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DRAGOND  7' The sheriff is only ten years old

Once upon a time a long time ago, there was a small town in the
mountains called El Paseo. Every traveler going from one side of
the mountains to the other went through El Paseo. It was an
unusual town in that there was no crime in the town to speak of
in spite of the fact that there was a lot of crime in the towns
on both sides of the mountains.

The reason for this low crime rate was the sheriff of the town.
Oddly enough, the sheriff was a female. Odder still, the sheriff
was only ten years old.

Her name was Michaela. Early on people noticed that people doing
bad things stopped doing them whenever Michaela was around. If
people didn't stop doing bad things when Michaela was around,
those people mysteriously disappeared. So, the town was at
peace. So, Michaela was elected sheriff to keep the peace.

Occasionally, a few of the travelers from far away hadn't heard
the legends about Michaela. They came to El Paseo to cheat and
to steal from the townsfolk.

One day Michaela came upon such a stranger who was offering to
sell the townsfolk gold coins for ten dollars each. Even at ten
years old, Michaela knew that gold coins were worth twenty
dollars each. So, she was suspicious.

"Let me have a look at one of those gold coins." demanded
Michaela.

She snatched one of the coins, put it in her mouth and bit down
on it.

"What do you think you're doing?!" asked the swindler.

Michaela showed the coin to everyone nearby. The marks on the
coin left by her teeth uncovered the fact that the coins were
actually made of lead and covered with a thin layer of gold.

"These coins are counterfeit." said Michaela.

With that, all the townsfolk who were about to buy the bargain
coins walked away from the stranger.

"Why did you do that?!" asked the stranger as he plucked the
coin from her hand.

"It's not right to tell people that they're buying gold coins
when the coins are actually made of lead." replied Michaela,
"I'll have to ask you to leave town."

"If you think I'm going to let a little girl tell me what to do,
think again!" exclaimed the stranger as he picked up his
counterfeit coins and headed for another part of town.

"You'll be sorry." Warn Michaela as she followed him.

"You stay away from me. You're bad for business." said the
stranger as he ran between two buildings.

Michaela followed him but when she came out on the back side of
the buildings, all she saw was the man's shoes.

"Where did he go?!" asked Tommy, a boy Michaela's age who had
been watching.

"I don't know and I don't care." replied Michaela, "As the
sheriff of this town all I care about is that he's not here
anymore.

A short time later, Michaela noticed four unfamiliar horses
saddled and tied up to a fence behind a building. So, she
returned to the main street of town to find out who own them.
She noticed that four strangers were sitting on the steps of one
building and looking and pointing across the street at the bank.
One was drawing a picture while talking about the bank. They
were so busy that they didn't even notice that Michaela was
approaching until she saw the picture. It was a hand-drawn map
of the town with two sets of arrows pointing toward the bank and
two sets of arrows pointing away from the bank in a different
direction. When the stranger saw Michaela he quickly crumpled
the picture and hid in behind his back.

"I know what you're planning and you'll never get away with it."
said Michaela.

"What do you know about ANYTHING, little girl?" asked the
stranger.

"I'm the sheriff of this town and I know that you and your
friends here are planning to rob this bank." she explained as
she pointed across the street. "Now that you've lost the element
of surprise, you might as well move on to another town and
another bank."

The strangers laughed, "You can't be more than ten years old.
Who elected YOU sheriff, you're mommy?!"

"I'm not going to warn you again." replied Michaela, "Leave my
town now, or something bad will happen to you.... all of you."

All four strangers laughed as they walked toward their horses.
Michaela followed them between the buildings. But when she got
to the horses, all she found was two pairs of boots on the
ground. Beyond she notice two of the strangers running on foot
for their lives. So she ran after them. But when she finally
caught up to them all she could find was two more pairs of
boots.

"It happened again!" exclaimed Tommy approaching breathlessly
from the rear. "What happened to them all?!"

"Don't know and don't care." replied Michaela returning to main
street.

By now, Tommy was fascinated. He was sure that someone was
working with Michaela, some big guy with guns or something. So,
he followed her all over town for the rest of the day. But no
more strangers disappeared. So, he followed Michaela home, where
she went directly to the barn. Tommy stayed out of sight as he
followed her into the barn. But all he saw were cows and horses
and pigs in pens eating supper.

"Where did she go?" Tommy asked himself.

Then he heard shuffling from up in the hay loft. Tommy quietly
climbed the ladder to the hay loft and got the surprise of his
life. There was Michaela petting and talking to a dragon larger
than two horses. The tips of the dragon's wings touched both
sides of the barn at once.

The next day by the time Michaela arrived at school, all the
children were abuzz with talk about Michaela's dragon. In class
discussions were constantly interrupted by questions and
speculations about the dragon.

"Michaela," asked the teacher, "would you mind answering a few
questions about the dragon?"

"My father told me not to discuss the dragon with anyone,
because he said it would frighten people. But I suppose it would
be okay, now that everyone knows."

"So, you're not afraid of the dragon?" asked the teacher.

"Oh, no!" replied Michaela, "He's my friend. He protects me."

"So, your dragon is the reason you can walk right up to bank
robbers and tell them to leave town?" asked the teacher.

"That's right." replied Michaela, "He's the reason I was elected
sheriff."

The teacher asked, "In the past year since you were elected
sheriff, several criminals have just disappeared from the
streets of the town. Are you saying that it was your dragon that
made them disappear?"

"That's right." replied Michaela.

"Where does he take them?" asked the teacher.

"I don't know." replied Michaela, "He can't talk, so he can't
tell me where he takes them. All I know is they never come back
to town."

"I'm told that dragons are carnivores, which means they eat
meat. What do you feed your dragon?" asked the teacher.

"I don't feed him anything." replied Michaela.

From then on, the entire town was abuzz with speculations about
what... or WHO the dragon ate.

2013 Bob Snook. Conditions for use:
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