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Heidelberg
Domestic and Dwarf Dragons


Some years ago I happened to visit the german town Heidelberg. At the market I found a booth with all sorts of ceramic animals - and dragons. There were small dragons and also big dragons with a wick in their nostrils, which could be used as a sort of lamp. Looking for a birthday present for my brother, a great collector of frogs, I purchased a "Heidelberger Tüpfelfrosch" instead of a dragon (the frog is still in my own collection). Back at home I realized that the frog was wrapped into a sheet of paper telling the story of the dragons:

European dragons are commonly regarded as brute and wayward beasts. Not so in Heidelberg. There dragons were part of everyday life. Their eggs were commonly found in the river Neckar. People collected them, hatched and raised the dragons. The young dragons became loyal keepers and protectors of the house. Additionally they helped to light the hearth - remember, there were no matches at that time! Of course every blacksmith owned a dragon.

People living near the river Neckar, and especially fishermen preferred the water-loving female dragons. Only male dragons were able to fly. They were preferred by farmers and wine-growers. Old legends even tell about dragon-riders - who knows? Female dragons were very intelligent. There are reports, that some of them were capable of the human language. They were beloved by wise women, alchimists and sorcerers, and scholars, who often had philosophical discourses with their dragons.

People inhabiting only small rooms kept dwarf dragons. In this species both sexes had wings. Their eggs were commonly found on the sunny hillsides in the vicinity of Heidelberg.

Christianity brought an end to these good old habits - the keeping of a domestic dragon. Clergymen interpreted dragons as an offspring of hell and prohibited any contact with these animals. Disobediance was rigorously punished.


Der deutsche Originaltext
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© MCMXCVI by J. Georg Friebe
& Vorarlberger Naturschau, Dornbirn (Austria)
last update 08.06.1997