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A long time ago, there existed a wild world filled with wonders and magic. There is no one left who could tell about this long-forgotten time and this long-lost world. In this fantastic place there lived four giant dragons who ruled over all the wild beasts.

Within the forests lived all sorts of creatures. There were proud golden stags, untamed horses, cats with silver fur and wise owls within the treetops, who knew all the secrets of the stars. In the skies there were terrible and beautiful birds, gold and red feathered ones who knew all the secrets of the fire. In the clouds there lived birds with long necks and thick blue feathers who never touched the grounds, their wings cast great shadows upon the dangerous lands below. They were the storm birds and lived on the strong streams of high winds in the air. And in the deep oceans, there roamed blue and green scaled sea serpents. Among them swam glimmering fish, shining in colours that are long gone from the world today. It was a dangerous, wild but beautiful world.

But all these fantastic creatures of the land, the skies and the seas were nothing in comparison to the four great dragons who ruled this lively planet. On land within the giant mountains there lived an earth dragon. His scales were covered in brown and dark earth, his belly shone bright and brilliant as it was covered with gems and diamonds. Because for thousands of years he had horded the treasures of the deep caves and rested on them ever since. All these crystals and gems had now turned into a part of him. They were like armour coating his belly, his skin was impenetrable but he was not a bloodthirsty dragon. He was wise and ancient like the earth itself. And as he lay deep within the earth, his eyes had always been closed. Yet, he saw more than any other creature, for he had an inner eye with which he could sense everything alive around him. He had sensed life since the beginning of time and thought it most precious, more so than all his gems, diamonds and crystals. He was one of the first creatures to be born when the earth itself was just forming and since then he had grown. He was as big as a mountain, his brown horns protruded from the earth like giant rocks. He hardly ever moved but when he did, the earth would shake and rumble and create new landscapes.

The earth dragon had a cousin, the fire dragon who lived underneath a volcano. While the earth dragon was male, the fire dragon was male and female as its element was fire, and fire was ever changing and altering. The fire dragon loved the heat and everything warm. Its scales, mostly glowing golden like firewood burning, could change into any colour the dragon desired. So the dragon under the volcano would glimmer golden and in all the colours of the rainbow. In contrast to its cousin though, it was restless and would always wake up. With it woke the fires of the earth and they would transform the landscapes, create new and prosperous life from the ashes of the living long gone. Because nothing was constant and could last forever. This was nature’s first law, and this the dragons knew. The rainbow dragon’s fire made sure that life and the world was always evolving and transforming. It was able to breathe its very own fire as well. It was as hot as the sun itself.

In the skies there lived a very different sort of dragon. Just like the other two she had a long body like a snake and great horns that looked like a crown upon her head. She was the Queen of the skies. She also had a pair of giant wings no other dragon possessed. They were covered not in scales but in shining white and grey feathers like the storm clouds. The rest of her body shimmered in brilliant scales of a heavenly blue and a cloudy white. Sometimes the creatures of the earth would look up and wonder what it must feel like to be free from the earth and fly far away. She could not shake the earth or breathe fire, but she had the winds under her command and controlled the weather. She decided, where beneath her the landscapes would thrive. With her watchful sky-blue eyes, she made sure that the world below was always in balance. Where there were fields of green plants and blue rivers, next to them, there should be a desert. Where there were high lands of grass and stone there would follow a green forest. No landscape was the same, yet they were all connected through the influence of the sky. And the dragon of the air would always look down upon the lands, her artworks created by wind, weather and rain. She would look down happily but could never rest for the winds of this earth were always on the move and there was always winds for her to command.

The fourth dragon, the water dragon, was male and female like the fire dragon. Although fire and water were opposite elements, they shared their elemental essence which was one of change. Fire and water are both destructive and life giving. They are needed within the eternal circle of life, just like day and night, heat and cold, light and shadow. The water dragon thrived within the great oceans of this world. The dragon shimmered silver, blue, turquoise, green and purple. It had eyes of such a deep blue, every sea creature that looked into them would be lost forever within the sea. But hardly any creature fell under its spell because the water dragon was always moving swiftly in the deep. Water was the element of change and just like the other dragons, the water dragon was responsible for the continuity of this world. With its great fin it was able to control the waters all around and was responsible for the tides in the sea. At its will it would choose the rising and the falling of water, where lands were flooded by the seas and the rivers to bring fertility to the lands, and the water dragon could choose where water should flow and recede to form new land. Besides, the blue one was responsible for the flow of the currents of the seas so underwater life could thrive and blossom. Cold currents would meet with warmer ones and this way life within the waters was in perfect harmony. Together the dragons acted as the life force of this earth. Without them there would be no balance between earth, fire, air and water. Life would fade.

But under the watchful inner eye of the earth dragon, he had the feeling that within all this harmony something was amiss. One night, the giant dragon dreamed about creatures that would inhabit the world of the elemental dragons in a different way than all the dragons would. He thought of beings that would be similar to the dragons. They should be creative, just and resourceful. It would be creatures who could take over from the dragons so they could finally rest and go to sleep. For the earth dragon had grown tired of seeing the world through his inner eye, making sure the cycle of life was intact. And he knew that the fire dragon had become tired as well of reshaping the world with fire whenever it was necessary. The water dragon and the air dragon had grown tired a long time ago as they were always moving and never resting.

So the earth dragon summoned the other three and told them about his plan. They were to create four new species who would take over their work and would take care of this beautiful world. They thought it was a wonderful idea and they commenced the task.

First, the earth dragon sculptured four different creatures out of clay. They looked different than anything the world had ever seen before. The earth dragon first formed the creatures who would take care of the earth. They were given two long legs to walk upon the land, a strong muscular body, two arms with delicate fingers, so they could be as creative as the earth dragon, and a head with a big brain so they could be smarter than all the other animals in this world. He formed similar sculptures for the other dragons as well, only with slight variations.

The fire dragon’s children were given the same body with the difference that they would have the ability to shape shift into animals, so they would understand their way of life, see the perspective from their world and it would be guaranteed that there would be a balance between the children of the dragons and the older animals who had inhabited this world first.  

The water dragon’s children were given the same body as the children of the earth but they would receive a fin instead of legs so they would be able to move and swim in the water just like the water dragon. With their minds they would be able to control and change the tides and the currents of the ocean.

And the air dragon’s children were given the same bodies as the children of the earth, only, that the earth dragon added beautiful wings on their backs, so they were able to fly over the lands and seas to continue the work of a balanced weather cycle.

Once the dragons were happy with the forms of the four species the fire dragon breathed hot flames upon the figures of clay and gave them the breath of life. They glowed hot and golden for a moment and next came the water dragon’s task to cool them down. A wave of water washed over them, and their clay forms were transformed by water into flesh. Finally, the air dragon started to move her wings and cooled them down with air. This air gave the new-borns a soul and their purpose for life.

The children of the dragons woke up and bowed to the dragons, their creators. The dragons smiled at their children and commenced teaching them everything there was to know about a balanced world and the circle of life. The children learned eagerly and listened carefully to everything what their parents told them. Soon they were ready to begin their work.

The earth dragon showed his earth children how to live on land and how to preserve it.  He also told his children not to be afraid to create and transform their ideas and dreams into reality. Every single one of their creations would be an addition to the wonders of this world. They should rule just and wise over the land and work together with the children of the fire dragon so they could maintain a strong balance. He warned them too and told them never to stray off the path he and the other dragons had laid out for them.

The fire dragon showed his children how to live on land as well but also how to transform into animals. As this new species was bound to fire and fire was the element of transformation, at will and their desire, these creatures were able to metamorphose into any animal they saw, learn its ways of living and recognise their perspective on the world. This way the children of fire and earth could work in harmony and understand the full picture of nature and make sure it could always thrive. The rainbow coloured dragon also warned them never to linger within the form of animals for too long. They might forget themselves, prefer the life of wilderness and freedom and never turn back.

The water dragon took its children into the ocean and taught them how to control the tides and how to move the currents within the seas so that the circulation of water all around the blue planet was constantly flowing and life within water, on earth and sky could blossom. The blue dragon also showed them how to make the corals in the oceans grow, as these most precious of underwater creatures were the essence and souls in the seas. The dragon warned them too about the strength of the ocean itself. The deep seas had a mind of their own and must always be controlled, otherwise they might consume the living.

The air dragon taught her children how to fly and together they rose up into the skies and her children learned everything about the wonders of wind and weather. She educated them in the different layers of air and molecules that moved within the higher levels of the sky which were just as important to be in balance as the winds everywhere else. The air dragon showed them how to balance out the winds and how to bring rain, storms, and life upon earth and oceans where it was needed. She too expressed concern about the dangers of nature. The winds had a mind of their own and must be tamed at all times.

The four species commenced their work and the dragons watched them for a while, how they learned, thrived and all communicated with each other. The world and its nature were in harmony. So the dragons said farewell to their children, knowing, that they would leave life in good hands.

The earth dragon went into the deepest cave he could find and finally, he closed his inner eye and could now truly rest. The fire dragon also went deep down into the earth and found a fuming magma lake which was just the right temperature. Relieved, the rainbow dragon curled up within the molten earth and went to sleep. Deep within the sea the water dragon found a quiet and cool spot far away from the surface where no one would ever find or disturb it. At peace, the blue dragon fell asleep. And the air dragon rose higher and higher into the sky and plunged with her great wings through a massive storm cloud. There, within the soothing coldness of wind and rain she found a soft spot, curled up and closed her eyes forever.

Their children saw their parents depart, wept for them but soon continued their work of balancing nature as it was their duty. Generation after generation, they worked in harmony and the world thrived. But as it was the first law of nature that nothing lasts forever, soon the four species grew estranged, forgot about their parents, their heritage and worked no longer as a union but on their own.

The fire children who could transform from their original form into any animal form they desired, soon preferred their animal bodies over their original ones. They turned away from the task of the fire dragon to balance out nature with the children of the earth and commenced free lives as animals within nature and forgot that they ever had a duty to perform.

The children of the sea dragon grew tired of regulating the tides and the currents with their minds. They wanted to be free like the ocean itself. But the seas were restless and with no one controlling their strength, the deep waters soon turned on their new masters and the children of the blue dragon were consumed by the power of the deep.

The children of the air dragon became tired of their constant movement within the clouds just like their mother had. The winds and weather grew stronger the more tired they became. Soon, the heavens overpowered them and threw the children of the air out of the skies. The storm clouds smashed them against the rocks of the earth where their bodies broke apart and the winds threw them into the deep oceans where they drowned.

Only the children of the earth persevered. Just like their father, the dragon of the earth, they were creative and inventive. They made land their home. They befriended the red and golden feathered birds who knew all the secrets of the fire and they taught the children of the earth how to control the flames. The children of the earth saw the birds as a danger, as they could turn against them. Afterall nature was wild and dangerous. And all these animals might be no different than the winds and the seas. They had seen their siblings being thrown out of the sky and being drowned in the dark oceans. So, the children realised that they could use the fire as a weapon against the birds and waged war on the fire birds in the sky. They killed them all and then continued their battle against all the wild beasts within the forests, fields and mountains. They captured the wise owls in the treetops, tortured them until they revealed the secrets of the stars to them. Then, same as with the fire birds, they saw them as a threat to their existence and killed them all. They hunted down the proud golden stags, the untamed horses, the wild silver cats and many more animals that once freely roamed the world. With every generation, the children of the earth grew stronger and more cunning. With the help of fire, they burned down the ancient forests and created landscapes of their own. They built huge towers and temples of stone and steel. They were unnatural growing grey creations in a dying but still green world. They did not remember the teachings of the dragons, how could they, when they and the other children were long gone?

The children of the earth populated the world and after thousands of years and countless generations they came up with inventions and machines that were even able to tame the seas and control the winds above them. Their creativeness was their greatest weapon. Soon they had claimed everything for themselves. They had enslaved every animal, explored the seas, the skies and with the knowledge of the stars they had stolen from the owls so long ago, they even ventured beyond the heavens. They were almighty and nothing could come in their way.

But with every generation, the earth and its nature had grown further out of balance. Life on earth was fading. In the oceans, there roamed less sea creatures, forests gave way to deserts where no life was possible, and storms thundered all around the world and destroyed its landscapes. The children of the earth became desperate. With every creative invention they came up with to restore balance, the unforgiving winds, the heat and the floods would still spread. Nature itself was stronger than the children of the earth and without the original teaching of the dragons there was no possibility to tame nature once more. Soon, the children of the earth grew hungry. Less and less food was to be found, more and more animals died out and all the plants withered in the deserts. They ate all the animals they had tamed until none of them were left. Next they turned to the oceans to look for food but they realised with all their inventions with which they travelled the world, the seas and skies, they had poisoned the waters and there was no life left. They were empty blue deserts just like the deserts on land with no green plants to be found. So, the children of the earth began to eat each other. The strong preyed on the weak until all were gone but one. This last child of the earth was tired and all alone. The child ventured into a cool cave to escape the heat of the unforgiving sun. The child went deeper and deeper into the cave until it reached a giant sleeping dragon. The child did not know who this was for thousands of generations ago, the children of the earth had lost their way on the path the dragons had laid out for them. Exhausted, it lied down next to the dragon and touched the sleeping giant with its trembling hand. The child closed its eyes and for a moment it could see what once was and remembered everything! A green landscape, blue rivers, oceans filled with life, a rising sun and rainclouds in the distance bringing freshwater to thriving plants. The child shed a tear when it realised what beauty once existed on this desert earth and what could have been if the children would have stayed on the path of the wise dragons. Everything could have been different and in the darkness of the cave, the child wished it could bring back everything green and good from thousands of years ago. But no wish could restore what all these years of destruction had created, and the child despaired by its sleeping father and died.

And the dragons deep in the earth, high in the clouds and down in the sea would sleep on forever and dream about a balanced world filled with life and wonder. And never would they wake from their deep dream space to return to reality that had transformed into a nightmare.

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