Once, long ago, when Man was still new to Earth, there was a dragon named Ki'Por. Ki'Por was a nice dragon, and he often joined Man when he went hunting or fishing. After they had been friends for a while, Ki'Por began to notice that Man was having some trouble, although Man would never admit it.
Even with the warmth of the furs from his successful hunts Man could not get warm enough. He was often cold, and Ki'Por found himself giving some of his furs to Man in an effort to keep him warm. Ki'Por also noticed that Man frequently had trouble chewing the tough and stringy carcasses of the animals he had killed, and that the raw meat often made Man sick. Without the iron-clad stomachs of dragons, and not possessing the dagger-like teeth of Ki'Por, Man had trouble dealing with meat unless it was dried...and that just didn't taste as good. If only there was a way to warm up the meat so that it could be tender enough for Man to chew.
One last major trouble for Man was his fear of the dark. Ki'Por was not afraid of the dark, since nothing short of another dragon would dare to attack him. However, Man did not have the same reputation as his saurian friend. Man lacked the impervious scales of the dragons and the great size of the noble beasts. To most predators Man was just as much prey as, say, a deer with his soft skin and tender flesh. Knowing this, Man often had nightmares, and more than once was dinner for some predator during the night.
Dragon had heard of a thing called 'fire' during his travels. It was said to be owned by a great and powerful being called Sun. He knew where the Sun slept during the night, and wondered if it would give him this 'fire' thing so that Man would not have as many problems. After all, it was not Man's fault that he was a weaker creature than the dragons were. So, after saying a tearful farewell to Man, the dragon Ki'Por set off to find Sun.
It took him many months of hard flying to reach The Great Palace of the West, and when he did, he noticed that there appeared to be no way inside. Ki'Por found what looked like a door, and knocked politely. The great door echoed with the power of his fist, but no one came to answer. Ki'Por decided to sit down and wait for Sun to come home.
It took all day, of course, and when Sun finally came home he was tired and cranky. Still, being a good host, he offered to let Ki'Por into his home to enjoy some dinner. Ki'Por happily agreed.
Inside Sun's home the light was dazzling! It was warm and filled with wonderful smells. Sun said it was roasted meat that he smelled. Ki'Por's mouth watered, and he sat down in the great hall of Sun's home to enjoy his first meal cooked with fire! Sun told him how he cooked things and all sorts of other interesting facts about fire. Fire, after all, was what Sun knew best.
After the meal, Sun asked Ki'Por what would bring him such great distance, and Ki'Por told him about Man. He then asked Sun if he would share some of his fire with Man so that Man could also enjoy the warmth and light that Sun so obviously did. This made Sun very angry. He told Ki'Por that he would not share such a wondrous gift with such a weak being, and quickly went off to bed.
Ki'Por just couldn't bear to return to Man without fire, so he decided to grab one of the many torches that Sun had along his walls. Sun knew instantly when it had been taken, and flew down the stairs in a rage! Ki'Por had to get rid of the evidence quickly, so he swallowed the torch. When Sun came to find out who had stolen his fire, Ki'Por told him that some monkeys had gotten loose and taken the torch. Then Sun put a terrible curse on the monkeys, and now monkeys are no longer able to have anything to do with fire, in fact it terrifies them.
Sun went back to his room, sure in the knowledge that the thief had been stopped, and Ki'Por wished him a good night and took his leave. Outside of Sun's home, Ki'Por began to feel a little funny. You see, a dragon's stomach is iron-clad, but fire is VERY hot. After flying quite some time Ki'Por had to stop. His stomach was giving him serious trouble. It felt as though a thousand little knives were stabbing him.
He tried several things to make himself cough up the torch, but none of them worked. He even tried to drink gallons of water, but Sun's torches were magic and the flame would not go out. Finally, frustrated, he punched himself in the stomach, and shot a line of flame that made his stomach feel almost normal, but did not dislodge the torch.
Able to finish his trip after belching the flames, he flew back to Man and told him of his search for fire and what he had done. Man was surprised and grateful. He and Ki'Por tried to get the torch out of his stomach, but short of killing him they could not do it. Ki'Por was able to light some wood for Man, though, with one of his fire belches, and told him all the things that Sun had told him about fire.
Of course, soon Sun found out that it was not monkeys that had stolen his fire. Angry at being tricked, he cursed all dragons to carry the magic torch in their stomachs for the rest of their lives. After a while, dragons got used to the torch in their bellies, and even learned how to use it as a weapon. This is why dragons now breathe fire, and how Man received it.
Copyright 2001 by Tamrin Badget-Skyberg (a.k.a. Illiana the Golden Dragon). Not to be reprinted for sale of any sort without permission of the author.