Insubstantial as smoke

After Herculean attempts at allo-lactation, she gives up. Her mermaid ancestors have failed her. In the intervening days she has prevailed upon a highly skeptical she-goat to abide with her and the child to act as a wet nurse.

Gwendolyn the goat: lifesaver.

The failure of the experiment fills the dragoness with a nameless grief. It is irrational and contradictory to expect dragons to parent much less nurse, but this failure cuts her deeply. She is keenly aware of her scales, her reptilian heft, so much about her unmotherly.

She sits in the mouth of her cave and rakes her long talons into her scaly hide in a mindless show of hopelessness.

What are you doing?

Gwendolyn demands when she arrives to find the baby hungry and his mother a crumpled figure of despair.

The dragon chuffs. Turning away to hide her own blood and the gashes she has made in her skin.

Gwendolyn stomps her feet. You must get ahold of yourself! You have a baby now.

The she-goat curls up next to the hungry baby and nurses him.

Get up right now! She commands. Go clean yourself up. We have work to do.

The dragon reluctantly obeys.

The Dragon’s Book…

Introduction

Greetings, my name is Naga Proserpina Doxia but please, call me Auntie Naga or even Auntie P. We dragon folk can be a cantankerous and saturnine bunch. I aim to change that, I am to change a lot of things.

That was how the good book started. The Dragoness flipped through it’s pages looking at chapter headings, the intricate illustrations and diagrams, pages with neatly organized lists of things: this treasure trove of information.

It was as though Auntie P had anticipated this very situation– the lone haunt, the solitary dragon, the sleeping infant. The world entire.

What she finds…

Several soft blankets
Bolts of fabric of varies types and weights
Several sets of ornate nesting dolls
A compass and a globe
Several deep rugs and tapestries
A silver brush

None of this seemed to quite fit the need of the moment. What did this tiny child need now? Surely not a compass or a brush or even nesting dolls. He needed to nest like a tiny bird. He needed to be held and loved. But sometime quite soon he would need nourishment. What would she do about that? What else would she need to provide for him?

She continued to search through the things she had gathered. Finally she found the scrolls, the books which lay in a haphazard pile next to several piles of doubloons and other coinage scavenged mostly through dim sun-spooked dives into the wreckage of ships downed by storms, rocks and buccaneers.

Books. This would take some time. Could she find some treatise or guide about raising this small child?

She would need to find something quickly. She began to sort through the books, careful to breath slowly, as softly as possible so that she would neither disturb the child nor singe the books.