The Wicked Hoptoad And The Little Yellow Dragon
from Things To See In Springtime
The Wicked Hoptoad and the Little Yellow Dragon
Once upon a time, there was a beautiful little Yellow Dragon, who lived a happy and innocent life on the high banks of a prattling stream. The Dragon himself was dumb but he loved a merry noise, and nothing pleased him more than the prattling of the water. Sometimes this pleasant little Dragon went up stream, where it was noisy, and sometimes he went down stream, where it was very silent, and rested awhile in little pools. Here it was that he met with his first enemy, a warty Hoptoad with jealous eyes. That Toad thought that he owned the pools because he bathed there every springtime, and though it was a kind little Dragon, the Toad hated him, and began to plot against him.
"Ho! little Yellow Dragon," he said, "you are very wonderful to see, and you must be very clever; but you haven't got everything you want, have you?"
The Dragon smiled, shook his head, and made silent signs with his lips. Then the Toad understood, for he said: "Ho-ho, I understand that you cannot speak. But are you happy?"
The Dragon smiled sweetly and nodded, then pointed to the stream.
That made the Toad madder than ever, for he thought it meant that the Dragon was claiming the whole stream. So the Toad said: "See, Dragon, there is a wonderful food that you have never tasted, that is a poached egg."
This he said with his heart full of guile, for he knew full well that poached eggs are deadly poison to Dragons.
The Dragon looked puzzled, and the Toad said, "Have you?"
The Dragon shook his head. "Well," said the Toad, "it is the most delicious thing in the woods; now you wait and see."
He went hoppity-hop, to a sand-bank where he had seen a Turtle lay its eggs that morning. He dug out one. He rolled it upon a stone, and split it open with the sharp spur on his heel. As soon as it was stiffened by the sun heat, he said, "Here now, Dragon, swallow it down, while I get another for myself."
The poor innocent little Dragon did not know any better. He tried to swallow the poached egg. The moment he did, it stuck in his throat, and poisoned him. At once his toes sank into the ground. He turned green all over, and his head was changed into a strange new flower. There it is to this day, standing silently where it can hear the brook a-prattling. Its body is green all over, and its head is yellow and its jaws are wide open with a poached egg stuck in its throat. And that is how it all came about. Some call it Toad Flax, and some call it Butter and Eggs, but we who know how it happened call it the Dragon and the Poached Egg.
Poor dear little Yellow Dragon!
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