This year there have been so many strange and unusual dragons about that we here at WAFDE felt compelled to extend Jabberwocky Appreciation Day into Jabberwocky Weekend. (After all, Dragons are nothing if not flexible.)
A writer friend recently reminded me that October, along with being the Month of the Dragon, is Anti-Bullying Month. And when better to honor both than right now as we celebrate the Jabberwocky? JAD is the time set aside to embrace the multiplicity of pseudo-dragons around the world, especially those less flamboyant or less known, those who, through centuries of misunderstanding, are burdened by bad reputations and ripe for being picked on.
This is the time for Jabberwocks! For the funny of face and odd of speech. For the slow and heavy, the small and slight. All those who live on the fringe, driven into the wispy wilderness of even the most magically inclined. They remind us of all our oddities and our differences—what some would call, our glorious imperfections. And yet more than that, they exemplify the awe-inspiring diversity of the natural and draconic world!
There are so many species of pseudo-dragons, it boggles the mind. And just as one species fades into the mythic mists, another is discovered—or rediscovered—in some unexpected locale. Tree skimmers are adapting to our modern jungles of steel and glass, and lake dragons balance the wetland ecosystems.
This past spring I had the pleasure of talking Dragons with several groups of young people in my bailiwick. Fascinated as they were by tales of True Dragons in all their massive wonder, they were even more intrigued by the countless pseudo dragons, especially by house dragons, the puuk and aitvaras, kauka and sunny žaltys. To me, this made perfect sense: house dragons are pint-size—some might even say cute—and won’t burden the household budget much more than your average German Shepherd, even less if they help out with the occasional bit of pilfering.
Oh, the curious looks and eager questions:
“Where can I get a house dragon?” –Don’t try Petco. They just give you funny looks, then point cluelessly at a tank full of little bearded dragons munching on crickets.
“What do they eat?” –Depends on the species, but most enjoy herb omelettes and fresh milk. A bowl of warm stout is usually appreciated at the end of a long day.
“Will they get along with my hamster?” –Yes, with great care and proper introductions. It’s best to play it safe and never leave them alone together.
As we talked on, it became clear that particular dragons related to particular kids, mirroring their inner natures, hopes and fears. No matter how mild the species or outrageous the young person, they found a way to connect on a very personal level. Be it a lumbering drake or a shy jurik, they accept these dragons with all their shapes, sizes, and eccentricities, take them in and make them their own. And no one dares mess with a kid and her dragon.
In this time for Dragons and standing tall against bullies, we can treasure the kids who see with generous eyes and know innately what too many of us grown-ups forget: we are all Jabberwocks.
What does your Jabberwocky look like? Is he bold or bashful, fierce or fastidious? Love to hear your tales.
And remember: Everyone who leaves a comment here at the Dragons Nest during the MotD will have their name entered for the give away of a signed copy of my new book, Dragons for Beginners (Llewellyn, 2012), which will be hitting bookstores at the middle of the month.