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The Welsh Darkening

A myth submitted to the site by Caitlin Graham

wolverhampton, West Midlands, United Kingdom

Long before electricity was invented, a Welsh wood stood getting darker and murkier every second, the wood was so quiet had a human entered they would have heard their own heartbeat. Suddenly the wood produced a scream and a roar! No one knew of the scream that was like a bullet in the air, no one knew of the roar that could only have been a monster’s, except the oak trees, growing older and older.
Towards the centre of the forest lay a tiny cottage forever still, silenced and clearly empty, the wood walls and thatched roof surrounding the singular room shuddered in the breeze.

A few years later in the valley beyond the wood surrounded by hills a small village started to appear. One night in the quaint village the lamps went out and chill wind filled every cottage, extinguishing the fires that were once burning brightly in the clean and tidy cottages. Families gathered together in their now freezing living rooms with tiny amounts of food to keep them alive for a few days. The sound of a beast scratching rock filled the air, but unusually stopped immediately and was replaced by the sound of snoring. Realising the beast was asleep, the families of the village crept out of their cottages and crept up to the wood, the brave stared at the monster, whilst the scared looked away from it at all times.

The monster was a fearsome creature, with snow white scales and sharp pearly teeth, in its sleep saliva was dripping from its mouth. It’s hyena-like nose sniffing impatiently for the smell of anything tasty.

Suddenly the beast’s eyelids started to open and close; still trying to be quiet they began to move faster up the hill that was easiest to climb. It got to its feet and growled before flopping back down, with its legs and arms in the air whilst panting like a dog. Abruptly the monster ran towards them, still panting and dug its over-sized claws into the hill, once it had reached the top of the hill, panting louder than ever it rolled down, the bravest looked down whilst the scardest immediately ran. Miles from the unusual monster the village inhabitants came to a halt next to a row of weeping willows, perfect for shelter.
The village crew started work, the men and strong boys stripped leaves and branches off old oak trees, ladies and older girls made blankets from leaves whilst younger children chose the tree for their family. The night drew closer so the men stopped and made fires whilst the women marvelled at their work. In preparation for the difficult day ahead the village crew stopped and had an early night in their new homes.

The tired crew awoke to a red growling dragon, despite their tiredness the villagers got up to run, “I can’t stop you running, but I’d rather you didn’t!” shouted the dragon over the noise of pattering feet. The villagers turned round to face the dragon their astonished faces staring him in the eye. “Do not fear me! For I am the one who has been guarding your village for many years, I have saved you and the animals of the forest, from all danger. Please go to my home, if it is big enough for me, it is big enough for all of you.” says the dragon fearlessly but seriously, before turning to the village, with confident look on his face.

Inside the empty and mysterious village the dragon’s beady eyes searched every nook and cranny of the hills and cottages, but the white dragon was nowhere to be seen. Where was it? The once still trees started swaying in the breeze, as though dancing to their favourite tunes, slowly and silently the red dragon turned around and around, never stopping. A nearby bush started the routine of rustling, followed by another and another, the surrounding vegetation of the empty village rustled, as though hiding their own baby dragon. Suddenly the white creature jumped out from its hiding place and showed its pearly teeth in a growl. “Fearsome beast, you horrible creature you have scared my people and for this you must pay, meet me on rivraf cliff by the saviour river tomorrow, you will be beaten by a hero of mankind.” stated the red dragon proudly.

With that the red dragon left, its head held high in smugness, when he returned, and told the villagers they were in a state of shock. Their minds started asking questions like:
“What if it loses?”
“What will happen to us?”
“Will we be in danger?”
That night the red dragon slept alongside the willow homes, snoring loudly and waking up a few of the villagers. In the morning the red dragon woke up early, for the long flight to rivraf cliff in riafeer, nobody saw the dragon leave, so to put them out of their worry he left a note on the tree stump, he had rested his head on. When he reached the cliff, there was stomping feet walking quickly but carefully up the winding path surrounding it. Soon he would see the fearsome face of the confident white dragon staring him in the eye.

The fight started; swiftly the white dragon gave the red a swipe, with it’s over sized claws, it yelped in pain and sprung into the air. Then unexpectedly landed behind the white creature and pushed it, with a sudden burst of strength almost knocking it over the cliff, but it didn’t stop there. As the white dragon had plenty more tricks up its sleeve, it suddenly charged but the red dragon didn’t move, it just stood there like a helpless doll. It tumbled down lower and lower almost brushing against the water, was it going to lose? Was it going to die and risk all those people’s lives? Like a red ball of fire, it shot up into the air, quickly it pushed its opponent over the side of cliff leaving it to perish in murky water bellow.

The red dragon returned to the village with a triumphant look on his face, the villagers rejoiced and rewarded him heavily. To this day the red dragon remains on the welsh flag, and for generations guarded the village from all danger.

By Caitlin Graham
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