Walking Rocks?

Query: When I was in Death Valley earlier this year, I saw some enormous 750-pound rocks that appear to travel across the desert on their own. I remembered your article about rock tortoises, and wondered if that’s what these rocks could be?

Corn of Plenty (Part 4 of 4): A Field Guide by Dr. Midas Welby

Corns of the Air: Air-corns utilize their horns for jousting, playing tic-tac-toe, and spearing food in mid-flight. Air-corns often lurk undetected in trees, wood piles, and rain gutters. When bored, they use their horns to ring the doorbells of unsuspecting humans. When the door begins to open, the air-corn flies away.


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Going On Hiatus

December 6, 2014: I am loving college, but I have to admit, I’m overwhelmed.

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Pine Cone Feeders

A Present For Imaginaries: When winter comes, I get concerned about providing extra shelter from the elements for Imaginaries. Recently, I read about people who build wildlife brush shelters out of branches and plants in their yards, and thought this was a great idea.

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The Last Consortium: In modern times, very few people remain who are trained in the proper care, maintenance and handling of dragons.

Centuries ago, dragon-tending was a much more commonplace occupation, although the particulars of how one became a dragon-tender varied from country to country.

In India, the secrets of dragon-tending were passed down from father to son, and only the son of a dragon-tender could ever hope to pursue that profession. Girls were not permitted to pursue the profession, so if a father had no sons, his knowledge of dragon-tending died with him.

Unlike the tradition of India, numerous apprentices were recruited from amongst the peasant classes in ancient China, but only perhaps one in one hundred eventually progressed to become a fully-qualified dragon-handler.

Although historically many cultures have held to the idea that dragon-tending was a profession better suited to men, for a period of almost a thousand years before the time of the pharoahs, dragon-tending was strictly the domain of women in Egypt.

In the Europe of medieval times, dragon-tenders were trained through the guild system, apprenticed to the profession as young as four years old, and with their own system of certification.

Dragon-tenders today are educated much as they were in the middle ages. They start out by feeding, grooming, carrying water, and mucking out the dragon caves. As they progress, they advance to handling and training the dragons under the tutelage of a mentor. Once their mentor deems them ready, they are examined and qualified by a board of experts. A fully-qualified dragon-tender who has spent a minimum of twelve years in the profession then takes on apprentices of their own, thus completing the cycle.

Whatever the system, the purpose was always the same – to learn how to safely handle dragons. Before dragons became so severely endangered, dragon-tenders from all over the world used to gather every fifty years or so in secret locations, to learn from one another, trade ideas, and share knowledge. The last of these consortiums took place in 1204 in Constantinople. Unfortunately, is believed that a dragon-tender demonstrating a new technique to direct dragon-flame went terribly wrong, as much of the city was burned to the ground at that time, and no records survived, nor was a consortium of dragon-tenders ever convened again. - GWYNEACH, Iranigami Annalist (U.K.)


Copyright © 2012, 2013, 2014 by Penelope Stowell. All rights reserved. This website is a work of fiction and does not depict any actual persons, creatures, places or events.