Katy and the Dragon
“Kathryn Laidlaw. You have been found guilty by a jury of your peers. Yours is one of those cases where I find myself frustrated by sentencing guidelines. The crimes of which you have been found guilty should not be taken lightly.”
Once upon a time, there was a girl called Katy.
Whilst playing one day, she was surprised to encounter a dragon. It should be said that the dragon was surprised to encounter Katy too. The dragon had never met a little girl before, and Katy had never met a dragon.
“Hello,” Katy said. “My name is Katy.”
“Hello,” said the dragon. “I am a dragon. We do not have names.”
“What do you have?” Katy asked.
“I have wings, so I can fly,” the dragon said.
“Lots of things have wings. Crows and wasps and bats have wings. There’s nothing special about wings.”
The dragon thought for a moment.
“I have skin so thick it cannot be cut,” the dragon said.
“Lots of things have thick skin and can’t be cut,” said Katy. “You’re just like mouldy cheese or a smelly elephant.”
The dragon said nothing. He closed his eyes, deep in thought. Just at the moment when Katy thought he had gone to sleep, the dragon opened his eyes up wide and smiled.
“I can breathe fire,” the dragon said. “Look!”
With that, he let out a great breath and a jet of golden flame shot from his mouth. It was the most beautiful thing that Katy had ever seen.
“Tell me, Katy,” the dragon said, “are you ever scared?”
Katy thought of crows and wasps and bats, and mouldy cheese and smelly elephants.
“Sometimes,” she said.
“When you can breathe fire,” the dragon said, “you don’t have to be scared of anything.”
As Katy said her prayers that night, before she went to bed, she prayed more than anything that she wouldn’t have to be scared. She prayed that one day she would be able to breathe fire.
“Arson at this scale is more akin to attempted murder than to simple damage of property. It is only fortune which kept people safe from harm in the homes, schools and other buildings which you have destroyed.”