Dragons as a Seaside Pest

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.

We’re kicking things off with a review of “Are You Afflicted With Dragons?” by Kage Baker, reprinted by Clarkesworld and Originally published in The Dragon Book, edited by Jack Dann and Gardner Dozois.

While I usually like my stories a bit dark and a lot emotional, I was in the mood for something lighter to distract me from current events. So I picked up:

Are You Afflicted With Dragons? by Kage Baker

The story starts with a lighthearted tone, calling the small dragons wyrmin (a play on vermin). The dragons nest on the roof of the seaside hotel, stealing jewelry from patrons as brazenly as seaside birds will steal the bread out of your hand. They immediately reminded me of the bothersome nest of pigeons on our balcony. We’ve been trying to get rid of it humanely for over a year, and we’ve tried just about everything we can think of, often throwing good money after bad. Like the main character, if someone promised to take my pigeons off my hands, for good, I would certainly allow it. Especially if they did it for free. 

I love the concept of small dragons. So often we hold dragons to be huge, terrific creatures. But what if they were more of a pest than a threat? The entire time I read this story, I kept imagining my pigeons as small dragons, their acidic feces cutting through the beams of our roof. Sounded about right to me. 

After setting up the main story line, the tale takes a brief wander into some specifics of dragon lore, which I (obviously) find intriguing. It returns to the main story with a swift but satisfying ending. While the story didn’t reveal the country it was set in, it was easy to imagine it on any coastal town. Kage Baker lived in Pismo Beach, so perhaps it was inspired by her own seaside. Although, I couldn’t help imagining it set on the Black Sea, with the ancient mounds concealing Thracian treasure further inland.

This is a great read (or listen) if you are looking for something easy and light.

Art by Anike Kirsten, inspired by “Are You Afflicted With Dragons?” by Kage Baker

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. 


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