The families gripped each other tighter and shut their eyes.
The sneeze blasted from the Dragon like a rocket, throwing it back fifty paces, causing a whirlwind of dust and dirt.
The second blast split open the dry earth, sending explosions of soil and tree roots high into the sky like missiles, and something else too ...
The people heard the sound but couldn't recognize it at first for it had been such a long time since their ears had heard such tinkling melody. As their eyes widened in wonder, their smiles turned into grins and then yahoos and hoorahs.
Water, cold, clear spring water, oozed, then trickled, then roared out of the hole, down the hillside and along the valley floor.
The torrent knocked over a farmer's haystack, but he didn't care.
The river carried away the schoolteacher's bike shed but she cared not a jot. It even demolished the Ladies Bowling Club changing rooms but they howled with laughter and slapped their thighs. When the flood sent pools of water out towards the golf course, filling up sixteen of the nineteen holes, the men just hooted and whistled and threw their caps up in the air.
What used to be a dirty, brown dust bowl, now gleamed and glistened in the sunlight, sending playful waves and ripples across the lake and inviting all to share.
"HMMMMM," sighed the Dragon sleepily, and showing his perfect movie star teeth. "Seeing as I'm awake ..."
And he lumbered forward with surprising grace and style and disappeared into the cool dark water with a small wave of a claw and flick of his tail.
They never saw him again.
After the families had restored and rebuilt the village, and set up sailing clubs for the children, and scuba diving for the grandparents, they erected a bandstand and monument in the spot where the Dragon used to lay. Every year to mark the occasion, they would bring garlands of flowers and herbs and arrange them in a big circle. The children would have the day off school, for it was known as 'Water Dragon Day' and wearing the dragon masks that they had been working on all week, would skip and clap and sing.
The Dragon helped Us
As We said He would Do
Hooray for The Dragon
Achoo, Achoo, ACHOOOO!
And that is the end of the story.