Dream Days (The Reluctant Dragon) By Maxfield Parrish 1902

A Fairy Tale
As told to Royce Addington by The Reluctant Dragon

Once upon a time… not so very long ago, the Reluctant Dragon looked into the handsome troubled face of young Maxfield. With a gentle tenderness, unconditional love and deep compassion he quietly said,

“The thing is my Master,
And Paint
As though no one is watching!”

Max and his Dragon had traveled all day to find the magical and deserted sugar sand beach. They sat on huge boulders that looked as though a great giant had dropped them randomly from the sky like a handful of smooth polished stones. A soft refreshing breeze was blowing in from the east; a sparkling mist of sea spray the colour of translucent emeralds cooled the air.

Max looked gratefully at his Reluctant Dragon,

“We’ve been friends a long time, haven’t we?”

“For as long as I can remember Maxfield.”

“Then tell me my dear, dear Dragon, will I ever feel confident enough to drop the mask of this insecure arrogance I sometimes use to protect myself? Will I ever feel, in my heart, that I have achieved real significance and perfection in my work as an ARTIST and NOT measure myself by how the world seems to label me…a commercial illustrator filled with greed!”

The Reluctant Dragon sat quietly humming melodically to himself for the next few moments. The hint of an enormous grin was tugging at the sides of his wide mouth as he studied the painfully depressed face in front of him.

“Maxfield, my friend, you MUST learn to laugh more at yourself! Laughter lightens the emotional load of expectation and allows us to continue down the long and winding road of Life and Creativity with a sense of relief and belief that the process may be more important than the outcome…and that, more often than not, the creative outcome is much better that we think. Look at me! Am I not the most magnificent Reluctant Dragon anyone has ever imagined and then created!?!”

Max couldn’t help but laugh. He was delighted with his beloved Dragon’s sense of kindness, fun, confidence and ease.

One of the perks of being a Reluctant Dragon is possessing the gift of an advanced system of telepathy. He could read others thoughts as though they were his own. His huge dragon eyes were too often filled with salty tears of sadness because he knew and felt the unhappiness of so many good and talented Souls. Over the years he and his great friend, an impressively large and ancient scarlet macaw parrot named True Feathers, had long and serious conversations about this fact. He too was an empathic being and could feel the great human sorrow.

With these thoughts gently lapping on the shores of his mind, the Reluctant Dragon realized that True Feathers was near. He sensed his presence. Looking straight up and shielding his eyes from the blaze of sunset color, the Reluctant Dragon excitedly shouted and reached toward the sky with his huge webbed bird-like hand,

“Why , it’s True Feathers! He has come to help us Maxfield!”

Far above in the deepening indigo sky streaked with ribbons of amber and crimson, a suspended soul was closely watching the beach scene. True Feathers wing span was almost six feet in width and he spent his days floating on the shifting air currents watching the trials and triumphs of humanity. He thought to himself, “If more humans would just talk to their Reluctant Dragon, so much grief and anguish would disappear!”
The old and wise macaw’s heart beat rapidly for he felt the presence of greatness. Below him, on the vast expanse of sand kissing open sea, he recognized his friend, the Reluctant Dragon, sharing his gift of compassionate listening. The Dragon understood the desires Maxfield sought…soul nourishment, the freedom of imagination, inspired communication, laughter, encouragement, creativity, companionship, the art of process, the perfection of imperfection, the exquisite joy of art expressed…openly and authentically.

True Feathers felt a deep and abiding peace. He had taught the Reluctant Dragon well. Their work was having a tremendous effect on the human artist. Creative and inspirational vibrations were rippling outward in wondrous and vast circles of understanding and gratitude. True Feathers would glide along the current of these rippling energies for a thousand miles!

True Feathers adjusted his course, flying lower and lower until he came very close to his friend the Reluctant Dragon. As he passed within a few feet, he shifted his position, dramatically tilting his massive scarlet wings from left to right in a salute of respect and victory.

Max sat in astonished silence. The mythical parrot flew so very close that Max could hear the air move across the majestic wings and feel it on his face. Whispered words appeared in his mind,

“A Sandcastle of Air
Waits to be built
It’s up to you Maxfield...
Allow your insecurities to wilt!

All that you give
And all the you teach
A question remains
Just how deeply will you reach?”

Startled and filled with happiness, Max jumped up and started running. The moment felt so surreal yet he knew, without doubt, that he must return to his beloved studio as soon as possible to capture the images…the magnificent colours…the light that was appearing in his mind. Suddenly, Max realized that he had not thanked or said goodbye to his friend. Stopping, he turned around to yell…but his Reluctant Dragon had disappeared. Vanished into thin air. Max, with head thrown back and his arms open wide, was exploding with a new awareness. He had to yell…he just had to tell the world that he finally got it,

“If you look too long at life and nature through other’s eyes, you will never see them through your own!” --MP--

On the journey back to his studio, a familiar voice spoke to Max’s heart. He recognized the kindly timbre of the slow and steady voice. The Dragon was still with him; no longer reluctant but peacefully confident,

“Maxfield my dear, dear Fellow, I will always be here to remind you that there is a well of extraordinary creative infinity deep within your Soul. There you will find an inexhaustible energy source, beyond your broadest imagining. It is light and healing. The force of nature and the essence of love! NOW…GO PAINT FROM YOUR HEART!”

THE END always leads to a new beginning...


Anonymous said...

How can we live like no one is watching unless we're on a deserted island? Am I getting it right to understand that the secret is to "see" life more from our eyes and not through the eyes of others;and then have the courage to put our vision out there? Easier said than done. The freedom of expressing creative, imaginative individuality does seem to demand that effort.

Anonymous said...

Is it just coincidence that Parrish's Air Castles is posted on Mysticalquill.blogspot.com?

Royce Addington said...

Dear Andrew,

We like your thinking!
Keep your comments coming!

Royce Addington said...

Dear Anonymous,

It is NOT a coincidence.
Thank you for asking!

Patricia J. Mosca said...

I believe in the force of nature and the essence of love........with all my heart!

Anonymous said...

AFter a talk with my reluctant dragon, we decided that tomorrow will be a day for painting my own version of sandcastles using a brush and a pen. I have no idea what my eyes will see or how much freedom I will allow myself to have in expressing my vision but I will at least show up to the page.

Anonymous said...

What colors did Parrish use to paint laughter?

Anonymous said...

What happened to the Reluctant Dragon?

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