The Dream Dragon

by Yvonne Winer and illustrated by Stanley Wong (Margaret Hamilton Books Sydney 1998)

peace with ourselves-peace with each other-peace with the environment

highly recommended but unavailable - maybe a copy in your local library

 

This incredibly beautiful tale for all ages to enjoy and share together contains many peace-building elements:

  • happy endings

  • everyone winning

  • nonviolent resolution

  • imaginative and creative

  • challenges existing stereotyping

  • faith and hope

  • peace with the environment

  • finding personal peace

  •     Ö..an element that supports the idea that peace is possible

Not only is this ancient Chinese tale beautifully retold, with vividly clear and colourful imagery, the story is intrinsically a story of hope.

It begins with the words:

"High in the mountains, where mists hang like spider webs spun across the peaks, lived a dream dragon. On silent nights she tumbled into the dreams of the people in a remote village."

Immediately we are captured and absorbed in the unfolding story. We are all dreamers who love to dream.

The dream dragon enters the dreams of ..

...the old folk and in their dreaming she guarded their village and kept it safe from enemies

...the parents and in their dreaming she protected the children from wild animals

.. the children and became a magical storyteller

and the children dreamed peacefully

until!!!!

..... one night the dream dragon did not come.

The people in the village became very anxious.

and the children wondered who would tell them stories.

The people believed their village would no longer be safe.

But the villagers got together and decided they wanted their dream dragon to return.

What they chose to do was certainly molimo.

What is molimo?

In the book The Forest People by Colin Turnbull (Pimlico Great Britain 1993) Turnbill refers to the healing music that is sung and played by the forest pygmies.

The healing music heals the forest which then in turn can heal its people.

So how does the story end???

happily of course.....with everyone winning

...and the dream dragon again enters the dreams of all the villagers, especially those of the children.

Once again they could dream of stories with happy endings that all begun with:

Once upon a time there was a dream dragon....

The happy ending in this story does involve everyone winning ........but also there are many other essential peace-building elements inherent in this beautiful story.

There is no violence, killing or death.

The villagers peacefully responded to their problem..

Instead of war....the villagers chose to work together and create molimo.

People held their faith that the dragon would return.

There was always hope.

Critical questions to explore with children

  • What different dreams did the dream dragon help the villagers dream at night?
  • What happened to cause distress amongst the villagers?
  • What happened as a consequence to the village?
  • What did the villagers decide to do about their situation?
  • Did the dream dragon return to their dreams?
  • Does the story have a happy win-win ending?

Creative questions to explore with children

  • Do you think the dream dragon really existed?
  • Why do you think the princess didnít have to slay a dragon?
  • What other things could have been included in the test?
  • Do you think the dragon was brave and like other dragons?
  • Do you think all dragons would like to hear stories?
  • What would you have done if the dragon had captured you?
  • Do you think the princess should have tried to escape?
  • How else could the story have ended with win-win?

 Read William's retelling of his version of The Dream Dragon

©Teaching and Learning for Peace Foundation February 2005

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