|Florianska Street, Krakow, Poland © Doug Hickok|
There was a time, long ago, when we dragons ruled the Earth. We dominated the skies with fire and dread. We filled the imagination of men with fear and awe. We were the very stuff of legend and myth. Our magical blood was sought after for its protection against harm, and our teeth were sown like seeds to incite war and chaos. But as time passed so too did our power and prestige, due to the emergence of dragon slayers, like Beowulf, Siegfried, St. George, and Bard the Bowman. Woeful now are the days of dragons, for we are barely remembered, relegated to the roles of cartoon characters, fantasy games, tattoos, or worse. None is a better example of our fall than the Dragon of Krakow. Smok was his name. He dwelt in a cave under Wawel Hill, and ravaged the countryside, but was finally subdued by the wit of a shoemaker's apprentice. Today the unfortunate dragon wanders the streets of Krakow, a shadow of his former self, scorned or ignored, a lonely and broken creature. Woeful now are the days of dragons. Woeful now indeed.