The Mind of the Dragon

The two dwarves clambered amongst the warm boulders of the mountainside. The air was crisp and clear. It was a perfect day for mountain climbing and if there were such a thing as a perfect day for treasure hunting, this would have been the day.

“Dunnin! Slow down, the mountain isn’t going to go anywhere,” Gunni called up the mountain breathlessly.

The dwarf higher up the mountain stopped and turned to face his companion.

“Honestly, Gunni, I’m traveling at quite a leisurely pace," answered an exasperated Dunnin. "It’s not my fault your enlarged midsection is slowing you down--it would do you good to keep up with me.”

Despite his teasing, Dunnin slowed down so that Gunni was able to keep up.

“So, remind me again why we are going on this fool’s errand to find this rumored dragon? If you ask me, we should leave well enough alone, since it is a silly children’s tale.” Asked Gunni while trying to catch his breath.

“If you have reservations you should have stayed home. You know quite well why we are searching for the dragon… to find its nest of treasure!”

“Ha ha! Right you are!” Replied Gunni with a broad smile and a twinkle of greed in his eye.

“The dwarves’ weakness… I only hope it doesn’t claim another victim if the rumors end up being true.”

The dwarves reached a large plateau where they took the time to have a rest against a lovely sun warmed rock and indulged in a hearty lunch.

“So what will you do with your share of the treasure?” asked Gunni as he took an exceptionally large bite of a stuffed sausage.

Dunnin leaned back against the rock and downed the rest of his mug of beer. A good amount dribbled down his dark brown beard.

“Horde it of course! Ha ha!”

“Hear hear! I second that! Of course getting a new set of axes would be on my list. Replace the shotty ones I have right now. New, shiny axes…” said Gunni as a dreamy look spread across his face.

“With gems in the handle!” added Dunnin.

“Of course with gems in the handle. No respectable dwarf would take me seriously if I didn’t get gems in the handle," answered Gunni in a gruff matter-of-fact tone.

“And a cellar full of the finest beer!” continued Dunnin.

“Ha ha! Definitely!” agreed Gunni with a large hairy grin, raising his now half full mug of ale to Dunnin, splashing the golden liquid a bit over the rim.

Dunnin and Gunni sat back and pondered the endless possibilities in silence for a little while.

“So… not to put a damper on things," mulled Gunni, "But, theoretically – what if the dragon happens to be at home if we do happen to find this rumored nest?”

“I suppose we should just be extra quite. I’ll have you know that I can be as silent as a mouse on moss if I need too," said Dunnin.

“Ha! You, silent?! Yeah, you’re as silent as a robin on a sunny spring morning," Gunni scoffed as he turned to give Dunnin an incredulous glare.

Dunnin looked a bit hurt by this statement. “Well, we could always kill it.”

“Yeah, right," but Gunni didn’t sound too convinced, “I think you would have better luck asking it nicely if it wouldn’t mind just handing over it’s treasure.”

“What? Like, ‘Um… hello there Mr. Dragon… um, granted this is only a suggestion, but could you hand – er – claw over all the shiny bits in your nest?’”

“Well, it might work”

“Highly unlikely” said a voice.

“Ho! Who goes there! Show yourself!” exclaimed Gunnin as both dwarves jumped to their feet and pulled out their axes.

“For one thing, the dragon might be insulted if you called it a Mr. when it actually was a Ms.” Continued the voice.

“It sounds like the bugger is behind that large bolder,” whispered Dunni to Gunnin as the dwarves crept closer to the rock.

“These shiny bits you speak of don't really sound that appetizing. I mean, honestly, what would use would a dragon have for such things? They don't sound like they make good eating, and that's really the only thing a dragon would care about," continued the voice, oblivious to the affect it was having on its audience.

Gunnin motioned to Dunni to charge the other side of the boulder on his mark.

The voice continued. "I really don't understand were people get these ridiculous stories from... pure rubbish if you ask me!"

The dwarves rushed the other side of the boulder.

Nothing.

The dwarves looked at each other, dumbfounded.

"This is a might bit of trickery if you ask me," whispered Dunni.

"Aye," agreed Gunnin. "Ho there! Voice?"

Silence.

The dwarves looked at each other again. Dunni shrugged.

"Show yourself! We won't have for any trickery!" Gunni called out to the hidden speaker.

A snickering like the sound of grinding stone emanated from the boulder. "Oh that is rich!" More snickering. "I really don't think you really want me to 'show' myself even though you are practically on top of me."

Dunnin picked up is feet gingerly and looked underneath them one by one. Gunni looked on in disbelief on how he managed to have such a dolt as a companion.

This produced more rocky snickering from the boulder.

Gunni rapped Dunnin on the head with his axe handle. "It dunna mean you are on it!" Gunni turned his attention back to the boulder.

"Ho voice! We mean wha' we say. Show yourself!"

"If you insist," responded the voice.

The boulder started to move and grow. Cracks and crevices that had once been unnoticeable turned into limbs. A tail unwound itself and clawed paws emerged. Before the dwarves knew what was happening the stony claws had grasped each one of them. A large boney grey head looked down upon them with hungry amber eyes.

"Dragon!" exclaimed Gunni. "Dunnin, you fool of a dwarf! Look at where your curiosity has gotten us!" said Gunni as he tried to free an arm from the dragon's clasp in order to give his companion a good thumping. "I knew I should have never followed you up this mountain."

"Me?!" answered Dunnin in an angry tone. "Ha! You’re the one tha' insisted tha' the bloody dragon show itself!" Dunnin also started to squirm in the dragon's clasp in hopes of giving Gunni an equally good thumping. The dragon looked down on the two struggling morsels with an amused expression. The dragon had delt with dwarves before and while expected such behavior from them, still found the whole situation quite amusing. After a few more minutes of squirming and exchanging insults with one another, the two dwarfs were too tired to continue.

"Well, it's good to see you got that out of your system. I wouldn't want you to keep bickering with each other when you are in my belly. I think that would give me quite a stomach ache," the Dragon casually informed the two bewildered companions.

Dunnin turned a pasty shade of white while Gunni opted for a sickly shade of green followed by a corpse-like gray. They remained silent.

"Right," said the Dragon "what's all this nonsense about my nest being full of, er…" The dragon screwed up her face in concentration. "Little, sharp, shiny things…"

"Treasure?" offered Dunnin weakly. Gunni gave Dunnin the universal are-you-bloody-stupid-what-did-you-say-that-for look.

"Oh yes, you call those things treasure" said the Dragon, smiling and nodding. "Utterly nonsense," continued the Dragon conversationally, "I mean why would I want such uncomfortable things in my bed?" gesturing with the paw holding Gunni who was starting to look a bit queasy.

"Well, my gran used to tell me…" started Dunnin. Gunni rolled his eyes.

"Your gran! Now you should know better than to believe tales from a crotchety old dwarf. She probably said that she used to walk 50 miles, waist deep in snow, up hill both ways to the mine each day when she was a dwarfling."

Dunnin's eyes got wide "how did you know!?"

The Dragon snorted and a white plume of smoke escaped from her nostrils. "Figures – lies, the lot of them. Where's this gran of yours? She should have her head bitten off."

"She died about ten years ago" said Dunnin solemnly.

"Well," said the Dragon in a haughty voice, "serves her right for spreading such lies."

The dragon eyed her two prisoners carefully. The dwarves squirmed under the intensity of her amber stare. After a moment, the Dragon began to slowly speak. "Well… what shall I do with you two?"

"Er, not eat us?" suggested Dunnin with which was reinforced with vigorous head nodding from Gunni.

"Blah!," said the Dragon as she wrinkled her long gray nose and stuck out her tongue in disgust, "I would have to agree with you on that one. Dwarf meat isn't very good."

The two dwarves breathed a sigh of relief in chorus.

"But," continued the Dragon as she spread her wings, "since I can't having you spreading more lies, or having you tell all your friends about my home that you so rudely stumbled upon…" The Dragon bolted into the air and rose very quickly above the mountain. "…I will just arrange for a bit of a climbing accident for you two." With that, she released her clasp of the two surprised dwarfs. The last thing the dwarves saw was the dragon hovering in the air as they quickly fell away.

The air was crisp and clear. It was a perfect day for catching bugs, or at least the blue bird that had just landed on a patch of soft brown grass thought it was. The patch of soft brown grass began to moan and move. The startled blue bird took off into the bright mountain sky.

Dunnin and Gunni moaned and slowly arose from the mountain valley meadow where they were lying. They looked at each other with quizzical looks.

"Dragon?" asked Gunni weakly with a confused expression. Dunnin nodded.

"But... we fell... didn't we?"

They both looked up to the sky, but it was only filled with a brilliant shade of blue.

Halfway up the mountain a large gray boulder snickered to itself.

"Why do you bother yourself with messing with their minds?" asked a smaller boulder off to the side. "It not as if they are a threat to us."

The larger boulder just continued snickering to herself.