Afternoon tea with dragons

We all love dragons, right? One day per week I mind my granddaughter after school until mummy and daddy and little brother get home. The first hour or more is spent filling the bottomless pit of this slender 5 year old with a variety of food, remembering that last week’s favourite food now is ‘yuk’, that ‘mummy and daddy say it is okay to have biscuits’ though both of us know this is untrue and Emma cannot keep a straight face as she says it. ‘Good try’ I say and she laughs and we negotiate our way through until she says ‘will you play with me farfar?’ This being Swedish for grandfather and a story for another day. We play ‘make believe’, both of us filling in the story line and adding costumes as we go; a blanket becomes a magic cloak, a piece of string a golden binding and so on: games and stories played countless times by countless children. And I have been promoted over the last three years. First I was typecast as a ‘scary monster’, with instructions not to be ‘too scary’, then a bad dragon who invariably and magically became good and married the princess [no prizes for guessing who this is]. Lately I have become the ‘good dragon with magical powers’ and this is a very fine role indeed. The only drawback to being a dragon is that when three year old William comes home, I must be killed for he is the fearless knight and dragon slayer. Such is life. Or not, as the case may be. Now the tram has stopped and so must I.

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