‘The Squashbuckler Diaries’ are the daily tales of Joy Shelley’s Life in the Dream. The ‘Lost in Dreams’ books will tell the story of what happens to her at ages 6, 9, 12, 15, and so on. The diaries tell us what happens before, after, and between the books.

#85: The Gruffalo

“Tonight I think I’ll read you a story,” Dragon Father said. 

Dragon Father and Dragon Little had finished a 2-day adventure battling villains, then imprisoning them in the Infinite Corridor in the belly of Bonny’s Revenge. Dragon Father had not yet disappeared, so he had time to put Dragon Little in bed and talk to her a bit. 

Through the small window of her cabin, from my vantage point, I could see that he was now holding a book in his hands as he was sitting on her cot. 

Of all the dreams I have seen, I have not seen many books. In Dragon Father’s dreams, I have never seen a book. 

“What’s that?” Dragon Little, now four years old, pointed at the book. 

“It’s a book. It’s a kids’ book,” he said simply. Have I never read you a--” He froze in place, shook his head suddenly, then snapped out of it. “Anyway, it’s a great book. Kids love it. I’ll read it to you, okay?” 

There was silence. I could not see, but I suppose Dragon Little nodded. 

Dragon Father opened the book. He looked at it, but for some reason could not read it. 

“What’s going on?” he said to himself. He turned a page. My sharp eyes could see from high above: The writing was foggy. 

He moved the book closer to his eyes and further from his eyes. “Why can’t I see what it says?”

He tried again. And then put it aside near Dragon Little. “I guess no story today. Something’s wrong with the book.” 

Dragon Little took the book in her hand. It glowed for just a split second. Knowing them, I know they did not notice. She then gave it back to her father. “Try again. Come on.”

Dragon Father sighed, opened the book again and was taken aback. “Oh! I can see the words now! Nice! Okay, ready?”

Dragon Little turned around to lie on her side, curled up. “Ready.” 

“A mouse took a stroll in the deep, dark wood…” he began. 

And that ist how Dragon Little heard her first story at age 4.

—Told by The Red Dragon

#86: The Double-Decker Bus

#84: Missing, Part 5