The storyteller crouched to look at the leaf. “You’re stunning,” she said. “I’d love to tell a story about you. What sort of story do you suppose would suit you best?”
There was a pause before the elderly leaf answered. “Dragons.”
“Dragons!” She had not expected that.
“Yes, dragons. I have lived a long, long life. I was born into the spring and waxed green and healthy in the summer sun. When autumn came, my green faded to yellow and I slipped from my branch. I wished to see a dragon with my newfound freedom, so I traveled the world on a gust of wind. Oh! The things I saw! But before I could see a dragon, the snows covered me deep and held me in white. Now the spring is set to come again and my life is drawing to a close. Still no dragons. It is my one regret.”
The storyteller listened, respectfully silent.
“So give me a story of dragons, if you will, and in my dying dreams I’ll make it true.”
“I will,” she promised, but she could do one better. She plucked the leaf from its icy bed and carried it with her to an old and rotting stump. She placed the leaf inside a cleft where the wind couldn’t catch it. There the leaf could stay still spring, when the salamanders would emerge from their winter places and maybe, just maybe, be mistaken for a dragon.
copyright Jennifer Shelby