It seems that people search the world wide web for very strange things. Recently comments on my post The Secret to Increasing Blog Traffic got me wondering about disabled dragons.
I pulled out my copy of The Discovery of Dragons by Graeme Base. There was Olaf the Grim, Olaf the disagreeable, Olaf the Extremely Bad tempered but not Olaf the disabled. Asiatic dragons, tropical ones are plentiful however there’s not a white cane, a hearing aid or a pair of spinergy rims in sight.
I turned instead to Dragons: Truth, Myth and Legend by David Passes with Illustrations by the insanely talented (and patient – for her does it all with coloured pencils) Wayne Anderson. I found a dragon with the cool name of Marduck but no wheelie walkers here. There was the hydra who had multiple heads but each head was quite ‘typical’ – no microcephaly here.
Not ready to give up yet, I scoured my bookshelves further. I tried The Dragons are Singing Tonight by Jack Prelutsky and Peter Sis. I got all excited for a moment when I spied a poem called ‘My Dragon Wasn’t Feeling Good.’ Could I at last have located a disabled dragon? Nope. She took him to the doctor:
She took his pulse and temperature,
Then fed him turpentine
And phosphorus and gasoline –
My dragon’s doing fine.
Damn those meddling doctor’s who can cure everything.
I had two final books to search. (I know, I really don’t have enough books on Dragons). Dragon Poems by John Foster and Korky Paul yielded nothing. One last shot – The Tale of Custard the Dragon by Ogden Nash and Lynn Munsinger. Surely if anyone has a disabled dragon it would be Ogden Nash. Yet Custards only impairment, if you could call it that, was an extreme dose of cowardice.
So I ask you, where are the all inclusive stories for our kids? Who has written about the dragon with cerebral palsy; the one with schizophrenia or a broken wing? I ask you now, where is Bob-splotch the disabled dragon?
Then, it came to me. Of course. The Alice master himself, Lewis Carroll included a character with a disability. Well, actually maybe he included 2 because I’m sure that you’d have a reasonable case in claiming Mrs ‘Off With Her Head’ was showing some symptoms of psychosis. But it is not the dear Queen of Hearts to which I refer. And it is not the Jabberwocky either; the most dragon-like of Lewis’ creations.
It’s the one character who doesn’t have legs. The character who at times has a distinct separation between his head and his spinal column (a mark of disability if ever I saw one). I refer of course to The Cheshire Cat. For this creation I take my hat (not my head) off to Lewis Carroll. He created a character with a disability however we’ve been oblivious to it for what qualifies as a disability in our world is simply magic in Wonderland. If only the world were a little more wonderland.
I was just about to click the Publish button when I received a text from Andrew. In response to my message saying I was writing a blog post about disabled dragons, he asks ‘with prosthetic wings? Or prosthetic flame throwers?’ Hmm… flame throwers? I like it.