- Jun 24
A Sword and Shield
Quite some time ago, there was a little boy who enjoyed playing with two neighbourhood friends. Their time together was mostly spent engaged in imaginary battles, with each being pitted against fearsome foes and fire breathing dragons.
One day, one of his friends told him that his father was going to make them all their own timber sword and shield, so they could really conquer their foes and slay dragons. What an exciting day this was for the little boy! He told his parents with great enthusiasm. Each night he went to sleep thinking about how wonderful this would be, waking up with thoughts of how his new sword and shield will make him the bravest knight that ever lived!
The day came when his sword and shield would be ready, and with no other thought in mind, told his parents where he was off to and ran as fast as he could to his friend’s house to be presented with his prize.
As he ran up the path to his friend’s house, he heard and then saw the two boys already playing with their swords and shields. The little boy was ready to join in the battle, so asked where he could pick up his sword and shield. His friends laughed at him, telling him he was never going to get one, as only two sets had been made.
Home he ran, completely distraught that he was not getting his prized toys, but also because he had been made fun of. It felt like the end of his world as he knew it.
The little boy did not play with the two boys ever again.
But what he did was to begin to believe that somewhere, someday, someone would make him his sword and shield. And when this day came, it would mean that he could take part in the battles and dragon slaying. He waited and searched but was never able to fully be part of any game he played, because no-one had made him his sword and shield.
In the journey to find the person who would make him his sword and shield, he came upon a dragon. A very old dragon, who the boy felt he had seen somewhere before, but couldn’t remember when. But because he was a dragon, he had learned in his games you either fought or ran. As he didn’t have a sword and shield, he turned to take flight.
To his surprise the dragon spoke, “why are you running away from me?” he asked.
This surprised the boy, so hesitantly he replied, “Because you are a dragon, and I have nothing to bring to this fight. If I had my own sword and shield I would happily stand and fight you.”
“I see,” said the dragon, “Why have you no sword and shield then?”
“Because I was told I was going to get one made, but I never got it, and now I’m still waiting,” said the boy angrily.
“I see. Do you know who I am? The dragon asked.
“No,” said the boy, beginning to be a little confused, “I think I have seen a dragon like you before, but I don’t think I know you.”
“I am the dragon you imagined that you would fight as a boy when you got your own sword and shield. I have been waiting for you all these years. But you have never come.”
“I couldn’t come,” the boy said angrily, “I didn’t have my sword and shield to fight you, and no one was going to make me one, and I have been waiting to get one before I could join the others!”
The dragons responded, “So why didn’t you make your own and bring it to fight me? You are capable of making the most special sword and shield. What you make will be far better than anything anyone can make for you.”
The boy left the dragon and did what the dragon told him to do. He made his own sword and shield. A few days later he went back to dragon and showed him.
“You have brought the very best sword and shield!” he praised the boy, “You can call this yours and it will be far more powerful than anything anyone else can make for you”.
“Shall we fight now?” The old dragon asked. “I have been waiting for you to bring your own sword and shield.”
In all true imaginary battles, it was an epic struggle. The boy prevailed but found that he couldn’t slay the dragon. His victory was that he now knew he no longer needed to wait to know that whatever he brought, his own sword and shield, was enough for anything.