Long, long ago, when the land was young, dragons roamed free: they flew through the skies of Europe, the snaked through the mountains of Asia, and they ran free in Africa. Dragons live for many, many years, and as humans started to make towns, and cities, and castles, and countries, the dragons found that their freedom was shrinking. Humans fought them and tried to kill them in Europe, where they were considered monsters. In Asia, humans considered them gods and constantly bothered them, asking for guidance and wisdom. In Africa, the great serpents were foretold to destroy the world, and so people lived both in fear and in awe of them.
But a dragon does not want a human to fear them, or love them, or fight them. A dragon wants to be left alone.
They needed to find a place where they would not be disturbed, and it needed to be a place where humans did not want to go. Now, unlike dragons, humans are not very good climbers. A human would rather live on top of a hill or underneath one, and the bigger the hill, the less a human would want to live on it. There were mountains, yes, but a mountain has no trees, and without the trees the dragons would be seen, and all of their problems would start again. And so a Grand Council of Dragons was called and it was decided: dragons would live their lives secretly in the big, big hills where lots of trees would protect them.
But dragons breathe fire, and anyplace that has lots of trees will have lots of rain to keep those trees alive. And so, when it is wet in the early morning, or after the rain has passed, you can still see the steam rising from the dragons’ mouths and noses, up through the trees, and all through the hills. But remember, a dragon wants nothing more than to be left alone, so when you see that steam in the hills, close your eyes and promise to keep the secret of the dragons.
Why? Because dragons protect their homes. Where there are many hills and many trees, you don’t see a lot of big buildings or loud cities. The air is cleaner, the people are kinder, the world more beautiful out in the country, and all because of the dragons. So be sure to keep their secret, and be sure to say “thank you” when you see the dragon-steam in the hills. Even if you say it very quietly, the dragons will hear you, and they will keep their home, and your home, beautiful and safe.