by Lester D. Crawford

“Look at this.”

The Dragon and I had taken shelter from the storm in a cave barely large enough to hold the Dragon; to fit inside, he had curled up with his neck and tail tightly wrapped around so they overlapped. Sitting snuggly in the middle of this circle of Dragon, I had been rummaging through my pack searching for my last fruit. What I found made my heart sink.

He said, “What is it?”

“It’s my watch. It says it’s Thanksgiving.”

“What is a Thanksgiving?”

“Where I come from, Thanksgiving is a day for expressing gratitude for the blessings in our lives.”

I sat silent, thinking, reminiscing.

The Dragon watched me, his flame colored eyes and the slant of his ears showing curiosity.

Outside, the storm raged.

“I never had much use for Thanksgiving. I had no friends or family to share it with, and I didn’t feel I had any blessings to be grateful for. As far as I was concerned, it was just another miserable day. Now I’m stranded on this God forsaken planet with no way home, no hope, no future, and I still have nothing to be grateful for.”

Nestling against the Dragon, I let his body heat warm my cold, aching bones. I petted him on the snout. He was good to me, kind, loyal, protective. He was special. My spirits lifted.

“I do have something to be grateful for. I do have a blessing. I have you.”

He lifted his head, eyes wide, and said, “You said I was a terrifying, carnivorous monster.”

“You are a terrifying, carnivorous monster, but you’re my terrifying, carnivorous monster. You’re my Dragon. You’re my best friend, the best best friend anyone could ever have. And, I love you.”

The Dragon’s eyes softened. He lowered his head and rubbed it on me in the manner Dragons used to show affection.

I wrapped my arms around him and said, “Happy Thanksgiving.”

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