The mythsterhood loves exploring all forms of mythology: literature, art, games, even song. What brought us together was the love of a good myth. So in addition to our own dragon content, we wanted to pass on some modern myths to our listeners. In our Dragon Tails blog series, you’ll find reviews of stories collected from a variety of media.
These week, Koji will take you through Dragon Girl a short story written by Cat Sparks and set in the same world as her novel, Lotus Blue. Koji listened to the wonderful narration by Dawn Meredith on PodCastle, which you can find here.
A seventeen-year-old girl meets a boy on a dragon train passing through their village. Immediately enamoured with him, she decides to leave her people and travel with the dragon train. She discovers too late the dragon train is searching for the same lost city her brother went in search of years earlier.
Along the way, the train comes across a slave outpost, filled with malnourished, dying slaves. The girl believes her brother may be among them, but does not find him. As opposed to rescuing the slaves, the leader of the dragon train uses forgotten tech to destroy the entire encampment.
The girl finds herself stuck in her new life, no longer romanticising the members of the dragon train. But some acts of kindness give her hope.
In this story, dragons are large lizards used as beasts of burden. Although they should be respected, they are tame enough to catch melons in their jaws and allow people to ride on them. It is noted that these are not real dragons, but creatures bred behind glass. The real ancestors were much larger and had wings.
Although, after posting this article, we received a lovely tweet from Cat Sparks, clarifying the wing/no-wing issue:
It is interesting to imagine what would become of dragons if we bred them in captivity — how we change creatures to fit our own needs over time and how our collective memory of the original creature may become distorted.
Unfortunately, in short stories the mythology of dragons is not always clear. Cat Sparks, the author of this tale, is from Australia. The setting is also a far-future, post-apocalyptic Australia. So my first instinct is to feel some of the rainbow serpent vibe regarding her dragons. However, in an interview she has said the dragon is not really a dragon. What is it, then? This may be made clear in her novel, Lotus Blue. I haven’t had the chance to read it yet, but I’m intrigued enough to put it on my list.
Koji A. Dae
Koji is a dreamer, a mother, and a writer in that order. The first short story she clearly remembers writing involved fairies losing their wings, and ever since then mythology has found different ways to creep into her storytelling.