Dragon Jeffrey Pumpernickel
This is the story (and it is only a story) of a dragon with an allergy. Some poor dragons have an allergy to fish, some to nuts, some to caffeine. Our dragon, Jeffrey, had an allergy to belief. If any human actually believed in Jeffrey the Dragon, his scales would get all itchy and he would scratch them and scratch them until they fell off exposing his raw skin. It made his life a misery but worse, if too many people believed, his skin would flake off completely and he would bleed to a nasty death.
For a dragon, this was a very serious condition. Belief is vital for a healthy dragon and being deprived of it is like you or me being deprived of water. The effects of living without belief could be almost as tortuous the symptoms of his allergy.
But Jeffrey managed. He could make do with substitutes. If people could believe in anything that Jeffrey did, but not in Jeffrey himself, then he could feed off the scraps without being poisoned by undiluted belief.
So Jeffrey would hide behind big rocks and wait for someone to walk by. Then he would jump out behind them and shout "Boo!" and then hide behind his rock again. "What was that?" the travellers would ask. Thankfully the wise old man of the village who knew about these things (or claimed that he did) would announce "They do say that the mountains round here are inhabited by a family of trolls". Or elves, or leprechauns or whatever he made up that day. So long as he didn't say that it was a dragon (and he didn't - whoever heard of a dragon that says "Boo!") Jeffrey could take enough of the wasted belief to keep himself going.
Sometimes if Jeffrey was feeling brave, he would sneak into people's bedrooms and very gently wake them. They would awake to see a dragon at the foot of their bed but before they flooded with fear and adrenaline, Jeffrey would say in his most soothing voice "Don't worry, just another weird dream". With luck, his host would drift back to sleep and dream of dragons. If Jeffrey managed to get a human to see him but believe that they didn't he could positively feast on good filtered misdirected belief.
You may wonder how I know all of this. The truth is, I don't. It's just a story. I made it up. The inspiration came to me in a dream. Believe it or not.
None of this is true.
Stuart Leitch, May 2002