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DRAGONH  9' Shipwrecked: the girl finds her family among pirates

Encouraged by news that Michaela's family may be on the
neighboring island, Michaela and the dragon left immediately for
the island.

After an hour of flying, they flew high over the only village on
the island. Micheala looked down and exclaimed, "There's nobody
down there! Where is everybody?!"

Indeed, the town was empty.

The dragon replied, "There isn't any smoke coming from the
chimneys. That means the people have been gone all day. Let's
fly over the back side of the island."

As they flew over the mountain peak in the middle of the island,
they saw a small cove on the distant shore. Then they saw smoke
rising from two small fires at the edge of the cove.

"There!" exclaimed Michaela, "There's smoke by that cove! Could
that be them?!"

"That's call Pirates' Cove. Let's have a look." replied the
dragon as it turned toward the cove.

"Why do they call it Pirates' Cove?" asked MIchaela.

"I don't know." replied the dragon, "That's just what the island
people always called it."

Just then, as the dragon flew around a smaller mountain peak, a
sailing ship came into view just off the coast of Pirates' Cove.

"Oh!", exclaimed Michaela, "Maybe that's the ship Momma and Papa
were going to use to find me!"

"I doubt it." replied the dragon," Look again."

When Michaela looked closer, she saw the distinctive black and
white flag with skull and cross bones flying from the top of the
main sail.

"Pirates!" exclaimed Michaela, "Do you think the people from the
island came here to fight the pirates?"

Just then, Michaela and the dragon saw that the pirates from the
ship were standing on the beach, pointing guns and swords at
several small groups of the villagers, forcing them to dig
several different holes in the beach all around Pirates' Cove.

"Oh no!" exclaimed Michaela, "The villagers aren't fighting.
They've already lost the battle! But why are they digging?!"

"I don't know." replied the dragon, "I've never seen anything
like this."

The dragon landed out of sight of the pirates. Then, after dark,
when none of the pirates was watching, Michaela crawled out of
the bushes and onto the beach next to the cove where the
villagers were about to go to sleep.

"Who are you?" whispered a woman.

"I've never seen you before." said her husband aloud.

Michaela held her finger over her lips, looked both ways, then
answered, "I lost track of my family during a shipwreck. And I
came here looking for them."

"So, you're with the Tuttles?" whispered the wife.

"Yes! Are they here?!" whispered Michaela.

"Yes," replied the husband as he pointed, "They're digging on
the other side of the cove."

Michaela asked, "Why is everybody digging holes?"

The husband replied, "The reason they call this Pirates' Cove is
because pirates buried their stolen treasures here."

The wife continued, "According to the legend, the pirate captain
died before he could send his men back here to dig it up. So,
the treasure remains buried somewhere in the sand to this day."

The husband added, "Unfortunately, the pirate captain who buried
it never told anyone exactly where the treasure was buried."

The wife continued, "So, these pirates are going to make us dig
up every square inch of ground around this cove until we find
the treasure."

Just then, one of the pirates approached carrying a sword in one
hand and a lantern in the other counting the villagers,
"Fifteen, sixteen, seventeen.... Wait a minute. Last time I
counted, there were only sixteen of you in this group. How did I
get one extra?"

Michaela, knowing that SHE was the extra person in the count,
slithered into the bushes as soon as the pirate turned and
restarted counting, "One, two, three, four...."

As soon as Michaela reached a clearing in the underbrush, she
felt the hot breath of the dragon as he drew near.

"What are we going to do?" asked Michaela with her mind.

"We're going to reunite you with your family, of course!"
replied the Dragon.

"But how?" asked Michaela, "The pirates are holding my family
prisoners with swords and guns. We can't rescue them without
getting somebody hurt, can we?"

The dragon replied, "The pirates can't hurt us if they can't see
us."

The next morning, Michaela came out of the bushes and shouted,
"Mama!"

She ran to her mother and hugged her, then she hugged her
father, saying "I thought I lost you forever."

Her father put his finger to his lips and shushed Michaela,
"Keep your voice down!" he whispered, "The pirates will hear
you!"

"Where are the pirates?" asked Michaela's brother looking
around.

Her mother looked around, then exclaimed, "They're gone! The
pirates are gone!"

"So they are!" exclaimed her father, "Where did they go?"

"Well, it's kind of complicated." replied Michaela. "Let's just
say, I had... help."

"Who?" asked her whole family at once.

"It's a dragon." replied Michaela.

"That's not funny." said her father.

"I'm not trying to be funny." explained Michaela, "After the
shipwreck, I woke up on an island miles away from here. This
dragon must have found me and plucked me out of the water. After
I woke up the next day, he brought me food and carried me to
water, then he let me ride on his back from one island to
another to another searching for you."

Her father replied, "A dragon... rescued you from the
shipwreck...

"Yes." replied Michaela.

"And he didn't EAT you?" asked her mother.

"No," replied Michaela, "He's my friend. He helped me find you.
And when we found you he rescued you from the pirates"

"Have you been in the sun too long?" asked her father.

"Papa, no!" replied Michaela, "I'm telling the truth."

"Where is this... dragon, then." he asked.

Michaela replied, "He knows that humans are afraid of dragons,
so he stayed out of sight."

Her father replied, "Michaela, I think you made up this whole
story!"

With that, the dragon's head and neck protruded quietly from the
bushes and placed its nose just inches from Michaela's father.

Michaela's mother exclaimed, "Oh, dear!"

Michaela's brother exclaimed, "What is that thing?!"

"What thing?" asked Michaela's father. Then he felt the dragon's
hot, humid breath and turned toward it. "It's a dragon." he said
as calmly as he could.

"That's right." replied Michaela.

"Why is he here, Michaela?" asked her father with a nervous
smile, "Isn't he supposed to stay out of sight?"

"Yes," she replied, "but he's my friend. And he doesn't like it
when you call me a liar."

He smiled at the dragon, then said as calmly as possible, "I...
I... She... Michaela isn't a liar. I'm sorry if I even implied
such a thing."

With that, the dragon withdrew it's head and neck into the
bushes.

Michaela's brother asked excitedly, "You made friends with a
dragon, Sis?!"

Michaela nodded.

"You still haven't explained how he got rid of the pirates."
said her father.

Michaela explained, "Oh, ah, the dragon can see in the dark. So,
one by one, as the pirates turned their backs, he flew in and
picked them up and carried them out and dropped them onto the
deck of the pirate ship."

"So, they sailed away?" asked her mother.

"No." replied Michaela, "After all the pirates were on board,
the dragon picked up the rock that was sitting there."

She pointed at a three foot deep hole in the sand nearby, then
continued, "Then he dropped it on the ship from way up high in
the air."

Her father asked, "So, the rock broke through their ship and
sank it?"

Michaela nodded.

Her father asked, "So, all the pirates went down with their
ship?"

"All but two." replied Michaela.

"What happened to the other two pirates?" asked her father.

Michaela replied, "The dragon was hungry."

Her father held his stomach and replied, "That dragon disgusts
me!"

With that, the dragon's head and neck protruded quietly from the
bushes and placed its nose just inches from Michaela's father.
He turned and nervously smiled as he backed away saying, "I...
I'm sorry. It wasn't personal. I... I'm sure you're a really
nice dragon compared to other dragons."

As he was backing away, he failed to see the deep hole left by
the large bolder that the dragon had used to sink the pirate
ship. He toppled into the whole with a loud scream, which woke
up all the villagers around Pirates' cove.

One of the villagers shouted, "What's going on?!"

Another villager shouted, "I don't know. But where are the
pirates?

Another villager shouted, "The pirates are gone!"

"Their sailing ship is gone too!" shouted another.

"We're free!" shouted another.

"Where did they go?" asked another.

Another shouted, "I don't know. But if they're gone, who was
that I heard screaming?"

Someone pointed toward Michaela's family and shouted, "It came
from over there."

So all the villagers came running. When they arrived they found
Michaela's father inside the hole trying to stand. But, then he
paused, and pounded the ground with his fist. It hit something
hard and hollow. Using his hands, he cleared away the sand and
found a wooden chest.

Digging around the chest, he uncovered the handles.

All the villagers knew what he had found.

"The pirates' treasure!" shouted a villager.

When he opened the treasure chest, it was full of Spanish gold
coins.

All the villagers cheered until the mayor of the village raised
his arms to quiet the crowd and asked, "But if the treasure is
still here, why did the pirates leave?"

Michaela's father opened his mouth to answer, but Michaela put
her finger to her lips and shook her head. So, her father merely
shrugged his shoulders and said, "It's a long story. You
wouldn't believe it anyway."

Naturally, all of the villagers assumed that because Michaela's
father had found the treasure, he had also driven away the
pirates. He became an instant hero.

"What are you going to do with all that gold?" asked the mayor.

Michaela's father thought for just a moment, then replied, "Well
since we all did the digging, I think we should all share the
gold."

With that, he gave each villager 20 gold coins. In those days,
20 gold coins was more money than most people earned in years of
hard work.

The villagers begged Michaela's family not to continue on their
trip to the new land beyond the sea, but to stay and make their
home on the island.

"Okay." replied all the family members at once.

The villagers treated Michaela's father like a king and helped
him to build a brand new house and a barn.

Needless to say, with a dragon as the family's pet, the island
had no more trouble with the pirates.

2013 Bob Snook. Conditions for use:
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