1 comment

Fantasy Fiction

Iazeom, The Great Rabbit Killer, was strolling back through the forest from his latest conquest. With a rabbit foot still in his claw and the taste of a delicious cotton-tail on his tongue, the green dragon flew up the mountain and crawled back into his cave.

"Ah, another one for the collection." As he was far more organized than some of the more barbaric dragons of the land, he looked for the best place on his rock of trophies to put this new rabbit foot. The gold and jewels he'd collected over time were neatly piled up beside the rock, but did not hold a place of honor for The Great Rabbit Killer. No! Only reminders of his most delicious conquests belonged there.

Actually, Iazeom was becoming quite irritated by the constant presence of the shiny treasures. Sure, there were a few things he didn't despise from his pile of wealth, but he'd grown to hate how useless it all was! Gold doesn't remind you of a juicy rabbit. You can't smell it with the joy of knowing there are more delectable conquests to be had. It just glimmers brightly enough to keep you up at night and takes precious space that could be holding more rabbit feet!

Iazeom dreamed of having enough space to line up the feet a cross his cave, but what was he to do with all this gold? Where could he put these jewels where they could stop being such a nuisance?

The Great Rabbit Killer placed his new prize in a spot of honor as he contemplated this dilemma. Many a knight and prince had come here before and attempted to steal from him, but he protected his precious rabbit feet at all costs, which usually meant killing the thieves and stashing their belongings. He'd done this for so long that legends of this cave's great wealth envied kings near and far, and they sought to take this treasure for themselves. Unfortunately for them, the dragon was a vigilant and merciless guardian.

Iazeom paced back and forth across the caves' entrance for a while, then he laid down beside his rock of special victories. An old crown jabbed him in the side, and he roared and swatted it across the cave. "I have too much stuff," Iazeom sighed and the warm air from his nostrils blew across the hairs of the feet, waving them around like wind does the grass.

As night drew near, Iazeom called out into the forest, "I want it gone!" The forest shook with his words, birds fled in fear, and then silence filled the air. Iazeom waited for a long time, hoping someone would come take his wealth and leave him be with his prized possessions.

Usually, when someone would come to take from his stash, they would go straight for the gold. For a while, Iazeom stopped them out of disdain for thievery, but eventually, he decided to let them take what they wanted while he pretended to sleep, but he watched their every move. He wouldn't have minded if they would take some of his burdensome riches away, but they always tried to take one of his rabbit feet on the way in or out, which Iazeom would never allow. So, he would stop the villains, and in return, they would try to kill him! They never succeeded of course, but then their belongings would just make the burden even worse.

He couldn't merely give it away either. No, it goes against a dragon's honor to part with one's wealth so unsuitably, nor would another dragon ever accept treasure that wasn't won in a battle or somehow earned. If a dragon wanted more wealth, he had to find a way to gain it with honor, usually by attacking civilizations. However, Iazeom never cared for such gains, so he only left his cave to conquer delicious meals, preferably rabbits, or to stretch his wings. He was otherwise content to stay in and admire his trophy collection for hours on end.

After a few days of despairing over his abundant wealth, he spotted a visitor coming up the path to his cave. Iazeom watched as the lad stumbled his way up the path. The boy didn't have any armor or weapons on as far as Iazeom could tell. "He can't be coming here," the dragon thought, "only warrior thieves come to my cave." Yet sure enough, the boy climbed until he was just outside the cave.

"Hello," he said bravely, "is anyone here?"

Iazeom had never received such a greeting before. Still skeptcial of the boy, he kept to the shadows and asked, "What have you come here for?"

"I heard a distressed cry three days ago, and I wanted to make sure everything was okay."

Iazeom, curious, crawled into the boy's line of sight. "You have not come to steal from me then?"

"By no means! I only wanted to help when I heard the sound of someone in need."

"Well I am in need, but only from the weight of having too much treasure."

"Perhaps I could help. My family is poor and many in the village at the mountain's edge have no money for food. The kings and princes feast while the townspeople starve."

"I cannot give you the gold freely. You have to take it, and you must not take my treasured possessions!"

"Of course! I would never! I know too well the pains of losing what you love."

"Then follow me." I led him into the cave. "Nothing on this rock must leave, or move, or even be touched!"

"I will leave it be." The boy stared wide-eyed at my stash of riches.

"The rest must go."

From then on, the boy came regularly to load up as much wealth as he could and take it away. Sometimes we would fight for it, and other times he would sneak past me to take it, but he never touched my trophies, so I went easy on him. After all, he was doing me a favor. The boy grew up to be one of the greatest warriors in all the land, though no one knew were he'd learned to fight so well. Even into his old age, he would come and visit the dragon who saved his family and many others from hardship and starvation. He never told anyone where the wealth came from, just that the rabbit's foot he wore around his neck gave him luck. While he never stole from the rock of Iazeom's prized possessions, the dragon had said nothing of the rabbit's foot that had fallen into the pile of wealth.

To maintain his honor, the Great Rabbit Killer would never acknowledge that he'd pushed it into the pile for the boy on purpose, as a thank you for freeing him from the bondage of hoarding.

February 11, 2023 23:50

You must sign up or log in to submit a comment.

1 comment

Russell Mickler
16:59 Feb 20, 2023

Hi! Thanks for the read. I liked the idea of a dragon hoarding rabbit's feet! R


Show 0 replies
RBE | Illustrated Short Stories | 2024-06

Bring your short stories to life

Fuse character, story, and conflict with tools in Reedsy Studio. 100% free.