How to Safely Store Your Dragons

Never on the mantlepiece. Their love of fire will soon create a blaze not even your magic can subdue, climbing the ceiling in search of a chimney, chewing insulation and nibbling the rafters to nothing. By the time you return from the store, arms laden with spell candles and kale, of your cottage only smoke will remain. So please—never store your dragons on the mantlepiece.

Likewise the kitchen. Sure, they look cute in the linen drawer, and they will love you for gifting them such as warm, well-stocked place. But soon enough, you’ll find yourself extracting wriggling green bodies from decimated cereal boxes, masticated potato sacks, hollow squash skins, and soggy cartons devoid of even a half cup of orange juice. You will learn the hard way how hungry dragons can be.

Knowing this, the back garden may seem a prudent choice, but remember your veggie patch? Think of your poor kitchen, and keep the dragons inside.

We understand this is your first foray into dragon-keeping. Perhaps you inherited your dragons, or perhaps you found them on the side of the road, a rat king of squirming, keening coils. It is just as well you asked our advice. We’ve been keeping dragons for longer than history records.

Their benefits are obvious: luck, prosperity, security. Dragons have impeccable senses of smell, and can easily distinguish their keeper’s voice from that of a stranger. In order to realize their greatest potential, however, it’s imperative you offer them the best home possible. A dragon, once stored, will grow. And once grown, it becomes so much more than a simple talisman.

When they’re young, the bathroom isn’t a bad option. They love water and catch all the pesky moths that try to eat your towels. But beware—when they grow older, their play becomes more than a nuisance, and no one enjoys calling a plumber for assistance. Some things not even magic can fix.

The attic will do for half the year. It’s spacious, filled to the brim with tasty spiders and nutritious mice. Stack clementine crates and line them with unwashed wool (dragons love lanolin, sure to keep their scales shiny). Supplement their natural diet with henbane and chamomile tea sweetened with honey. If you’re worried about fire, a cast iron pan is indispensable. Take all your spent candle nubs and drop them inside. When your dragons feel the urge, they will confine their pyrotechnics to the pan, and you’ll find the attic pleasantly scented on summer nights.

But in the autumn, an exodus is necessary. Dragons are, after all, cold-blooded creatures, and they hate hibernating almost as much as they love snoozing in your box of junk jewelry, leaving tiny teeth marks on the edges of your pewter pendants.

In October, bring them downstairs. Get them comfortable in the cat tree (the cats never use it, you know, more intrigued by bottle caps and the box it came in). Give them toys and water dishes and shredded newspaper bedding. Make sure they can see the television; they love period dramas and will binge Planet Earth every two and a half weeks. Remember to keep their food bowls topped up with mincemeat, so they don’t go looking for extra (more destructive) snacks. Some enjoy a hamster wheel (never a ball), others a scratching post (lucky the cat tree’s fully equipped). 

When they’re settled, make sure to smudge the space and switch on the entertainment before returning to the kitchen to clean up the mess they made this morning.

Wipe the counters, sweep the floor with your favorite broom. As snow begins to fall outside the window, put your tools away. Change from your luscious black gown to the faded plaid robe you’ve repaired more often than the plumbing. It’s winter, after all—time to snuggle up in blankets your grandmother quilted in the ‘50s, and remember.

You may be the only witch in the house, but you’re not alone. Chittering from the corner lets you know: you’ve done well. In caring for others, you’ve gained so much more than luck.

On the couch, put your feet up, cocoa cradled in your calloused hands. Let the murmuring television lull you. Don’t worry, your dragons will sigh little fires to keep your toes warm.