Once upon a time, there was a very strange sight to be seen, standing in the path of our dear Lillykins. It was that old ash-breathing dragon we have met before and he was not a happy ash-breather, either. What with one thing and another, he felt aggrieved, hard put upon, and discombobulated because he had been ambling down the path, away from Lillykins, when he had chosen to turn and see what effect his departure had on said Lillykins and lo! Lillykins was a fire breathing dragon. Just like that. Something he had considered over and over again, throughout his complaining life, she had accomplished with the blink of an eye. 

Not fair, he thought. 

Not fair! he shouted at Lillykins, and turned to face her and to have it out with her, this affront and upsetting turn she had caused in his thinking. Because was change not something to be considered seriously and lengthily before actually taking a timid first step towards it? Was change not something to be put off until one was entirely sure of all its consequences and possible developments? Was change not something to be feared and avoided if possible, and to be dragged into if not? Was change, in other words, not something entirely difficult to deal with? 

The ash breathing dragon turned, walked back to Lillykins and said: look here. I want to ask you some questions. Can you hear me over all that noise you’re making with your fire breathing? 

Oh, sure, said Lillykins, breathing flames and smoke out into the air and watching the wildly exciting and beautiful sight of it. I can hear you. But what you have to say had better be good because I am enjoying myself and would rather not be interrupted just now. 

The ash breathing dragon was even more affronted and annoyed. 

Are you telling me you would rather have fun and games than deal with the serious issue of change? Or the various possible approaches to it? Or the… 

Oh, come to the point, said Lillykins. Don’t go blathering on and on. Yes, fun and games are to be preferred over the endless shilly-shallying which you call serious consideration of a subject. And no, I do not recommend that you become a fire breathing dragon – that is the point here, isn’t it? Because unless you can really focus and be alert and sharp in the Now, without shilly-shallying all over the place, well then you’ll be a bag of cinders before the hour is out. See what I mean? So let me concentrate here and enjoy these flames shooting forth and sparks flying and…. 

Fine, said the ash breathing dragon. Go ahead. Have your fun. Leave the rest of us in our miserable ash breathing existence. 

Come off it, said Lillykins the fire breathing dragon. You chose to be your miserable self and, as far as I know, you are the only ash breathing dragon around here. Anyway, you said yourself that change isn’t something you want to engage in lest the unknown bring you a worse fate than your known and familiar misery. So bug off and be miserable somewhere else, okay? 

The ash breathing dragon had never been so insulted. Had never been spoken to in such a fashion, ever. It was enough to make him perk up his furry little ears – yes, furry, my dear. Feathery ears on a dragon would look altogether silly and they might catch fire or be covered in ashes and then what good are feathers? – so: ash breather perks up his furry ears and suddenly he sat right down on the ground to think. Trying to keep his head up so that he wouldn’t choke on his own ashes with every inhalation. 

There he sat, and there stood Lillykins the fire breathing dragon and enjoyed the beauty of the flames she was producing and the sharp focused state of awareness she was having to maintain in order to avoid danger from her own breath. 

And next thing you know, the entire scene changed drastically and altogether. A huge rain cloud came zipping along overhead, it opened an enormous maw and spewed forth gallons and gallons of pinkish rainwater. Pinkish only at first, when the flames could still be seen. Smokish as soon as the flames were drenched. And just plain rain water coloured and cool and refreshing for the rest of the time it lasted. Which was not long. The cloud sailed on and left and Lillykins watched it float away. The ash breathing dragon, however, jeered and smirked and snorted. 

Ha! he snorted. Now where are your beautiful flames, eh? Where are your beautiful flames now, eh? All gone, I guess, those beautiful flames of yours. 

Lillykins turned to ash breather and shook her head. You poor old thing, she said. You poor miserable old ash-breather. I guess you never heard of ‘better to have enjoyed and lost than never to have enjoyed at all’? And I guess you never have experienced something and decided that, whenever you felt like it, you would experience that wonderful thing again? And I guess you just plain are too stuck to move out of your miserable state and will keep on blaming everyone and everything for it rather than make a move and change. You, ash breather, are to be pitied and to be avoided, if possible. Because there sure is no point in trying to help you, is there? 

Ash breathing dragon, still sitting with his head raised high, now let his head droop down. In a minute he began to cough, choking on his own ashes so that he had to jump up and shake his head from side to side, ridding himself of the ashes. And next thing you know, he got so dizzy he just had to sit down again. 

Lillykins watched the ash breather, fascinated, not at all sure that she should simply leave him there though that is what she intended to do eventually. 

Oh, well, she thought. I guess I can give this miserable sod another little bit of my time and attention – always knowing that when I feel like it, I can once again become a fire breathing dragon for as long as I choose. Or anything else, for that matter. 

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