The Dragon Who Could Sing
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Tisca was a five month old dragon; she was a very shy yet fearless one.
Her brother Ruckus was more aggressive and a troublemaker of sorts.
They both lived in a far away jungle with their large family of dragons and they both went to Dragon school.
There they learnt about their ancestors, details about their relatives living in other lands, they also studied the anatomy of dragons.
They were also taught skills to protect themselves and their clan.
While Ruckus always managed to skip his classes and go hunting with his two friends Juno and Bark, Tisca loved going to school.
She was an obedient student and was a favourite among her teachers as well; she always knew the answers and came first in all the tests.
She loved reading books about how her ancestors had achieved great things in the past and secretly wished to be famous someday like them, she just didn't know how.
Her best friend was Mimi, who followed Tisca everywhere she went.
Mimi always managed to hear all the gossip doing the rounds and would take it as her duty to inform Tisca about it.
Though Tisca was never really affected by any of these rumours, she didn't have the heart to stop Mimi from talking about them.
She liked Mimi because she was a sweet and innocent friend of hers.
One day, as the two of them were on their way home from school, Mimi was her usual self, chatting away non-stop.
Tisca didn't hear much of it, until something caught her attention.
Mimi had mentioned something about her grandfather who had returned home after fighting a war in the neighbouring kingdom.
Her grandfather was the famous dragon Drake.
He was the bravest warrior in their clan.
Tisca knew right there and then that she wanted to meet Mimi's grandfather, very soon.
Tisca just couldn't sleep that night; she kept tossing and turning in her bed.
She wanted to meet Drake but didn't know what she would say to him.
Thinking of all things she could talk about with him, she realise when she actually fell asleep.
As she slept she dreamt that her photo had been published in their daily newspaper - Tooth Files.
However before she could read the article written about her, her mother woke her up!
Now she had no way of knowing why her photo had been published!
Usually over the weekend she and Mimi would join Ruckus and his friends for a day out, he would take them all to some unexplored areas of the jungle.
It would be a fun day with friends.
They would pluck fruit from the trees, fly high above the jungle and go fishing. This morning, since she had overslept, Ruckus had left without her.
Tisca was all alone at home.
She decided to go over to Mimi's place to hang out.
When she reached Mimi's house there was no one around, she called out for Mimi but there was no response.
She was just wondering where everybody had gone when she heard a loud bang. She turned around to see a big rock had fallen on the ground just behind her and there was a huge dragon standing next to it.
"Who are you, what are you doing in my home?" said the dragon loudly.
Tisca was not scared, she bravely responded, "I am Tisca, Mimi's school friend, is she home?"
Looking at the scars all over his body, she guessed that this must be Drake, Mimi's grandfather.
She remained calm in his presence.
That seemed to bother him; he kept growling and staring at her wanting to scare her away but she didn't budge.
Finally, after what seemed like ages, he calmed down and responded, "She has gone to get me some medicine and it will be a while before she returns. So you can leave now."
Tisca however, went into to Mimi's room and sat down.
Picking up a storybook from the bedside she quipped, "No problem, I will wait for her to return as I have nothing else to do."
Drake let out a grunt; he never liked uninvited visitors and was not comfortable talking to strangers.
As he continued to stare at this little dragon he realised that she wasn't going anywhere, so he waved his tail and walked into his room.
Tisca heard the door slam upstairs.
Though she had picked up a book to read she was not concentrating on it, she was only thinking of Drake.
Why was he so rude to her?
Why didn't she ask him all the questions she wanted to ask?
Why couldn't they both converse like normal dragons?
Moments later her thoughts were interrupted by a faint sound coming from upstairs, it sounded melodious.
She decided to check on it.
Tiptoeing, she climbed the stairs and followed the sound.
Through a gap between the door and wall she could hear the sound distinctly.
She realised that the sound was drums and someone was singing.
She tried to see through the gap but failed to see anything.
The music coming from that room was haunting, she was lost in it.
While swaying to the song, her tail accidentally brushed against a large vase and it fell to the ground with a crash.
The music and the song stopped; in the silence you could have heard a pin drop.
A few seconds later Drake emerged from the room and found Tisca standing there in the corner.
He was furious.
"How dare you trespass like this? You cannot just snoop around in someone's house." he glared at her.
Tisca apologised, she knew that she was at fault.
She quickly muttered, "I am extremely sorry, I just heard some music and liked the sound of it, so I came upstairs to hear it better. Can you please tell me what you were listening to? I would love to hear that song again."
He looked at her with narrowed eyes; he wondered why this girl was not scared or intimidated by him.
It struck him that she was very much like him when he had been her age, fearless and intuitive. He saw a spark in this young dragon's eyes.
Because of that he decided to let her in on his little secret.
"Okay Tisca, I will tell you about the music, but you must promise me that you will not say a word about this to anyone in the jungle."
She eagerly nodded in agreement.
"Follow me inside."
Drake's room was a mess, unmade bed, old newspaper clippings lying around, lots of clubs and weapons thrown around and food scraps all over the table.
He gestured for her to sit and brought out two drums which were hidden behind the cupboard.
Looking at her he asked, "Did you really like the song?"
"Yes, I did very much; I have never heard anything like it before. The music was catchy too," replied an enthusiastic Tisca.
For the first time since she had arrived she saw Drake smile, he seemed content for some reason.
He cleared his throat and said, "This is my little secret. I play the drums and I know how to sing!"
Tisca was shocked, her jaw dropped and her eyes widened.
She had never thought in her wildest dreams that dragons could play a musical instrument or sing.
She was an avid reader, had read about many feats of great dragons but had never heard of such a quality in any of them, this was a rare talent.
Before she could ask him more she heard Mimi's voice downstairs.
Drake immediately hid his drums, winked at Tisca and ushered her out of the room.
She quickly nodded and before leaving said, "It is really a very rare talent for a dragon to posses; I would love to hear you again someday. Also, rest assured, your little secret is now 'our' little secret."
She smiled at him at left his room.
That night at home, Tisca tried to sing but all she could manage were some growling noises.
Dejected she went to sleep.
As all the young dragons had finished with their last class of the day, their aged Principal entered their classroom.
"Good afternoon Mr. Thunderbird", chorused the students.
He greeted them and adjusting his glasses declared, "I am here today to make a very special announcement. As you all know we are nearing the end of term, this year has been very good academically. We have seven dragons completing their graduation and three of them have received scholarships to study at Fireball University.
So this year I have been thinking we must do something different for our graduation day celebrations."
There was a murmur in the crowd; Mimi nudged Tisca with a confused look.
Mr. Thunderbird continued, "This year, we will have a Talent Hunt Competition. It is open for all students across all classes. We want you to come on stage and showcase your unique talent to the world. No skill is silly or insignificant, so don't be ashamed or nervous to display your skills! Are you all ready and excited?"
"Yes" was the uniform reply across the hall.
Everyone left the hall excited.
On the way home Mimi was her usual self.
"What do you think my talent is?" asked Tisca, "I could cook a meal or draw something."
"You could maybe read a book for the audience!" said Mimi jokingly.
Tisca turned to her and said, "Maybe you can be the world's fastest talking dragon! Why don't you practice that?"
Though it was meant to be a sarcastic comment, Mimi seemed to have taken that seriously, she actually began considering that idea.
"Good Luck Mimi." was all Tisca said before they parted ways for the day.
While Tisca was pondering over what she could do, she heard some noise.
When she rushed outside she saw Ruckus fidgeting with a bow and arrow.
There were bottles lined up at a distance and he was trying to knock them down. Looking at Tisca he exclaimed, "I am going to master this skill and win the talent hunt. Have you ever seen a dragon use a bow and arrow?"
Tisca was impressed; she flapped her wings to show her appreciation and began thinking about what she could do.
That is when it struck her.
If only she could convince Drake to teach her to sing and play the drums!
She decided to explore this idea, she needed to meet him when he was alone, for that was when he would talk about this openly.
So, the next day, she followed him around secretly hoping to catch him alone. Finally when Drake went fishing by the lake she found a chance to talk to him. He was pleasantly surprised to see her there, not angry, that was a good sign. But, when Tisca told him the reason for her sudden visit, he was disturbed.
He shook his head and refused to teach her.
Nobody knew about his skill and he was not yet ready to share it with the world. Tisca could not understand why this was so. After much probing he revealed the real reason.
With a forlorn look he said, "It is a very dear memory of mine. When I was your age I used to spend lot of time by this lake in the afternoons.
One day, out of nowhere, a very pretty lady dressed in a white gown, with long golden tresses and a beautiful face appeared.
She was walking on the other side of the lake and she didn't expect anyone to be there so was taken aback to see a young dragon.
But since both of us were fearless we approached each other.
She had an aura around her which captivated me.
She started coming to the lake every day and we soon became friends.
She would come by every afternoon and spend time with me.
Though we couldn't speak each other's language, we still understood each other. I took her flying, which she loved.
She would always sing one particular song whenever she was very happy.
One day I tried imitating her as she sang.
She giggled at my attempts and then began teaching me to sing.
I never understood the meaning of the song but I guess it was something to do with friendship.
I finally learnt the song and then we both sang it as we went flying across faraway mountains.
But then she stopped coming to the lake.
I didn't know where she lived, I just knew her name.
I searched for her, but never found her.
I had lost my friend.
That is when I decided to be a warrior and go to faraway lands, so I could keep searching for her.
I fought many battles, helped many kings win their kingdoms but never found her.
I came across these drums during one of my battles and kept them with me.
I used to sing that song whenever I felt lonely and would tap these drums.
I liked the sound of it and the way it blended with the song.
So I started playing it as I sang.
After many years, you came along and appreciated my song.
I felt some connection with you so I let you in with my secret."
Tisca sat amazed listening to his story, it sounded as if it came straight out of a dragon tale.
Her eyes were moist, she felt sad for Drake; he had lost a friend.
She didn't have the heart to force him to teach her.
As she was getting up to go she heard her name being called.
It was Ruckus. "Ana, where are you, are you there?"
Tisca told Drake that she needed to rush back as her brother was looking for her.
Drake sounded puzzled, "Your name is Tisca not Ana correct?"
She laughed and said, "Oh that is how my brother calls me, he just doesn't like the name Tisca and always calls me Ana, which is my middle name."
Drake froze, Tisca was confused.
"What happened Drake?"
After few moments he slowly said, "Nothing, meet me here tomorrow, I will teach you to sing."
Saying this he just turned and walked away.
Tisca was excited to hear this, however she wanted to know what had changed his mind.
So, for the next few days training sessions were in full swing.
"Ma, stop feeding us strawberries!" wailed Ruckus.
"It brings good luck son," said his mother.
Tisca stood there amused.
The day had finally arrived; today was the Talent Hunt Competition at school. All of them had prepared well.
After the customary good luck ritual, they both left their house.
Mimi, Juno and Bark joined them as they walked towards their school.
There was excitement and nervousness in the air, the ground was buzzing with activity.
The teachers were busy with last minute preparations.
Finally Mr. Thunderbird came on stage.
He exclaimed, "I am so happy to start off this event today.
It is our pleasure that Mr. Razortooth has agreed to judge today's event.
As you all know, he is a living legend himself and the wisest of all dragons.
We all are very excited to see you students come on stage and perform.
We eagerly wait to see what you all are about to do.
I wish all of you good luck, may the best talent win!"
This was followed by a thunderous flapping of wings and hooting from the crowd.
Juno was the first to perform.
He went on stage with a large basket of flowers. Using a twig as a needle and some creepers, he worked with great concentration and very skilfully made a colourful garland.
The other dragons cheered for him.
Next came Mimi.
She had prepared a speech of five thousand words to be spoken in a minute.
She claimed that it was a record of sorts in the human world to be the fastest speaker.
It was Juno's turn next.
He created a painting on stage using his claws, nose and feet.
He used fruits as natural colours.
It was beautiful.
He seemed to be the audience's favourite so far.
Next was Ruckus, he waved at Tisca as he went on stage, he seemed like he belonged there.
He was successful in captivating the audience's attention with his Bow and Arrow act.
His arrows never missed their mark, he was very precise and all his practising had paid off.
Mr. Razortooth seemed very pleased with this act.
Tisca felt very proud of her brother at that moment.
It was her turn next.
As she went up on stage with her two drums, she scanned the crowd.
All her friends were cheering for her; others were expectantly looking at her. Her eyes continued to search the crowd until they found Mr. Drake.
They locked eyes for few seconds and then he raised a wing in encouragement. Tisca was more confident than ever before.
She took a deep breath, cleared her throat and began her performance.
She sang melodiously and the whole crowd was mesmerised.
There was complete silence on the ground.
No one had heard or seen something like this before, a dragon was actually singing a song while playing the drums.
It was quite a rare sight.
Tisca was unaware of the effect she was having on the crowd as she had her eyes closed all through her performance.
When she finished her song she slowly opened her eyes to see everyone in the audience awestruck!
After what seemed like a long pause, she saw Drake flapping his wings with glee like a proud parent.
As a ripple effect, everyone in the audience began to flap their wings louder and louder.
She had done it!
Both Mr. Thunderbird and Mr. Razortooth were very happy with her performance.
She had tears in her eyes.
After all the performances were over, it was time to announce the winner.
Mr. Thunderbird and Mr. Razortooth went on the stage, the award presentation was about to begin.
Meanwhile, after her performance, Tisca tried looking for Drake, but he seemed to have disappeared.
She knew he would not leave till the winner's name was announced, so she kept searching.
"Well done students, I am pleasantly surprised at the talents you all have.
We are mighty impressed with each of you. Let's hear it for all the participants," beamed Mr. Thunderbird.
Again there was uproar in the crowd.
I would like to invite Mr. Razortooth to announce our winner for the day." he said, handing over the microphone over to Mr. Razortooth.
"Congratulations to all who participated. I have never seen anything like this. We dragons are very proficient in a lot of ways but the talents I have seen today were unique.
Who would have thought that a dragon could paint or dance or that a dragon could use a bow and arrow?
However the one performance that stood out today was that of Tisca, who sang so beautifully!
I can proudly say that if we train ourselves then we can be known for singing as well. Hence the winner of today's event is Tisca!
Tisca was on cloud nine, she was elated.
Never had she imagined she would win this competition.
She humbly collected the shining armour as her prize and ran off the stage in search of Drake.
He was nowhere to be found, but she knew exactly where he would be.
He was sitting by the lake when she arrived.
"What took you so long?" he asked.
She smiled and placed the armour in front of him.
"This belongs to you; you are the true recipient of this award, thank you for teaching me this skill.
As per our promise, I didn't thank you in public, I didn't tell anyone that you taught me to sing and didn't let anyone know your secret. But please tell me why you agreed to teach me."
He looked at her with narrowed eyes for a moment and then said, "Ana was her first name."
The next day a picture of Tisca holding her armour was published in the local newspaper.
No one quite understood why she chose to give her name as Ana for the article.
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