"Sirinita’s Dragon" by Lawrence Watt-Evans
"Sirinita’s Dragon" by Lawrence Watt-Evans sneaks up on you. What starts out as a straightforward, rather simplistic fantasy story turns all claws and teeth with a dark lesson to be learned.
Sirinita is a young girl who lives in a walled city. Her father brought home a dragon’s egg which hatched into her new pet. Her parents warn her that dragons are dangerous and plan to sell him to wizards to be cut up in their potions if he grows larger. Sirinita doesn’t want to lose her friend, so she takes him out of the city to release him.
This story, with its young protagonist and almost cookie-cutter setting, looks and feels like a young adult fantasy, but underneath, it’s something much darker—a tale to make you think. I wondered about Sirinita’s thought processes and her decisions, how she could come to them and what I would do in similar circumstances. There’s a lot of stuff to ponder in this story, which is a real pleasure and surprise.
Lawrence Watt-Evans’s science fiction story "Why I Left Harry’s All-Night Hamburgers" is one of my favorite short stories, and it was nice to read one of his latest fantasy offerings. When you get finished with "Sirinita’s Dragon," go track down his other stuff. It’s worth it.