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Water Dragons

The water dragon, or Draco Splendens, is rarer than the common dragon. He can be found in both salt and fresh water, although he prefers lakes.

Magnificently colored, this beast is perfectly at home in water, moving through it with great agility and speed. Although his front legs end in sharp claws, his back legs have been transformed into fins, which hamper his movements on land. He has a tremendous lung capacity and can store oxygen in his stomach and transfer it to the lungs when he needs it, which enables him to remain underwater for hours on end.

Because he lives in water, this dragon has partially lost the ability to fly, and it makes only short gliding flights, although some of them can attain a reasonable air speed.

Water dragons have very specific eating habits, especially the adults, which is why the few remaining examples are in danger of extinction.  Apparently, the water dragon only eats virgins. If this requirement is not satisfied, as is often the case, legend has it that the animal suffers excruciating indigestion, which leaves him at death's door. The only cure considered effective consists of massive doses of virgin olive oil and a concoction made from orange blossom and magnolia petals.

The water dragon is physically much more beautiful and graceful than the earth dragon. He has a soft, tuneful voice and cherishes beauty above all else. He is an inspired poet and can spend hours contemplating his own reflection in the water, in a narcissistic pose, or go into ecstasies over a beautiful sunset. There are stories of dragons who have rejected the maiden they were about to eat because she was not beautiful, or not correctly attired, for they like their victim to be dressed in sumptuous silks with a circlet of fresh flowers in her hair. The water dragon is also an amorous creature, and there have been occasions when the maiden destined for his dinner has become the queen of his heart.

He is a brave adversary and if called upon to fight will defend himself ferociously and to the death. However, he is shy, and it is not possible to catch more than a glimpse of him. He always conducts himself with elegance, even when capturing food. One curious fact is that this delicate and beautiful creature cannot bear any kind of chains or bonds around his neck, for this is the method that was used in antiquity to capture him. It was sufficient to tie a noose around his neck and the dragon would allow himself to be led away without a struggle.

Dragons as Sea Serpents

Throughout history, water dragons have often been sighted, with the most recent incidents dating back to the beginning of the twentieth century

The most scientifically reliable description is that of Peter Karl van Esling, the director of The Hague Zoo, who gives an account of a water dragon sighted during a voyage to collect marine species in the Atlantic in 1860:

We saw a gigantic reptile, bright blue and silver in color He swam gracefully around the ship before the sailors' eyes, and submerged himself without a splash. His eyes were enormous, with vertical pupils and an intelligent expression. They seemed luminous, but this effect could be due to the reflections from the setting sun.

His head was adorned with bright blue and green crests. Even though he disappeared under water and we did not see him again, he appeared to measure some seven meters in length, and on his back we could make out something resembling crests or fins. I think he was serpent like, but the sailor beside me thought he saw legs and claws.

We know about the life cycle of Draco Splendens thanks to the investigations of the eminent English botanist and explorer, Sir Reginald Wort, who at the close of the eighteenth century spent months observing the fauna of the Zaragoza Sea. In the course of his investigations into water dragons, the British aristocrat witnessed the nuptial ceremonies of this species. His patient observations have given us the following account.

The female in heat looks for a seaweed-covered bed on which she lies and emits a luminescent glow. Her brilliant colors cause the males to launch into an energetic display of acrobatics. They leap into the air only to disappear again, resembling streaks of light. The female being courted then swims rapidly down to the depths of the ocean, followed by the throng of males. Only the fastest and strongest succeed in mating with her. After coupling has taken place, the female dragon hands over the fertilized egg to her partner, who deposits it in the warm sands of a safe beach and watches over it until it hatches. When the young dragon hatches, the father's duty is done, and he disappears, partly so as not to betray the young dragons presence to predators. During his lonely infancy, the young dragon feeds on tropical fruits and is strictly vegetarian.'

However Sir Reginald was wrong on one point. The little dragon is not abandoned as would appear from casual observation. The father visits his young at night, and during the day he keeps watch over the area from a prudent distance. The truth of this is borne out by the dramatic fate that befell a bold but inexperienced naturalist as told in the Diary of Expeditions and Discoveries of the New World by the Portuguese adventurer, Da Silva, in 1612. Paulo and the young Andre Da Gao disembarked on the lush island, which seemed to be inhabited only by birds and crabs. Paulo saw a huge brilliantly colored water lizard, which appeared to be quite tame but very timid. He called his companion and they managed to catch the animal. When the two naturalists wanted to bring him on board, the animal let out a series of shrill howls and from the sea appeared an enormous lizard that threw itself on the unfortunate pair. Andre died in the fray, with his head virtually torn from his body, and Paulo managed to survive because he threw the basket with the young lizard into the sea. Immediately, the sea monster abandoned the pursuit to save the drowning animal.We were so overwhelmed by this incident that we did not dare return to the island to recover Andre's body and bury him. This little-known tale was considered spurious in scientific circles at the time, but it confirms our observations on the behavior of Draco Splendens.

The Development of Draco Splendens

When a young Draco Splendens has grown to one meter his coloring becomes brighter and more luminous. He loves the water and soon learns to swim. When the father believes the young dragon is able to swim, he abandons him once and for all and continues his adult life elsewhere. During his first days alone, the young dragon often howls pitifully, but he soon gets used to it. His instinct prompts him to take to the water, leaving the land forever. During this phase he feeds solely on sea anemones, which do not harm him even though they are poisonous.

Draco Splendens' first destination is the underwater cave where the Dragon Father's court resides. There he grows up and receives his education, and after a while every young dragon follows the Gulf Stream and sets off in search of a place to make his permanent home. During this journey, he reaches full maturity. By the time he reaches the European shores, he is a magnificent animal measuring seven meters in length, brilliantly colored and beautiful to behold. He has mastered the power of speech and is an expert magician. Carried by subterranean currents unknown to man, he penetrates the European mainland. He cannot tolerate polluted water and eats only once a month, feasting as usual on virgins.

The Water Dragon's Abode

The usual home of Draco Splendens is a cave with a submerged entrance. Curiously, this cave is always dry and the floor is covered with sand that the dragon himself brings from the beach. This complex of caves is bigger and more elaborately fashioned than that of the common dragon. The rooms are decorated with pearls, corals and gems of great beauty, which the owner has collected over the years, and with which he creates original and elaborate patterns. Stalactites and stalagmites are also part of the cave's decor while artistically arranged vases of flowers enhance the rooms.  It is not unusual for one of the caves to have a subterranean stream running through it. The dragon swims in it and his slaves drink the water and bathe in it.  The water dragon's family is small but select. It is usually made up of water creatures such as lower class water Sprites, with little magic power, small newts and a few human beings. He never captures water nymphs or sprites from the large rivers, for they are very powerful.

Among the human beings are poets and troubadours, and, very often,the maiden of his dreams.  The dragon's lady is both his mistress and his slave, and he lives surrounded by. a select entourage of damsels, pages and squires. When the dragon keeps humans in his cave he usually makes a small opening so that they can leave easily. His taste for art and his exclusive feeding habits mean that this dragon family has frequent contact with humans.


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