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Vetis Domina

There was an old dragon who lived in a shoe

By Guenneth SpeldrongPublished about a year ago 7 min read

The air was illuminated with a pale green light; a happy combination of the bright winter sun reverberating off the snow, moss, and holly leaves. It was a wonderful day to be out, gathering berries and the occasional rodent for the evening meal. Winter was Domina's favorite time, since it kept the humans away from her forest and in their homes, where they belonged.

These silly humans always seemed hungry and cold, yet they consistently left their sheep out in the woods, to starve or die from the cold! Not that they did so well with the humans; they were barbarous enough to eat the sweet creatures. Domina not only avoided those smelly humans like the plague they were often ill with, but took it upon herself to rescue any sheep that were lucky enough to stray from their homes before they were reduced to a bucket of horrific slop.

Not long into her hunt for food, Domina heard the unmistakable sound of pack of humans coming her way. Astonished that they would dare venture into the frigid woods when they had no internal fire to keep them warm, she quickly slithered up a tree and stood perfectly silent, waiting for them to pass.

They marched right by her, unbeknownst to her presence, and proceeded the way she had come. She watched as they went further than they ever dared before- and stopped right in front of her cave!

Amazed, Domina stayed to watch the utter gall of these peculiar beings. The shock continued as she observed them tie the smallest one of them, a veritable cub, to an oak tree quite near her home, and then leave the poor creature there!

She waited for hours after they left, but they did not return, no matter how much sound the young one made.

Slowly, Domina decided to approach the poor thing. If it was a trap to kill and eat her, she would have to take that chance. No decent being could sit and endure the suffering of a child when they could easily help!

She crept up silently from behind, and used her talons to cut the creature free. With a yelp, the cub ran straight into Domina's cave on unsteady legs.

She rolled her eyes, and followed closely behind. The thing clearly had no sense, and so it was up to her to keep it save. She sad calmly a the start of her home, breathing her warmth into the cave. She knew her sheep would be back soon, wanting to be fed, and so all she would have to do is hold the thing there until an animal it was more familiar with came.

Like clockwork, the sheep and lambs came traipsing down the hill and into their cave. she rubbed against them as they trotted single file into their nest. If they were shocked to see a human after so long, it didn't show.

The human creature ceased its caterwauling the moment he saw the sheep, and proceeded to make a meal of one of the mother's milk. Domina tried not to be disgusted.

It turns out human beings are never silent, even when they sleep, and so it turned out to be a rough night for the poor dragon. She woke later than usual, with an unfamiliar weight on her. The sheep had already left for the day, and the child, most likely cold, had turned Dominga into a bed.

She slowly eased out from under the child, and shook off the dirt it was coated with. She would surely need a bath later! Leaving it sleeping noisily on the ground, she went in search of the red berries that sustained her. After eating her fill, she returned to find the human child just beginning to stir. She lay close by, in case he were to need anything, but far enough away that she would not scare the poor thing again, and start it's screaming.

The former won out over the latter, and the child shrieked and launched himself on her slight frame. She accepted the attack with a grunt, and, when he proved unshakable, she took him to the river with her to give them both a proper cleansing. She eased the child into the water, making sure her natural body heat had a chance to keep it warm, and soon it was splashing and yelping in a way entirely new.

The cub fell asleep while they were drying off on a rock, and she left it there to stretch her weary bones. Children were a lot of work! She was considering what she should do with the tiny thing when she heard the parade of human villagers again. They would walk right by her foundling, and would surely take it with them...wouldn't they?

Dominga wasn't so sure. They had left it there, tied to a tree, after all. That was hardly the act of a nurturing species.

She hid again, and hoped for the best.

When they were once again gone, not only had they had completely ignored their cub, but they had left another one, tied to the same tree! This one was bigger, even bigger than Domina, and had a voice to match. It screamed and screamed until suddenly it made no sound.

Out of fear for it's life, Domina sprang into action in untying it, and doing her best to keep it warm. All of the screaming woke the first child, and it came over, curious. It seemed to know the 2nd one, which was no surprise due to who left them there.

The mere presence of the first made the acclimation of the second go much faster than the day before, which was a small blessing. After they had taken their meal from the indignant sheep, all creatures involved were able to sleep much better.

In the morning, Domina made herself scarce, in case the cubs chose to leave together. She gathered plenty of rodents and plants that she had seen the humans eat before, just in case they chose not to leave. This turned out to be very smart of her, as she arrived back home to a third child, and no screaming.

Just like that, Domina's life would never be the same again.

Every day, the villagers would bring another cub. everyone would either remain silent while they tied it to a tree, and then they would come out, rescue it, and introduce it to Domina. They had given her a name as well, it seemed, as they would always use the same sound when they brought the new child to her: Vetis. It seemed to make them happy, so she did not mind at all.

The children had a nice routine by the time the thirteenth child joined them. They would rush in, stop the tears, and calm them with those fast whiny notes they would communicate with. Within an hour, the new child had acclimated to their new surroundings.

Child number 9 was even beginning to build them all a proper house, far away from the cave where the adults would abandon them. It looked a little bit like the silly things they wore on their feet (boots? was that what they called them?), but it seemed stable enough for them.

Besides the builder, there were 2 cooks, 2 animal tenders, 5 who would help Vetis Domina gather food, and one who watched the two smallest. They were all shy around her at first, but eventually they warmed to her; possibly because she was quite literally their source of heat!

The smallest ones would even pull her tail and pinch her scales, which was annoying...but it meant that the small creatures no longer feared Vetis Domina's talons and teeth, so she allowed it. These children had been through enough, after all. In fact, they actually seemed happy!

Their little village was thriving, and it was becoming increasingly harder to keep the children hidden. There were less and less children being tied to the old oak tree as well, and the snow was beginning to thaw.

On the last day, when the flowers were beginning to bloom, the children brought a child that was different from the rest. This one smelled of flowers, and had no need of the customary bath the rest did. Still, Vetis Domina thought nothing of it, and welcomed her like the rest.

This would be her downfall, as a shiny human adult came after, and ended their happy home with one flash of his talon.

The children were never happy again.

childrens poetry

About the Creator

Guenneth Speldrong

Hello there. I write things. Sometimes good things. Mostly, I write to find myself. If I can entertain you in the process, then that's just the derivative icing on the proverbial cake!

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