La Gr@not@ is calling for contributions for a new anthology. Several participants had a great deal of fun with the week on Wanna Score? dedicated to the dragon invasion of famous works of literature: https://twitter.com/granota_hut/status/1581917287484821504, and a few have asked for the theme to be continued.

So here it is. The rules are a little bit complicated:

(1) Choose a [famous] book (which may be fiction or non-fiction), short story, essay, play, speech, or poem.

(2) Make sure that it’s in public domain. This means that it’s copyright-free, which usually means that the copyright has expired (works originally published in the U.S.A. before 1928; by British, Australian, and European-Union authors who died before 1953; or by Canadian and New Zealand authors who died before 1973; for authors from other countries, check this list).

(2a) An easier rule-of-thumb: If it was published anywhere in the 19th century or earlier, it’s almost certainly safe to use.

(2b) The Gutenberg Press is a good place to find material online, though some modern works published there might still be under copyright.

(3) Copy the FIRST sentence [in full] of your chosen work into one of the comment boxes at the foot of this page. (You may – if you wish – alter the punctuation, for example, by converting it into direct speech or ending the sentence with a comma. But you may not add any other words before step 4.)

Or you may post your entries on Twitter… but then they’ll have a 280-character limit.

(4) Continue with the words “and then the dragons came”.

(5) Follow that with words of your own choice.

(6) Unlike the original exercise in Wanna Score?, you are not limited to the 20-word rule.

(7) You may submit graphic art, which should be sent to invasion(at)la-granota(dot)com or posted on the Twitter page.

(8) IMPORTANT! Name the title of the work and the author from which/whom you’ve borrowed your first sentence. This saves the editors from searching the Internet for your source.

(9) Participation implies permission for your entry to be included in a La Gr@not@ anthology, with all profits going to Amnesty International.

(10) You should give the name by which you want your entry to be credited. (If you don’t give it within the comment box, the one you use for posting will be used.) We will later ask you to provide a mini-CV (not compulsory, but it’s useful for advertising your other work).

(11) Multiple entries are VERY welcome. In fact, 6 or more [accepted] text entries (or one original piece of graphic art which illustrates a dragon invasion of literature) entitle you to a free copy of the finished, digital anthology.

(12) It should go without saying that the same work may be used more than once, so if you see your chosen book (or whatever) already invaded, you may have your dragons invade it from a different direction.

(13) Due to the recent spate of book-bannings in certain areas of the U.S.A., we’ll be marking books which have been banned there. An incomplete list of such public-domain books can be found here. If the book you choose has been banned anywhere (but isn’t on that list) – or been subjected to a public book-burning – please indicate that.

(14) Mild swearing is permissible (please don’t go hard-core, since some readers might be young), but hate-speech (including misogyny, racism, LGBTQ+phobia, etc.) is not.

(15) The entries already submitted (see below) will give you an idea of how to present your submission.

(16) We’d like to encourage the use of books for children.. and especially entries FROM children.


We wish you satisfying searches, pleasant purloining, and adventurous adapting!

* The Wanna Score? anthology can be found (along with other digital books) at https://la-granota.com/list.htm


  1. There once lived, in a sequestered part of the county of Devonshire, one Mr. Godfrey Nickleby: a worthy gentleman, who, taking it into his head rather late in life that he must get married, and not being young enough or rich enough to aspire to the hand of a lady of fortune, had wedded an old flame out of mere attachment, who in her turn had taken him for the same reason.

    And then the dragons came, spreading malicious gossip about a previous attachment of the new bride, and causing doubt of his choice to nestle in the breast of the too-easily influenced newlywed.

    (Life And Adventures Of Nicholas Nickleby by Charles Dickens)

  2. Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary,
    Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore –
    While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,
    As of some one gently rapping – rapping at my chamber door.

    And then the dragons came in, unbidden, though I thought that I had hidden
    Myself from their infernal prying – which had plagued me oft before.
    When I had lived in southeast Ealing, these self-same dragons – without feeling –
    Had sent me, wan and spent and reeling – retiring to this Yorkshire moor.

    (“The Raven” by Edgar Allan Poe)

  3. BARNARDO: Who’s there?

    And then the dragons came, breathing fire which scorch’d Barnardo’s doublet, and scaring him out of his wits.

    (“The Tragedie Of Hamlet, Prince Of Denmarke” by Mr. William Shakespeare)

  4. “TOM!”

    And then the dragons came, one of them with a suspicious bulge in its belly.

    “Tom won’t be coming back no more, old lady,” it said, before burping.

    (The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain)

  5. The family of Dashwood had long been settled in Sussex.

    And then the dragons came.

    At first, Mrs. Dashwood – the widow of the late Mr. Henry Dashwood – accepted the new arrivals to the neighbourhood with a good grace. But within a fortnight, their loud and boisterous parties – which continued well into the late hours – general rowdiness, and the noisome effluent emanating from their dwelling induced her to mount a counter-attack of not a little ferocity.

    (Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen, as continued by “Jane Austen Fanatic”)

  6. The studio was filled with the rich odour of roses, and when the light summer wind stirred amidst the trees of the garden, there came through the open door the heavy scent of the lilac, or the more delicate perfume of the pink-flowering thorn.

    And then the dragons came, and the pleasant smells of flowers were overlaid with the stench of a mixture of brimstone, rotten cabbage, bad eggs, and socks which have been left on feet infested with toe fungus for three solid weeks.

    (The Picture Of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde)

  7. Miss Brooke had that kind of beauty which seems to be thrown into relief by poor dress.

    And then the dragons came, and with a blast of fiery breath from one of them, Miss Brooke’s poor dress – as well as the hair on the left side of her head – were burnt away, which did not add to her beauty.

    (Middlemarch by George Eliot)

  8. Sir Walter Elliot, of Kellynch Hall, in Somersetshire, was a man who, for his own amusement, never took up any book but the Baronetage; there he found occupation for an idle hour, and consolation in a distressed one; there his faculties were roused into admiration and respect, by contemplating the limited remnant of the earliest patents; there any unwelcome sensations, arising from domestic affairs changed naturally into pity and contempt as he turned over the almost endless creations of the last century; and there, if every other leaf were powerless, he could read his own history with an interest which never failed.

    And then the dragons came.

    “Hey, Bub,” one of the dragons said, “this obsession with barons is pretty barren, if you’ll pardon the pun. How about reading some *interesting* books for a change? Or maybe even some comics?”

    “Better still, get out into the fresh air: do you a world of good!” enjoined a second. “Fancy a kick-about on the south lawn?”

    “KICK-ABOUT! KICK-ABOUT!” chanted the rest of them.

    (Persuasion by Jane Austen)

  9. A young painter, indulging a vein of pleasantry, sketched a kind of conversation piece, representing a bear, an owl, a monkey, and an ass; and to render it more striking, humorous, and moral, distinguished every figure by some emblem of human life.

    And then the dragons came, jostling him, poking at him, throwing his beret on the floor, and exclaiming “What: no dragons?! Why haven’t you sketched any dragons?!”

    “Maybe you don’t like dragons?” insinuated the largest dragon, scraping its claws menacingly along the wall.

    (Apologue to The Adventures of Roderick Random by Tobias Smollett)

  10. Great Expectations, Charles Dickens

    My father’s family name being Pirrip, and my Christian name Philip, my infant tongue could make of both names nothing longer or more explicit than Pip.

    And then the dragons came.

    With slavering jaws they gobbled up both Magwitch and Compeyson. I returned to the forge and my life of abject misery until the demise of Mrs Joe, after which I lived in a ménage à trois with Joe and Biddy.

    Miss Havisham was so cheered by the demise of Compeyson that she employed The Peggotty and Dorrit Cleaning Company to restore Satis House to its former glory, whilst Estella made good her escape, appearing alongside The Infant Phenomenon in a touring theatre company.

  11. Moby Dick – Herman Melville

    Call me Ishmael.

    And then the dragons came. None of them called me Ishmael; they were too busy with a fire-breathing contest to see who could be the first to melt the rope ladders.

    First mate Starbuck was enchanted, and immediately saw the commercial potential for employing one in each of many Famous Coffee Houses throughout the land, indeed the globe. And so, a legend was born.

  12. Selden paused in surprise: in the afternoon rush of the Grand Central Station his eyes had been refreshed by the sight of Miss Lily Bart. And then the dragons came.
    After they finished munching on Selden and the rest of Mrs. Astor’s Four Hundred, Lily Bart dusted herself, sent a jaunty “thanks, darling!” to the dragon matriarch, and realized it was high time she used the legendary Bart beauty and grace to be the hero of her own story. And so she did. The End.
    “House of Mirth,” Edith Wharton.

    1. “Denise had come on foot from the Saint-Lazare station where a train from Cherbourg had brought her, with her two brothers after a night spent on the hard benches of a third class car.” And then the dragons came.
      Denise, who was sick and tired of the life of a shop assistant, with its 13-hour shifts, indifferent meals and an overpriced hot attic room, had the dragons direct their flames against the facade of the nearby Au Bonheur des Dames.
      As the store burned, she was heard to chortle, “Mouret, that’ll teach you to regard women only as brainless consumers!”
      She then bought a pain au chocolat from the nearest bakery and in the end, decided to have another. The End.
      The Ladies’ Paradise by Émile Zola.

  13. Dorothy lived in the midst of the great Kansas prairies, with Uncle Henry, who was a farmer, and Aunt Em, who was the farmer’s wife.

    And then the dragons came soaring through the sky, strong gusts of wind that from their powerful wings tore away clouds. People, animals and small abodes alike tipped and tumbled through the air as the dragons descended from the sky to rest at where Dorothy’s farm used to be.
    Dorothy and her family, who had been enjoying their breakfast had been sent flying off to another land, one with a yellow brick road.

    [“The Wonderful Wizard of Oz” by L. Frank Buam] Credit: @Madis_Daverish

  14. It was the best of times; it was the worst of times.

    And then the dragons came…

    Dr. Alexandre Manette pleaded with his guards at the Bastille to call in the exterminators, but they just laughed at him.

    (A Tale Of Two Cities by Charles Dickens)

  15. The week after was one of the busiest weeks of their lives.

    And then the dragons came; and if Constantia and Josephine had thought that they’d been busy before, they now learnt what being busy really was!

    Every day, two oxen had to be fetched and slaughtered, then cut up into [dragon-sized] bites, and the dragons’ rooms had to be sluiced down and aired.

    “It’s lucky that we only offer bed and breakfast,” said Josephine, “and that they have to fend for themselves for luncheon and supper! I shall need a holiday, myself, after their fortnight with us!”

    (“The Daughters of the Late Colonel” from “The Garden Party, and Other Stories” by Katherine Mansfield, adapted by Andy Reid)

  16. I wandered lonely as a cloud
    That floats on high o’er vales and hills,
    When all at once I saw a crowd,
    A host, of golden daffodils;
    Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
    Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

    And then the dragons came and scorched
    The daffodils, yes, every one,
    And trampled on the ground they’d torched.
    They sneered at me, and poked cruel fun:
    “You’d have to be completely naff
    To write a poem about a daff!”

    (“Daffodils” by William Wordsworth)

  17. In the latter days of July in the year 185––, a most important question was for ten days hourly asked in the cathedral city of Barchester, and answered every hour in various ways—Who was to be the new bishop?” And then the dragons came.

    They oohed and ahhed over the High Church regalia. They nodded their magnificent green- and purple-scaled heads in approval, sampling the fine Shoyeido incense, like a vintage wine. They closed their many-lidded eyes, entranced by the daily choral Evensong. They nestled comfortably among the cool stones of the interior. The dragons had found a home.

    No more questioning: Who was to be the new bishop? The Right Revered Draco XII sits regally in the Barchester Cathedral throne, to this day. The End.

    Barchester Towers by Anthony Trollope

  18. The schoolmaster was leaving the village, and everybody seemed sorry.

    And then the dragons came, and everyone was even sorrier… but only for a short time. At the end of ninety-six minutes by the church clock, not a single villager was left alive.

    (Jude the Obscure by Thomas Hardy)

  19. When Farmer Oak smiled, the corners of his mouth spread till they were within an unimportant distance of his ears, his eyes were reduced to chinks, and diverging wrinkles appeared round them, extending upon his countenance like the rays in a rudimentary sketch of the rising sun.

    And then the dragons came, and Farmer Oak never smiled again. They burnt his hay fields and slaughtered all of his sheep.

    “Well, at least now I won’t have to worry about them being chased off the edge of a cliff by an inexperienced sheepdog,” murmured Gabriel Oak – for such was his name – philosophically.

    (Far from the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy)

  20. It was a feature peculiar to the colonial wars of North America, that the toils and dangers of the wilderness were to be encountered before the adverse hosts could meet.

    And then the dragons came, and confused the issue a sizeable degree more, joining the battles now on one side, now on the other, and gobbling down each soldier who fell on the battle field – no matter on which side he fought, nor whether he was quite dead or only wounded – which made the score-keeper’s task of tallying points (3 for a direct kill, 2 for a mortal wound , 1 for a simple amputation) much more difficult.

    (The Last of the Mohicans; A narrative of 1757 by James Fenimore Cooper) submitted by Georgia Sucks

  21. “I can never bring myself to believe it, John,” said Mary Walker, the pretty daughter of Mr. George Walker, attorney of Silverbridge. And then the dragons came.

    Mary, the youngest partner at Walker and Walker, Attorneys at Law, put aside her disbelief about the firm’s near bankruptcy and immediately set to work. Depositions, notices of intent to sue, briefs, these dragons were a litigious bunch. Demanding and impatient, too, liable to devour a clerk if the meetings were set too early in the morning. But they paid promptly and in beautifully shiny gold coins, too. “And clerks, John dear, are a dime a dozen these days.”

    Anthony Trollope, The Last Chronicle of Barset.

  22. On an evening in the latter part of May a middle-aged man was walking homeward from Shaston to the village of Marlott, in the adjoining Vale of Blakemore, or Blackmoor.

    And then the dragons came, landing beside him on the road.

    “Fancy a lift?” they asked him. “We seem to be heading in the same direction.”

    The pedestrian, after another pace or two, halted, and turned round.

    “I wouldn’t wish to inconvenience you,” he replied.

    “Not a smidgen of inconvenience!” exclaimed one of the dragons. Hop onto young Smujpreg there: he won’t even notice the weight.”

    (Tess of the d’Urbervilles: A Pure Woman by Thomas Hardy)

  23. One evening of late summer, before the nineteenth century had reached one-third of its span, a young man and woman, the latter carrying a child, were approaching the large village of Weydon-Priors, in Upper Wessex, on foot.

    And then the dragons came, slithering out of a wood on the right-hand side of the path along which they were trudging.

    “What will you take for that chubby little lass?” they asked of the couple, “for we are civilised dragons and always pay a fair price for our meals.”

    (The Mayor of Casterbridge by Thomas Hardy)

  24. I was born in the year 1632, in the city of York, of a good family, though not of that country, my father being a foreigner of Bremen, who settled first at Hull.

    And then the dragons came, demanding to see passports and entry visas. Although all our documents were in order, the chief dragon swallowed them, exclaimed “Well I never! Undocumented, illegal immigrants, I see!”, and told us that we had five days in which to leave the country.

    The Life and Adventures of Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe, as retold by Sarah Tompkins

  25. About thirty years ago Miss Maria Ward, of Huntingdon, with only seven thousand pounds, had the good luck to captivate Sir Thomas Bertram, of Mansfield Park, in the county of Northampton, and to be thereby raised to the rank of a baronet’s lady, with all the comforts and consequences of an handsome house and large income.

    And then the dragons came, burnt down the handsome house, confiscated the baronet’s savings, and informed him that they had previously destroyed his tobacco plantations in the West Indies and freed all of his slaves there.

    The baronet and his lady were now destitute, reduced to sleeping in a fortuitously discovered cave and foraging for nuts, berries, and roots in the grounds of Mansfield park.

    (Mansfield Park by Jane Austen)

  26. There was no possibility of taking a walk that day.

    And then the dragons came, letting in the wind and dripping rainwater all over the carpet.

    “Let’s play Monopoly®,” they suggested. And so we did.

    … But they cheated!

    (Jane Eyre, An Autobiography by Charlotte Brontë, sabotaged by Branwell, the Brontë Brother)

  27. 1801—I have just returned from a visit to my landlord—the solitary neighbour that I shall be troubled with.

    And then the dragons came, moved into the long-abandoned house on the other side of the stream,, and commenced to troubling me a great deal.

    (Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë + Branwell, the Brontë Brother)

  28. All true histories contain instruction; though, in some, the treasure may be hard to find, and when found, so trivial in quantity, that the dry, shrivelled kernel scarcely compensates for the trouble of cracking the nut.

    And then the dragons came.

    “Did somebody mention nuts?” they asked excitedly. “We love nuts!”

    (Agnes Grey, A Novel by Anne Brontë + Branwell, her brother)

  29. Mr. Sherlock Holmes, who was usually very late in the mornings, save upon those not infrequent occasions when he was up all night, was seated at the breakfast table.

    And then the dragons came.

    “We would like to engage your services to clear up the mysterious disappearance of our aunt and of her pet dog,” their spokesdragon began. “They retired to their lair late last night, and neither appeared in the great hall, at their accustomed hour of five o’clock this morning.”

    “The great hall of Barfinster Castle in Dorset, I surmise,” returned Mr. Holmes.

    The collective jaws of the dragons assembled dropped, and their speaker exclaimed “How in tarnation did you guess that?!”

    “Not an idle guess,” explained my friend. “There are but seven castles with great halls in this country presently occupied by dragons. I noticed the unique colour of the clay under your claws. A clay that occurs only in that area of Dorset. I have written a monograph on the subject of identifying the different clays of the British Isles.

    “Watson, would you hand me down the second volume of Dragon Residences Of England And Wales? It’s on the second-from-top shelf, next to the Guide To Victorian Pornographers.”

    (The Hound of the Baskervilles by Arthur Conan Doyle)

  30. Among other public buildings in a certain town, which for many reasons it will be prudent to refrain from mentioning, and to which I will assign no fictitious name, there is one anciently common to most towns, great or small: to wit, a workhouse; and in this workhouse was born; on a day and date which I need not trouble myself to repeat, inasmuch as it can be of no possible consequence to the reader, in this stage of the business at all events; the item of mortality whose name is prefixed to the head of this chapter.

    And then the dragons came.

    “Looks uncommonly scrawny to me,” said the first.

    “Still, we could fatten him up,” suggested a second. “Anyway, the newborn ones give me indigestion. Leave them until they’re six or seven years old, I always say. More meat on their bones and they’re tastier, too!”

    “But I’m hungry NOW!” complained a third. “Here, missus, have you got any others in stock? Six or seven years old, or thereabouts, to please my la-dee-dah gourmet friend here?”

    (Oliver Twist or The Parish Boy’s Progress by Charles Dickens)

  31. When Zarathustra was thirty years old, he left his home and the lake of his home, and went into the mountains. And then the dragons came, with the Ubermensch riding on their backs.
    Ubermensch Colin hollered, “Zarathustra, old friend! I have the fire if you have the marshmallows!”
    “God is dead!” said Zarathustra.
    Uber Colin replied, “So… what are you saying? No marshmallows?”

    Thus Spoke Zarathustra – Friedrich Nietzsche

  32. It was about the beginning of September, 1664, that I, among the rest of my neighbours, heard in ordinary discourse that the plague was returned again in Holland; for it had been very violent there, and particularly at Amsterdam and Rotterdam, in the year 1663, whither, they say, it was brought, some said from Italy, others from the Levant, among some goods which were brought home by their Turkey fleet; others said it was brought from Candia; others from Cyprus.

    And then the dragons came. They carried out a thorough, scientific analysis and determined that the plague had, in fact, originated in a biological warfare laboratory funded by His Majesty’s Lancaster Guards.

    They cut the public outcry – which had threatened to explode into violence, with the risk of some considerable extra loss of life – short by the expedient of burning the laboratory to inert ash, and then began the long process of caring for the afflicted, and the search for a cure.

    (A Journal of the Plague Year by Daniel Defoe)

  33. “My true name is so well known in the records or registers at Newgate, and in the Old Bailey, and there are some things of such consequence still depending there, relating to my particular conduct, that it is not be expected I should set my name or the account of my family to this work; perhaps, after my death, it may be better known; at present it would not be proper, no not though a general pardon should be issued, even without exceptions and reserve of persons or crimes.”

    And then the dragons came, interrupting what I had just written. They strode up and down my prison cell fuming. In truth, smoke escaped all the while from their nostrils and maws.

    “A pardon be damned!” one hissed. “We’re busting you out of this joint. Tonight!”

    And so began my second career in crime: more glorious (and remunerative) than the first…

    (The Fortunes and Misfortunes of the Famous Moll Flanders by Daniel Defoe)

  34. Whilom, as olde stories tellen us,
    Ther was a duc that highte Theseus;
    Of Atthenes he was lord and governour,
    And in his tyme swich a conquerour
    That gretter was ther noon under the sonne
    And then the draggones they did come.

    Geoffrey Chaucer, The Canterbury Tales

  35. Alice was beginning to get very tired of sitting by her sister on the bank, and of having nothing to do: once or twice she had peeped into the book her sister was reading, but it had no pictures or conversations in it, “and what is the use of a book,” thought Alice “without pictures or conversations?”

    And then the dragons came and – because dragons are capable of reading thoughts – said “Quite right! So we’ve brought you some comic books from a hundred and ten years in the future. PLENTY of pictures, LOTS of conversations. And once you’ve finished these, there are plenty more where they came from!”

    They handed Alice a pile of comics with such titles as “Binky Brown Meets The Holy Virgin Mary”, “Nasty Tales”, “The Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers”, “Wonder Wart-Hog”, and “Mr. Natural #3”.

    And that’s how Alice became a fan of underground comix.

    Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (originally entitled Alice’s Adventures Underground) by Lewis Carroll

  36. April is the cruelest month,
lilacs out of the dead land,
memory and desire,
 dull roots with spring rain.
    And then the dragons came.
    Weeding the dead land, mixing
    compost with memory,
    clearing roots of old mulch and pain.
    “Ahhh, much better,”
    said the garden dragon, sniffing
    a branch of lilacs in the spring rain.

    With apologies to T. S. Eliot. and The Waste Land

    1. Unfortunately, T. S. Eliot’s work is still under copyright. We want to write to publishers to get permission to use copyright material (there are 23 pieces held over from the “Wanna Score?” days), but can’t be sure that permission will be forthcoming, so – for the moment – we’ve stored these entries in a separate document.

      (Jimmy, as alternative admin)

  37. “The sublimity connected with vastness is familiar to every eye.”

    And then the dragons came, and by gum were they vast!

    “Sublime! Sublime!” cried Natty Bumppo, alias “Straight-Tongue”, AKA “The Pigeon”, pseudonym: “Lap-Ear”, sometimes called “Deerslayer”, who answered to “Hawkeye”, while some knew him as “La Longue Carabine”, others as “Leatherstocking”, and still others as “the trapper”, but whom – for the purpose of this story (the fourth of five in the “ Leatherstocking” series) – we’ll name “Pathfinder”.

    Young Mabel Dunham (nicknamed, for some reason, “Magnet” by her “uncle”) had no interest in dragons – and anyway had been, for the past half-hour, stealing glances at Pathfinder’s crotch (and don’t you believe that he had been unaware of the study she had been engaged in!) – noticed a damp patch spreading from the center of her attention. But whether this was due to [expressed] excitement or [unadmitted] fear on Bumppo’s part, she could not determine.

    More important – she reflected – was the question of why he had so many aliases. *Unless he has something to hide*, she concluded at last. *And he’s not hiding much in those trousers!*

    (The Pathfinder; Or, The Inland Sea by James Fenimore Cooper)

  38. It seems to me that it was far from right for the Professor of English Literature in Yale, the Professor of English Literature in Columbia, and Wilkie Collins to deliver opinions on Cooper’s literature without having read some of it.

    And then the dragons came, and put the record straight. In addition, they gobbled up Professors Lounsbury and Matthews, as well as JFC (initials which, in modern usage, suit him very well). But they spared Wilkie Collins, for whom they had a soft spot, especially due to The Woman In White, The Moonstone, and “The Frozen Deep”, a play co-written with Charles Dickens.

    (“Fenimore Cooper’s Literary Offenses”* by Mark Twain)

    [* This an excellent piece of literary criticism, well researched and hilarious. It can be read at https://www.gutenberg.org/files/3172/3172-h/3172-h.htm ]

  39. In my younger and more vulnerable years my father gave me some advice that I’ve been turning over in my mind ever since.

    And then the dragons came, and gave me some even more valuable advice, which I didn’t follow… a mistake which I’ve bitterly regretted to this very day.

    So here’s my advice to you, Dear Reader: if dragons ever give you advice, do what they say, because they know what’s best for you, and always have your welfare at heart.

    (The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald)

  40. – and then all the people cheered again, and one man, who was more excited than the rest, flung his hat high into the air, and shouted (as well as I could make out) “Who roar for the Sub-Warden?”

    And then the dragons came, and cheered louder than all the people combined, and one of them flapped its wings and roared “And who’s for beans on toast?”

    At this the crowd went wild!

    (Sylvie And Bruno by Lewis Carroll)

  41. These are the names of the sons of Israel who went to Egypt with Jacob, each with his family: Reuben, Simeon, Levi and Judah; Issachar, Zebulun and Benjamin; Dan and Naphtali; Gad and Asher.

    And then the dragons came, as well. And their names were Hoshbah, Zephrythrum, Jobobobeal, Wigpurvis, Mama Hyngla, Rabharjop, Blethrogomobath… and things like that.

    (The book of Exodus: not the one by Leon Uris, but the one in the Bible, allegedly written by Moses) adapted by “God’s Word And Dragons”

  42. In 1913, when Anthony Patch was twenty-five, two years were already gone since irony, the Holy Ghost of this later day, had, theoretically at least, descended upon him.

    And then the dragons came. Which was rather ironic, because he’d given up believing in dragons in 1911, just before taking up irony.

    (The Beautiful and Damned by F. Scott Fitzgerald)

  43. John T. Unger came from a family that had been well known in Hades – a small town on the Mississippi River – for several generations.

    And then the dragons came, and wiped out the whole of the Unger family, with the exception of John T. (a 2-year-old at that time), whom they carried of to their lair in the Stony Mountains. Here they stored all of the gold and jewelery which they’d found on their raids, and – from a very early age – these and dragon droppings were John T.’s only toys.

    (“The Diamond as Big as the Ritz” from “Tales of the Jazz Age” by F. Scott Fitzgerald)

  44. The Lord called to Moses and spoke to him from the tent of meeting.

    And then the dragons came, and demanded to be included in the conference; and since they wouldn’t all fit in the tent of meeting, they all decided to hold the meeting al fresco.

    (The book of Leviticus, supposedly by Moses) [God’s Word And Dragons]

  45. During the next month or two my solitary town-life seemed, by contrast, unusually dull and tedious.

    And then the dragons came, and made me forget all about the pleasant friends I had left behind at Elveston, including Sylvie and Bruno, the two Fairies – or Dream-Children (for I had not yet solved the problem as to who or what they were whose sweet playfulness had shed a magic radiance over my life) – not to mention my tedium, for they introduced me to a world of excitement such as I’d never previously known.

    How could fairies compare to dragons?!

    (Sylvie And Bruno Concluded by Lewis Carroll) ~ Jimmy Hollis i Dickson

  46. In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.

    And then the dragons came.

    “We know that this is your project, God, but since you’re a beginner at this world-creating business, we thought that we should give you a few pointers. Point out the design flaws and so on.”

    (The book of Genesis, according to tradition written by Moses) [God’s Word And Dragons]

  47. We had now reached the summit of the loftiest crag.

    And then the dragons came. The gusts from their flapping wings blew three of our party off the peak. Their screams as they fell will probably haunt me for the rest of my life.

    “A Descent Into The Maelstrom” by Edgar Allan Poe

  48. On the door you will not enter,
    I have gazed too long: adieu!
    And then the dragons came, stage centre,
    Making me forget ’bout you.
    Come, O dragons,
    Raise your flagons:
    Let us drink to one, I ween,
    Who will nevermore be seen!

    (“Catarina To Camoens” by Elizabeth Barrett Browning)

  49. I lived with visions for my company
    Instead of men and women, years ago,
    And found them gentle mates, nor thought to know
    A sweeter music than they played to me.
    And then the dragons came, and I, no longer free
    To write of human happiness, nor peace, nor woe,
    Was forced to write of raids and burning cities’ glow,
    Their triple-lidded eyes and “glorious” cruelty.

    (“Sonnets From The Portuguese, XXVI” by Elizabeth Barrett Browning)

  50. The Lord spoke to Moses in the tent of meeting in the Desert of Sinai on the first day of the second month of the second year after the Israelites came out of Egypt.

    And then the dragons came with their legal team, and their head lawyer said “Shall we get this meeting started, Dragons and Gentlemen?

    “If you’ll look at the top document which my secretary is placing before you, we’ll be able to go over the contract, clause by clause:

    “The dragons, hereinafter ‘the party of the first part’, having agreed to allow…”

    Here Moses interrupted. “Surely The LORD should be ‘the party of the first part’!”

    But the dragons all turned baleful eyes on him, which silenced him for the next quarter hour.

    (The book of Numbers, commonly attributed to Moses) [God’s Word And Dragons]

  51. It is a little remarkable, that – though disinclined to talk overmuch of myself and my affairs at the fireside, and to my personal friends – an autobiographical impulse should twice in my life have taken possession of me, in addressing the public.

    And then the dragons came. They warned me in no uncertain terms that if I were to write a truthful account of my life – the which would necessitate certain mentions of them – they would be obliged to eat me.

    And so, I fall back on my usual literary genre: the romantic horror novel.

    (The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne)

  52. A Saturday afternoon in November was approaching the time of twilight, and the vast tract of unenclosed wild known as Egdon Heath embrowned itself moment by moment.

    And then the dragons came, and embrowned the heath to an even greater extent by setting fire to it with their breath.

    (The Return Of The Native by Thomas Hardy)

  53. At Paris, just after dark one gusty evening in the autumn of 18-, I was enjoying the twofold luxury of meditation and a meerschaum, in company with my friend C. Auguste Dupin, in his little back library, or book-closet, au troisième, No. 33, Rue Dunôt, Faubourg St. Germain.

    And then the dragons came.

    They didn’t knock, they didn’t ring the bell: they just barged in, snatched up a letter which had been lying on Dupin’s desk, and rushed out again.

    “The Purloined Letter” by Edgar Allan Poe

  54. He thought he saw an Elephant,
    That practised on a fife:
    He looked again, and found it was
    A letter from his wife.
    And then the dragons came, so he
    Was running for his life.

    (“The Mad Gardener’s Song” from Sylvie And Bruno Concluded by Lewis Carroll)

  55. These are the words Moses spoke to all Israel in the wilderness east of the Jordan – that is, in the Arabah – opposite Suph, between Paran and Tophel, Laban, Hazeroth and Dizahab:

    “And then the dragons came, and, lo, there was a great gnashing of teeth and sore lamentation. The gnashing of teeth was not just on the dragons’ part, you understand. They gnashed their teeth as a sign of menace. The people gnashed their teeth as a sign of lamentation. Sore lamentation!

    “Where was I? Oh yes: the dragons… well, as you can imagine, with all the sore lamentation and gnashing of teeth going on, I couldn’t get a wink of sleep, so I girded my loins and left that place straightway, and came here to Arabah – opposite Suph, between Paran and Tophel, Laban, Hazeroth and Dizahab, east of the Jordan – where I hope I’ll be able to get me some shut-eye!”

    (The book of Deuteronomy, written, we’re told, by Moses) [God’s Word And Dragons]

  56. “Hither now, O Muses, leaving the golden
    House of God unseen in the azure spaces,
    Come and breathe on bosom and brow and kindle
    Song like the sunglow;

    “Come and lift my shaken soul to the sacred
    Shadow cast by Helicon’s rustling forests;
    Sweep on wings of flame from the middle ether,
    Seize and uplift me;

    “Thrill my heart that throbs with unwonted fervor,
    Chasten mouth and throat with immortal kisses,
    Till I yield on maddening heights the very
    Breath of my body.

    “And then the dragons came,” explained Sappho, “chasing away the Muses, and I got writers’ block and never finished that poem. But the beginning’s pretty nifty, don’t you think?”

    (“The Muses” by Sappho)

  57. If Panormus, Cyprus or Paphos hold thee,
    Either home of Gods or the island temple,
    Hark again and come at my invocation,
    Goddess benefic;

    Come thou, foam-born Kypris, and pour in dainty
    Cups of amber gold thy delicate nectar,
    Subtly mixed with fire that will swiftly kindle
    Love in our bosoms;

    Thus the bowl ambrosial was stirred in Paphos
    For the feast, and taking the burnished ladle,
    Hermes poured the wine for the Gods who lifted
    Reverent beakers;

    High they held their goblets and made libation,
    Spilling wine as pledge to the Fates and Hades
    Quaffing deep and binding their hearts to Eros,
    Lauding thy servant.

    And then the dragons came,
    Gatecrashed the party, smirked at maidens present,
    Whether mortal or immortal:
    It made no difference.

    (“Love’s Banquet” by Sappho)

  58. “The Tao that can be trodden is not the enduring and unchanging Tao.”

    (And then the dragons came, interrupting the Master’s discourse.)

    “GODDAMMITTOHELL! Haven’t I told you dragons that I’m not to be disturbed when I’m teaching my followers?!”

    But the dragons just laughed, rolled their eyes at him, and stuck out their tongues.

    (“Tao Teh King” or “The Tao And Its Characteristics” by Lao-Tse)

  59. After the death of Moses the servant of the Lord, the Lord said to Joshua son of Nun, Moses’ aide: “Moses my servant is dead. And then the dragons came and burnt the body, which is – when you think of it – a pretty good way of dealing with stiffs. They call it ‘cremation’. A bit like my idea of having burnt sacrifices offered unto me.”

    (The book of Joshua, which Moses didn’t write, being the stiff mentioned above)

  60. It is an ancient Mariner,
    And he stoppeth one of three.
    “And then the DRAGONS came!” he cries,
    “Oh, won’t you pity me?”

    “I’m going to the pub,” I say.
    “Please let go of my leg!”
    Fire in his eye, his voice is high:
    “But stay awhile, I beg.”

    My mates already at the bar,
    I try to shake him off.
    But not deterred, he _will_ be heard,
    And starteth with a cough.

    “’Twas on the good ship Lollipop,
    That we set sail for France.
    The dragons came, with claws and flame:
    We didn’t stand a chance!

    “They et the cabin boy right off
    Then started on First Mate.
    His cries and screams still haunt my dreams.
    I tremble at his fate.

    “There was an albatross,” he says,
    “Not just a mere detail:
    Hung ’round my neck, it stank like heck!
    So I live to tell this tale.

    The dragons did not fancy that!
    In fact, it made them gag.
    And that is why, through years gone by,
    I keep it in this bag.

    “An albatross, this albatross
    Did save my life, I swear.
    But for your sake, I’ll only take
    A tenner for it. Fair?”

    And that is how I come to have
    This dead thing in a sack.
    Cheap at the price, but far from nice:
    My friends all shout “stand back!”

    I wander now from town to town,
    And try to sell this bird.
    Fire in my eye, I plead and cry.
    But people doubt my word.

    (“The Rime Of The Ancient Mariner” by Samuel Taylor Coleridge)

  61. My father had a small estate in Nottinghamshire; I was the third of five sons.

    And then the dragons came, and I unexpectedly – but happily – found myself to be the first of three sons.

    Now had my time come to be able to bully my two younger brothers (and all of my sisters) without the little creeps snitching on me to brothers elder, bigger, and (important point!) stronger than myself.

    (My father was a firm believer of the tenets: “the weak shall go to the wall” and “spare the boot and spoil the child”. My mother deferred to him in this, as in all things. I was, therefore, safe from chastisement – at least, on this score – from either of them.)

    (Gulliver’s Travels into Several Remote Regions of the World by Jonathan Swift)

  62. Having had occasion, lately, in the course of some Oriental investigations, to consult the Tellmenow Isitsöornot, a work which (like the Zohar of Simeon Jochaides) is scarcely known at all, even in Europe; and which has never been quoted, to my knowledge, by any American – if we except, perhaps, the author of the “Curiosities of American Literature”; – having had occasion, I say, to turn over some pages of the first-mentioned very remarkable work, I was not a little astonished to discover that the literary world has hitherto been strangely in error respecting the fate of the vizier’s daughter, Scheherazade, as that fate is depicted in the “Arabian Nights”; and that the dénouement there given, if not altogether inaccurate, as far as it goes, is at least to blame in not having gone very much farther.

    And then the dragons came. They swallowed the Tellmenow Isitsöornot, along with the complete works of Shakespeare and half of the library in which I was studying.

    You must therefore excuse me if the following quote is not exact, since I’m writing it down from memory after only a few minutes’ perusal of that volume:

    Then spake Scheherazade unto the sultan, saying “To die or not to die, that is the question. Whether ’tis knobbly to dance and so embrace my fate, perchance to dream, O Romeo. This is the East, and Juliet is merely a player.”

    As I say, not a completely acccurate quote, merely a paraphrasing. But I think that I got the gist of it.

    “The Thousand-And-Second Tale Of Scheherazade” by Edgar Allan Poe

  63. I was sick – sick unto death with that long agony; and when they at length unbound me, and I was permitted to sit, I felt that my senses were leaving me.

    And then the dragons came. They ordered me straightaway into bed and fed me chicken soup. Then they plumped up my pillows and tucked me in, keeping guard at the door to make sure that my rest was not disturbed.

    “The Pit And The Pendulum” by Edgar Allan Poe

  64. After the death of Joshua, the Israelites asked the Lord, “Who of us is to go up first to fight against the Canaanites?”

    And then the dragons came.

    “Send us! Send us!” they clamoured. “Canaanites are especially tasty, because of all the spices they use in their cooking! Oh PLEASE let us go and fight them, do!”

    (The book of Judges in the Old Testament)

  65. Once upon a time there was a very beautiful doll’s house; it was red brick with white windows, and it had real muslin curtains and a front door and a chimney.

    And then the dragons came.

    They broke down the door, smashed all the windows, and set fire to the curtains.

    Why did they do this? I don’t know.

    Perhaps they were out of sorts?

    (“The Tale Of Two Bad Mice” by Beatrix Potter)

  66. When the drifting gray of the vesper shadow
    Dimmed their upward path through the midmost azure,
    And the length of night overtook them distant
    Far from Olympus;

    Far away from splendor and joy of Paphos,
    From the voice and smile of their peerless Mistress,
    Back to whom their truant wings were in rapture
    Speeding belated;

    Chilled at heart and grieving they drooped their pinions,
    Circled slowly, dipping in flight toward Lesbos,
    Down through dusk that darkened on Mitylene’s
    Columns of marble;

    Down through glory wan of the fading sunset,
    Veering ever toward the abode of Sappho,
    Toward my home, the fane of the glad devoted
    Slave of the Goddess;

    Soon they gained the tile of my roof and rested,
    Slipped their heads beneath their wings while I watched them
    Sink to sleep and dreams, in the warm and drowsy
    Night of midsummer.

    And then the dragons came, sent hither
    From the Underworld by Hades
    Who, being frustrated, missing Persephone (on her hols),
    Was jealous of others’ happiness in love.

    Gliding now on outstretched, silent wings,
    In caution lest they wake the dozing doves,
    Then snatching and gobbling; until all was still;
    They, too tucked their heads beneath their wings, and slept.

    (“Aphrodite’s Doves” by Sappho)

  67. Marley was dead: to begin with.

    And then the dragons came and brought him back to life. Well: not to _life_ exactly. They brought him to *undeadness*.

    “Now, would you prefer to be a vampire, a zombie, a mummy, a ghost, or a Member of Parliament?” they asked him “Take your time: it’s an important decision, and one which might affect you for eternity. Though, if you’re thinking of becoming an MP, you shouldn’t take too long, because there’s a General Election coming up and you’ll have to start campaigning. We can guarantee you a safe seat, but first you’ll have to decide which party you’ll belong to. That decision, of course, may be changed in future, but – to begin with – it’s best to appear firm on the subject.”

    (A Christmas Carol in Prose; Being a Ghost Story of Christmas by Charles Dickens)

  68. In the days when the judges ruled, there was a famine in the land.

    And then the dragons came. Their wings darkened the heavens, and a great darkness fell upon the land and the waters thereof. And lo, they increased the effects of the famine by eating all the kine and the goats, the cattle of four legs and the dove, the quail, and the chicken, verily, all manner of livestock did they devour in their greed and hunger. Even did they set fire to all the fields where the crops were growing, and to the vineyards and orchards did they lay waste.

    (The book of Ruth, Old Testament)

  69. 3 May. Bistritz.—Left Munich at 8.35 p.m. on 1st May, arriving at Vienna early next morning; should have arrived at 6.46, but train was an hour late.

    And then the dragons came. They came on an express train from Sevastopol, and it was evident from their boisterous behaviour in the foyer of the Gloggnitzer Bahnhof that – as per usual – they had ordered an extra bar carriage to be attached to the train, and had drunk it dry.

    (Dracula by Bram Stoker)

  70. You will rejoice to hear that no disaster has accompanied the commencement of an enterprise which you have regarded with such evil forebodings.

    And then the dragons came, and all hell broke loose! So you will rejoice even more to learn that you were right all along. The commencement of the enterprise might have gone smoothly, but I’m writing this, crouched under the back stairs, quaking from head to foot, and praying that those monsters won’t discover me. OH, if only I had heeded your warnings!

    (Frankenstein; Or, The Modern Prometheus by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley)

  71. It was a dark and stormy night; the rain fell in torrents – except at occasional intervals, when it was checked by a violent gust of wind which swept up the streets (for it is in London that our scene lies), rattling along the housetops, and fiercely agitating the scanty flame of the lamps that struggled against the darkness.

    And then the dragons came, lighting up the darkness with their fiery breath and putting the feeble lamps to shame, all the while singing – off-key, it must in all honesty be noted – “You’ll Never Fly Alone”, adding their own species of rattling with those ratchet noise-makers (what are they called: you know the ones I mean, the ones that fans use at football stadia [which is a perfectly valid plural form of “stadium”, thank you very much: look it up in a dictionary if you don’t believe me, and by the way, I’m talking about REAL football, what the Americans insist on calling “soccer”, that first sentence taking place in LONDON, as clearly mentioned], and some die-hard supporters might even use while watching matches on the telly from the comfort of their couches, though that’s only a guess, because, of course, I haven’t got the ability to see into others’ homes?), and generally disturbing the [relative] peace.

    (Paul Clifford by Edward Bulwer-Lytton)

    [Fellow fans of convoluted sentences should check out the Bulwer Lytton Fiction Contest at https://www.bulwer-lytton.com – where previous winners can also be read. Most are VERY funny!
    The contest is free-to-enter, lots of fun, and accepts submissions every day of the livelong year, but the deadline for each year’s contest is June 30th.]

  72. Most terribly cold it was; it snowed, and was nearly quite dark, and evening – the last evening of the year.

    And then the dragons came. They broke into the wealthy houses, piling furniture from them in the main square in front of the church and setting it alight. Oh! What a bonfire that made!

    They raided the larders of the wealthy and spread out a sumptuous feast for all the poor people in the city, with non-perishables being distributed to every poor family for later consumption.

    They carried out warm clothes and shoes of the rich, and handed them around to those who needed them.

    They then stood (or flew) guard to make sure that the wealthy people didn’t try to stop the poor ones from enjoying the party… and warned that they’d be back any time the richies tried to carry out retributions.

    So the cold were warmed, the hungry were fed, and the downtrodden were cheered up.

    Which all goes to show (if you compare this version to the original story) that – sometimes – dragons can be more Christlike than The Church… and more effective than angels.

    (“The Little Match Girl” by Hans Christian Andersen)

  73. There was a certain man from Ramathaim, a Zuphite from the hill country of Ephraim, whose name was Elkanah son of Jeroham, the son of Elihu, the son of Tohu, the son of Zuph, an Ephraimite.

    And then the dragons came, and lo, the chief amongst them was a certain dragon from Rahamaith, a Zuprite from the hill country of Ermiaph, whose name was Mooseayah son of Jemaroh, the son of Elihooboy, the son of Tofu, the son of Zeph, an Ermiaphite.

    And thus spake this certain dragon to Elkanah son of Jeroham, the son of Elihu, the son of Tohu, the son of Zuph, an Ephraimite, from Rahamaith “Hey, Dude! I’m from Rahamaith, a Zuprite from the hill country of Ermiaph, whose name was Mooseayah son of Jemaroh, the son of Elihooboy, the son of Tofu, the son of Zeph, an Ermiaphite, while you’re Ramathaim, a Zuphite from the hill country of Ephraim, whose name was Elkanah son of Jeroham, the son of Elihu, the son of Tohu, the son of Zuph, an Ephraimite. A SHITLOAD of near-misses there! What are the chances, huh?!”

    (from the book of I Samuel, in the Old Testament. God knows who wrote this stuff! I mean, *who cares* about the ancestors of Elkanah son of Jeroham, the son of Elihu, the son of Tohu, the son of Zuph, an Ephraimite, and where they were from?!)

  74. When William Marchmill had finished his inquiries for lodgings at a well-known watering-place in Upper Wessex, he returned to the hotel to find his wife.

    And then the dragons came, offering a few more pence per week for the lodging, so that when Marchmill and Ella, his wife – laden with all of their holiday accoutrements and trailed by the three children and their nurse – had made their weary way from the hotel to the lodging house, the householder, who had been watching for the gentleman’s return, met them in the passage, and informed them that she had let the apartments to other guests.

    After trudging back to the hotel, further inquiries revealed that all private lodging houses in the town had been snatched up, largely due to the sailing regatta which was scheduled for the coming week.

    So the Marchmills were faced with the choice between remaining in their inadequate two rooms in the overcrowded hotel and returning home.

    SPOILER ALERT, in case you haven’t read the original short story!

    They cursed the dragons, little knowing that these had saved them from matrimonial disaster, as – by this circumstance – Mrs. Marchmill never discovered the poet’s scrawls on the lodging-house wallpaper, so never fell in love with a suicide

    (“An Imaginative Woman” from “Wessex Tales” by Thomas Hardy)

  75. It was an eighty-cow dairy, and the troop of milkers, regular and supernumerary, were all at work; for, though the time of year was as yet but early April, the feed lay entirely in water-meadows, and the cows were ‘in full pail.’

    And then the dragons came. They demanded all the milk from the dairy workers – itself very strange, since dragons aren’t mammals, so why would they want milk?! – threatening to set fire to the dairy building, the barns, AND the meadows if their demand wasn’t met.

    SPOILER ALERT, in case you haven’t read the original short story! The following has absolutely nothing to do with the original! The original withered arm belonged to someone completely different.

    “You’ll have to ask Farmer Lodge,” ventured the head dairyman.

    Suddenly, a blast of dragon breath shot towards him, withering his arm.

    (“The Withered Arm” from “Wessex Tales” by Thomas Hardy)

  76. [I’m sorry, but the latest entry from Hannah Burnham, AKA God’s Word And Dragons has inspired me to try my hand at a bit of biblical limerick.]

    There was a certain man from Ramathaim, a Zuphite from the hill country of Ephraim, whose name was Elkanah son of Jeroham, the son of Elihu, the son of Tohu, the son of Zuph, an Ephraimite.

    And then the dragons came and began to taunt Elkanah, chanting:
    There was an old man from Ramathaim,
    A Zuphite from hill country of Ephraim.
    His name was Elkanah;
    His staff a banana,
    So his children would never look up ta ‘im.

    (also from the book of I Samuel, in the Old Testament, as told to Jessie Summers)

  77. April is the cruellest month, breeding
    Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
    Memory and desire, stirring
    Dull roots with spring rain.
    And then the dragons came back
    Surveying the once burnt fields
    Refreshed and fertilized, aching
    For new crops, fattening the fertile cows
    Providing promise for people
    Who will soon be slaughtered
    For the summer solstice.

    (T.S. Eliot, The Wasteland)

    1. Hi, Bobbie!

      Welcome aboard! And I enjoyed your poem, which leads one to believe that the dragons are benevolent, until… But please see Jimmy’s reply to Olga re: the same poem – https://la-granota.com/blogs/index.php/2023/03/11/dragonlitinvasion/#comment-293

      Although T.S. Eliot was originally a U.S. citizen AND “The Waste Land” was first published in the U.S.A. in 1922 (which would make it public domain ACCORDING TO U.S.A. copyright legislation), he was naturalised as a U.K. citizen, and his estate insists on using the U.K. copyright rules, meaning that ALL of his work is copyright until 2035 (see point 2 in the introduction). Apparently they’re very litigious! We saw one web-site where they explained all this as an explanation for deleting this poem there.

      Jimmy has said that he might seek permission from the estate, but if it isn’t forthcoming, both entries will have to be shelved, just to be on the safe side.

      Sorry! Please enter again with (an)other poem(s)!

  78. After the death of Saul, David returned from striking down the Amalekites and stayed in Ziklag two days.

    And then the dragons came, burning Ziglag to the ground. (David was having a shower at the time, and barely escaped, running for his life, arse to the wind and a hand-towel clasped to his crotch.)

    (II Samuel, Old Testament) – God’s Word And Dragons (verily)

    1. EDIT (I managed not to copy and paste the last line), so the full thing is supposed to be:

      After the death of Saul, David returned from striking down the Amalekites and stayed in Ziklag two days.

      And then the dragons came, burning Ziglag to the ground. (David was having a shower at the time, and barely escaped, running for his life, arse to the wind and a hand-towel glasped to his crotch.)

      “The Amalekites shall rise again!” roared the dragons.

      (II Samuel, Old Testament) – God’s Word And Dragons (verily)

  79. On the Mountains of the Prairie,
    On the great Red Pipe-stone Quarry,
    Gitche Manito, the mighty,
    He the Master of Life, descending,
    On the red crags of the quarry
    Stood erect, and called the nations,
    Called the tribes of men together.

    And then the dragons came, with hostage,
    Riding on the Great Storm Weather,
    Gumbo Moocheeby, the worried,
    He the Troubled One was sweating,
    On the scaled back of Flammooma,
    Crouched all bent, and cried for Mommy,
    Called to save him from the lizards.

    (The Song Of Hiawatha by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow)

    p.s. I skipped the introduction, which is also in poetry. The first sentence there is “Should you ask me, whence these stories?”, which doesn’t have a lot of scope for dragons to invade. The above is from Part I: The Peace-Pipe.

  80. Algernon. ‘Did you hear what I was playing, Lane?’

    And then the dragons came in from the other room. Lane, the head dragon butler, stalked into the room first. The other dragons dispersed throughout the house to prepare for the impending invasion of Lady Bracknell.

    Lane. ‘I didn’t think it polite to listen, sir.’

    Algernon. ‘I’m sorry for that, for your sake. I don’t play accurately—any one can play accurately—but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life.’

    Lane. ‘Yes, sir.’ Then he lit the fire with one puff of one nostril, and thankfully with good accuracy.

    Algernon. ‘And, speaking of the science of Life, have you got the cucumber sandwiches cut for Lady Bracknell?’

    Lane. ‘Yes, sir.’ The tray was raised delicately by one claw, held just below the human’s nose.

    Algernon immediately took two and sat on the sofa to eat them. In fact, he ate all of the cucumber sandwiches by the time his friend Jack arrived. He would have eaten even more by the time Lady Bracknell arrived with her daughter, but alas, there was no more to consume. But this did not stop Algernon from trying to put on a show for his aunt, once all had been seated in his sitting room.

    Algernon picked up the empty tray, feigning horror. ‘Good heavens! Lane! Why are there no cucumber sandwiches? I ordered them specially.’

    Lane let out a small puff of smoke before answering gravely. ‘There were no cucumbers in the market this morning, sir. I went down twice.’

    Algernon. ‘No cucumbers!’

    Lane. ‘No, sir. Not even for ready money.’

    Algernon. ‘That will do, Lane, thank you.’

    Lane. ‘Thank you, sir.’

    Lane walked out of the room to join the other dragons in the kitchen, but he overheard Algernon continuing to complain about the lack of cucumber sandwiches. In fact, Algernon started broadening his complaints, focusing now on the abilities of his staff.

    Lane had had quite enough. He’d really had to go to the marketplace twice. And put up his own money, since Algernon had not paid for anything recently. And dragons don’t like parting with their money.

    He marched back into the room and gave Algernon a lesson on the importance of being earnest. With great accuracy. Some of the pillows were even salvageable afterwards.

    (The Importance of Being Earnest, Oscar Wilde)

  81. SQUIRE TRELAWNEY, Dr. Livesey, and the rest of these gentlemen having asked me to write down the whole particulars about Treasure Island, from the beginning to the end, keeping nothing back but the bearings of the island, and that only because there is still treasure not yet lifted, I take up my pen in the year of grace 17__ and go back to the time when my father kept the Admiral Benbow inn and the brown old seaman with the sabre cut first took up his lodging under our roof.
    And then the dragons came.
    I remember them as if it were yesterday, as they came swooping to the inn door—tall, strong, heavy, nut-brown, their tarry pigtails falling over the shoulders of their soiled blue backs, their paws ragged and scarred, with black, broken nails, and one with sabre cut across a cheek, a dirty, livid white. I remember them looking round the cove and calling to themselves as they did so, and then breaking out in that old song that they sang so often afterwards:
    “Fifteen men, which will taste the best?
    Yo-ho-ho, and a rum marinade!”

    Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson

  82. It befell in the days of Uther Pendragon, when he was king of all England, and so reigned, that there was a mighty duke in Cornwall that held war against him long time.
    And then the dragons came.
    And the duke was called the Duke of Tintagil.
    And the dragons were called Tarquin, Lionel and Algernon.
    And so by means King Uther sent for this duke, charging him to bring his wife with him, for she was called a fair lady, and a passing wise, and her name was called Igraine.
    And the dragons came as well.

    Le Morte D’Arthur by Thomas Malory

  83. There were four of us—George, and William Samuel Harris, and myself, and Montmorency. And then the dragons came. We were sitting in my room, smoking, and talking about how bad we were—bad from a medical point of view I mean, of course. The arrival of the dragons didn’t help.
    We were all feeling seedy, and then flamey. Harris said he felt such extraordinary fits of giddiness come over him at times, but that was most likely the third degree burns.

    Three Men in a Boat by Jerome K Jerome

  84. No one would have believed in the last years of the nineteenth century that this world was being watched keenly and closely by intelligences greater than man’s and yet as mortal as his own; that as men busied themselves about their various concerns they were scrutinised and studied, perhaps almost as narrowly as a man with a microscope might scrutinise the transient creatures that swarm and multiply in a drop of water. And then the dragons came. Red, three-legged dragons crying ulla ulla ulla…

    The War of the Worlds by H.G. Wells

  85. The studio was filled with the rich odour of roses, and when the light summer wind stirred amidst the trees of the garden, there came through the open door the heavy scent of the lilac, or the more delicate perfume of the pink-flowering thorn. And then the dragons came.
    From the corner of the divan of Persian saddle-bags on which he was lying, smoking, Lord Henry Wotton could just catch the gleam of the honey-sweet and honey-coloured blossoms of a burning laburnum, whose tremulous branches seemed hardly able to bear the burden of a beauty so flamelike as theirs; and now and then the fantastic shadows of birds in flight flitted across the long tussore-silk curtains that were charred in front of the huge window, producing a kind of momentary Japanese effect, and making him think of those pallid, jade-faced painters of Tokyo who, through the medium of an art that is necessarily immobile, seek to convey the sense of conflagration and devastation.

    The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde

  86. Dorothy lived in the midst of the great Kansas prairies, with Uncle Henry, who was a farmer, and Aunt Em, who was the farmer’s wife. And then the dragons came. Their house was small, too small for dragons for the lumber to build it had to be carried by wagon many miles. There were four walls, a floor and a roof, which made one room; and this room contained a rusty looking cookstove, a cupboard for the dishes, a table, three or four chairs, and the beds. The dragons lived outside. Uncle Henry and Aunt Em had a big bed in one corner, and Dorothy a little bed in another corner. There was no garret at all, and no cellar—except a small hole dug in the ground, called a cyclone cellar, where the family could go in case one of those great whirlwinds arose, mighty enough to crush any building in its path. It was reached by a trap door in the middle of the floor, from which a ladder led down into the small, dark hole. The dragons were left to take their chances.

  87. He sat, in defiance of municipal orders, astride the gun Zam Zammah on her brick platform opposite the old Ajaib-Gher—the Wonder House, as the natives call the Lahore Museum. And then the dragons came.
    Who hold Zam-Zammah, that “fire-breathing dragon”, hold the Punjab, for the great green-bronze piece is always first of the conqueror’s loot.
    There was some justification for Kim—he had kicked Lala Dinanath’s boy off the trunnions—since the English held the Punjab and Kim was English and he had dragons on his side.

    Kim by Rudyard Kipling

  88. The subject of this Essay is not the so-called Liberty of the Will, so unfortunately opposed to the misnamed doctrine of Philosophical Necessity; but Civil, or Social Liberty: the nature and limits of the power which can be legitimately exercised by society over the individual.

    And then the dragons came, determined to exert their own sense of civil liberty over the mediocrity, still quibbling over whether or not Jemima at No. 42 has committed an offense against humankind by NOT having children, instead deferring to a political career, focussing mainly on the equality of women in a patriarchal society, of which many of its constituents still regard her place best served by serving her man his beer and the latest edition of TV Guide.

    No. 42 was spared, but the dragons had not much restraint of their fiery dominion when they saw Donald talking smack down at No. 38.

    On Liberty by John Stuart Mill

  89. There was once a Prince who wished to marry a Princess; but then she must be a real Princess.

    And then the dragons came to the palace, in the middle of the night while a terrible storm raged.

    They begged admission from the guards at the main gate of the palace, pleading that they were freezing and soaked to the skin (which could have gone without saying, since there were no clothes covering that skin); and when the guards told them to come back during business hours (9a.m. – 2p.m. and 5 p.m. – 8p.m., Mondays – Fridays, closed Saturday afternoons and all day Sundays and public holidays, for this was a Spanish palace, and siestas were an important part of every day), the dragons burnt them all to a crisp (“potato chip” in America, or – since we’re in Spain – “patata frita”), burst through the gates, and advanced to the the front door of the palace itself.

    The dragons melded and transformed themselves into one figure: that of a young woman, clothed (to be on the safe side) in wet, bedraggled, muddy, torn garments, albeit of evidently aristocratic – even royal – quality.

    They knocked…

    (“The Real Princess” AKA “The Princess And The Pea” by Hans Christian Andersen)

  90. Many, many years ago lived an emperor, who thought so much of new clothes that he spent all his money in order to obtain them; his only ambition was to be always well dressed.

    And then the dragons came, and laughed so hard at the sight of the emperor in all his finery, that sparks emerged from their ears.

    “But, Emp!” they exclaimed, “expensive clothes are so old hat!” (Though, of course, they exclaimed it in French, which was the international language of the aristocracy at that point in history: (“Mais, Emp ! Des vêtements chers son aussi de passés !”) “European royalty is wearing shepherds’ costumes this season: swineherds’ rags for the men.” (“La royauté européenne porte cette saison des costumes de bergères: des chiffons de porchers pour les hommes.”)

    (“The Emperor’s New Clothes” by Hans Christian Andersen)

  91. The studio was filled with the rich odor of roses, and when the light summer wind stirred amidst the trees of the garden, there came through the open door the heavy scent of the lilac, or the more delicate perfume of the pink-flowering thorn. And then the dragons came, bringing scents of brimstone and ash, changing his mood from light and airy to dark and melancholy. He worked through the night by the light of their flames to complete the portrait he’d been commissioned to finish. He’d hated that pompous ass anyway, so the fuel of the dragon’s rampage drove him to reimagine the greedy merchant as a pig on the spit dripping fat on the pyre.
    “Are you nearly finished? You have a satisfied glint in your eye.”
    The pig’s squeals invaded his reverie.
    “What? Oh, yes, placing the finishing touches.”
    “Wonderful, I have important people to see today.”
    I hope those people are hungry, he thought to himself, as he touched his paint-laden brush to the canvas. “Last highlight.”
    “Let me see,” squealed the pig, trying to jump off the oversized chair, eyes gone wide, when it found itself unable to move.
    He turned the easel toward the trussed up hog. “Perfect likeness, no?”
    “What have you done to me,” came another high pitched squeal just as the dragon’s fire burst through the roof, flooding his senses with the tantalizing aroma of bacon.

    The Picture of Dorian Gray, Oscar Wilde

  92. When I wrote the following pages, or rather the bulk of them, I lived alone, in the woods, a mile from any neighbor, in a house which I had built myself, on the shore of Walden Pond, in Concord, Massachusetts, and earned my living by the labor of my hands only. And then the dragons came. I lived there two years and two months, creeping out at night to plough and sow before I could take it no more. At present I am a sojourner in civilized life again.
    I should not obtrude my affairs so much on the notice of my readers if very particular inquiries had not been made by my townsmen concerning the dragons, which some would call impertinent, though they do not appear to me at all impertinent, but, considering the circumstances, very natural and pertinent. Some have asked what I got to eat; if I did not feel lonesome; if I was not afraid; and the like.
    In short, I was hungry, very alone, terrified, and watchful of dragons.

    Walden by Henry David Thoreau

  93. When King David was very old, he could not keep warm even when they put covers over him.

    And then the dragons came, and their spokesdragon spoke to all those gathered in the king’s bedchamber.

    “*We’ll* soon warm him up!”

    But David remembered the incident at Ziglag and was sore afraid. Quaking with fear more than with cold, he answered unto them, saying “No, please don’t bother, I pray! I’m much better now, honest!”

    And the dragons – now in a chorus – replied, saying “No bother at all!”, whereupon their spokesdragon continued “We know that your attendants’ plan is to slip a young virgin into your bed to keep you warm*, which seems rather hard on the poor young thing, and you should be ashamed of yourselves” [as all dragons turned their glare on the attendants, who also began to be sore afraid (and quake), while King David looked sheepish] “for considering such a misogynistic plan!

    “And you!” [addressed to King David] “You should be ashamed, as well, you dirty old reprobate! We haven’t forgotten the business with Bathsheba.º Karma is a bitch, or – as some say – ‘What goes around comes around’!”

    Then the dragons breathed fire on King David and his pervert attendants, and flew away again.

    (the book of I Kings, Old Testament)

    * True. (See I Kings, chapter 1, verse 2. In the original version, they did it, too: verse 3.)
    º David had spied on Bathsheba having a wash, and – to cut a sordid story short – had sent her husband off on a suicide mission, before marrying her, himself. (See II Samuel, chapter 11.) ~ God’s Word And Dragons

  94. On the first Monday of the month of April, 1625, the market town of Meung, in which the author of Romance of the Rose was born, appeared to be in as perfect a state of revolution as if the Huguenots had just made a second La Rochelle of it. And then the dragons came. Many citizens, seeing the dragons flying toward the High Street, left their children crying at open doors, hastened to don the cuirass, and supporting their somewhat uncertain courage with a musket or a partisan, directed their steps toward the hostelry of the Jolly Miller, before which was gathered, increasing every minute, a compact group, vociferous and full of curiosity and armed to the teeth.
    In those times panics were common, and few days passed without some city or other registering in its archives an incursion of this kind, such was the prevalence of dragons.

    The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas

  95. It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen.

    And then the dragons came, and the clocks really began to go haywire!

    “Bing bong boop bippety boing bazooma blip blip blip bop a’bebop bling burp BONGGGG” they chimed… and then they struck for overtime, at 1½ pay for Saturdays and double pay on Sundays.

    (Nineteen Eighty-Four AKA 1984 by George Orwell)

  96. Mr. Jones, of the Manor Farm, had locked the hen-houses for the night, but was too drunk to remember to shut the pop-holes.

    And then the dragons came, left dragon eggs in the nesting boxes, and flew away, choking with suppressed laughter, until they got beyond hearing distance, then they just about exploded.

    (Animal Farm: A Fairy Story by George Orwell)

  97. On the 24th of February, 1810, the look-out at Notre Dame de la Garde signaled the three-master, the Pharaon from Smyrna, Trieste, and Naples. And then the dragons came, chasing close behind the ships. The ramparts of Fort Saint-Jean were covered with spectators, come to watch the ship come in to port, who had to dive for cover once the onslaught began. The harbor was much damaged before the dragons could be finally driven away, and the Pharaon, with its rich cargo and the many dreams it carried for the sailors on it, had to be abandoned as it sank beneath the ashy waves.

    And one sailor stood ashore, watching the faint specks of dragons fading into the horizon, the puffs of smoke as the rising water hit the sinking flames of the ship he had so loved. And Edmond Dantès swore revenge.

    The Count of Monte Cristo, Alexandre Dumas

  98. In 1815, M. Charles-Francois-Bienvenu Myriel was Bishop of D—He was an old man of about seventy-five years of age; he had occupied the see of D—since 1806. And then the dragons came, looking for his precious silver. The bishop handed the silver over gladly, but only after asking the dragons not to attack the rest of the village. This bought the townspeople one day more of peace, but by the end of the day the people were afraid the dragons would not stick to their part of the bargain. Building the barricades took all night, and lovely ladies sang of the stars to keep the workers entertained. Though truly the heavens were full of clouds, and there was even a little fall of rain. But nothing could hold back the people’s spirit.
    “Do you hear the people sing?” one dragon asked another, as they admired the precious silver.
    “I do,” another dragon answered, and looked down at the people below. “We’ll give it one day more, then I will go investigate on my own.”
    The next day the dragon had a confrontation with one of the villagers atop the barricade, which the villagers were quick to learn was not very effective against dragons after all. Soon all that was left was red and black remains, scorched piles of empty chairs and empty tables.
    Les Miserables, Victor Hugo

  99. In the year 1868 the shipping world was alarmed by rumours of an avenging monster on the loose. And then the dragons came. They first seemed to spring from the waves themselves, serpentine bodies coiling protectively around the ships as soon as they sailed forth from their safe harbors.

    But the presence of the dragons, alarming as they were for the humans at first, was not enough to deter the monster from attacking. One day a simple shipping vessel was attacked, the tentacles erupting from the water and groping for the ship.

    They were met by fierce dragon teeth and slicing dragon claws, and the monster retreated. Again and again this occurred, in every ocean of the known world, every type of ship sailing from every shore.

    Until the humans got used to the occasional disturbance, over often faster than a storm.

    One day the monster stopped attacking. Some say it died a natural death, some say it picked a fight with something crueler than a dragon. But either way, there were no more attacks.

    And the dragons melted away into the sea, and were not seen again.
    There were rumors of spottings, sailors sang songs in the hope that their friends would return. But from that day onward they had to face the storms alone.

    20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, Jules Verne

  100. In a village in la Mancha, whose name I do not care to remember, an hidalgo lived not long ago, one of those who keeps a lance on the rack, an old leather shield, skinny nag and swift greyhound. And then the dragons came. The hidalgo, who had just started reading about dragons and knights and chivalry, and all those things together, became very excited. He took the lance off the rack, put the old leather shield on his arm, put himself on the skinny nag, and took the greyhound out looking for dragons.

    He told everyone he met along the way that he was going to go fight the dragons. People shook their heads as Alonso Quixano on his skinny nag and his even skinner greyhound went by, looking for dragons to fight.

    The skinny nag and the greyhound turned up some time later.

    Eventually the dragons were fought and driven back out of the land. There were many legends that sprang up around this time. But no one forgot the very first man who had gone off to fight the dragons.
    He’d called himself Don Quixote, and that’s the name they put on the tombstone, the one that still stands over an empty grave.

    Don Quixote, Miguel de Cervantes

  101. It was the evening on which MM. Debienne and Poligny, the managers of the Opera, were giving a last gala performance to mark their retirement. And then the dragons came.
    A hush fell upon the crowd as the new managers of the Opera entered the foyer. As dragons went, they were small, not even twenty hands tall. They had little matching suits on, and golden rings around their long necks and smaller golden rings with jewels flashing from their horns. But new money hardly ever knew to be subtle.
    “Oh yes Andre,” one of the dragons was heard telling another upon entering. “What a lovely sight, look what they’ve done with the candles…”
    “Yes, yes, stunning, and look at those gold mirrors, Firmin,” the dragons swung their heads about, blinking slowly at the glitter and show of the Opera House, not seeming to care if most of it was real.
    “So lovely, so lovely,” Firmin answered in agreement.
    MM. Debienne and Poligny introduced the dragons to the crowd, and there was a polite round of applause.
    And then some mingling.
    Rumor had it that it was one of the chorus girls who first asked the dragons about the ghost, and how they planned on dealing with the it.
    But everyone heard the response from the dragons.
    “A ghost! A ghost?!” Firmin bellowed.
    “Calm yourself,” Andre started quickly, turning to the previous owners. “Surely, there is no ghost. You would have told us if there was a ghost.”
    The owners were silent for too long.
    And the dragons turned tail and ran out of the Opera House, never to be seen again.

    The Phantom of the Opera,Gaston Leroux

  102. The Nellie, a cruising yawl, swung to her anchor without a flutter of the sails, and was at rest.

    And then the dragons came. Two of them, working together with mighty blasts of breath, blew the Nellie back to sea, dragging her inadequate anchor along the harbour floor, and then – even more quickly – through deeper water.

    Two others – one to port, the other to starboard – buffeted the boat so strongly that all of the crew was afraid that they’d be tossed overboard. Half of them – experienced sailors all – were soon vomiting over the rails, while hanging on for dear life.

    *That* should teach the Captain and the Accountant to cheat while playing poker with dragons!

    (Heart Of Darkness by Joseph Conrad)

  103. Stately, plump Buck Mulligan came from the stairhead, bearing a bowl of lather on which a mirror and a razor lay crossed.

    And then the dragons came One held a finger to its lips, the widely recognised signal for “Not a word out of you!”, while another drew one twenty-five-centimetre claw across its throat, another universally recognised sign, this one indicating Mulligan’s fate if he didn’t follow the first’s instruction.

    A third took the bowl out of Buck’s [now trembling] hands and – with an imitation of his voice, performed to a nicety – called out: “Come up, Kinch! Come up, you fearful jesuit!”

    (Ulysses by James Joyce)

  104. AFTER having been twice driven back by heavy southwestern gales, Her Majesty’s ship Beagle, a ten-gun brig, under the command of Captain Fitz Roy, R. N., sailed from Devonport on the 27th of December, 1831. And then the dragons came. The object of the expedition had been to complete the survey of Patagonia and Tierra del Fuego, commenced under Captain King in 1826 to 1830,—to survey the shores of Chile, Peru, and of some islands in the Pacific—and to carry a chain of chronometrical measurements round the World. Given the unique opportunity to study dragons, I discoursed with Captain Fitz Roy and together we confirmed our intention to extend the expedition’s objectives. On the 6th of January we reached Teneriffe, but were prevented landing, by fears of our bringing the dragons: the next morning we saw the sun rise behind the rugged outline of the Grand Canary island, and suddenly illuminate the fiery Peak of Teneriffe wreathed in dragon flames, whilst the lower parts were veiled in fleecy clouds. This was the first of many extraordinary days never to be forgotten.

    Voyage of the Beagle by Charles Darwin

  105. I must refer you to the great chronicle of Pantagruel for the knowledge of that genealogy and antiquity of race by which Gargantua is come unto us. And then the dragons came. In it you may understand more at large how giants and dragons were born in this world, how the dragons made life exceedingly difficult for the giants, and how from them by a direct line issued Gargantua, the father of Pantagruel (the giants that is, not the dragons. The author is not aware of any hanky-panky between giants and dragons, although he does not rule it out): and do not take it ill, nor excuse the behaviour of dragons, if for this time I pass by it, although the subject be such, that the oftener it were remembered, the more it would please your worshipful Seniorias; according to which you have the authority of Plato in Philebo and Gorgias; and of Flaccus (ooh, er, missus, titter ye not), who says that there are some kinds of purposes with giants and dragons (such as these are without doubt), which, the frequentlier they be repeated, still prove the more delectable. And if you understood any of that, you’re doing better than I am because I’ve been on the tempranillo since lunchtime.

    Gargantua and Pantagruel by François Rabelais

  106. Once upon a time and a very good time it was there was a moocow coming down along the road and this moocow that was coming down along the road met a nicens little boy named baby tuckoo…

    And then the dragons came.

    Stephen Dedalus was mightily relieved. After all, he was destined to be a great artist and he regarded a childish preoccupation with tuckoos as beneath his dignity.

    The chief dragon looked down at him. Stephen recoiled from the fiery breath.

    “Little boy!” it hissed. “You must come and spend the rest of your childhood in our mountain lair. Failure to comply means we will eat your parents, with you as dessert.”

    Stephen hesitated, but only for a moment.

    “I will come with you on one condition.”

    “Name it, boy.”

    “My condition is that I remain with you until June 17th 1904.”

    “Very well, but why?”

    Stephen smiled. “That way I manage to avoid being in Ulysses at all.”

    (Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce)

  107. Late in the afternoon of a chilly day in February, two gentlemen were sitting alone over their wine, in a well-furnished dining parlor, in the town of P——, in Kentucky.

    And then the dragons came: two of them, hopping into the parlor and nodding at the two men there seated.

    For convenience sake, we have said, hitherto, two dragons. One of the parties, however, when critically examined, did not seem, strictly speaking, to come under the species. It was a short, thick-set creature, with coarse, commonplace features, and that swaggering air of pretension which marks a low vertebrate which is trying to elbow its way upward in the world.

    It was, in fact, a toad.

    (Uncle Tom’s Cabin or Life Among The Lowly by Harriet Beecher Stowe)

  108. Ours is essentially a tragic age, so we refuse to take it tragically.

    And then the dragons came. The cataclysm has happened, we are among the ruins, we start to build up new little habitats, to have new little hopes. It is rather hard work: there is now no smooth road into the future: but we go round, or scramble over the obstacles of buildings burnt to the ground and dead animals (and people) lying everywhere. We’ve got to live, no matter how many skies have fallen nor how many of our loved ones have been carried off, shrieking, in the claws of those infernal beasts.

    (Lady Chatterley’s Lover by D. H. Lawrence )

  109. Madam,

    I sit down to give you an undeniable proof of my considering your desires as indispensable orders.

    And then the dragons came, and – with their hot breath almost suffocating me – I’ve had to bow to the fact that their desires are more urgent than yours.

    In addition, they’re paying customers, with expensive tastes in kink, so – if you’ll excuse my delaying the rest of this letter until after I deal with “business” – I’ve got to to pop out to the stables for some requisites and then… well, I’ve been booked for a 3-day session.

    (Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure – popularly known as Fanny Hill – by John Cleland)

  110. What is now happening to Marx’s theory has, in the course of history, happened repeatedly to the theories of revolutionary thinkers and leaders of oppressed classes fighting for emancipation.

    And then the dragons came and decided to throw in their lot with the Workers, fighting shoulder-to-wingtip. They weren’t – at first – very interested in the theory, but came to the Revolution because they had suffered for centuries through being hunted for “sport” by the ruling classes, and were being scorned by the burgeoning bourgeoisie. However, they soon became fascinated by class analysis and extremely gifted at public debate… as well as being able to roast a score of opponents at a hundred paces.

    With hindsight, it is doubtful if our cause could have succeeded without their inestimable help.

    During the lifetime of great revolutionaries, the oppressing classes constantly hounded them, received their theories with the most savage malice, the most furious hatred and the most unscrupulous campaigns of lies and slander.

    (“The State and Revolution – The Marxist Theory of the State & the Tasks of the Proletariat in the Revolution” by V.I. Lenin, AKA Vladimir Ilyich Ulyano)

    [The 2nd and 3rd paragraphs were removed from the first draught of Lenin’s essay (and the 1st and 4th paragraphs fused into becoming the beginning of the first paragraph of the second and subsequent draughts) after the dragons broke away from his faction and began criticising him for his runaway ambition, which – they felt – would eventually lead to a betrayal of the Revolution. How prescient they had been has not often been acknowledged, because his efforts to obliterate them from history were extremely successful.]

  111. Antonio: “In sooth I know not why I am so sad,
    It wearies me.” And then the dragons came,
    Bargaining heartbreak for unfettered gain,
    Standing on street corners dressed in trench coats,
    Their inner pockets bauble-lined with pride.
    They emphasized a desire for power
    And dared you to attempt disapproval
    Before they burned your dreams alive with lies.

    Take care your melancholy wishes, sir,
    Else you will call their ill-temperéd wrath.
    For no one rules the demons born within.

    The Merchant of Venice, William Shakespeare

  112. “The Bottoms” succeeded to “Hell Row”; and then the dragons came. It was rather a spectacular sight in such a place that had never seen anything other than grimy coal black faces and heard the coughs that led to the Iron Lung. We watched the explosions and fires rage across the coal pits. In a way, we were glad for the holiday. On the other hand, now we were on the dole.

    Sons and Lovers
    DH Lawrence

  113. Ursula and Gudrun Brangwen sat one morning in the window-bay of their father’s house in Beldover, working and talking, and then the dragons came.
    “Finally, sister Ursula, these gallants have come to do our maidenhood proper service.”
    They had been working in ladylike arts and discussing marriage and all domesticity attached to it.
    “Seems like a much worthier cause than to have knights and saints courting us, sister. Because how much nicer to live in a horde of gold upon a mountain and be brought roast mutton, and pick delicate flowers!”

    Women in Love
    D. H. Lawrence

  114. A green and yellow parrot, which hung in a cage outside the door, kept repeating over and over: “Allez vous-en!”
    And then the dragons came to collect their trapped cousin. He was mighty glad of the rescue though somewhat concerned for the state of his mistress. She had fainted straight away. Then his cousin Alabasterous Collins and his lady friend Mrs. Owen Collins, Sr. inquired as to his whereabouts and dropped several chests of Spanish gold coins and a crown upon her head.
    “We must be going. The old king fades and he wishes to bless his nephew before that. We promise to have him home straightway.”

    The Awakening
    Kate Chopin

  115. Once upon a time there was a little black boy, and his name was Little Black Sambo.
    And then the dragons came.
    You see the tigers had stolen the boys clothes and shoes. They threatened to eat him up but whipped themselves into butter fighting. His father took the dragons to the spot of the big ghee puddle. They decided on a plan. In exchange for a little ghee for their internal fire, the dragons would make sure no more tigers bothered the family.
    They sat down to pancakes and enjoyed their new friendship.

    Little Black Sambo
    Helen Bannerman

  116. You don’t know about me without you have read a book by the name of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer; but that ain’t no matter. And then the dragons came. They told Mr. Twain and Huck and me about a river made of liquid gold. In it were fishes covered over in jewels. We might even travel to see that. The dragons promise not to eat us up. There is plenty for them to eat. And more than enough gold to share.
    You can’t always trust in people cuz they got religion. You can always believe in dragons.

    The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
    Mark Twain

  117. “TOM!”
    And then the dragons came with a shout.
    He was the hero of their kind. Though a mere child of the Earth and sometimes a rascal, Tom impressed the dragon horde with his uncanny skills of persuasion. They admired his small personal gold stash, too.

    The Adventures of Tom Sawyer
    Mark Twain

  118. In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And then the dragons came. Some people didn’t want to call them that because it boggled their timeline. Their templates of reality were broken. No amount of shift in tectonic plates or Tuetonic dates was going to fix the disc record. No one could show anything less than a true existence. If creators were clearly not human. In fact, how many times have archeopaleoscience types shown that we don’t know much about this patch of dirt and water we call home.

    The King James Version of The Bible

  119. Buck did not read the newspapers, or he would have known that trouble was brewing, not alone for himself, but for every tide-water dog, strong of muscle and with warm, long hair, from Puget Sound to San Diego. And then the dragons came. They taught many creatures to read. Upon learning to read, Buck taught the other dogs how to read. He read the funny papers. Sometimes, he glanced at the catalogs cast aside. His favorite discovery was sheet music. He created the first dog chorus. It helped pass the time when doing toilsome work.

    The Call of the Wild
    Jack London

  120. It was four o’clock when the ceremony was over and the carriages began to arrive. And then the dragons came. Their carriage was fashioned from fine mahogany and ebonywood. The interior was fashioned for reclining beasts with massive wings. The Lithuanian and Polish communities in Chicago both revered dragons. Their arrival was always met with cheers and shouts and music. Luckily, today had been set aside for celebrating.

    The Jungle
    Upton Sinclair

  121. My father had a small estate in Nottinghamshire; I was the third of five sons. And then the dragons came. I chose the largest as my steed. My father’s small allowance helped me fly to my apprenticeship. The dragons were equipped with saddles where I stored my various tools. I secured my valises to the medium sized dragons. The smaller dragons served as scouts. Little did I know how useful my friends would become.

    Gulliver’s Travels
    Jonathan Swift

  122. No one would have believed in the last years of the nineteenth century that this world was being watched keenly and closely by intelligences greater than man’s and yet as mortal as his own; that as men busied themselves about their various concerns they were scrutinised and studied, perhaps almost as narrowly as a man with a microscope might scrutinise the transient creatures that swarm and multiply in a drop of water. And then the dragons came. People scattered and ran to escape their hot sulphuric breath. No one could have invented a more terrifying enemy to terrorize a complacent world. Yet, here was the challenge.
    To survive these watchers that emerged. Humanity was to become a truly menacing force against them.

    War of the Worlds
    H.G. Wells

  123. If they were trysting for a Bacchanal,
    A feast of Pan or Colias or Genetyllis,
    The tambourines would block the rowdy streets,
    But now there’s not a woman to be seen
    Except – ah, yes – this neighbour of mine yonder.

    And then the dragons came.

    My friend, the lady in question, was rather lusty, too. She watched as Lysistrata rose into the air. Being thus raised, she became “one” with the air, wind and sun. No greater pleasure had one woman experienced without a partner in human form


  124. Stately, plump Buck Mulligan came from the stairhead, bearing a bowl of lather on which a mirror and a razor lay crossed.

    And then the dragons came.

    At first, no one was aflame when the headline mentioned them. It was Buck’s habit not read too much into anything. Being that the Church had its other saints, other Georges and Patricks for such quirks. No better stock with the straight razor and cleanliness. He could get to heaven by fire but he had other plans.

    James Joyce

  125. The bayou curved like a crescent around the point of land on which La Folle’s cabin stood.

    And then the dragons came to stay for the summer on one of the islets on the other side of the the hills beyond the bayou. They soon discovered the bayou and showed up every day to swim in its war, sluggish water.

    Such was the vigour of their disporting, that the waves caused by their mighty wings began to erode the land on which La Folle’s cabin stood.

    Day by day, the water’s edge edged closer and closer to the back porch…

    (“Beyond The Bayou” from “The Awakening and Selected Short Stories” by Kate Chopin)

  126. When the war began, there stood on Côte Joyeuse an imposing mansion of red brick, shaped like the Pantheon.

    And then the dragons came, and burnt the mansion to ash and cracked stonework.

    “That’ll spare it being captured by those yankee bastards!” said the dragons. “Don’t thank us: we were happy to help!”

    (“Ma’ame Pélagie” from “The Awakening and Selected Short Stories” by Kate Chopin)

  127. “One may as well begin with Helen’s letters to her sister.”

    And then the dragons came and raised an objection:

    “No, no, NO! To get a clear understanding of the whole story, one must begin with the way in which Meg teased Helen about her infatuation with the under-footman at the Charlebon Estate One can hardly draw proper conclusions from Helen’s letter without that illuminating background.”

    (Howard’s End by E. M. Forster)

  128. After Ahab’s death, Moab rebelled against Israel.

    And then the dragons came. Some sided with Moab: others with Israel. It was all the same to them, since dragons on either side did not attack others of their species on the opposing one. All they were interested in was the feast that they’d have on the fallen after each battle.

    (II Kings, Old Testament) – God’s Word And Dragons

  129. Scarlett O’Hara was not beautiful, but men seldom realized it when caught by her charm as the Tarleton twins were.

    And then the dragons came and gave Scarlett a complete makeover – after which men ALWAYS realized that she wasn’t beautiful.

    Stuart and Brent Tarleton regretted asking her to their parents’ summer ball, and tried to get her to decline the invitation, but she was strong-minded and held them to their word as Southern gentlemen.

    “Besides,” she said, “beauty is only skin deep.”

    “Perhaps so,” countered Brent, the quicker-witted (and nastier) of the two twins. “But third-degree burns go much deeper.”

    (Gone With The Wind by Margaret Mitchell)

  130. He was hardly fit to figure in the great review of life.

    And then the dragons came, and offered him a deal. If he would promise them the first six of his children to raise, they would make him universally known and respected.

    He had no plans to ever marry nor have children, indeed had determined from an early age to remain single, so he readily agreed to the proposal.

    (The Eternal City by Hall Caine)

    [The Eternal City is the first novel to have sold over a million copies worldwide.]

  131. It is a melancholy object to those, who walk through this great town, or travel in the country, when they see the streets, the roads, and cabbin-doors crowded with beggars of the female sex, followed by three, four, or six children, all in rags, and importuning every passenger for an alms.

    And then the dragons came. They were very understanding creatures. Kind to widows and orphans. Compassionate to the needy.

    They knew they couldn’t carry off the mothers. They knew they would cry and say they wouldn’t go without the children.
    They knew they couldn’t carry the children off for the same reason.

    This did not vex the dragons.
    They took counsel. The head dragon sent his minions back to the mountain.

    In little more than a blink, they returned.
    In their talons, they carried bright chests of gold. The coins and jewels were given to the impoverished ones to make their way in a little more comfort

    A Modest Proposal
    Dr. Jonathan Swift

  132. Dorothy lived in the midst of the great Kansas prairies, with Uncle Henry, who was a farmer, and Aunt Em, who was the farmer’s wife.

    And then the dragons came. Their house was extraordinary for there was no lumber. Only the insides of bones. The gelatinous parts. To build it, they carried a wagon many miles. They usually flew to get their supplies but when they moved to the prairie it was rather more practical to hire someone to do the labor.

    That was how they became acquainted with Dorothy and her family. Uncle Henry had the only team of horses strong enough to carry the things a new horde could need. Odds and ends. Pigs, sheep, goats and boards and more boards.

    The Wonderful Wizard of Oz
    Frank L. Baum

  133. Squire Trelawney, Dr. Livesey, and the rest of these gentlemen having asked me to write down the whole particulars about Treasure Island, from the beginning to the end, keeping nothing back but the bearings of the island, and that only because there is still treasure not yet lifted, I take up my pen in the year of grace 17__ and go back to the time when my father kept the Admiral Benbow inn and the brown old seaman with the sabre cut first took up his lodging under our roof.

    And then the dragons came.

    They knew about the treasure. They knew about the island. They could read maps from afar. They could see an X at the height of the soaring birds. They were unlike the ill omen albatross. They were crafty and cunning.
    We struck up a deal. They would provide protection of the treasure in exchange for the exclusive use of the island. And a portion of the treasure yet to be found.

    Treasure Island
    Robert Louis Stevenson

  134. Mrs. Rachel Lynde lived just where the Avonlea main road dipped down into a little hollow, fringed with alders and ladies’ eardrops and traversed by a brook that had its source away back in the woods of the old Cuthbert place; it was reputed to be an intricate, headlong brook in its earlier course through those woods, with dark secrets of pool and cascade; but by the time it reached Lynde’s Hollow it was a quiet, well-conducted little stream, for not even a brook could run past Mrs. Rachel Lynde’s door without due regard for decency and decorum; it probably was conscious that Mrs. Rachel was sitting at her window, keeping a sharp eye on everything that passed, from brooks and children up, and that if she noticed anything odd or out of place she would never rest until she had ferreted out the whys and wherefores thereof.

    And then the dragons came. Mrs. Lynde had been expecting a boy child to help around the place. A troop of fully grown dragons might work for some of the much more labor intensive chores. She wasn’t sure what to feed them either. It would not cost anything to clothe or shoe them. She might have to arrange for a town girl to come help wth the inside chores or gathering eggs.

    Anne of Green Gables
    L. M. Montgomery

  135. Marley was dead: to begin with.

    And then the dragons came. Resurrection was not one of their gifts. They knew a man who had brought a man back to life. The people in that town didn’t appreciate the miracle. In fact, they heard later he had been murdered. And resurrected. A holiday was set up over an ancient celebration to mark the birth of the man. They arrived in London to come experience the oddity. Their miserly host was still at his warehouse that he once owned with the delightful but deceased man.

    A Christmas Carol
    Charles Dickens

  136. A throng of bearded men, in sad-colored garments, and gray, steeple-crowned hats, intermixed with women, some wearing hoods and others bareheaded, was assembled in front of a wooden edifice, the door of which was heavily timbered with oak, and studded with iron spikes.

    And then the dragons came. Religion wasn’t a practice for creatures who lived from one age of men into the next and then outlived the next. Foolish, cruel, superstitious men trying to make sense of life while having no true mercy or love.

    They saw the woman blazoned with an A. She must be the least of these. They decided to speak with her before destroying the town.

    The Scarlet Letter
    Nathaniel Hawthorne

  137. All children, except one, grow up.

    And then the dragons came. Pete could fly without help. He would tag along with dragons to get away from the island. They never could understand his childish way of thinking as they were thousands of years old. They did not believe in taunting anything that could kill them. They did not want to pretend they were eating. They didn’t do anything that wasn’t efficient.

    Peter Pan
    J.M. Barrie

  138. It was seven o’clock of a very warm evening in the Seeonee hills when Father Wolf woke up from his day’s rest, scratched himself, yawned, and spread out his paws one after the other to get rid of the sleepy feeling in their tips.

    And the dragons came. This was the time of night all predators hunt. From their vantage point with their keen eyesight, the dragons’ aerial scouts helped the wolves become more efficient. The dragons shared each large catch with them before roasting. The wolves preferred their meals raw.

    The Jungle Book
    Rudyard Kipling

  139. When Mary Lennox was sent to Misselthwaite Manor to live with her uncle everybody said she was the most disagreeable-looking child ever seen.

    And then the dragons came. They knew about disagreeable-looking children. Most baby dragons look as though they would cry if someone said, “Boo!” Even in a whisper. Then there are the ones who would yell at you after you tried scaring them. As Mary was of the second persuasion, they thought she would be an entertaining companion for a young dragonette, Druzey Constanza Bickens. Bick for short. But only behind her back and miles away.

    The Secret Garden
    Frances Hodgson Burnett

  140. The Mole had been working very hard all the morning, spring-cleaning his little home.

    And then the dragons came. They noticed Mole sitting upon the bank. They were using the river was a map to Toad Hall. They had business connections with Mr. Toad. He was a second cousin by marriage to the dragon in charge of tea and biscuits. A young forgetful welp who confused scones and American biscuits. He finally worked out the difference and now carried tins of biscuits in his satchel.

    They saluted Mole and promised to visit soon. He waved and nodded in agreement.

    The Wind in the Willows
    Kenneth Grahame

  141. Many years ago, there was an Emperor, who was so excessively fond of new clothes, that he spent all his money in dress. 

    And then the dragons came. They were clothing experts. They were money experts. They could smell the number of times a coin had changed hands. Old money was their favorite. Nothing beat the weight of a dubloon clinking its neighbor in a claw. New money was best as teething rings for babies. Or rolled thin to use as “paper” for the countless stories they wove from their many adventures. Or as fabric for imperial wardrobes. They had a trick up their scaly, sleeveless sleeves.

    Andersen’s Fairy Tales
    The Emperor’s New Clothes
    Hans Christian Andersen

  142. They were not railway children to begin with.

    And then the dragons came. One was an engineer. The other a conductor. Their locomotive was called The Queen of Gems. She had red painted carriages for passengers. The coal smoke billowed up. The children watched for her to come through the trestle. They always smiled at the distinctive sweet piping whistle. That was the singing voice of another Dragon called Malachite Samson Tooney.

    The Railway Children
    E. Nesbit

  143. Once upon a time in a certain country there lived a king whose palace was surrounded by a spacious garden.

    And then the dragons came. They heard about the king’s problem. They weren’t trained as gardeners traditionally. Most were collectors. They had seeds with jeweled coats that looked like gemstones.

    However, the seeds would need something only the dragons had to germinate. Fire!

    The Blue Fairy Book
    The Bronze Ring
    Andrew Lang

  144. The little old town of Mayenfeld is charmingly situated.

    And then the dragons came.

    The child and her companion watched them swirl and dive and fly around the top most part of the grandfather’s mountain.

    They were not afraid as they knew a secret. Grandfather was a mighty man of old. He possessed great knowledge and wealth. Many creatures came to him for advice. The dragons were his companions and his protectors.

    Now, they would help him protect Heidi.

    Johanna Spyri

  145. Once upon a time there was an old Sow with three little Pigs, and as she had not enough to keep them, she sent them out to seek their fortune.

    And then the dragons came. Which for the Pigs seemed like certain doom.

    What were the brothers to do? Arm themselves for battle, of course. They only had the materials for building their houses – sticks, straw and bricks. The dragons didn’t come to fight. They were on a rescue mission.

    They heard of the wolf terrorist. A lone attacker stealing peace. They knew it was injuring smaller animals. Killing some in the process

    The dragons and the Pigs decided to work together to defeat the wolf. Being bait wasn’t the living their sow dreamed for them but it would be worth it to make her proud.

    The Story of the Three Little Pigs
    Frederick Warne & Co

  146. There was once a velveteen rabbit, and in the beginning he was really splendid.

    And then the dragons came. They prized velveteen much like gold. They knew only items for children were made from this most silky soft stuff. They liked to line their nests with stuffed toys. It made their dreams better. And as they might sleep a hundred years at a time, nightmares were not welcome.

    The Velveteen Rabbit
    Margery Williams

  147. In a castle of Westphalia, belonging to the Baron of Thunder-ten-Tronckh, lived a youth, whom nature had endowed with the most gentle manners. 

    And then the dragons came. They taught him to be fierce. He was fitted with a cape that took on the appearance of scaly wings, a pair of gloves with sharp claws, and boots with soles made for climbing steep, rocky slopes. While he could not fly, he could glide extraordinarily well.


  148. You will rejoice to hear that no disaster has accompanied the commencement of an enterprise which you have regarded with such evil forebodings.

    And then the dragons came. Their appearance at the time was intense and beguiling. No one understood why they arrived.

    They spent so much time around me. I had cultivated a rather unusual taste for meat.The charred ground in the courtyard spoke of many barbecues.

    They also had the vision for my experiments. And the means to fund it.

    M.W. Shelley

  149. Adam, Seth, Enosh, Kenan, Mahalalel, Jared, Enoch, Methuselah, Lamech, Noah.

    And then the dragons came: Shtrootji, Chtomborabba, Hrag, Womblybits, Nrzp, Xzakcloby, Baby Boopy.

    (I Chronicles, Old Testament as told to God’s Word And Dragons when a little girl)

  150. The Flea, the Grasshopper, and the Skipjack once wanted to see which of them could jump highest; and they invited the whole world, and whoever else would come, to see the grand sight.

    And then the dragons came, and registered their champion jumper – Brock by name – for the competition.

    The day of the contest arrived, and the contestants assembled in the main courtyard of the palace, for the King had decided to sponsor the event. A great crowd also attended, with lords and ladies looking down from windows and balconies (the ladies and a lord or two waving brightly coloured handkerchiefs). The commoners were tightly packed in the courtyard itself.

    The King addressed everyone from the largest of the balconies, the railing of which was draped with the royal standard. “Yes, and I’ll give my daughter to him who jumps highest,” said the King, “for it would be mean to let these people jump for nothing.”

    At this announcement, Brock the Dragon was seen to start drooling.

    The King introduced the judges, the Cat, The Cow, and the Canary, who explained that the height would be judged relative to each contestant’s own size.

    The Flea was the first to jump, and he jumped forty times his own height. Next came the Grasshopper, but – although he jumped higher in centimetres than the Flea – he only jumped twenty times his own height. After than, the Skipjack jumped twenty-five times his own height.

    Finally, it was the Dragon’s turn, and he took a great leap and rose up into the sky, higher and higher, until he disappeared in the clouds.

    However, the judges declared that he had flapped his wings, so that couldn’t be considered a clean jump: it was a combination of jumping and flying, and he was disqualified. They awarded the prize to the Flea.

    But the dragons – incensed at the decision – burnt the palace to the ground and began attacking the spectators.

    And Brock got The Princess, after all.

    YUM YUM!

    (“The Jumper” by Hans Christian Andersen)

  151. Alice was beginning to get very tired of sitting by her sister on the bank, and of having nothing to do: once or twice she had peeped into the book her sister was reading, but it had no pictures or conversations in it, “and what is the use of a book,” thought Alice “without pictures or conversations?”

    And then the dragons came.

    “Hey, Alice,” said one of them, “how would you like to play some poker? A lot more fun than looking at books without pictures or conversations in it!”

    Alice replied that she didn’t know the rules of poker, and that none of the dragons seemed to have one in its possession. “But I do like playing cards!” she said, because the dragon who had spoken to her was riffling a pack of cards. “Shall we play whist, old maid, or ‘Pope Joan’?”

    But the dragons told her that poker was much more fun, and explained that it wasn’t played with a poker but with cards… and money. They offered to advance her three shillings (at 25% interest) to start off with, and teach her the rules.

    Alice was a quick learner, and cleaned out all of the dragons by the end of 2 hours.

    At which time, her sister – who’d been oblivious to all this, sunk in her book – called to her to come home with her for tea.

    The sister could not understand how Alice had come by that crown and all the jewels!

    (Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll)

  152. The rue du Coq d’Or, Paris, seven in the morning.

    And then the dragons came, reeling home from a night of drunken debauchery at Le Moulin Rouge, and singing (if such a discordant noise might be called that) lewd songs at the top of their voices. A succession of furious, choking yells from the street. Madame Monce, who kept the little hotel opposite mine, had come out on to the pavement to address the dragons. Her bare feet were stuck into sabots and her grey hair was streaming down.

    When Madame Monce was provoked, she could be a veritable dragon, herself.

    (“Down And Out In Paris And London” by George Orwell)

  153. The first sound in the mornings was the clumping of the mill-girls’ clogs down the cobbled street.

    And then the dragons came, their mighty wingbeats creating a roar which drowned out all other sound.

    By rights, the dragons should have been the first to clock on each day at the mills, as they were necessary to get the furnaces going which provided the steam power for the machines to run on. The mill-girls couldn’t start work – aside from cleaning up around their work stations – until a good head of steam had built up.

    But the dragons had a stronger union than the mill-girls – or any other mill workers: YABADABADU (Ye Ancient Behemoths And Dragons Amalgamated Boilerworkers’ Activities Development Union). When they struck, Management stayed struck! So the dragons could show up any damned time they pleased.

    (“The Road To Wigan Pier” by George Orwell)

  154. Solomon son of David established himself firmly over his kingdom, for the Lord his God was with him and made him exceedingly great.

    And then the dragons came. They threatened to lay waste to the whole kingdom unless Solomon [son of David] paid them a monthly “protection fee”… preferably in diamonds and other precious jewels.

    Thus it was that Solomon [son of David] went into the mining business. He formed a limited company called “King Solomon’s Mine”. But the name became the butt of cheap jokes for vaudeville comedian duos:

    “King Solomon’s Mine.”

    “No, he’s MINE!”

    “I tell you he’s MINE!”

    etc., etc.

    So he changed the company name to “King Solomon’s Mines”. The addition of that simple s cost him a fortune in new stationery.

    (II Chronicles, Old Testament)

  155. The clock struck half past two.

    And then the dragons came. They were three hours late for Fergy’s Great Cupcake Giveaway at the downtown branch of Fergy’s Department Store. Hundreds of children were devastated… and not in the way that dragons normally cause devastation.

    (Keep the Aspidistra Flying by George Orwell)

  156. It is a curious thing that at my age – fifty-five last birthday – I should find myself taking up a pen to try to write a history.

    And then the dragons came. They told me that literature abounds with books written by those in later years. They encouraged me in my pursuit and even offered to read early draughts of my work and give me their valuable opinion on its merits.

    (King Solomon’s Mines by H. Rider Haggard)

  157. Depending on just where you believe The Book Of Mormon to begin (Introduction #1, Introduction #2, or Chapter 1), I submit entries for all 3. Here’s Introduction #1:

    Wherefore, it is an abridgment of the record of the people of Nephi, and also of the Lamanites – Written to the Lamanites, who are a remnant of the house of Israel; and also to Jew and Gentile – Written by way of commandment, and also by the spirit of prophecy and of revelation – Written and sealed up, and hid up unto the Lord, that they might not be destroyed – To come forth by the gift and power of God unto the interpretation thereof – Sealed by the hand of Moroni, and hid up unto the Lord, to come forth in due time by way of the Gentile – The interpretation thereof by the gift of God.

    And then the dragons came, laughing their arses off, and said “Are you sure the guy’s name wasn’t Moron, without the i on the end?”

    (The Book Of Mormon, evidently written by Joseph Smith, who – *in the 19th Century* – wrote it in Shakespearean (King James Version [KJV] of The Bible) English and filled it with mumbo-jumbo names (see above for just a few examples) in an attempt to palm it off on the gullible as something really dictated by God… as if “The Almighty” hadn’t been keeping up with developments in the English language / that KJV English was somehow more sacred than the English that contemporary people were speaking. And a shitload of gullible people fell for this ruse, as well. Bwahahaha!)

  158. Here’s Introduction #2:

    Be it known unto all nations, kindreds, tongues, and people, unto whom this work shall come: That we, through the grace of God the Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ, have seen the plates which contain this record, which is a record of the people of Nephi, and also of the Lamanites, their brethren, and also of the people of Jared, who came from the tower of which hath been spoken.

    And then the dragons came, and spilled strong mordant all over the plates, obliterating all the Holy Words, so we, the undersigned have been obliged to recall them all from memory, in which endeavore [sic] hath God aided us greatly.

    (signed, this day of Grace, the eleventh of Bishtu, Year Dot of Mormon, which God hath instructed us to use the Mormonic Calendar from now on, yea,

    (The Book Of Mormon, evidently written by Joseph Smith)

  159. And here’s Chapter 1:

    I, Nephi, having been born of goodly parents, therefore I was taught somewhat in all the learning of my father; and having seen many afflictions in the course of my days, nevertheless, having been highly favored of the Lord in all my days; yea, having had a great knowledge of the goodness and the mysteries of God, therefore I make a record of my proceedings in my days.

    And then the dragons came and afflicted me sore. They told me that they’d done another Job deal with God (like the one God did with Satan, I mean), and were going to visit boils on my bum and other private parts, bankrupt my laundry business, kill off my yaller dog, Yehudahim, and – if I insisted on continuing with this nonsense – smite all of my family, as well.

    After careful consideration, I decided to give it a rest and admit that I was a fraud (real name George Winthrop, of Winthrop’s Laundry, Bathhouse, Restaurant and Funeral Parlor, Rooms To Rent By The Day Or Week – “All of your needs under one roof!”). Meaning that the religious-leader/prophet aspect of my outfit – potentially the most lucrative – was going to be a non-starter. Oh GOD!

    (The Book Of Mormon, evidently written by Joseph Smith)

  160. Dear and Illustrious Friend,

    Permit me to inscribe your name at the head of this book, and above its dedication; for it is to you, before all, that I owe its publication.

    And then the dragons came. One declared itself my literary agent, another my editor at Dirty Books Co., and both advised me to send my ms. to several other dragons (experienced beta readers, they told me) for feedback. The latter were unanimous in praising the premise of my book, but insisting that it was woefully lacking in dragons. I was advised to rewrite several chapters, including these magnificent creatures. (Their words… and now mine, for reasons that you might well guess.

    I was offered accommodation in one dragon’s lair for all the time I needed to improve my work, with abundant bread and water to sustain me, and had strong, heavy, golden bracelets and anklets bestowed upon me.

    You may well imagine that I was most eager to complete the task.

    (Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert)

  161. A kindly thing it is to have compassion of the afflicted and albeit it well beseemeth every one, yet of those is it more particularly required who have erst had need of comfort and have found it in any, amongst whom, if ever any had need thereof or held it dear or took pleasure therein aforetimes, certes, I am one of these.

    And then the dragons came and I before much time elapsed discovered that my previous afflictions had been as a drop of water compared to the vast ocean of troubles which I was thenceforth destined to undergo.

    And go under I most assuredly did…

    (The Decameron by Giovanni Boccaccio)

  162. In the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, in order to fulfill the word of the Lord spoken by Jeremiah, the Lord moved the heart of Cyrus king of Persia to make a proclamation throughout his realm and also to put it in writing:
    “This is what Cyrus king of Persia says:
    “‘The Lord, the God of heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth and he has appointed me to build a temple for him at Jerusalem in Judah. And then the dragons came and ruined my reputation! They quoted me incorrectly, as saying:
    “‘”Cyrus king of Persia has the following to say:
    “‘̓”«I am what I am: Cyrus the king of Persia, the Big Daddy of all kings of Middle Eastern kingdoms, and what I say goes, BITCHES!»”‘”

    (Ezra, Old Testament)

  163. The Time Traveller (for so it will be convenient to speak of him) was expounding a recondite matter to us.

    And then the dragons came, and began dragonsplaining it all, using all manner of technical terms – and not a few words in dragon – so that we all (including the Time Traveller) became quite dizzy and confused, understanding even less of the contraption than we had on first beholding it.

    (The Time Machine: An Invention by H. G. Wells)

  164. The stranger came early in February, one wintry day, through a biting wind and a driving snow, the last snowfall of the year, over the down, walking from Bramblehurst railway station, and carrying a little black portmanteau in his thickly gloved hand.

    And then the dragons came, flying in from the same direction.

    “If we’d only known that this was your destination as well,” one of the dragons said, brushing snow from its wings and head, “we could have given you a lift and saved you a wearisome trudge through this damnable weather. You see, we stopped off for a cuppa and hot, buttered scones at the Bramblehurst railway station caff, and got into a discussion about invisibility. Everyone had their own pet theory, so the discussion took rather a long time, explaining why we’re so late in arriving, for which we offer our most sincere apologies to our hosts.”

    All of the dragons bowed lowly.

    (The Invisible Man: A Grotesque Romance by H. G. Wells)

  165. On February the First 1887, the Lady Vain was lost by collision with a derelict when about the latitude 1° S. and longitude 107° W.

    And then the dragons came, and offered to carry out the entire salvage operation, in return for half of the cargo and all the drowned people found aboard.

    (The Island Of Doctor Moreau by H. G. Wells)

  166. This is what happened during the time of Xerxes, the Xerxes who ruled over 127 provinces stretching from India to Cush: At that time King Xerxes reigned from his royal throne in the citadel of Susa, and in the third year of his reign he gave a banquet for all his nobles and officials.

    And then the dragons came. Although they weren’t on the guest list, they convinced the guards at the door and Xerxes’ waiting staff that it would be in everybody’s interest not to make a fuss: just let us in and nobody gets hurt, they said.

    But – of course – they were lying through their razor-sharp teeth. Many were the guests who got hurt at that banquet – and hurt in interesting (not to say disturbing and noisy, colour-splashed [mostly red]) ways.

    (Esther, Old Testament)

  167. Lady Clara Vere de Vere
    Was eight years old, she said:
    Every ringlet, lightly shaken, ran itself in golden thread.

    And then the dragons came; and soon
    Young Clara was no more.
    Her tresses, indigestible, were scattered on the floor.

    (“Echoes” by Lewis Carroll)

  168. It was in a space in a thicket that he came into the world, in one of those little, hidden places in the wood which seem to be open on every side but which in fact are completely surrounded by foliage.

    And then the dragons came. They trampled the thicket all around the birthing place, shouting “BAM! BING! BOOM!” so that the newborn – named Bam Bing Boom by his distraught mother but more commonly known by the diminutive “Bambi” – was forced to flee with her when only a few hours old.

    (Bambi by Felix Salten) [banned/burnt by the Nazis]

  169. One morning, when Gregor Samsa woke from troubled dreams, he found himself transformed in his bed into a horrible vermin.

    And then the dragons came.

    “Of course,” said one, “the term ‘vermin’ is arbitrary and very subjective. I mean, some people call us dragons ‘vermin’, innit?”

    The other dragons shook their heads in sad bewilderment and tutted.

    “Tut tut tut!” they tutted.

    (Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka) [banned/burnt by the Nazis]

  170. Three hundred and forty-eight years, six months, and nineteen days ago to-day, the Parisians awoke to the sound of all the bells in the triple circuit of the city, the university, and the town ringing a full peal.

    And then the dragons came. Some were wearing nightdresses, others were wearing pyjamas, and a few were wearing nightcaps. (The kind one wears on one’s head: not alcoholic beverages spilt onto sleepwear.)

    They were jolly cross, and threatened to burn down the whole city if they were awoken again before another ninety-six years, three months, and eighteen days had elapsed.

    (Notre-Dame De Paris by Victor Hugo)

  171. In the land of Uz there lived a man whose name was Job.

    And then the dragons came to the land of Uz.

    They overheard how Jehovah and Satan were laying bets on whether Job would remain faithful to God and continue to trust and praise him if God allowed Satan to destroy his life.

    Pretty nasty pair of rascals, thought the dragons, toying with a man’s life for their own ego trips! Let’s see how they like it! So they covered Jehovah and Satan with boils and scabs, stripped them both naked, and poured [hot] ashes on their heads.

    Jehovah and Satan did NOT like it… not one little bit. But they didn’t learn their lesson, and continue to play cruel tricks on humans to this very day.

    Nasty, nasty, nasty!

    (Job, Old Testament)

  172. “Just the place for a Snark!” the Bellman cried,
    As he landed his crew with care;
    Supporting each man on the top of the tide
    By a finger entwined in his hair.

    And then the dragons came, and each and all
    Were struck with immediate fear.
    The dragons held every crewman in thrall,
    So they didn’t know there from here.

    (“The Hunting Of The Snark, An Agony, In Eight Fits” by Lewis Carroll)

  173. One winter night, at half-past nine,
    Cold, tired, and cross, and muddy,
    I had come home, too late to dine,
    And supper, with cigars and wine,
    Was waiting in the study.

    And then the dragons came, so I
    – Having been taught good manners –
    Called out the cook from beddy-bye,
    And ordered her to serve a fry
    Of hammers, awls, and spanners.

    (“Phantasmagoria” by Lewis Carroll)

  174. On a January evening of the early seventies, Christine Nilsson was singing in Faust at the Academy of Music in New York.

    And then the dragons came. One came onstage at the end of Ms. Nilsson’s showcase aria (for which she was most deservedly renown) and sang the tenor rôle’s introduction to the in duet with her. While the audience were occupied with listening to this, another swallowed Ms. Nilsson whole and proceeded to sing her part, without missing a beat.

    The opera-goers believed that they were witnessing an avant-gard performance of Faust. When the curtain came down, some of them cheered ecstatically, while the more conservative element booed rather loudly.

    These latter did not live long enough to attend a more orthodox production of it… or any other opera.

    (The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton)

  175. Blessed is the one
    who does not walk in step with the wicked
    or stand in the way that sinners take
    or sit in the company of mockers,
    but whose delight is in the law of the Lord,
    and who meditates on his law day and night.

    And then the dragons came,
    walking with the wicked
    (sometimes in step, but often in syncopation),
    delighting in their transgressions,
    standing in that way that sinners stand:
    you know what I mean!
    They mocked as soon as sitting,
    and meditated on the next pranks they would pull,
    rolling on the floor, laughing their asses off.

    (Psalms, Old Testament)

  176. When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the Powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation. And then the dragons came.
    First they doused the Philadelphia hall with cleansing curtains of fire. The younger dragons snorted brimstone as they read some of the scraps of documents rescued from the flames. “Oi, oi, oi, listen up. Liberty, equality, pursuit of happiness,” chortled one of them. “This from misogynist slave-holders, no less!” Sensible heads intervened then. “We may as well start over,” they decreed.
    The oldest dragon matriarch, Madame de Melusine, went a-calling on Abigail Adams, next. “Dearest,” she trilled, over a cup of scalding, peppery chai tea, “you did say something to John about remembering the ladies, did you not?” At the front door, a knock was heard. A polite voice intoned, “aaaaall the ladies, correct, Abby?” Soon, Phillis Wheatley joined them in the drawing room, holding a foolscap with her latest poem. The ink was still wet.
    “Todas, todas, pobres y ricas. Indígenas, negras, y blancas,” whispered the ghost of Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz through the open window, the scent of chocolate and chiles in her wake. “All the woman of the Americas. All the peoples of the Earth.”
    In perfect agreement, Abigail, Phillis and Sor Juana drafted a document. “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all people are created equal…” In a corner of the drawing-room, Madame de Melusine examined the yellow damask drapes with great interest, while munching on some sponge cake. On the square outside, the youngest dragons flew a kite with Sally Franklin. “Higher, make it go higher!” yelled one of them. The End.
    The Declaration of Independence, (1776), John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, Roger Sherman, and Robert Livingston.

  177. Afánate, lucha, ¡oh Tlacaltéccatl Temilotzin!: 
ya salen de sus naves
    los hombres de Castilla y los 

    de las chinampas.
    Entonces llegaron los dragones.
    Miraron a sus alrededores y bramaron, todos a una:
    «¡De ninguna manera!»

    Hernán Cortés cayó, el primero,
    envuelto en un tilmatli de vivas llamas.
    La emprendieron entonces, con todavía más saña, contra el ‘cruel entre crueles’
    Pedro de Alvarado.
    Silenciada, quedó su boca, para siempre con una chorro de
    oro líquido.
    Con un magnífico soplo de azufre, los dragones detuvieron
    la viruela, las otras pestilencias europeas.
    Derritieron mosquetes, cañones, petos y armaduras.
    Sólo se salvaron los diecisiete caballos y
    un cronista alerta, Bernal Díaz del Castillo, a quién los dragones dijeron:
    «Anda, castellano, corre, ve y cuenta la Historia verdadera de la conquista de la Nueva España.»

    Cantares Mexicanos. (Biblioteca Nacional de México.), c. 1528

  178. Mr. Utterson the lawyer was a man of a rugged countenance that was never lighted by a smile; cold, scanty and embarrassed in discourse; backward in sentiment; lean, long, dusty, dreary and yet somehow lovable.

    And then the dragons came. They gamboled, they frolicked, they cavorted, some pulled funny faces, others juggled with pieces of Mr. Utterson’s furniture. All engaged in some form of juvenile antics… all but one, that is. This last one sat in a corner, with a disapproving look on its face, and shook its head.

    In short, the others carried on in such a playful manner that – at last – a smile appeared on the lawyer’s face. At which instant, the dragons all stopped doing whatever it was that they had been doing.

    “Right, that’s a coffer of rubies you owe me,” said one dragon to the one in the corner. “I told you that we could make this geezer crack a smile!”

    Within fifteen seconds, they had all exited Mr. Utterson’s chamber, and he was left quite alone again.

    (The Strange Case Of Dr. Jekyll And Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson)

  179. I will begin the story of my adventures with a certain morning early in the month of June, the year of grace 1751, when I took the key for the last time out of the door of my father’s house.

    And then the dragons came. “Ready to set off for adventures, young Master Balfour?” their leader called out to me jovially. “For adventures we are bound to have!”

    “Did you remember to pack the cheese and pickle sandwiches?” enquired the youngest, to which I replied in the affirmative, with a friendly slap on its back.

    Then we were off.

    (Kidnapped by Robert Louis Stevenson) ~ Sweet Harm Alabama

  180. The Dream Snake

    The night was strangely still.

    And then the dragons came. Thousands upon hundreds of the strange beasts flew over the mountains, completely blocking out the night sky as they quickly darted through the air, leaving us in near pitch black darkness. Then without warning, one of these dragons dropped from the sky, landing a few feet from where we sat. We were both too terrified to get up and run as the creature approached us, possibly thinking of us as small morsels to feast upon at its leisure. But as it snapped me up in it’s terrible jaws, I felt no pain, only fear… And then I woke up.

  181. THE HYENA

    From the time when I first saw Senecoza, the fetish-man, I distrusted him, and from vague distrust the idea eventually grew into hatred.

    And then the dragons came. Those massive, fiendish, winged lizards, breathing fire and wreaking havoc, I knew that this was all his doing, that man had done some unspeakable atrocity to bring these things into being. If only I had known sooner I would have ended that awful man’s life before this came to b-

    at that moment, the woman was eaten by one of the dragons the man Senecoza had created.

  182. “Talking of Exhibitions, World’s Fairs, and what not,” said the old gentleman, “I would not go round the corner to see a dozen of them nowadays.”

    And then the dragons came over to the corner table where he was having a pint of brown ale with his neighbour, Wat Ollamoor (who was drinking stout), and joined the conversation, quite uninvited.

    “But then, you’ve never seen one of our Dragon Exhibitions,” one of the dragons said. Aerial displays, fire-breathing, human sacrifices, all manner of offal-in-a-bun at giveaway prices!”

    “Of course,” added another, “you humans haven’t invented aeroplanes yet, so the aerial displays your exhibitions have to offer are in unwieldy hot-air balloons: not a patch on our swooping and diving, with glorious battles hundreds of feet above your heads, then suddenly so close that your hair gets blown about and your whiskers singed. VERY exciting!”

    “And your ridiculous taboo on cannibalism limits your choice of fairground snacks woefully!” opined a third.

    (“The Fiddler of the Reels” by Thomas Hardy)

  183. My Precious Varvara Alexyevna,
    I was happy yesterday, immensely happy, impossibly happy! And then the dragons came, those horrible creatures, and blighted my hopes, dreams, and expectations of the future.

    First they set fire to my house, but that was just the beginning. While I fled from the blazing ruin of my home – my arms full of what little I’d been able to snatch up to save from the flames – they flew about me, laughing. (At least, I took that awful sound for laughing.) I must confess that it chilled me to the bone, notwithstanding the heat emanating from the conflagration behind me.

    One landed in the road in front of me. Others hovered to my right and left, cutting off any chance of escape across the fields.

    (“Poor People” by Fyodor Dostoevsky)

  184. The proverbs of Solomon son of David, king of Israel:
    for gaining wisdom and instruction;
    for understanding words of insight;
    for receiving instruction in prudent behavior,
    doing what is right and just and fair;
    for giving prudence to those who are simple,
    knowledge and discretion to the young—
    let the wise listen and add to their learning,
    and let the discerning get guidance—
    for understanding proverbs and parables,
    the sayings and riddles of the wise.

    And then the dragons came and, lo, one spake, saying “Proverbs shmoverbs! Doesn’t the great Stephen King, in his seminal book “On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft”, advise writers to cut proverbs to a minimum or – even better – eliminate them altogether from their manuscripts? And here’s a whole collection of them, a book with nothing but?! Not cool, Solomon son of David, king of Israel, not cool at all!”

    A few of the dragons snickered, and one whispered to the first dragon “Psst, Boss, you got it wrong. He was talking about adverbs: not proverbs.”

    The first dragon coughed, shuffled its feet, twitched its wings, and said “Righty ho. As you were. Carry on, Solomon son of David, king of Israel. Proverbalise away.”

    (Proverbs, Old Testament)

  185. Comenza Deu, y ans de comenzar se obri lo cèl ab molta música mentres que baixa, y en ser en terra, pàra la música, y diu Deu rahonant entre sì, en veu ferma y espayosa,

    [Deu:] Puix ya he creat los cèls y la terra,
    lo sol, la lluna, ab lo firmament,
    esteles, planetes, signes sens erra,
    la mar, los peixos ab altra desferra,
    de animals diversos ab tots cumpliments;
    fasám ara el home á nostra semblança,
    al cual obeixquen les coses creades.

    I llavors van arribar els dracs
    i van dir que de cap manera no obeirien a l’home.
    [Cor de Dracs:] Pobre patètic excús de criatura!
    Que no val ni l’escopinada dels nostres nadons.
    Com pretens, Déu, que respectem una creació
    tan feble, tan insípida, i tan falsa?

    (“Misteri de Adam y Eva” [anònim, segle XIX?])

    [I take no responsibility for the orthographic anomalies of the original, which don’t correspond to modern Catalan usage.]

  186. Scene.—A room furnished comfortably and tastefully, but not extravagantly. And then the dragons came.

    Dragon 1: I hope that you’ll excuse this intrusion, but we’ve just recently moved into the neighbourhood and are making the rounds to introduce ourselves. However, if it’s not convenient, [eyes a spruce lying in the middle of the room] we could return later.

    Nora: No, not an inconvenience at all, I assure you! Please do come in. I have just been out buying this Christmas tree, as you see, and am dying for a cup of tea. [She turns to address the housemaid] Hide the Christmas Tree carefully, Helen. Be sure the children do not see it until this evening, when it is dressed. And make us a pot of tea. Use the fancy china. Please do sit down. [Helen sits on the sofa.] Not you, you ninny! I was speaking to our guests. [Helen picks up the base of the tree and drags it out of the room.] Really! The quality of servants these days leaves a lot to be desired. And she came with such good references, but [she lowers her voice] I do believe that she’s been drinking the cooking sherry. Sit down, sit down, all of you. [Three dragons sit on the sofa. Another sits in a wing chair: Torvald Helmer’s favourite.]

    Helmer [calls out from his room]: Is that my little lark twittering out there?

    Nora: Yes, it is! And we have guests, my dearest. Come in here, Torvald, and have tea with us.

    Helmer: I hope it’s not those bloody dragons! Nils Krogstad tells me that a whole swarm of them has moved into the ruins of the castle. They’ve been raiding sheep and scaring the bejeezus out of the villagers. He and Doctor Rank are getting up a petition to call in the army to get rid of them. Blow them to smithereens. Don’t disturb me. I’m in the middle of rewriting the second chapter. [A little later, he opens the door and looks into the room, pen in hand.] WHOOPS!

    [The dragons all growl and stare at him. Helen comes in and begins laying the table.]

    Dragon 2: We cannot possibly stay here a moment longer. We know where we’re not wanted. [It bows to Nora, then turns back to Helmer.] Thank you for the tip about the petition. We will be prepared. [It shoots a breath of flame at the curtains. Another dragon smashes the tea service with its tail.] Good day!

    [Exeunt dragons, slamming the door behind them.]

    Nora: Oh, Torvald, what have you done?!

    (“A Doll’s House” by Henrik Ibsen)

  187. Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?

    And then the dragons came in the middle of his Sonnet. Bill was a little shaken by their sudden appearance at his drafting table. They were fortunately quite small, only babies. When they politely asked for a few sips of his candlelight, he was certain they were figments of his tired brain’s imagination. He told them they were welcome to stay but he must retire for the evening.

    Upon waking, he found a tidy sum of money and a note.

    Dear Sir,

    Thank you for the wholesome meal and accommodations. Our father came to get us and left you a token of his appreciation.
    Signed Draconis Junior and bros.

    William Shakespeare
    Sonnet 18

  188. Tyger Tyger burning bright,
    In the forests of the night;
    What immortal hand or eye
    Could frame thy fearful symmetry?

    And then the dragons came. They wanted to play, too. They materialized anytime children played a game that featured eenie, meenie, minie mo and catching tygers. Or tigers or tie grrrs. Sometimes, they misunderstood and showed up at auto shops because a mechanic yelled “Tires!”

    Luckily, they had played with the children off this village. They learned to distinguish the voices of their leader, Blake.

    He was happy to see the dragons. This time he needed their help to save the village from a marauding flesh and blood Tyger who had misunderstood the chant.

    “I’ll eat whichever of you has caught a Tyger by the toe!” He raged and frightened all the children.

    Blake explained his plan. He called out the words of the chant. When the Tyger appeared, the dragons carried him off. Back to the jungle, unharmed for he was too frightened to attack.

    William Blake
    The Tyger

  189. Whoso list to hunt, I know where is an hind,
    But as for me, hélas, I may no more.

    And then the dragons came. I no longer needed to walk, searching high and lo for the hind. They could bear me above the culms of the forest. In fact, with all my desire to chase diverted to flying.

    I found myself so completely taken with them. I studied everything about my new companions. Designed a seat for myself. I drew them. Painted their portraits. I collected their fallen scales to make a lovely windchime.

    I found conservation more alluring than flirty banter. So, did my parents. And eventually, in time, I did find a mate who shared my fascination.

    Sir Thomas Wyatt
    Whoso List to Hunt, I Know Where Is An Hind

  190. O, my luve’s like a red, red rose that’s newly sprung in June;
    O my Luve is like the melody that’s sweetly played in tune.

    And then the dragons came.
    O, their luve’s like a hot, smoking pyre that’s newly struck and fumes;
    O, their Luve is like the dirge that’s solemnly played by tombs.

    Robbie Burns
    O, my luve’s like a red, red rose

  191. I wandered lonely as a cloud
    That floats on high o’er vales and hills,
    When all at once I saw a crowd,
    A host, of golden daffodils;
    Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
    Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

    And then the dragons came. They were mates of these ones disguised as daffodils. All at once they began a courtly dance upon the shore. The fish flipped their tails in time. The harts of the neared to snort wheeze and stomp along. I was a grateful spectator to a scene most only imagine.

    William Wordsworth
    The Daffodils

  192. Oh, to be in England
    Now that April’s there,
    And whoever wakes in England
    Sees, some morning, unaware,
    That the lowest boughs and the brushwood sheaf
    Round the elm-tree bole are in tiny leaf,
    While the chaffinch sings on the orchard bough
    In England—now!

    And then the dragons came. They had no use for calendars. And knew nothing of counties, countries. The could see rivers and mountains as boundaries. They cared not a puff for borders.

    They lit among the orchards. Admired the spring leaves with wonder. They sang the harmony part with the little birds. Terrifying the “flower” of England – now.

    Home Thoughts from Abroad
    Robert Browning

  193. I heard a Fly buzz – when I died –
    The Stillness in the Room
    Was like the Stillness in the Air –
    Between the Heaves of Storm –

    And then the dragons came. I was dead so I don’t know what happened in the room. I floated up through the ceiling. Up, up through the house. Our roof soon far below my feet. Had I ears perhaps I would have heard my father asking if they had come to pay their respects after my mother gasped, fainted in shock, and was revived with smelling salts.

    They had been lovers of poetry. One carried a book of verse. She recited a piece she said reminded them of me.
    But I floated up and up into outer space. Then out of the solar system. I am still. Floating that is.

    Emily Dickinson
    I heard a fly buzz

  194. If I should die, think only this of me:
    That there’s some corner of a foreign field
    That is for ever England.

    And then the dragons came. I did not expect a deus ex machina. In fact, I expected a bullet. But with leathery winged salvation, they covered us. I felt no fear.

    They heard dragoons were being attacked. Seeing it was English men, they recalled their debt to certain saints who only posed for portraits at a “slaying”.

    As we waited for the hailfire to end, they regaled us with other tales. How they often prevented or caused the tides of wars to change.

    With their keen hearing, they heard the guns cease and opened their wings. I was thankful for them. They offered us safe transit. When asked where they could return me, I told them I needed to stay with my unit. They were impressed by my bravery. They made sure the wounded, on both sides, were safely escorted home.

    Rupert Brooke
    The Soldier

  195. On either side the river lie
    long fields of barley and of rye,
    that clothe the wold and meet the sky;
    and thro’ the field the road runs by
    to many-tower’d Camelot;
    and up and down the people go,
    gazing where the lilies blow
    round an island there below,
    the island of Shalott.

    And then the dragons came. The Lady of the Lake needed a vacation. And as she found the rightful heir lacking, replaced the sword in its hidden shiny glory in the depths of a cave beneath the island. She dated not leave it unattended despite its hidden locale. The dragons were humbled by her trust in them. They made very good guards of treasures.

    Alfred, Lord Tennyson
    The Lady of Shalott

  196. The Owl and the Pussy-cat went to sea
    In a beautiful pea-green boat,
    They took some honey, and plenty of money,
    Wrapped up in a five-pound note.

    And then the dragons came. They landed gently beside the pea-green boat on the briny sea. They were easy of flying and missed pleasant conversation. They listened as the newlyweds spoke excitedly of the adventures they planned. A visit the Caribbean. Then perhaps building a little house on the beach. The dragons offered to sail along with them as far as that. Then they must return for the New Moon.

    Edward Lear
    The Owl and the Pussy-cat

  197. Because I could not stop for Death –
    He kindly stopped for me –
    The Carriage held but just Ourselves –
    And Immortality.

    And then the dragons came. They already possessed Immortality’s secrets and smiled their tooth grins as they walked with heavy steps along the road. They nodded their proud heads at us and kept pace with the Carriage and its phantom steeds.

    Death on the other hand was somewhat of a curiosity to them. One they wished to understand. Only they never dared ask the questions on their minds.

    Emily Dickinson
    Because I could not stop for Death

  198. Bent double, like old beggars under sacks,
    Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge, till on the haunting flares we turned our backs, and towards our distant rest began to trudge.

    And then the dragons came. Wearing their shiny scales and heads already helmeted, they were more prepared than we. Of course, if we could fly away from danger we would. They headed straight for the flares. The great explosions that followed were a welcome sound. Still on we trudged as the dragons wheeled back and returned to unseen places.

    Dulce et Decorum Est
    Wilfred Owen

  199. I celebrate myself, and sing myself,
    and what I assume you shall assume,
    for every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you.
    And then the dragons came.
    They celebrated me, too.
    And sang their own songs about me.
    What I assumed they assumed.
    For soon every atom belonging to me
    was in their possession.
    I very easily shared being so full of love.
    And they showed loved in their own dragon way.
    With a pile of gold,
    a warm fleece blanket
    and the choicest ram of a local flock of sheep.

    Song of Myself
    Walt Whitman

  200. Know then thyself, presume not God to scan; the proper study of mankind is man.

    And then the dragons came. They knew themselves rather well considering they didn’t scan any ancient texts for hidden secrets. They didn’t presume to know anything about religion. That something created by humans to pacify the beaten down masses.

    Dragons enjoyed the company of skeptics. They liked the taste of knights and treasure seekers over zealots and philosophers. Philosophy they understood. They held great debates about studying human ways in order to keep them away from their mountains. The occasional mystic or guru would wander in but they usually could be smelled from within the deeper recesses of the lair. They were not a threat. They came only to rest and think, not plunder and kill.

    They wept for Socrates still.

    Alexander Pope, An Essay on Man.

  201. The village all declar’d how much he knew;
    ’Twas certain he could write, and cipher too: lands he could measure, terms and tides presage, and e’en the story ran that he could gauge.

    And then the dragons came. They wanted their young brood to attend the school. Elder Draconis Rex and his wife had three eggs in the nest that would hatch any day. Their older children had been largely self taught by PBS, some funny puppets and the kindly old Marine from the neighborhood.

    Mrs. Rex felt that in a digital age they might need someone a little less modern.
    They might have chosen any place for their children as money was no object. A tutor could have been hired. Or…
    Well, a mother knows best was the motto that Elder lived by contentedly.

    Three children in the schoolyard dropped their lunches and hid. Some of the bigger boys shielded the littlest children. But they need not worry. Elder was here on business not pleasure.

    Oliver Goldsmith, ‘The Village Schoolmaster’

  202. “O thou bright jewel in my aim I strive to comprehend thee.”

    And then the dragons came. They often visited Phillis at home. They would come listen to her read some nights. They loved listening to her read aloud. Especially her own poems. She often left the window of her bedroom open for that purpose.

    Today, she sat reading to a gathered crowd in the town square. This was the first time they arrived in the day. Children and adults cheered as they landed. The crowd parted as the largest dragon approached the house and bowed low. Phillis made a curtsy. In his claw, he held a nearly wrapped large package. He placed it on her table.

    Phillis took her small knife to cut the wrapping – a sturdy sheet of parchment folded into a box shape with wax seals on the corners. There was a note written by a sharp steady claw dipped in the finest dragon- made ink upon on side.

    “Thank you, friend. We enjoy your words and kindness. We strive to comprehend you and humankind. ”

    The package contained a perfect diamond – enormous, clear and seemingly aflame internally. As she held the jewel in both hands, she smiled though tears streamed down.

    Phillis Wheatley, ‘On Virtue’

  203. Up, up, my Friend, and quit your books;
    Or surely you’ll grow double:
    Up, up, my Friend, and clear your looks;
    Why all this toil and trouble?

    And then the dragons came. This was their musical announcement. Much like an ice cream truck’s melodious tune to draw the children.

    They were the flying librarians. Much like a bookmobile that drove from neighborhood to neighborhood with a mini selection of library materials, they were an entire fleet of book mobiles. The local library hired them in an amazing stroke of budgetary genius.

    When the process of training and retaining drivers doubled due to added the cost of bus upkeep and fuel, the library board and the head librarian called for any ideas. As it happened, a local dragon horde rep was in the meeting. She offered the services of the safest and strongest flyers in exchange for unlimited access to the library and all the withdrawals, and a parking spot.

    “The Tables Turned” by William Wordsworth

  204. The old type institution for misdemeanants failed to accomplish satisfactory results, mental, moral and physical. 

    And then the dragons came. They needed a better shelter than the hills of Cincinnati. Construction converting their former homelands into housing and businesses left them in a sad situation. We could not offer to keep each one as a pet per se. Being rather enormous, they could not all remain together and required more than one facility or caretaker. An entire cell block might be responsible for a single one.

    Some of the older ones moved to the larger, less strict facilities. The younger ones to the place with the young guests of the state. The hardy workers went to the work camps and farms. A few broke rocks. There were jobs and homes for everyone.

    The findings of this corrective body are that if given a reason to care about the wellbeing of another living creature, the misdemeanants begin to rehabilitate.

    VOLUME I, No. 7.JULY, 1911
    Superintendent of Charities and Correction, Cleveland, Ohio

  205. The two essentials of success in probation work are:—judges who have an intelligent and sympathetic interest in the problem, and probation officers fitted by temperament and training to secure the best possible results.

    And then the dragons came. They were sensible as judges but best suited and very good in the positions of probation officers. No one dared miss an appointment. Who would when a dragon might appear on your doorstep unannounced. The scandal among the neighbors was more than most could bear.

    No one pretended they could not pay their fee in some way. There were numerous options even if they must bring a ham, mutton or gold wrapped basket of chocolate. The officer dragons would weigh these items. Next, they would take an equivalent bit of gold from their cache to cover the fee. This was the way negotiated by the probation board.

    The best outcome came with these changes. No more recidivism among the former repeat guests of the state. And less criminal activity overall.

    VOLUME I, No. 7.JULY, 1911

    Judge of the Superior Court, Massachusetts

  206. The house was three miles from the station, but, before the dusty hired hack had rattled along for five minutes, the children began to put their heads out of the carriage window and say, “Aren’t we nearly there?” And then the dragons came. They was a wee one, a small one, a middle one and two older ones. Much like the children. The pony was a good friend is theirs. They were so curious to see knew things. The little ones were glad to have new playmates close to their size despite the age gap of a few centuries.

    Five Children and It
    E. Nesbit

  207. THESEUS.
    Now, fair Hippolyta, our nuptial hour
    Draws on apace; four happy days bring in
    Another moon; but oh, methinks, how slow
    This old moon wanes! 

    And then the dragons came. The king and his bride-to-be were armed with bows and swords. They considered the omen of dragons terrible. They were ready to take aim until they noticed riders upon the dragons’ backs.

    The fae king and his band, my love. There must be mischief afoot beyond telling for him to show himself.

    Puck, emissary of the king, dismounts, bows low.

    Fair met by moonlight, King of Athens. I am one Puck by name. My king’s blessings on you and your lady. Peace be upon your home.

    We accept his blessing.

    Theseus and Hippolyta bow.

    He also gifts you this whistle to pipe up these friends in your hour of need.

    We accept his gracious gift.

    We take our leave, fair friends.

    Exuent PUCK and the fae company and the dragons who came.

    PXM 71123

    A Midsummer Night’s Dream
    William Shakespeare

    Noble Patricians, Patrons of my right,
    Defend the Justice of my Cause with Armes.

    And then the dragons came. Seeing the Glee of the Victors and the sad state of the captives enraged them. They flew amidst the crowd, burning down the garlands and entire sections of Roman procession.

    My lady Titania we heard of your capture. We offer our services O Queen.

    A small dragon used the edge of a claw to cut her bonds.

    I will avenge me on Andronicus.

    A freed Titania took up arms to rescue her sons and her lover before commanding the sacking of the house of Andronicus.

    Dragons only bake meat but not in a pie.

    The Lamentable Tragedy of Titus Andronicus
    William Shakespeare

  209. 1. Citizen
    Before we proceed any further, heare me speake. And then the dragons came. Their bellies covered in jewels. Their hides were covered scales overlaid in rows. No living man stood up to these brutes of the world. No one until Coriolanus. They ate him, too. Such a tragedy.

    The Tragedy of Coriolanus
    William Shakespeare

  210. Sampson
    Gregory: A my word wee’l not carry coales.

    And then the dragons came.

    1st Dragon
    Our mothers taught us to carry coales, sirs.

    2nd Dragon
    Our sires taught us to curry fires, sirs.

    3rd Dragon
    It is warm in a Dragon belly, sirs.

    Gregory, fly!

    The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet
    William Shakespeare

  211. The words of the Teacher, son of David, king in Jerusalem:
    “Meaningless! And then the dragons came, and brought meaning to my life! The drabness and monotony of my pathetic existence were vanquished, and everything was filled with light and colour.”

    (Ecclesiastes, Old Testament)

  212. ’Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
    Did gyre and gimble in the wabe;
    All mimsy were the borogoves,
    And the mome raths outgrabe.

    And then the dragons came with forks
    With which to excavate some.
    They dug up trams and champagne corks.
    Then danced a lively eightsome.

    The borogoves were quite put out,
    The mome raths frothed and spluttered.
    To see the dragons prance about
    A drawing room so cluttered.

    But all the furniture was safe,
    For dragons dance quite lightly.
    Without cause did the mome raths chafe.
    The dragons now dance nightly.

    (“Jabberwocky” by Lewis Carroll)

  213. The sun was shining on the sea,
    Shining with all his might:
    He did his very best to make
    The billows smooth and bright –
    And this was odd, because it was
    The middle of the night.

    And then the dragons came and saw
    The mischief being done.
    After conferring for three hours,
    They shared a sticky bun.
    Then drew up Writs of Mandamus
    To serve upon the sun.

    The Walrus and the Carpenter
    Were walking close at hand;
    They cheered like anything to hear
    The legal dragon band:
    “And if the sun should not desist,
    We’ll fine it twenty grand!”

    (“The Walrus and the Carpenter” from Through The Looking-Glass And What Alice Found There by Lewis Carroll)

  214. The driver of the wagon swaying through forest and swamp of the Ohio wilderness was a ragged girl of fourteen. And then the dragon came. Suddenly the forest was ash, the swamps smoldering pits. But the girl never forget the sight of the dragons clearing away the main targets. The villages that had been infected with the plague. From that day on, no one asked for the help of dragons when there was a sickness. They were just too thorough.

    Arrowsmith by Sinclair Lewis

  215. The little town of Vezza stands at the confluence of two torrents that come down in two deep valleys from the Apuan mountains. And then the dragons came, and set up shop in the mountains. Following that there was a torrent of knights, which led to an uptick in local commerce for the town of Vezza. But then, dragons sold the best plate armor.

    Those Barren Leaves by Aldous Huxley

  216. Dusk—of a summer night. And then the dragons came. A young couple had lounging by the lakeside the lonely summer night. the girl pregnant, the man ready for their fling to end. Anyway possible. He just never dreamed dragons would be involved.

    An American Tragedy by Theodore Dreiser

    1. Oops, sent before proofing, my apologies

      Dusk—of a summer night. And then the dragons came. A young couple had been lounging by the lakeside that lonely summer night. The girl pregnant, the man ready for their fling to end. Anyway possible. He just never dreamed dragons would be involved.

      An American Tragedy by Theodore Dreiser

  217. First Servant: Quick, quick, bring the dung-beetle his cake.

    [And then the dragons came.]

    Second Servant: Oh Zeus! It’s the dragons! And it’s too late to hide.

    First Dragon: Feeding the dung-beetle, are we?

    First Servant [visibly quaking]: That’s right, Your Magnificences. Cook has prepared him a lovely bit of cake. [voice breaking into a squeak] It’s got figs, dates, and almonds in it!

    Second Dragon: We certainly hope that it isn’t laced with any poison! The dung-beetles are distant relations of ours on our mother’s side. [Second Dragon blows a puff of smoke]

    Third Dragon: Perhaps these two should test the cake first, just to be on the safe side?

    [The two servants fall to their knees]

    Please, Your Gloriousnesses, we were were only following orders.

    [Second Dragon emits a ball of fire]

    First Dragon: EAT the cake! We will deal with your master later… as well as the cook.

    [The two servants eat the cake, choke, and fall prostrate on the ground]

    First Dragon: Come along, Babies! It seems that a visit to the master of the house is in order.

    [exeunt dragons, stage right]

    (“Peace” by Aristophanes)

  218. One dollar and eighty-seven cents. And then the dragons came, and offered to pay 25% *per week* compound interest on that amount if Della (Mrs. James Dillingham Young) would only promise to save her money and give them one hair from her head each Friday.

    Now, there were two possessions of the James Dillingham Youngs in which they both took a mighty pride. One was Jim’s gold watch that had been his father’s and his grandfather’s. The other was Della’s hair. Had the Queen of Sheba lived in the flat across the airshaft, Della would have let her hair hang out the window some day to dry just to depreciate Her Majesty’s jewels and gifts. Had King Solomon been the janitor, with all his treasures piled up in the basement, Jim would have pulled out his watch every time he passed, just to see him pluck at his beard from envy.

    While Della was contemplating this offer – for the next day was Christmas, and she’d been saving pennies to be able to buy Jim (Mr. James Dillingham Young) a present, however meager (for it’s the thought that counts) – one of the dragons spoke up again.

    “Tell you what we’re going to do. We’ll throw in this platinum fob chain simple and chaste in design, properly proclaiming its value by substance alone and not by meretricious ornamentation. Real quality goods that is, missus. Now, you can’t say fairer than that!”

    It really was a beautiful fob chain! It surely had been made for Jim and no one else. There was no other like it in any of the stores, and she had turned all of them inside out. The deal was struck, and the dragons promised to return the following Friday.

    Next, the dragons visited Jim, who was having his lunch (water from the drinking fountain in the park and an apple). They made the same deal with him: 25% per week compound interest on the loose change in his pocket, in return for letting them set their watches by his grandfather’s pocket watch each Friday. And they threw in a pair of beautiful combs, pure tortoise shell, with jewelled rims – just the shade for his wife to wear in her beautiful hair.

    How could Jim resist?!

    So Jim and Della Young each got a wonderful Christmas present without having to spend a cent. The money they’d put by, although a pittance to begin with, increased rapidly in value each week.

    Meanwhile the dragons were celebrating their excursion into the [American] human custom of Christmas, and planning for the next big [American] human holiday, Easter, when they’d carry out mass crucifixions.

    “Can’t we just burn them to death, like we usually do?” asked one of the younger dragons.

    “Leave it out, our Bert! You’ve got to get into the spirit of things, innit?” replied an elder.

    (“The Gift Of The Magi” by O. Henry)

  219. No ha muchos años que de un lugar de Extremadura salió un hidalgo, nacido de padres nobles, el cual, como un otro Pródigo, por diversas partes de España, Italia y Flandes anduvo gastando así los años como la hacienda; y, al fin de muchas peregrinaciones, muertos ya sus padres y gastado su patrimonio, vino a parar a la gran ciudad de Sevilla, donde halló ocasión muy bastante para acabar de consumir lo poco que le quedaba.

    Y entonces llegaron los dragones. Ofreciéronle riquezas y todo tipo de manjares exquisitos a cambio de su servitud como agente para sus asuntos con los seres humanos. El extremeño aceptó el trato con una mezcla de pasmo, alivio tremendo, y cierto asco, porque los dragones acabaron de devorar un pueblo entero y su aliento echaba un hedor de lo más repugnante.

    (“El celoso extremeño” de Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra)

  220. Solomon’s Song of Songs.

    And then the dragons came, Sweet Baby,
    And turned my life around
    They made me forget ’bout you, Big Mama,
    So I’m Dragonland bound!
    Shooby shooby
    Gonna bob-a-lula
    All night long,
    A’singing this song
    With my new friends , the dragons!

    (Song of Solomon, Old Testament)

  221. They will tell you in Anchuria, that President Miraflores, of that volatile republic, died by his own hand in the coast town of Coralio; that he had reached thus far in flight from the inconveniences of an imminent revolution; and that one hundred thousand dollars, government funds, which he carried with him in an American leather valise as a souvenir of his tempestuous administration, was never afterward recovered.

    And then the dragons came. They brought flowers to the grave of the late president, and tore down the original grave marker, a plain slab of wood, which someone had burned with a hot iron this inscription:

    The dragons erected in its place a marble headstone, engraved with a dragon in flight at the top, one curled up on a pile of treasure an the bottom, and these words in between:

    (Cabbages And Kings by O. Henry)

  222. Emma Woodhouse, handsome, clever, and rich, with a comfortable home and happy disposition, seemed to unite some of the best blessings of existence; and had lived nearly twenty-one years in the world with very little to distress or vex her.

    And then the dragons came. They began by just teasing her and playing harmless practical jokes, such as tugging at her ringlets (about which she was very vain), hiding her best bonnet in the flour bin, and tickling her feet while she was sleeping. But they soon progressed to singeing her petticoats, writing rude letters to the neighbours with her signature (and using her well-known flowery notepaper and green ink), and ordering six dozen eggs to be delivered from the Hepworths’ farm (again using her stationery).

    “I am not vexed nor distressed!” pronounced Emma, and busied herself with calling on the Hepworths and other neighbours to explain that she had had nothing to do with these messages, but that they were the work of pesky dragons.

    Of course, nobody believed her.

    The next phase in the dragons’ campaign was to send a note to the vicar, asking him to post the banns for the forthcoming marriage between Miss Emma Woodhouse and Milo S. Teem, Esq. of Canterbury.

    When the vicar read out the announcement on the following Sunday, there were a few titters from the back row, which gradually spread to the rest of the congregation, though nobody had the poor manners to laugh out loud. (Nor did anyone roll on the floor.)

    (Emma by Jane Austen)

    By Samuel Johnson

    It is the fate of those who toil at the lower employments of life, to be rather driven by the fear of evil, than attracted by the prospect of good; to be exposed to censure, without hope of praise; to be disgraced by miscarriage, or punished for neglect, where success would have been without applause, and diligence without reward.
    And then the dragons came.

    (DRA’GON. n.s.
    [draco, Latin; dragon, French.]
    1. A kind of winged serpent, perhaps imaginary, much celebrated in the romances of the middle age.)

    Among these unhappy mortals is the middle aged writer of dictionaries; whom mankind have considered, not as the pupil, but the slave of science, the pionier of literature, doomed only to remove rubbish and clear obstructions from the paths through which Learning and Genius press forward to conquest and glory, without bestowing a smile on the humble drudge that facilitates their progress, all the while troubled by a multitude of dragons. Every other authour may aspire to praise; the lexicographer can only hope to escape reproach, and even this negative recompense has been yet granted to very few. Fewer still where dragons are involved. I mean, you try writing a dictionary with dragons torching the manuscript whenever you turn your back.
    I have, notwithstanding this discouragement, attempted a dictionary of the English language, which, while it was employed in the cultivation of every species of literature, has itself been hitherto neglected; suffered to spread, under the direction of chance, into wild exuberance; resigned to the tyranny of time and fashion; and exposed to the corruptions of ignorance, and caprices of innovation. And yes, I did include an entry for dragons who are definitely not imaginary despite what my publisher says.

    *Sponsored by the PyroTex Fireproof Paper Co. Ltd., London, England.

  224. The Odyssey by Homer

    BOOK I
    Tell me, O Muse, of that ingenious hero who travelled far and wide after he had sacked the famous town of Troy. And then the dragons came. We’re talking proper dragons here, not Ray Harryhausen stop-motion models, but the kind that will chew your legs off without a second thought. Many cities did he visit, and many were the nations with whose manners and customs he was acquainted, but, I mean, you sack one measly little city and thereafter the gods have it in for you. It wasn’t even that nice a city. The Tripadvisor reviews aren’t all that good; moreover, he suffered much by sea while trying to save his own life and bring his men safely home and that was before the dragons showed up; but do what he might he could not save his men, for they perished through their own sheer folly in eating the cattle of the Sun-god Hyperion in the form of kebabs washed down with a few bottles of retsina. I mean, it might have been food poisoning but you never know; so the gods prevented them from ever reaching home.

  225. Sir Gawain and the Green Knight

    Of the making of Britain
    After the siege and the assault of Troy, when that burg was destroyed and burnt to ashes, and the traitor slain for his treason, the noble Æneas and his kin sailed forth to become princes and patrons of well-nigh all the Western Isles. And then the dragons came. Big ones breathing fire and brimstone that torched a lot of places. Thus Romulus built Rome (and gave to the city his own name, which it bears even to this day despite Nero fiddling while the dragons got busy); and Ticius turned him to Tuscany; and Langobard raised him up dwellings in Lombardy; and Felix Brutus sailed far over the French flood, and founded the kingdom of Britain, wherein have been war and waste and wonder, and bliss and bale, oft-times since. And dragons.
    And in that kingdom of Britain have been wrought more gallant deeds than in any other; but of all British kings Arthur was the most valiant, as I have heard tell, even if he never went up against dragons, therefore will I set forth a wondrous adventure that fell out in his time about one that did. And if ye will listen to me, but for a little while, I will tell it even as it stands in story stiff and strong, fixed in the letter, as it hath long been known in the land. It’s really good and has dragons in it.

  226. The Epic of Gilgamesh, translated from the Old Babylonian

    1 Gish sought to interpret the dream;
    2 Spoke to his mother:
    3 “My mother, during my night
    4 I became strong and moved about
    5 among the heroes;
    6 And from the starry heaven
    7 A meteor*(?) of Anu fell upon me:
    8 I bore it and it grew heavy upon me,
    9 I became weak and its weight I could not endure.
    10 And then the dragons came.
    11 The land of Erech gathered about them.
    12 The heroes kissed their feet.
    13 They were raised up before me.
    14 They stood me up.
    15 I bore the meteor? and carried it to thee.”
    16 The mother of Gish, who knows all things,
    17 Spoke to Gish:
    18 “Some one, O Gish, who like thee
    19 In the field was born and
    20 Whom the mountain has reared,
    21 Thou wilt see (him) and [like a woman(?)] thou wilt rejoice.
    22 Heroes will kiss his feet.
    23 Thou wilt spare [him and wilt endeavor]
    24 To lead him to me.”
    25 Just not with dragons.

    [*Scholars disagree as the glyph can also be interpreted as baked encrusted morsel from the divine pig of Anu. A pork pie has been suggested as an alternative meaning.]

  227. Still—William
    By Richmal Crompton

    Until now William had taken no interest in his handkerchiefs as toilet accessories. And then the dragons came. They were greyish (once white) (not the dragons) squares useful for blotting ink or carrying frogs or making lifelike rats to divert the long hours of afternoon school, but otherwise he had had no pride or interest in them. The dragons were another matter.
    But last week, Ginger (a member of the circle known to themselves as the Outlaws of which William was the leader) had received a handkerchief (not a dragon) as a birthday present from an aunt in London. William, on hearing the news, had jeered, but the sight of the handkerchief had silenced him.
    It was a large handkerchief, larger than William had conceived it possible for handkerchiefs to be. It was made of silk, and contained all the colours of the rainbow. Round the edge green dragons sported upon a red ground. Ginger displayed it at first deprecatingly, fully prepared for scorn and merriment, and for some moments the fate of the handkerchief hung in the balance. But there was something about the handkerchief that impressed them. It was the embroidered dragons.
    “Kinder—funny,” said Henry critically.
    “Jolly big, isn’t it?” said Douglas uncertainly.
    “’S more like a sheet,” said William, wavering between scorn and admiration.
    Ginger was relieved. At any rate they had taken it seriously. They had not wept tears of mirth over it. That afternoon he drew it out of his pocket with a flourish and airily wiped his nose with it. The next morning Henry appeared with a handkerchief almost exactly like it, and the day after that Douglas had one. William felt his prestige lowered. He—the born leader—was the only one of the select circle who did not possess a coloured silk handkerchief with dragons on it.
    That evening he approached his mother.
    “I don’t think white ones is much use,” he said.
    “Don’t scrape your feet on the carpet, William,” said his mother placidly. “I thought white ones were the only tame kind—not that I think your father will let you have any more. You know what he said when they got all over the floor and bit his finger.”
    “I’m not talkin’ about dragons,” said William. “I’m talkin’ about handkerchiefs.”
    “Oh—handkerchiefs! White ones are far the best. They launder properly. They come out a good colour—at least yours don’t, but that’s because you get them so black—but there’s nothing better than white linen.”
    “Pers’nally,” said William with a judicial air, “I think silk’s better than linen an’ white’s so tirin’ to look at. I think a kind of colour’s better for your eyes. My eyes do ache a bit sometimes. I think it’s prob’ly with keep lookin’ at white handkerchiefs.”
    “Don’t be silly, William. I’m not going to buy you silk handkerchiefs to get covered with mud and ink and coal as yours do.”
    Mrs. Brown calmly cut off her darning wool as she spoke, and took another sock from the pile by her chair. William sighed.
    “Oh, I wouldn’t do those things with a silk one,” he said earnestly. “It’s only because they’re cotton ones I do those things.”
    “Linen,” corrected Mrs. Brown.
    “But without dragons on,” said William.

  228. The Book Per-t em hru, or [The Chapters of] Coming forth by (or, into) the Day, commonly called the “Book of the Dead.”

    The spells and other texts which were written by Thoth for the benefit of the dead, and are directly connected with him, were called, according to documents written under the XIth and XVIIIth dynasties, “Chapters of the Coming Forth by (or, into) the Day,”. And then the dragons came. One rubric in the Papyrus of Nu (Brit. Mus. No. 10477) states that the text of the work called “PER-T EM HRU,” i.e., “Coming Forth (or, into) the Day,” was discovered by a high official in the foundations of a shrine of the god Hennu during the reign of Semti, or Hesepti, a king of the Ist dynasty who knew a bit about dragons. Another rubric in the same papyrus says that the text was cut upon the alabaster plinth of a statue of Menkaurā (Mycerinus), a king of the IVth dynasty, and that the letters were inlaid with lapis lazuli and said quite a bit about dragons. The plinth was found by Prince Herutataf, a son of King Khufu (Cheops), who carried it off to his king and exhibited it as a “most wonderful” thing which had dragons in it. This composition was greatly reverenced, for it “would make a man victorious upon earth and in the Other World; it would ensure him a safe and free passage through the Tuat (Under World); it would allow him to go in and to go out, and to take at any time any form he pleased; it would make his soul to flourish, and would prevent him from dying the [second] death and keep him free from dragons.” For the deceased to receive the full benefit of this text it had to be recited by a man “who was ceremonially pure, and who had not eaten fish or meat, and had not consorted with women nor dragons.” On coffins of the XIth dynasty and on papyri of the XVIIIth dynasty we find two versions of the PER-T EM HRU, one long and one short. As the title of the shorter version states that it is the “Chapters of the PER-T EM HRU in a single chapter,” it is clear that this work, even under the IVth dynasty, contained many “Chapters,” and that a much abbreviated form of the work was also current at the same period. The rubric that attributes the “finding” of the Chapter to Herutataf associates it with Khemenu, i.e., Hermopolis, and indicates that Thoth, the god of this city, was its author and had a lot to say about dragons.

    By Plato
    BOOK I.
    I went down yesterday to the Piraeus with Glaucon the son of Ariston, that I might offer up my prayers to the goddess (Bendis, the Thracian Artemis.); and also because I wanted to see in what manner they would celebrate the festival, which was a new thing. And then the dragons came. I was delighted with the procession of the inhabitants, less so with the dragons which had a certain pyromaniacal quality; but that of the Thracians was equally, if not more, beautiful if less fiery. When we had finished our prayers and viewed the spectacle, we turned in the direction of the city; and at that instant Polemarchus the son of Cephalus chanced to catch sight of us from a distance as we were starting on our way home, and told his servant to run and bid us wait for him. The servant took hold of me by the cloak behind, and said: Polemarchus desires you to wait because dragons are about.
    I turned round, and asked him where his master was.
    There he is, said the youth, coming after you, if you will only wait, only mind out for the dragons.
    Certainly we will, said Glaucon; and in a few minutes Polemarchus appeared, and with him Adeimantus, Glaucon’s brother, Niceratus the son of Nicias, and several others who had been at the procession.
    Polemarchus said to me: I perceive, Socrates, that you and your companion are already on your way to the city, albeit avoiding dragons.
    You are not far wrong, I said.
    But do you see, he rejoined, how many we are?
    Of course. But these dragons are somewhat of a nuisance.
    And are you stronger than all these? Not the dragons I mean for if not, you will have to remain where you are.
    May there not be the alternative, I said, that we may persuade you to let us go?
    But can you persuade us, if we refuse to listen to you? he said.
    Certainly not, replied Glaucon.
    Then we are not going to listen; of that you may be assured. And you can take your chances with the dragons.

  230. WHEN now the murm’ring Vaulters of the Mead
    Had climb’d to Pow’r, and rear’d a mighty Breed:
    Doom’d by Latona for a bruitish Crime
    To Stygian Mud and pestilential Slime,
    ‘Till Application, Stratagem, and Trade,
    A Blessing of the Malediction made;
    And what with strenuous Limbs, and slight of Art,
    Tough Lungs, auspicious Leaps, and hollow Heart,
    More Wealth, more Splendor, more Command acquir’d,
    Than if the Boors had never been bemir’d.

    And then the dragons came, forsooth,
    And ripped with savage Claw and Tooth;
    Dried up the Stygian Mud with Flame;
    Left naught of Latona but the name.
    Then circling high into the Skies,
    They challenged all with Mocking Cries.
    And what with mighty Wings, and Breath of Fire,
    Announced to all who listened their Desire:
    More Gold, more Jewels, more of these each hour,
    But what they wanted most was Power!

    (Homer in a Nutshell, or, His War Between the Frogs and the Mice, translated by Samuel Parker)

  231. To dwellers in a wood almost every species of tree has its voice as well as its feature.

    And then the dragons came, singing raucous songs, playing kazoos and saxophones, banging on drums, and clashing cymbals.

    The forest dwellers could no longer hear the voices of the trees, so they lost a lot of time searching for walnuts on oak trees, apples on pine trees, and plums on birches.

    (Under the Greenwood Tree; Or, The Mellstock Quire – A Rural Painting Of The Dutch School by Thomas Hardy)

  232. The rambler who, for old association or other reasons, should trace the forsaken coach-road running almost in a meridional line from Bristol to the south shore of England, would find himself during the latter half of his journey in the vicinity of some extensive woodlands, interspersed with apple-orchards.

    And then the dragons came. They changed all the road signs, so travellers who were making their way from Bristol to Frome were pointed towards Cheddar, and those wishing to walk from Shepton Mallet to Glastonbury were diverted to Yeovil.

    These Wessex dragons have a rum sense of humour.

    (The Woodlanders by Thomas Hardy)

  233. The thousand injuries of Fortunato I had borne as I best could; but when he ventured upon insult, I vowed revenge.

    And then the dragons came. They suggested some really devious ways to get back at Fortunato. I determined to put their excellent advice into practice, and to commence without delay.

    That very night, I climbed the – luckily for me: very sturdy – ivy that grew up past the balcony of his bedroom. Very careful not to make the slightest sound, it took me a full minute to ease the window (half open at my arrival) high enough for me to pass through it; and another six minutes to make my way into his room.

    Standing behind the heavy curtain at one side of the window, I felt my heart pounding in my chest. I was almost certain that my adversary/victim would be able to hear it!

    Having never previously been in Fortunato’s bed chamber at night, I had no idea how heavily he might sleep. I could hope for the best, but must prepare myself for the worst…

    When my heart had calmed down somewhat, I began to creep across the floor on my hands and knees. Again, luck was on my side. There was enough of a moon to be able to discern shapes in the room, but not enough to brighten the whole room.

    It took me quite ten minutes to reach the edge of my tormentor’s bed, moving an inch at a time. My heart was beating strongly, and I had to maintain strict control of my breathing, lest my gasps waken the fiend. I cursed him in my mind for the tranquility of his unaware sleep, although it was just this which was keeping me from discovery!

    Reaching into my jacket pocket, I extracted the weapon I had concealed there. My hands were trembling slightly with the thought of the horror which I was about to commit, but I had come this far, and my mind was set on carrying out the awful vengeance.

    Reaching under the bed, I drew forth my enemy’s boots. Taking great care to steady one trembling hand with the other, I poured the slow-drying glue into each boot, then made my tortuous way back towards the window.

    (“The Cask Of Amontillado” by Edgar Allan Poe)

  234. The vision concerning Judah and Jerusalem that Isaiah son of Amoz saw during the reigns of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz and Hezekiah, kings of Judah.

    And then the dragons came, and showed Isaiah visions of sandy beaches on tropical islands, not far away from where crystal-clear waters came crashing down into deep pools, before making their way into the azure sea. The leaves of palm trees danced in the wind, and strange and beautiful birds called to each other from fruit trees further inland.

    Then did Isaiah son of Amoz lose all interest in Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, the boring kings of Judah. And he did gird his loins and pack his bags and hasten him straightway to the nearest port. For forty shekels did he buy himself passage on a Phoenician trader heading for Greece and points west.

    (the book of Isaiah, Old Testament) ~ God’s Word And Dragons

  235. Mr. Utterson the lawyer was a man of a rugged countenance, that was never lighted by a smile; cold, scanty and embarrassed in discourse; backward in sentiment; lean, long, dusty, dreary and yet somehow lovable.

    And then the dragons came.

    “Being loverble ain’t where it’s at, Chum,” the first told him. “Spetchully seeing as you never smile.”

    “Thassa sure sign of not being happy, I allus sez,” put in the second, “an’ not rilly satersfied wich yer lot in life.”

    “‘Being loverble’s all very well,’ my Mam useter say,” contributed the third, “‘but it don’t put virgin damsels onna table!”

    “So you jist give this being loverble a rest, why dontcher?” said the first. “Waste of bleeding time if yer arsks me. Spetchully since in yer partickler case, you on’y mannidge to be summat loverble, wit the accent onner ‘summat’.”

    “Why dontcher come onna ram page wit us?” asked the second. “Thattull putta smile on yer mug, or nuffink will!”

    So Mr. Utterson went on a rampage with the three dragons… and became utterly happy.

    (Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson)

  236. A winged Goddess, clothed in vesture wrought
    Of rainbow colours; One whose port was bold,
    Whose overburthened hand could scarcely hold
    The glittering crowns and garlands which it brought,
    Hover’d in air above the far-famed Spot.
    And then the dragons came: those old,
    Majestic creatures, with their gold
    And scarlet wings, and each had got
    A wooden spoon to stir the plot.
    For they had sworn that Wellington would NOT
    Defeat the Frenchman! Such a blot
    Upon the Glorious Shorty? NO!
    So into battle did they go:
    And breathed their flames on English horse and man,
    In service to the Corsican.

    (“After visiting the Field of Waterloo” by William Wordsworth)

  237. For the help of Angels to complete
    This Temple—Angels governed by a Plan
    How gloriously pursued by daring Man,
    Studious that He might not disdain the Seat
    Who dwells in Heaven! And then the dragons came,
    Determined to disrupt the men and angels’ game.
    The gargoyles they installed programmed to sing:
    “All glory to Ptilchton, The Dragon King!”
    The architects and builders all went home,
    So the cathedral never got its dome.

    (“In the Cathedral at Cologne” by William Wordsworth)

  238. The confidence of Youth our only Art,
    And Hope gay Pilot of the bold design,
    We saw the living Landscapes of the Rhine,
    Reach after reach, salute us and depart;
    Slow sink the Spires,—and up again they start!
    And then the dragons came. My GOD!
    At least two dozen: Bertie says more like three!
    They flew around us in a squad;
    And stole our fishing gear, both line and rod.

    (“Author’s Voyage down the Rhine” by William Wordsworth)

  239. On an exceptionally hot evening early in July a young man came out of the garret in which he lodged in S. Place and walked slowly, as though in hesitation, towards K. bridge.

    And then the dragons came stumbling out of a bar on V. Street. With the exception of the designated driver, all were as drunk as lords, and two or three, stirred up by a heated debate in the bar over the merits of the Czar’s latest haircut, were evidently looking for trouble.

    The others, though not as agitated, would not have been averse to witnessing a bit of aggro, nor even of occasionally taking part “just for the fun of it”.

    The eyes of all of the dragons – aside from those of the designated driver (who did NOT fancy cleaning blood off the seats of his vehicle) – lit up.

    The vehicle in question, parked around the corner in A. Avenue, had been purchased only 3 weeks previously, and was the young dragon’s pride and joy.

    (Crime And Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky)

  240. Towards the end of November, during a thaw, at nine o’clock one morning, a train on the Warsaw and Petersburg railway was approaching the latter city at full speed.

    And then the dragons came. They hovered, eight or nine of them, just above the track.

    There was no way that the engineer could have braked in time to avoid a collision. He prayed to Saint Gregoryi that the dragons would fly off, and commended his soul to God in case they didn’t.

    The dragons had no intention of flying off (just yet), but they did back off. By calculated and coordinated flying, they “caught” the train, flying backwards with it and offering just enough resistance to slow it down. So adroitly did they accomplish this that not a drop was spilt from full goblets on the tables in the dining car. After four minutes and a few seconds, they had brought the train to a complete standstill.

    Two of the dragons were delegated to search for the train’s guard and speak to him.

    “We seek Prince Lef Nicolaievitch Muishkin,” the first told him. “As soon as he descends from the train and accompanies us, you will be free to continue your trajectory, and no-one will be harmed.”

    “Should he choose NOT to accompany us,” added the second dragon, “we shall be obliged to start eating the other passengers. ‘Women and children first’ is, I believe, one of your human expressions?”

    (The Idiot by Fyodor Dostoyevsky)

  241. At length I returned from two weeks leave of absence to find that my patrons had arrived three days ago in Roulettenberg. And then the dragons came, so we had a very full house indeed. One of the parlour maids had to move in with the cook, and we squeezed 2 of the dragons into her room.

    That first evening, we all sat down at four tables in the parlour. Two tables were playing bridge, the others were dedicated to blackjack.

    The stakes were high.

    (The Gambler by Fyodor Dostoyevsky)

  242. Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.

    And then the dragons came, and all the happy families became miserable, all the unhappy families were also miserable, and they were all unhappy in the same way.

    You see, dragons are the great levellers as far as domestic bliss goes.

    And it’s not easy to be bubbling over with joy when giant flying lizards are feasting on your dearly beloveds, and you yourself are hiding in the broom closet, hoping – perhaps more than you’ve ever hoped a hope in all your life – not to be discovered.

    (Anna Karenina by Count Leo Tolstoy)

  243. Act One; Scene One: On a ship at sea: a tempestuous noise of thunder and lightning heard. And then the dragons came.

    Master: Boatswain!

    Boatswain: Here, Master: what cheer?

    Master: Here be dragons. Ask them what they want. [Retreats to the railing, pretends to scan the horizon]

    Boatswain: Pray tell, Sweet Dragons, what business have you here with us? And tell it quick, for a storm comes on apace, and all hands must haste to man their ordained posts. We cannot parley long…

    First Dragon: Forsooth, you babbling brook, if you’d give us a chance to get a word in edgeways, we should be pleased to lay our purpose here before you for your esteemed consideration.

    Second Dragon: The storm that fast approaching comes is the very nub of our mutual concern. For this company of dragons that you now behold is in the ship-saving business, and for a reasonable fee – to which all partues be agreed – we can transport the ship and all the crew, excepting half a score men, to calmer waters.

    Master: Hsst, Boatswain!

    Boatswain: Yes, Master?

    Master: What say this wingèd rabble?

    Boatswain: They offer to carry the ship out of the way of coming storm.

    Master: Aha! But at what cost? What cost, I say?

    Boatswain: I was just about to query them on that very matter, Master. [Turns back to dragons] At what price do you agree to aid us thus?

    First Dragon: Half a score of your finest sailors, and the deal is done.

    Boatswain: Half a score!

    Second Dragon: Cheap at half the price!

    Boatswain: Half a dozen. For there are only six of you. A man each dragon, and here’s my hand on it!

    Second Dragon: Nay, nay, for we have not eaten in three days. Give us nine men, and we’re understood. You can’t say fairer than that!

    Boatswain: Seven men, and that’s my final offer! And see you here: one shall be the Master there, as plump and juicy as any dragon could wish. And tell you what: I’ll throw in his daughter. As sweet and tender as he, and just as fat.

    [The dragons confer]

    First Dragon: You drive a hard bargain, but yes: ’twill do. Come, here’s my claw to seal the deal. [Boatswain and First Dragon shake hand and claw]

    Master: What, good Boatswain, have you agreed a fair price?

    Boatswain: Yes, Master. Very fair, I trow. [Takes boathook out of belt and advances]

    (“The Tempest” by William Shakespeare)

  244. Elmer Gantry was drunk.

    And then the dragons came. (Later, Elmer always swore that he hadn’t been THAT drunk. That there really had been dragons, flapping around his head, making his headache worse, and drying out his throat with their hot breath, forcing him to take another swig from his bottle. And another. And another.)

    “They was ’bout fifteen, twen’y a the durn things,” he said, “about the size a alley cats, jus’ as mean an’ noisy as alley cats, too. They was all diff’ren’ colors a the rainbow, but all they wings was black.” [Hiccup] “Black as pitch-black night.”

    (Elmer Gantry by Sinclair Lewis)

  245. On a hill by the Mississippi where Chippewas camped two generations ago, a girl stood in relief against the cornflower blue of Northern sky.

    And then the dragons came. “What are you doing here?” they asked. “Don’t you know that this hill is sacred land?”

    “B-b-but…” stuttered the girl.

    “No buts!” roared one of the dragons.

    “Except: butt off!” added another.

    (Main Street by Sinclair Lewis)

  246. The towers of Zenith aspired above the morning mist; austere towers of steel and cement and limestone, sturdy as cliffs and delicate as silver rods. And then the dragons came, and laid it all to waste. Fist-sized chunks of concrete and stone, twisted steel girders were all that was left of the once-proud city.

    (Babbitt by Sinclair Lewis)

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