Toothless Letter LLegend

A traditional story sometimes popularly regarded as historical but not authenticated.

Example: The Legend of King Arthur.

Also called: myth, saga, epic, folk tale, traditional story, fairy tale, fable, mythology, fantasy

Sounds about right for what I’m doing this month, although I often think that a legend should have a good sprinkling of the fantastical in there.

The secondary definition is Legend is something that is very well known, aka, someone’s skills in an area are Legendary. I’m sure I’ve also used it in a more slang-esque context when I am told something and I think that something is very very good, so I respond by saying “Legendary.” indicted I think this thing is epic.

I seem to have become some sort of English Language person. Since I’m not, let’s swap over to the literature side that I should be focusing on for this fantasy writing theme.

So, how am I going to talk about legends? With an example of course. Demonstrations are just as good as theory.

Stay at the Waters Kingdom

In the vineyards and olive groves of the South of France, at the foot of the proud castles and along the villages with tiled roofs, ran the river Rhone. Although it might not seem that this river could conceal a dragon, in its depths, close to the small town of Beaucaire, was hidden that cave of Drac.

An expert in sorcery, Drac liked the human flesh and enjoyed hunting mortals. Sometimes, he left the river to go to Beaucaire where, he wandered the marketplace, invisible to the eyes of humans, in the shade of the trees, in amongst the fish barrels and fruits baskets. With a pale glance, the dragon observed the townswomen chattering with the merchants and, with a swift claw, removed a child whose parents had, for a moment, taken their eyes off.

water_dragon_by_tzulin520-d6187ixSometimes, for the mere pleasure of it, Drac attracted humans to his river to trap them. He was doing this one day, but for a strange purpose this time.

It was a beautiful afternoon of summer, under a burning sun bathing the city and the fields in gold. A young woman went at the edge of the river to wash the swathes of her newborn baby. While rubbing her linen vigorously, a glint caught her eye, and she saw floating on the surface of the water, not far from bank, a cup engraved with gold in which shone a pearl.

Without taking time to think that it might be a trap of some sort, she reached out to seize the object but the cup floated just out of her range. Again, she leaned very far ahead, stretched, and lost her balance abruptly.

As she fell in the water, an invisible claw seized her wrist. The young woman tried in vain to break free, but the irresistible grasp dragged her downwards. Right before she sank, whereas she felt her skirt fill up water, she had a last vision of the ground with the scattered linen drying on grass and her crying baby, then the Rhone engulfed her.

She returned to her senses in a crystal cave. Beyond the translucent walls, several long algae undulated, fishes slipped by, and crabs scuttled along the bottom. Close to her was posed the gold cup containing the pearl which she had wanted to seize. Then she saw her kidnapper. Enormous, the dragon with the shining scales contemplated her, lying close to the cup.

Fascinated by his emerald glance, she tried to rise and felt her memories of her life of the surface to be fade: her child, her husband, her house of Beaucaire, the fields, the silver olive-trees all around the sunny city, all this grew blurred, like the memories of dreams. She did not hear anything in her head except the words of the dragon whose tone sounded like a gong, overriding her will.

Drac had taken her because she was young and robust, and because she was nursing a baby. The dragon needed the milk of a mortal to nourish his own young, a fragile freshly hatched creature. Thus, taken with the snares of a magic spell, the young woman became the slave of Drac and the nurse of a dragon.

In the dim green light of her crystal prison, the days passed monotonously. The prisoner was rocked by the movements the water and bewitched by the dragon. She lived in a kind of trance, nursing the young of Drac and looking after him with all the tenderness of a mother. She slept when the dragon gave her the command and ate the food he presented to her. Through the opalescent walls of the cave, she observed the movements of the river and its inhabitants; the striped of green and gold pike, the sinuous eel, the trout as quick as lightning had become as familiar to her as her former neighbors of Beaucaire. In the watery world which surrounded her, the rocks and the algae had become the fields and the wood of her abolished past.

The visions came to her without her knowledge of the evil spells of the dragon. Every evening, on the command of Drac, she anointed the eyes of the young with a balsam intended to give him the piercing vision of a dragon and, each time the nurse rub her eyes, she impregnated them with traces of the ointment and thus received a piece of the magical capacity of the creature.

Seven years passed. The young of the dragon became large and strong, and the day came where Drac did not need anymore the services of his captive. However, since she had nourished his offspring, He did not kill her and, after having cast the charms of forget and sleep on her, he brought her back to the fresh air.

LegendaryWaterDragon_largeWhen she awoke she was on bank of the river not far from her home, and the young woman felt disorientated. She remembered the confused memory of a burning sun day, the white and wet linen spread out in grass and of the merry laughter of her baby who played beside her. But now she was alone, the evening had fallen, and the lights of the city lit up one after another. She hesitated for a moment then moved towards the city, going back to her house.

The door to the house was open to catch the evening breezes, and she crossed the threshold. Two familiar faces turned toward her, those of a bearded man and a young boy who make her remember her husband in his youth. They were stunned by each other for a moment. Then, under the eyes of the astonished child, the man gave a cry, sprang up and took her in his arms. Her husband, who had believed her drowned and had cried for seven years, overpowered her with questions, but she was unable to answer, having no memory of the universe of the dragon. The young boy, her son, remained mute in front of this stranger in rags whose silence worried him.

But the love of the man for his wife was so deep and his joy so sharp for this reunion that the child soon adopted the unknown stranger. Her neighbors accepted her in the same way although her seven years absence remained a complete mystery. She dreamed of dragons, and would often tell her neighbours and friends who listened to it with indulgence. Slowly, she took again her peaceful existence of the old days, being occupied with the domestic tasks, taking care of the father and the son, working in the fields accompanied by the other villagers.

The life had thus followed its course, serene and without troubles, but, as she went one day on the market place, suddenly, among the fish and vegetable salesmen, she saw Drac. The shining scales, he dominated crowd, his enormous head almost at the level of the roofs. His green eyes shone of a charming glare but all the busy merchants and the variegated crowd of the barges were not aware of him. The monster was visible only for the young woman. When she fetch a cry, he threw on her a penetrating glance.

“You see me, mortal?” a voice asked in her head.

“I see you, dragon,” she answered and at the same moment she remembered the seven lost years.

She remained motionless when a claw of the dragon dropped on her and covered her left eye.

“You still see me?” asked the dragon. She answered yes. The claw posed on her right eye and, from the other, she distinguished nothing more than the crowd and the inventories from the market. Docile, she says to Drac that she did not see him any more. At the same moment, a fulgurating pain was irradiated in her head. From his claw, the dragon had torn off the eye that could saw him.

During many years, the woman lived, one-eyed, re-telling without rest the story of the dragon. The inhabitants believed her insane and refused to take account of the warnings which she persisted to gives them. Thus, every year, children continued to disappear on the market place and nobody ever knew why.

Got any legends you’re particularly fond of?