E is the granddaughter of The Sandwich Queen, my friend & sister in Lunch. Earlier this year, E (age 5) was diagnosed with Metachromatic Leukodystrophy. It’s a rare hereditary brain disease. There is no known cure. Currently, E is in the hospital recovering from a bone marrow transplant. The hope is that this will stop or slow the progression of the disease. She has to be there for a total of four months.
The Sandwich Queen asked me to draw a dragon (E loves dragons!) that the family could use on t-shirts & such to support E. Of course, I said yes. That’s still a work in progress. That led to me asking if I could make a dragon doll for E.
Ever get those intuitive nudges to do something even though you had never done it before? That’s what it was. A strong pull to make a dragon for E. I wanted it to be along the same lines as a Guatemalan Worry Doll. A doll that would be helpful to E as she travels the difficult road ahead. What I came up with (I didn’t know what to call it until a few days ago) is a Hope Dragon. Here is the letter I wrote to E:
Hello from the land of The Great Black Swamp! I found your dragon. Yes, Dear E, you have a dragon!
A few days ago, I was out checking my gnome traps. I looked inside and, lo and behold, there was a dragon trapped inside of it. Dear E, I trap gnomes because they are naughty things and cause all sorts of trouble. I don’t hurt them. I move them deeper into the swamp where the gnomes can run amok freely and not hurt themselves or anyone else with their gnomish antics.
As you may know, one must be careful when approaching dragons, no matter their size. Oh no, it’s not because all of them are fierce, terrible, and frightening. Dragons have this odd thing that happens when they are cooped up too long. They become a bit gassy and, that makes their burps mighty and full of fire. I have a theory that volcanoes are mountains with a gassy dragon trapped inside. That’s a story for another time.
Luckily, the dragon wasn’t inside the trap for too long. Guess what? It could talk! It’s rare to find a dragon that can talk to just any old human it meets. It’s rare to find a dragon in a gnome trap in a swamp too!
Once freed from the trap and after a good wing stretch, it told me that it’s looking for a girl named E. Well, I knew YOU had to be the E it was looking for! Can you imagine why it was looking for you?
Well, Dear E, this is a rare Hope Dragon. They show up when humans are doing hard things. And, when the dragon heard all the tough stuff you are dealing with, it knew it had to help. The dragon was so worried that it would not find you because it had gotten lost. Funny things happen in the Great Black Swamp and often make magical directional sensibilities go wonky.
Anyway, the dragon told me that there are only a handful (or a paw full if you’re a dragon) of humans who ever receive help from a Hope Dragon and its heart.
The Hope Dragon is here to talk to whenever you feel scared, lonely, or terribly sad. It likes to take those feelings and gobble them up. Sometimes you might feel that way when your dragon isn’t nearby. That’s why the dragon wants to give you its heart so that you can always talk to it, no matter how far away you may be. Isn’t that cool? It’s a big heart for such a small dragon but not so big that it can’t fit in your pocket or under your pillow as you sleep or held in the palm of your hand.
Now, Dearest E, I release this Hope Dragon and its heart into your care. And, you, only you must name your dragon. Please let me know what name you choose because no matter how many treats I gave it, the dragon refused to tell me.
The Black Swamp Gourdess
And without further ado, I’d like you to meet E’s Hope Dragon.
E loves pink, purple, & glitter, so I had to incorporate all that glory into the dragon. What self-respecting swamp dweller would send a found dragon off without a note of some sort? And, not any ordinary letter would do. It had to be on a scroll. Scrolls are super easy to make and a lot of fun! The heart is made of rose quartz. It’s pink perfection for E to hold when she’s away from her dragon.
I would be remiss if I didn’t give a shout-out to Martha Boers who inspired the arms and the legs of E’s dragon. I’d like to also acknowledge Mugiwara Cosplay and BubblyLeaf . These tutorials helped me figure out how to make a dragon’s tail and the perfect wings. And, last, but certainly not least, Bunnola (my kiddo). They helped with the photography and editing.
Shhhh. E’s sister M is getting a unicorn doll. M was the bone marrow donor and a super rock-star about the whole thing. I’ll keep you up to date on that!
Before that adventure, though, I’m going to dive back into a daily Haiku or Tanka poem and get back to work on The Story of Daemons. Plus, there are Gnords to introduce and, I’d like to make my very own Daemon. She’s long overdue.
Either sleep is overrated or, I need to become a vampire to get all this done. And yes, I’d prefer to be a vampire that sparkles in the sunlight, thank you very much.