Sunday, April 27, 2008

Tricia and the Manchu Dragon


By Ellis Peterson (AKA Ragnar Storyteller)

“Oh Rosetta, I would love to go,” Tricia said, “but where would I get a princesses gown, and why a Chinese one?”
“It is what the Golden Queen Fairy requested,” Rosetta replied in the musical voice of a rose fairy. “All Fairyland is abuzz with the thought of a ball. A messenger came and said that the Queen Fairy from Japan would be visiting us. In her honor the Golden Queen Fairy has appointed tomorrow night as the night of the grand ball. Everyone will be there. The Queen wants especially to introduce you to the visiting Queen. Everyone will be dressed in Chinese tradition, with you as the Chinese princess.”
“Well then, we do not have a lot of time,” Tricia smiled. “Climb on my shoulder and we will go to the costume store and see what they have.”
When Tricia and Rosetta arrived at the costume store, they were disappointed to find there were no Chinese princess costumes, or anything to resemble it, in the whole store. When Tricia asked the owner if she knew where she could get one, the best that he could do was give her a list of other costume stores in the area.
Tricia and Rosetta went back home and Tricia spent the next half hour calling all the stores on the list. She was down to her last store with no success.
“Oh Rosetta, what am I to do? I can’t find a costume. That means I won’t be able to go.
“But you must, Rosetta said. “The Queen is looking forward to your being there. Don’t give up, make that last call. I have a “fairy feeling” that we may be in luck.
Tricia made the last call. When she hung up there was glimmer of hope in her eyes.
“What did he say?” Rosetta asked.
“He didn’t have any, but joking around he said that I would only be able to find the dress in a museum. Isn’t that a great idea.
Tricia took out the telephone directory and listed the phone numbers of museums in the area. On her third call, she broke into a big smile, gave a loud thank you, and turned to Rosetta and said, “We are in luck.” The Museum of Arts has an exposition called, “The Chinese Tea Garden.” It has all the contemporary works of the Ch’ing Dynasty of the late 18th and 19th century. I studied about that period in school. They are sure to have the costume we are looking for. “Hurry let’s go.”
“But how will we get the costume out of the museum?’ Rosetta asked.
“We will worry about that when we find it,” Tricia winked.
When they arrived at the museum, they went straight for the information desk. Tricia was told that the Chinese Tea Garden exhibition was on the third floor. Rosetta was overwhelmed by all the beautiful art objects in the museum, for this had been her very first trip to one. “You humans have special talent for reproducing beauty,” she said. “It is a wonder how pieces of paper and cloth and stone can be made so beautiful.”
They walked real slow toward the third floor so that Rosetta could get a long look at all the works of art.
“There it is,” Tricia said, “See that sign, it points out through those doors.” They went through the doors and stepped right into 18th century China.
“It’s almost as if we stepped into another world,” Tricia exclaimed. The garden was formed into a huge rectangle. In the middle of the rectangle stood a little pond, which had a fountain in the center spraying out two streams of water, a spray bubbled out from the center and formed a very misty spray around the outer edge of the pond. The pond was filled with water lilies. Rare exotic flowers surrounded a wishing well.
“Wouldn’t that have been a lovely place to live?” Rosetta said, as Tricia had to urge her away from the beauty of the pond. All around the garden were little gravel paths that led to little streams, crossed over by bamboo bridges. One path led to a small pagoda with a dirt floor. In the center of the room was a perpetual candle that stood before a smiling figure of the Buddha.
The signs that were posted around the garden told them that this was an exact replica of a tea garden in the Emperor’s Palace of the Ch’ing dynasty, circa 18th century. It was where the princess, his daughter spent most of her time, in studies and at play.
When they had filled themselves to capacity with the beauty of the outside garden and all it’s wandering paths, they entered the large door to see the inner exhibition.
The first room they entered had a highly polished floor made of ebony wood. In the center of the room was a bed, but it was no ordinary bed. It was the bed where the Imperial Princess slept. It was a four-poster with a red satin canopy, red satin comforter and black ebony wooden frame.
“Oh, how I would love to sleep in that bed, just once,” Tricia sighed. “I bet I would have princess dreams.”
They left the bedroom and walked down a short, narrow corridor, Tricia jumped back in fright. There, standing on guard in their path was a huge Chinese guard. He looked fierce in his full face helmet, with two long red feathers standing another two feet in the air.
“Who is he?” Tricia gasped. “He must be seven feet tall.”
There along side the awesome figure was a little sign telling them that he was an Imperial Palace guard who was entrusted with the safety of the princess’ life.
Tricia and Rosetta walked around the guard, giving his huge curved sword a wide berth.
“Look, Oh look, Tricia,” Rosetta yelled. “Your gown, your gown!”
Tricia finally took her eyes off the Imperial Guard and looked in the direction Rosetta was pointing. Yes, there it was, a magnificent white gown that was modeled by a petite Chinese princess, who was surrounded by six palace serving girls. The gown was long sleeved and all white with a neckline sparkling with diamonds. On her head was a silver tiara filled with rare gems and a veil of the finest silk that Tricia had ever seen.
“O Rosetta, it is her wedding gown,” Tricia said. “Look at the sign.” Today is her wedding day and her maids are helping her get dressed while her future husband awaits her with her father in the throne room. The Imperial Guard over there by the door is commanded to cut off heads of anyone trying to see the princess before the wedding,” Tricia gulped and turned to look once more at the guard, while rubbing her neck.
“Oh, I would love to wear that gown to the Queen’s ball, but the train is so long, how would I manage it?”
“I will help you,” Rosetta said.
“Oh thank you,” Tricia smiled. “Now let’s find a good hiding place until all the people leave and the museum closes. Then I will put on the gown, you will shrink me to fairy size and we will go to the ball. We will have the gown back before the museum opens tomorrow. That’s my plan. What do you think, Rosetta?”
With Rosetta still perched on her shoulder, Tricia walked around among all the other museum visitors, looking for a good hiding place for the next few hours.
“There,” Rosetta shouted in Tricia’s ear, “Oh Tricia let’s hide in that beautiful pool with the fountain.”
“Okay,” Tricia smiled. “But first, let’s go to the ladies room and you can shrink me to your size.”
Tricia and Rosetta nestled themselves comfortably between two large lilies in the middle of the pool. They felt quite safe and secure for they knew that very few children could see them and still very, very, very, few adults. So they settled down for a nap.
They no sooner closed their eyes when the lily pads they were lying upon started bobbing up and down rapidly. They crawled out of the lilies to see what was causing the commotion. Sitting on the edge of the pool were two rowdy-looking boys. They were splashing the water with their hands causing big waves to form.
Suddenly, the boys looked in the direction of Tricia and Rosetta and pointed.
“They can’t possibly see us. Can they?” Tricia asked.
“It looks like they can,” Rosetta answered. “Look, they are trying to get closer.”
The boys moved along the pool until they were directly opposite them. One of the boys took some rubber bands out of his pocket and passed some to the other boy. Then they took turns trying to hit Tricia and Rosetta with them.
“I thought only good boys and girls could see fairies,” Tricia said.
“Oh no,” Rosetta answered. “Sometimes children and people with very strong imaginations can also see the small people.”
“We had better get out of here,” Tricia said. “If one of those rubber bands hits us we might get seriously hurt. Duck!”
One of the rubber bands whizzed over their heads and hit the flower with such impact that it broke lose some of the petals.
Tricia and Rosetta moved to the other side of the pool, all the while carefully hiding themselves in the thick foliage.
But when they got to the other side, there were two boys aiming more rubber bands at them. They scurried for cover as another rubber band zoomed past their heads.
All the while, the boys were laughing and shouting and jumping up and down. It wasn’t long until they attracted the attention of one of the museum guards. He took them both by the arms and asked where their parents were.
Tricia and Rosetta watched from their hiding place, but when the boys insisted there was something in the bushes in the pond, they both agreed it was time to find another hiding place before the guard started looking for them also.
Tricia and Rosetta flew safely away from the pond and headed inside to the main exhibition. They spotted the room with the princesses’ beautiful red bed. “There, there,” Tricia called out in sheer delight. “I am going to get my chance to sleep in the princesses’ bed after all.”
They landed on the large red satin pillow and snuggled down between it and the red satin comforter. Since there was a guide rope around the bed, they felt quite secure and soon fell asleep.
Tricia was awakened by the gentle nudging of Rosetta.
“Shhh, listen,” Rosetta whispered.
They climbed out from between the red satin pillow and comforter. “That’s bells, music and laughter,” Tricia said. She glanced at her watch and said, “But how could that be? It’s past closing time. Who could be making all that noise?”
They cautiously climbed off the bed and went to the door and peeked around the corner from where the music came.
The music was coming from the exhibition room, where this afternoon they had seen the princess manikin and the gown. Quietly they crept toward the doorway, from which soft light now poured.
A party was going on. It was some sort of celebration. The manikins that stood lifeless during the afternoon hours had come to life. They were standing around, waiting for some event to happen.
“Where’s the princess, Tricia whispered. “Let’s find her.”
They cautiously worked their way around the large room, keeping to the shadows along the walls. They found the princess in one of the anti-rooms with her serving ladies. They were putting the finishing touches on her hair. They listened to the conversation and found that this was the princesses’ wedding night. Many years ago, back in China, on her original wedding day a terrible thing had happened. The princess was carried away by the Manchu dragon before she ever got the chance to be married. Every year on the same day the wedding scene is reenacted with the hope that the outcome will be different. Tricia and Rosetta had chosen the night of the reenactment for their visit to the museum.
“What will we do?” Rosetta asked.
“We must find a way to help her,” Tricia answered. “I don’t know how, but there must be a way.”
“I must talk to the princess,” Tricia finally said.
Rosetta sprinkled some of the magical sand upon Tricia’s head and she rose to full-size. With Rosetta perched on her shoulder, Tricia started to enter the room to talk with the princess.
“Watch out,” Rosetta yelled, and instinctively Tricia ducked, just in time as a huge sword whistled over her head. Tricia looked up and there was the fierce Imperial Guard raising his massive curved sword for another swing. Tricia was hypnotized by the fierceness of his mask and stood absolutely still.
“Run, run, run,” Rosetta had to yell before Tricia broke free from his staring eyes. Off she went into the darkness of the museum with the giant Imperial Guard in hot pursuit.
Down the dark museum corridors they raced, Tricia with Rosetta perched on her shoulders and the giant Imperial Guard with the curved sword raised high over his head.
Out of the darkness of the museum came a blood chilling roar. Tricia and the Imperial Guard stopped dead in their tracks. Again the roar. In a few seconds the corridor was filled with the stench of burning brimstone.
“The Manchu Dragon,” yelled the guard as he turned on his heels and headed back toward the princess. Tricia and Rosetta now chased him back toward where they had come.
Tricia arrived in time to see a terrible horned dragon emerge from the princesses’ room. He held the unconscious princess in one of his huge claws. He stopped and roared one more time. Flames poured out of his mouth. He was over 30 feet long and stood 10 feet tall. He easily carried the princess along as if she were no more than a ragdoll.
Nobody else could be seen. All the living manikins had run away or were hiding.
Suddenly, the Imperial Guard leaped out of the shadows and delivered a terrible blow to the head of the dragon with his huge sword.
The dragon let out a piercing cry of pain, shook his head, and reached out and grabbed the guard with his other clawed hand.
He was about to open his mouth and toast the guard to a cinder when Rosetta flew off of Tricia’s shoulder and headed straight for the dragon. She was no more than the size of a gnat compared to the huge bulk of the dragon; but she flew straight for that awesome head. When she was a few feet from his eyes, she took out her bag of magic sand and threw it into his face. The dragon struck out in blind fury and threw the guard unconscious against the wall. Then he instantly shrunk to half size. But this was still big enough to carry the princess along with him as he raced for the darkness of the museum corridors.
Rosetta settled back onto Tricia’s shoulder, who was by now hiding behind on of the exhibition cases. “That was really brave of you,” Tricia said.
“But the magic sand didn’t work as well as I thought it would. He is still very big and very strong.
“I know, but we must save the princess,” Tricia said. “Come, let’s follow him.”
It was not difficult to follow the dragon, for wherever he had been, a smell of burned rock lay behind. They followed him to the long winding stairs that led to the attic of the museum.
“I wonder what is up there?” Tricia asked.
Suddenly, the museum was filled with the roaring of a dragon in full battle frenzy. Tricia and Rosetta hid until the noise subsided and the flashing of the fire from the dragon’s mouth stopped.
After a period of quietness, Tricia and Rosetta ascended the stairs to the attic when the huge wooden doors had been thrown open. They quietly entered.
“It’s a work room,” Tricia said, “Look at that. It’s where they make the paper mache models of the dinosaurs.”
“What are dinosaurs?” Rosetta asked.
“See all those broken pieces all over the floor, “Tricia said. “Well they were models of prehistoric monsters that the museum staff was making. I guess the dragon took them for real and destroyed all of them.”
The room was literally strewn with paper mache pieces of dinosaurs from all ages.
“Come, he went this way,” Tricia said.
They walked through the large room and entered a smaller room at the left. There in the middle of the room lay the dragon. The princess was still clutched gently in his claw. She was awake, but she just sat there indifferent to her fate.
Tricia and Rosetta watched the dragon for a long time; but he did not move.
“I guess he is tired from his battles,” Tricia said. “Rosetta, do you think that you can go talk to the princess and find out what it is we can do to help?”
Rosetta flew off Tricia’s shoulder and landed on the princesses’ shoulder. Soon she came back.
“It’s no use,” Rosetta said. “The princess says nothing can be done. Every year for the past two hundred years the dragon has come and captured her. The prince, who she was to marry, arrived too late to save her.
No, it is not too late,” Tricia said. “If we can just keep the dragon occupied until the sun rises, then the prince will come and rescue her. Go tell the princess to have courage, for I have a plan.”
When Rosetta got back from telling the princess that they would rescue her, Tricia took her to the room with all the paper mache materials. They set to work and made a life-size duplicate of the Imperial Guard, only instead of giving him feet, they left a large opening.
“I’m sure Mr. Dragon will remember this one,” Tricia smiled, “for he still has that big lump on his head where he got hit.”
“Now that we have this made,” Rosetta asked, “What are we going to do with it?”
“We are going to glue it onto the tail of the dragon and wake him up,” Tricia answered. “Then while he is fighting with it, we will rescue the princess.”
“How long do you think he will take to destroy this dummy?” Rosetta asked with a puzzled look in her eyes.
“Long enough, if he does what I think he will do,” Tricia winked.
Very quietly they carried the paper mache Imperial Guard into the room where the dragon slept. He was snoring furiously. The princess lay quietly in the grasp of his claw. Her eyes opened wide when she saw the two of them approach.
Tricia handed Rosetta a piece of very strong nylon cord and told her to quietly tie it tightly to one of his horns. When Rosetta had returned with the loose end of the string, Tricia tied it to the dummy.
“Now for the hard part,” Tricia said. “To glue it to his tail without waking him.”
The two of them worked very quietly and they managed to glue the dummy securely to the tip of the dragon’s tail.
When they had finished, they tiptoed to the other room and at the given signal Tricia beat loudly on a drum that lie in the corner and little Rosetta yelled and shouted as loud as her little voice could go.
The dragon opened his eyes and looked around. When it moved its head, the Imperial Guard which was attached to a string connected to his horn, moved also. The dragon leaped to his feet, letting go of the princess, who quickly ran across the floor toward Tricia and Rosetta. The dragon tried to bite the dummy; but as his head moved toward him, the string attached to it caused the dummy to move away from him in a circular motion. Then it happened, what Tricia thought would happen. The dragon started to chase his own tail where the Imperial Guard was glued, but he was just never able to get to it.
“That should keep him busy until daylight,” Tricia said, as the three of them headed back downstairs toward the princesses’ chambers.
As they neared the princesses’ room, the Imperial Guard came running up with raised sword. The princess told him how Tricia and Rosetta had saved her. Instantly the guard prostrated himself on the ground before them, “I am your obedient servant,” he said.
Soon the hall was full of gaily talking guests. Everyone was truly excited, for now, after hundreds of years it seemed as if the prince would arrive in time and find the princess ready to wed.
Tricia and Rosetta sat with the princess and talked. “Where will the prince come from?” Tricia asked, “I did not see him in the museum anywhere.”
The princess laughed, “Oh Tricia, he is not here but he will come, for a love such as we have is not hampered by either time or space. He will be here,he always has.”
A loud cheer from the other room told of the princes” arrival.
Tricia jumped up all excited. “Aren’t you going to see the prince?” she asked
“He will come to me when he finishes his business with the dragon,” the princess quietly said. “Now, sit down here and tell me what you are doing in the museum at night.”
Tricia told the princess about the ball and how they had come for the gown.
“I will give you the gown on one condition,” the princess smiled and said.
“What is that?” Tricia asked
“That you stay and be my bridesmaid, for once I have been finally married, I will no longer be in need of it.”
“Oh yes,” Tricia beamed and hugged the princess.
The next day, the newspapers carried a small article on one of the back pages about how vandals had broken into the museum and caused minor damage. The museum officials were quite confused, for the only items that were missing were a wedding gown, the manikin that it had been placed upon, and the large decorative rug, which bore the image of the Manchu dragon upon it.

Ellis Peterson AKA Ragnar Storyteller is a retired math professor and electronics engineer. He has studied astrology, metaphysics, runes and quantum physics for over 25 years. He is truly a knowledgeable gray beard. His writings are refreshing. He has combined the ancient wisdom teachings with the 21st century laws of quantum physics.

For more of his writings please visit his websites:

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He is a ghost writer and will write articles for you. He can be contacted at

You can also visit his informative blogs on runes, quantum physics, magic, spirituality, alternate healing methods.

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