The Dragon #DealMeIn

I’m participating in the Deal Me In readathon this year, in which we read one short story each week. I’m doing more than that, since #4 Daughter, The Amazing Sara Marian, loaned me THE DRAGON: FIFTEEN STORIES by Yevgeny Zamyatin.

This week’s card suit is clubs, which means I should have read a Chekov story, but I read some Zamyatin stories, so I want to talk about the title story today. “The Dragon” may be one of the best stories I ever read.

Flash fiction, it uses a common trope of an inhumane person performing a humane act for an animal. The wonder of this story is how beautifully an economically “The Dragon” evokes an entire environment, an entire society. The soldier isn’t a soldier, he’s a dragon. His uniform is empty (except for his ears) until he spots a frozen sparrow at his feet. The he extrudes “paws.” He pushes up his cap and reveals human eyes. When he has revived the sparrow with his dragon’s breath, he becomes a dragon again.

He learned nothing and remains unchanged. His humanity is there, but still under a horrible enchantment.

Sara tells me that this translation by Mirra Ginsburg isn’t the best, but I can’t imagine this story being any better. Highly recommended.

If YOU need a short story to read, I have free ones here on my Free Reads page. I also have four collections for 99 cents each linked from my Short Stories page.

A WRITING PROMPT BASED ON MY PROMPT: Write about an unpleasant person doing something kind.


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I was born in Louisville, Kentucky, but now live in the woods in southern Indiana. Though I only write fiction, I love to read non-fiction. The more I learn about this world, the more fantastic I see it is.

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One thought on “The Dragon #DealMeIn

  1. If you are inclined to dragon tales, as this suggests, I highly recommend. Video available throw Amazon Prime. The title has been translated into English as I Am Dragon. I watched it with subtitles—because my Russian is pretty much limited to Da, Privyet, and Dos Vidanya, nowadays. It was a wonderful fairytale. And, because it is a Russian fable, you won’t know if it ends happily until the very last minutes. Beautiful artwork, beautiful cast. (Drool worthy male specimen! With few clothes in most scenes.) I hope you can catch it! Let me know what you think if you do!

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    • Author

      Marian Allen

      April 24, 2018 at 8:15am

      BOUGHT! As you have perceived, I’m very much inclined to dragon tales, both reading them and writing them. My fantasy trilogy features a dragon, and the second story I sold to Marion Zimmer Bradley was a dragon story. Thanks for the recommendation — I bought it used off eBay. Looking forward to it, and to passing it along to #4 Daughter, the amazing Sara Marian, who spent three weeks in St. Petersburg, doing archaeology stuff at The Hermitage.

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