Day 11 and the challenge continues. This one’s a little late today, because I’ve been out meeting a potential agent. (Who is awesome, by the way! But I might write about it tomorrow.)
Not sure where this came from. The first sentence (which became the title) was an errant thought galloping through my head on my commute today. The intention was to write it in an Attenborough-esque style, but this slightly drunken voice emerged instead, and I decided to run with it.
I’ll shut up and let you read now.
On the origins of the dragonfly:
It is a little-known fact that dragonflies are related to dragons.
No, wait. Don’t go. I’m really not insane. Listen, and you will understand.
Dragonflies were parasites – no, that’s not right. Dragonflies were symbionts to the dragons. They were a lot bigger then than they are now. They used to live on the dragons, nesting just under the wings. They took care of the cleaning. Honest. Most people think that dragons would just burn off any grime, but for those hard to reach places, dragonflies are perfect. Like those birds with the alligators, picking out gobbets of flesh in-between teeth, and keeping gums healthy. That’s what they’d do. Picking out the carbonized fragments of charred beast, because that corrodes dragon-teeth like nothing else does.
I know, right? Big fangs and snarly teeth like that, and you never think of dragon dental health.
But dragonflies were more than just dedicated dentists. They polished scales and claws, kept antlers (lung dragons only, of course) from splintering and snapping. A dragon’s beauty was down to its flies. Those evil dragons? They were just angry because their flies were substandard keepers, and dragons are vain creatures. And they teased each other mercilessly if their scales started going black with neglect. They would try to poach good dragonflies from each other, with varying success, because the flies are dumb. Loyal, but dumb.
But I said before that dragonflies are related to dragons. I’m getting to that.
Dragonflies looked like miniature dragons, but slimmer with doubled wings, and not much bigger than your hand.
After science started to replace magic, people gradually lost their faith in the existence of dragons. Like the Greek gods of old, the dragons shrank as belief in them faded. They got smaller, and needed less care. So dragonflies would leave, trying to find another host. That didn’t work, because the food source was shrinking. Literally. Dragonflies died off.
And the dragons got smaller. A few people believed, so dragons didn’t die out completely. Mainly because their original size – bigger than you can conceive, but think of a football pitch, and you’ve got enough room for the final sections of the tail – gave them enough time to adapt as they shrank.
After a few generations, dragons resembled dragonflies.
But faith still dwindled, and dragons kept shrinking. Thanks to the storytellers of the world, dragons would not disappear completely. They just shrank to a sustainable size.
And now, they’re dragonflies.
What? You asked.