In Times of Trouble
The Dragon will Wake
And Free the Village
By making a Lake
This little poem was etched into everybody's minds and sometimes appeared on tea towels and grandma's embroidery.
The days went by slowly, quietly and most importantly, without any rain. There had been no rain in the valley for as long as the children could remember. The wells were starting to bring up muddy brown water and clothes had to be washed in yesterday's dishwater. The lawns had faded to a crisp biscuit colour and the flowers drooped their beautiful heads. Even the trees seemed to hang their branches like weary arms. The valley turned browner and drier and thirstier, every hot, baking day.
The townsfolk grew worried and would murmur to each other when passing with much shaking of heads and tut tuts. They would look upwards searching for rain clouds in the blue, clear sky, but none ever came.
"The tale of the Dragon cannot be true," said old Mrs Greywhistle, the shopkeeper.
"It hasn't moved an inch, I swear," replied her customer, tapping an angry foot.
It was now too hot for the children to play out in the direct sun and they would gather under the shade of the trees, digging holes in the dust and snapping brittle twigs.
"The Dragon will help us soon," said one child.
"He must do Something," agreed another.
"I'm sure he will."
They all nodded in agreement.
A week went by with no change, the people struggling along as best they could. Some were getting cross at the Dragon and would cast angry, sideways looks at it when passing. The villagers were becoming skinny eyed and sullen.
Meanwhile, the children had a plan.
Quickly and quietly, they moved invisibly around town, picking and plucking at the fading flowers. With outstretched arms and bouquets up to their chins, they rustled over to where the giant rock lay, as still as ever