The Eagle and the Dragon

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“There are some roads you shouldn’t go down because maps used to say, there be dragons here.” – Lorne Malvo


Once upon a time in the West there lived an eagle. The eagle quickly and relentlessly grew to be handsome and imperious. It flew unimpeded where the winds took it and hunted at will in faraway lands. It shaped its earthly subjects in its image and they looked upon the eagle with reverence and envy while imitating many of its ways.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the earth, after a long and tumultuous period, a forgotten creature stirred.  The dragon slowly opened its eyes and hunkered down for the bitter winters ahead. Its territory had been neglected but, as the winters passed, the dragon grew stronger as it carefully tended to its land. 

In time, the dragon regained its strength, stretched its wings and learned to fly again. It spread its ambit further from home, travelling far and wide, careful to conceal its fire-breathing capabilities, although those with long memories were reminded of an era when dragons ruled.

The eagle observed the dragon’s resurgence initially with fascination and curiosity. It foresaw the benefits it could gain from the dragon if only it could mould its development in its own image. 

Having planned patiently for so long, the dragon had prepared for this eventuality. Its thinking was long term and it was happy for the eagle to nudge it in exchange for allowing unfettered access to its feeding pool. It promised to toe the line and, for a time, optically at least, it did. This gave the dragon time to plan in detail. And plan it did.

One day, the eagle surveyed its land and cried out with anger and surprise. While it had been enjoying the rich fruits of its labour and preening its golden wings, the dragon had been hard at work. The eagle saw little dragons EVERYWHERE and each of them was growing FAST! 

There were dragons in the SEA, dragons in the AIR, dragons in its FEATHERS, dragons EVERYWHERE! There were even tiny little dragons within its nest, scurrying to and fro, stealing little pieces of the nest to take back to their home. 

The eagle summoned the dragon and demanded that it stop and change its ways. The dragon refused. After many years of preparation and hard work, it sensed that its time had come. It roared and snorted flame from its nostrils. 

Even though both creatures knew that a fight would lead to much bloodshed, they could not curb their instincts. The eagle and the dragon fought, trading ferocious blows that wounded each other as well as injuring the other creatures of the earth. 

This fable’s end is in the eye of the beholder. As the dragon grows more powerful, the eagle does too. They continue their fight as the earth divides between those that prefer eagles and those that prefer dragons.

The middle ground is shrinking. 

USA vs ChinaEdward Playfair