“Gift of the Dragon” is about how HS Marvel, a young cheese factory mechanic from Rome, NY, decides one day to fulfill his dream of hunting a real-life monster. In this case it is the Lake Champlain monster “Champy” - a legendary sea dragon that is rumored to reflect back whatever you bring to the lake. For some it is pride, for others it is conquest - and for HS .. it turns out to be love.
Note: Though this is historical fiction and the characters have been developed to accommodate a story, their attributes and development may be useful as reference points and inspirations.
Topics for Investigation
HISTORY - History of Lake Champlain - History of Steamboats - Vermont history in relation to New York and New Hampshire
GEOGRAPHY - Map of Lake Champlain and route of SS Ticonderoga - Map of sightings of Champ over the years
STUDY TOPICS - Monsters of the World - Dragon symbolism in United States - Impact of Champ on culture of Vermont and New York
Topics for Reflection
From a Child Development Perspective:
In this story, your child might learn that:
Sometimes in life, we have to respond to a "call". A call or calling is a voice that sounds in our hearts and tells us something that we simply have to do. It's not a voice that is shaking her finger at us like an authority, it's more like a trusted friend who takes us by the hand and tells us that we have to follow. This is what HS responded to when he was inspired to find the monster and claim the prize.
When we make a plan, we cannot anticipate everything that will happen, so we have to trust ourselves that we will be able solve problems when we have to. When HS purchased a ticket to board the SS Ticonderoga steamship, he did not know what lay ahead, but…
“…he figured whatever challenges he faced, he would find a solution. If he was going to be a real adventurer, then solving problems was going to be a part of his normal experience.”
At certain times in our lives, our hopes can be dashed, but in times like this it is important to keep the faith and be determined. HS was discouraged when others were also looking for the reward for finding the sea monster, and he was also discouraged when he was told there was no sea monster and that it was nonsense. But he held firm that he wanted to complete the search, regardless.
It is important to be honest with ourselves about our motives—the reason we do things. If our motivation is fame and money, that's not necessarily a bad thing. But we should be aware when it is those things that are encouraging us to fulfill a dream. It’s important to ask ourselves if that's really enough. Money and fame can be a substitution for what we are really looking for, and in HM's case, it was not really in the end what he wanted.
What we put out into the world and how we treat others will be reflected back to us. The Abnaki people knew this.
“They knew that whatever they brought to the lake would be reflected back at them. That Tatoskok - the name they gave the creature of the lake - would shower them with whatever anger, curiosity, greed and kindness they brought with them… Whatever you bring to Champ will be reflected back to you.”
- The choice is ours as to how we want to conduct ourselves and what we are looking for in our lives. HM started out looking for one thing—fame and money--but ended up finding another! Love!
About the Authors
David Sewell McCann
David Sewell McCann fell in love with spinning stories in first grade – the day a storyteller came to his class and captured his mind and imagination. He has been engaged in storytelling all of his adult life through painting, film-making, teaching and performing. Out of his experience as a Waldorf elementary class teacher and parent, he has developed a four step method of intuitive storytelling, which he now shares through workshops and through this website.
Meredith has been working with adults and children of all ages for the past 25 years as a Waldorf Teacher and Educational Consultant. She received a B.A. with a focus on child development and child psychology from the University of Michigan, in 1984, an M.A. Ed from Washington University in 1987, and her Waldorf Teaching Certificate from the Lehrerausbildung (Teacher Training) in Nurnberg, Germany in 1989. She was certified as a Living Inquiries Facilitator in 2014, and she completed her formal teaching certification with The Enneagram Institute in 2014. Her work in the classroom and with individuals and groups is designed to help people of all ages to drop self-limiting beliefs to live a more joyful and compassionate life.