NZ Forest Native Birds
excerpt from
Excerpt from The Little Dragon Without Fire
by Laraine Anne Barker

You can now buy this prize-winning book at DiskUs Publishing.

The download version is $3.50 and the diskette is $6.50. The ISBN No. is 1-58495-899-5 and it is available in PDF, HTML, Palm and MS Reader formats. The diskette contains all four formats. Read some reviews. The Kindle edition is available here. I’ve no idea why other editions aren’t listed. Shame on Amazon! I call this downright evil business practice and hope my fans will buy from DiskUs in protest.

Read the critique from the judge of the contest that this story won.

Chapter 1
Firetongue Seeks Uncle Inferno’s help

Once upon a time a dragon was born who couldn’t breathe fire. His mother, alas, made the bad mistake of calling him Firetongue. How was she to know he would be different from his brothers and sisters?

      Firetongue found life miserable almost from the start. To begin with, he missed out on all the fun because nearly every game needed him to breathe fire. And to make matters worse the others wouldn’t stop teasing him, which he of course resented. After all, they didn’t tease Emberling, who had lost an eye in an accident. And they didn’t leave her out of their games, either.

      In despair Firetongue went to see Uncle Inferno. Uncle Inferno lived alone. Although shy around other grown dragons, he enjoyed telling tales to the youngsters. He was also willing to listen to their problems. Maybe he could advise Firetongue on how to stop the teasing.

      However, what Firetongue didn’t yet know about Uncle Inferno was that he had a wicked sense of humor. Sometimes his advice got mixed up with his tall tales and landed trusting young dragons in trouble with their parents.

      “Your mother must have forgotten to give you fire rock to eat the moment you were born,” he said gravely. “If a baby dragon’s first meal isn’t fire rock it never learns how to make fire. I’m afraid it’s already too late.”

      Uncle Inferno blew an endless stream of multicolored smoke rings into the air. Looking thoughtful, he made them form into a corkscrew that soared high over the cliffs where the dragons lived in caves. He didn’t seem to notice how woeful Firetongue looked. “There is one other answer to the problem. But for that you must visit Mount Furnace.”

      He pointed with one long claw to the distant horizon, where a tiny-looking plume of smoke spoiled the blue of an otherwise cloudless sky.

      “See that? That’s Mount Furnace where all the fire rock comes from. When you’re grown up you’ll be able to fly over it. It’s full of the stuff. The Fire God will most likely be asleep at the bottom. He doesn’t mind dragons taking the ordinary fire rock. But that will be no use to you. The piece you need looks like a huge polished ruby. There’s only one and it’s his special treasure, so you’ll have to be careful taking it. If you wake him up he’ll burn you to cinders.”

      By this time Uncle Inferno’s smoke rings had brought a crowd of young dragons, all wide-eyed with wonder. Uncle Inferno was the only dragon able to perform tricks with smoke. He was always happy to explain how he did it.

      But none of the youngsters ever managed to blow more than one ring, and never a colored one. Now, he winked at them. They all grinned as they realized Uncle Inferno, in his own way, was also teasing Firetongue.

      But Firetongue was too excited to see this. At last he had a chance to solve his problem!

      “Thank you, Uncle Inferno,” he said breathlessly.

      All the youngsters watched Firetongue leave, the older ones trying to stifle their giggles at such a trusting nature. But no harm would come to him, they told themselves. Everyone knew that timid Firetongue would go straight to his mother. She would be very cross with him for believing anything Uncle Inferno said.

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I do hope you enjoyed this very short chapter. If you have any comments email me.
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