tales of a mushroom detective


The man peered at the mushrooms with his magnifying glass, his cloak tossing behind him in the breeze. “Hmmm. An eruption of mushrooms can mean only one thing.”

“That it rained yesterday?” asked the boy.

“Of course not. It means dragons, or faeries, possibly a goblin.”

The boy crossed his arms. “What kind of a detective are you?”

The detective straightened, pocketed his magnifying glass, and winked. “The very best kind.”

slumbering dragons


Exhausted, the dragon collapsed upon the beach. Tides came and went, and the years grew into centuries as he slumbered. The cracks between his scales filled with wind-blown soil and trees began to grow. He woke up on the last full moon, yawned, and looked around a little before falling back to sleep. I can’t help but think he hit a dragony snooze button and soon he’ll be awake for good.

the dragon’s cave


There were better caves, cozier caves, and safer caves on mountaintops. Just the same, this one with the happy sound of a rollicking river always present, was the one the dragon chose for his den. One morning a chunk of the cliff calved away and littered his entryway. It was intended to oust the beast. Instead, the dragon admitted, in his easygoing way, the art of stone landscaping was better left to the cliff’s discretion and cheerfully stepped around it. The cliff was so impressed it changed its mind at once and soon grew proud to host such a fiery tenant.

the castle of the mouse

It wasn’t as fancy as a castle made of stone, carefully cut and lain just so. Still, after years of studying architecture in London and Barcelona, the mouse was proud of the make-shift castle he’d made for himself. So he moved himself in, ordered a dragon or two from a mail-order catalog, and waited for his next adventure to begin.


the leaf who loved dragons

2016-02-173 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