A Fairy Tale For Children - Guardians of The Tower

Sophia -1


       ( Synopsis:  A three year old witnessed the destruction of the Twin Towers.  She is calmed by a simple fairy tale told by her grandma.  In the story the little girl learns the ‘Queen’s Dragons’ will protect her and other children by helping them and their grownups learn to be ‘Semper Vigilantes’—Always Vigilant!  Together, they drive the bad dragons of Terror out of the Land of Peace and Beauty.) 

G-Ma Lori

“G-Ma was the building mommy and I saw crash a castle? Was it?”

“Not really, Sarah, well, I guess it was now that I think about it. Yes, and you know there were two buildings, two towers that fell down, little one.”

“They’re going to get fixed, right G-Ma? Then the town will be happy again, right G-Ma”.

I looked down at my beautiful, innocent three-year-old granddaughter, Sarah, and gazed into her incredible chocolate brown eyes.  I recognized the story they told me.  I’d seen the same look in the eyes of so many of the children in the past several weeks here in the Lower East Side of New York City--at the Tompkins Square Park playground and other local play areas--at Two Boots Pizza Parlor--at McDonald’s--at Church--at or around the schools where daily I picked up both of my grandkids and, just ‘on the streets’.  I decided to try to explain what happened in a language Sarah understood better than any other—in the form of fairy tale.  That way, I wouldn’t have to explain what had really happened.

“Sarah, did you know that the King of our Land built these two great towers for his Queen and his Princess?”

Sarah shook her head.  Her eyes widened at the word “princess.”

“ He wanted to create a kind of castle that would help the people of his Land work hard so they could help the whole world be a better place by having more money, more food.”

              “So they could go to 'Old McDonald’s', G-Ma?” (What my grandkids call McDonald's - as in 'Old McDonald's Farm')

“Yes.  Kind of like that, Sarah.  Well, the towers were so high people from all over the country and way out in other parts of the world  would come and visit the Towers.  They would ride up almost to the top and look out over the King’s entire Kingdom.

“G-MA,  did the Princess have a horse, did she?” 

“Oh, yes, it was kept underneath the castle in a special stable.” 

I related how strong and beautiful the towers were, and how proud the people who lived in the Kingdom were of the towers.  No one could hurt the towers.  Or so they thought.  I told her the people began to take the safety of the Towers for granted. They got careless and forgot to watch out for the dragons.

“Was there a dragon in the Kingdom, G-Ma?  Was there?  Was he a mean one with fire coming out of his nose and mouth?” Sarah screwed up her face like a wrinkled apple, aping a mean dragon face the best her little mind to conjure.

“I’m sad to say, Sarah-love, there was a mean dragon waiting in the bushes.  He was angry at the King, and the King’s people.   He wanted to hurt the King.  He wanted to show the King how powerful the dragon was over the King and the King’s people.   The dragon wanted to make you afraid, Sarah, and your Mom and Dad and brother afraid.  So you wouldn’t smile or laugh, but always frown and cry.  So the dragon threatened the King, and told the King to obey the dragon—or else!”

“Like time-outs, G-Ma?  That’s just like what the King gave the dragon, 'or else'’?

“Kind of, Sarah.  Only the dragon was much meaner than a time-out.  He wanted to really hurt people.”

I related how the King refused to obey the dragon’s wishes and the dragon swished its huge tail and knocked down the buildings and hurt many people and made them cry.  Even the Queen was hurt. 

Sarah was very upset.  I quieted her by telling her that the ashes and pieces from the toppled and burned buildings came to life. Many new friendly dragons had been created and the leader of them was the Queen. 

Instead of a beautiful horse to ride, she was astride a friendly looking, strong, handsome dragon. 

“And, the best part of all, Sarah, is that the Queen’s dragon had wings, and so did the other new dragons.”

“They could fly, G-Ma, they could fly.  Would they crash into buildings like the airplanes did?” Her frowns returned.

“No, Sarah, I told you, these are the good dragons.  They protect the Queen and Princess and all the little children from any harm by the mean dragon.  They are the guardians of all the buildings of all of the cities of our world.

And the Queen—who was hurt when the mean dragon attacked—was well and healthy and strong.  And she began to train other mothers, aunts and sisters to give the strong, friendly dragons commands where to fly and who to protect. 

“How can you tell a bad dragon from a good one?” Sarah asked the question as she twisted a rubber band to see how far it would stretch.

“The good dragons wear black armbands that say “Semper Vigilantes.”

“What’s Sempfer…Vigillantes…mean, G-Ma?”

“It means Always Vigilant…always ready to do the right thing…always keeping your eye out for a car crossing the street…or someone trying to hurt someone…so you can protect them..”

“Like call 9 and 1 and 1…?”

“Oh, better than that Sarah.  You can call on the dragons…and the Queen.”

Sarah smiled up at me. 

“And when you do, all the good dragons all over the world come too.  They all have Semper Vigilantes on their legs, ready to help you and other children be safe.  Not afraid.  Not scared.

“I’m not scared, G-Ma!”

“Good, Sarah. It's so like you not to be afraid."

“What happens when the good dragons meet the bad dragons.  Will the good dragons fly away so they won’t be hurt?” Sarah snapped the rubber band against her thumb and didn't cry at the stinging sensation.

“That’s what is so neat, here, Sarah; the words “Semper Vigilantes” are special, magical words for a good dragon.  When a bad dragon comes and spits out fire from its mouth, and tries to knock down buildings and burn them, the good dragons say, “Semper Vigilantes!”  And out of their mouths come long, hard streams of water—from firemen and policemen inside them.  They put out the bad dragon’s fire.   And without fire, the bad dragon can’t fly.   He falls to the ground.   And pretty soon, he turns into bones like the dinosaur bones at the Natural History Museum.”

“Where is the Princess, G-Ma. Is she with her mommy and daddy?”  Sarah threw out the question like children do.   I always had to expect the unexpected from her, as any mother or father does a child whose mind bounces from A to Z in a single blink.

“Well, Sarah, the mommy Queen, is up in the heavens, guiding the good dragons so they fly over the world, and are ever vigilant--always attentive.  They watch and protect us from bad dragons so you and your children and their children, Sarah--when you have them--will not have doubt or fear or falsely think everything is always okay.  The Queen, like your mommy, will watch over you, and remind you to keep your eye out for the bad dragons.

“But what about the Princess, G-Ma?”

“The Princess is with her daddy, the King, down here, on earth.  They are still a family because the Queen is alive in their hearts and the hearts of the world, keeping us safe, watching out for us up in the Heavens, guiding the good dragons to fight the bad dragons with fire hoses.  All the Princesses of the nations of the world will be protected, dear one.”

“I am a Princess, G-MA, so I will be safe, too, if the Queen is helping the good dragons, right?  And, will my brother Matt, and all the other kids be safe, too?

“Yes, little Princess, the Queen will be ever strong and vigilant to protect us all”.

                I smiled and my little Princess, Sarah, hopped up into my open arms and gave me one of her so-so-Sarah-special ‘squeezy’ hugs.

                As I held her tight, I thought I could  sense the roar of a dragon’s breath, and the sound of a firehouse quenching it, and the tumbling of a bad dragon’s body falling, hitting the ground, to sleep until it went into the museum, where it belonged…only a memory…not a fact of life.


Go To Sophia 2: "Watch Out The Dinosaurs Are Coming"

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