Monday, October 1, 2012

The Electricity Dragon

When my children were small - three  and five years old or so -  I used to keep them entertained with  stories which I made up specially for them. Among their favourites  was The Electricity Dragon. The dragon was born in a cave near the fishing village of Goran Haven in Cornwall where we usually  holidayed. He was in residence there whenever we were occupying the cottage which we regularly rented.

To reach the cave you had to walk round a small outcrop of rocks from the  main beach where  fishing boats were drawn up;  or, at high tide, floated beside the harbour wall. From the neighbouring beach  you could, at low tide, walk round to a still smaller beach. It was here, when I was myself a child, that I discovered the narrow cave which the sea had carved out of the cliff.

To keep the children amused one day I took them as promised to see the cave. The smaller child  sat on my shoulders, the younger I held by the hand. The sea lapped at the mouth of the cave and the roof, high at first, quickly descended so that only a child could crawl into what must have been a dark tunnel leading to the interior. Neither child was tempted to investigate, for the dragon could be heard making gurgling sounds from within.

The dragon's chief occupation was making electricity. I will  have to leave to your imagination the tricks the dragon got up to when he wasn't  at work.  Many of them I have forgotten, as in fact I had forgotten the dragon himself. Until  that is, the other day, my daughter now a grown woman, reminded me about him.  It seems that she, without my knowing it, had picked up where I had left off and told the same or similar stories to her children.

A second reminder of the dragon and its cave came a few days ago, when from the balcony of our hotel room in Spain I saw a man with a child on his shoulders walk round an outcrop of rocks similar to the one in Cornwall. There was I knew a small cave on the far side. Had the electricity dragon made a home there?  But of course not. I had noticed the cave, little more than an alcove, in the cliff face, in previous years. And last year it had become part of another story more up to date you might say than my fairy tales.

That summer as the sun rose over the sea and began to light up the beach we noticed a couple making love under a blanket by the edge of the water. We watched as,  presumably having finished, they threw off the blanket and ran naked into the water where they cavorted like a couple of dolphins. Later, as the beach  filled up, we saw them again - the man with short, dyed blond hair and the girl with a distinctive tattoo like an elaborate necklace. Both were adorned with rings attached to various parts of their bodies, which were now marginally more clothed than earlier.  They were sun bathing  in the company of a good looking boy of about 12, who wore a Barcelona Football Club shirt.  It was difficult to know how the boy was related to them. He did not seem to share their taste in fashion and surely  he was too old and they too young for him to be their son, Later we saw the couple in a restaurant at a table with the boy.  It was even harder there to link his conventional dress and behaviour to them.

The next time I saw the couple it was to see them disappearing - this time  once again on their own - into the cave under the cliff.

As I said it was a small cave. There was very little room for a dragon.


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