid, is complete. But you did not go on this journey alone, I presume?” Truman glanced behind him and saw Clover sitting proudly at the top. Truman shook his head. The gnome started again, “Many obstacles you have overcome and many lessons you have learned on this journey. Here you will learn one more.” Truman leaned in closely for he could hardly hear the old gnome. “You have given this young clover life. No plant can live on their own, in fact, only a dragon’s tears can awaken the inanimate.” He waited to gauge Truman’s reaction and then began again. “You are truly a remarkable dragon, as you have broken the number one rule, ‘never show emotion’.” Truman was appalled, he had broken a rule. He didn’t have a name to uphold, he had ruined it already.
Truman took a deep breath, “I understand you cannot help me. I am not truly a dragon because I have broken the number one rule. I tried, but being a dragon is an awfully big responsibility.” The gnome smiled a toothless grin,
“and that is precisely why I will give you what you came for. I have met many dragons on their final journey, and none, not one, have shown their true emotions. They are as stoic as the stones they turn into.” Truman couldn’t believe it, he was a true dragon, a real dragon, with a real name to uphold! He smiled as he felt his muscles relax and was surprised to see his scales growing back in. The gnome spoke for a final time, “Just as you have given this clover life, I will give you yours back. Take care Truman, for as you know, being a dragon is an awfully big responsibility.”





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