I was only in Dragon Father’s dream a few days, when I saw the following event, which made me fear for Dragon Little’s life.
Dragon Little’s cabin, at the time, on Bonny’s Revenge, was also the cabin of her nanny, Mary, who, I learned later upon her death, was part of Dragon Father’s dream and stayed behind during the long hours in which he was gone, in his waking world, whatever that may be.
Mary did not participate in adventures unless she had to. She kept to her cabin. And when Dragon Father was away, she would entertain Dragon Little, play with her, teach her, talk to her, and help her go to sleep.
This one day, the two were looking at the ocean trying to see shapes in the blue.
Then Dragon Little said, “Mary, I’m thirsty.”
Mary looked around. Dragon Little’s bottle of water had disappeared when Dragon Father disappeared.
“Hold on, little one, hold on. Let me see if we have some water left.”
Mary walked around the deck, searching for previous bottles of water. But every bottle she found was empty of water.
“Mary,” two-year-old Dragon Little almost cried. “I’m thirty.”
“I’m sorry, lass, there isn’t any water around,” she said with true sadness. “We will need to ask your father to fetch water when he returns.”
Mary was clearly speaking slowly and with trepidation. She knew that Dragon Father usually comes fourteen hours more or less after he disappears. And he had only just disappeared.
“Let’s play, lass! Let’s play!”
“Mary, I need waterrrrrrrr!”
The nanny sat on her knees in front of the young child and said, “There is no water until your daddy comes home. Let’s forget about drinking, okay? Let’s play and then we’ll go to sleep, and then he’ll come, okay?”
“There is water!”
“No, lass,” Mary shook her head.
“There is water!” Dragon Little pointed at the ocean.
Mary frowned. “That is not water you can drink, my sweet sweet darling. That’s bad water. It makes you thirstier.”
“I’m thirsty! I want that water!”
“It will make you thirstier, I’m sorry.” Mary stood up and jumped with excitement. “Let’s play!”
But Dragon Little accepted no distractions. She insisted she was thirsty. She cried and stomped her feet and after an hour even tried to scratch Mary’s cheeks. And all the while, Mary was helpless. For there was no water, and there was no food, until the Dreamer would come back and create them. Mary was a dream, and Dragon Little was… well, not a dreamer. So neither of them could create water.
Dragon Little cried. And time passed. She cried more. And time passed. She tried to lunge at the water around them, and Mary stopped her. And time passed. She stomped and screamed and shouted. And time passed. She grew weaker and weaker. And time passed. Her head began to hurt, and she cried harder. And time passed.
She would not play, she would not rest. Until, finally, after almost thirteen hours, exhausted, she fell asleep on the deck.
Mary sighed. And for the first time I have seen her, she cried.
She raised Dragon Little delicately and put her in her room on her bed. There, she waited for Dragon Father to come.
Tomorrow I will tell you what happened then.
—Told by The Red Dragon