Friday, August 22, 2008

Snap! It's a Dragon!

Today's Wonder of the World is... the Dragon! All kinds!

Hey! There's one of my favorite books from childhood, with Horatio the dragon on the cover. Do you know the story of Poo-Poo and the Dragon? (Sorry but that's the boy's name. Actually it's even worse. His full name is Poo-Poo Brown. When I read this to Sam, he laughed himself off the couch and giggled for a half an hour.)

You'll never guess what led me from raisins yesterday to dragons today.
Or maybe you will.
Does this give you a hint?

Flickr photo by emeraldcitycreative
Yes, that's a snapdragon. Unbelievably gorgeous.
But what does that have to do with raisins? Do you know?

While I was trying to jump start my brain yesterday on the wonders of raisins, sweet old Mr. Wikipedia sat me down and told me all about Snap-Dragon--the parlor game that was all the rage from the 16th to the 19th centuries. People played it on Christmas Eve and sometimes on Halloween, and let me tell you, they were bonkers back then, because here's how you play it, children:

1. Sneak some brandy from the cupboard and put it in a bowl.
2. Add raisins.
3. Turn off the lights (to make the game more exciting--which, since this is the 16th to 19th century, actually means blow out your candles or oil lamps, I suppose) and set the brandy on fire!
Fire in a parlor game! Woo hoo!
4. You and your friends take turns reaching in and plucking the burning raisins out of the burning brandy, extinguishing them by popping them in your mouth!
5. The winner is the one who eats the most raisins and doesn't have to go to the hospital!

How about that? What a game!
And while you're playing, you chant this little rhyme:
Here he comes with flaming bowl,
Don't he mean to take his toll,
Snip! Snap! Dragon!
Take care you don't take too much,
Be not greedy in your clutch,
Snip! Snap! Dragon!
With his blue and lapping tongue
Many of you will be stung,
Snip! Snap! Dragon!
For he snaps at all that comes
Snatching at his feast of plums,
Snip! Snap! Dragon!
But Old Christmas makes him come,
Though he looks so fee! fa! fum!
Snip! Snap! Dragon!
Don't 'ee fear him but be bold —
Out he goes his flames are cold,
Snip! Snap! Dragon!

Chant this, that is, if you're not in too much pain from trying to impersonate
a fire eating dragon and still have the use of your tongue.
Photo from Wikipedia
Maybe Nintendo isn't so bad!

Back to dragons.
Here's one I wouldn't like to bump into at night.

Flickr photo by Larpoon

And one that I'd be happy to bump into.
If I had a fork and a nice cold glass of milk.

Flickr photo by courtneyscakes

And look, I could enjoy some dragon cake while reading another dragon story!

Flickr photo by librarycambridge08
I like that book even better than Poo-Poo's dragon story. Seriously.
We read it again this summer, because I just love it so much.
If you haven't read it, go buy a copy, because your kids will want to read it again and again. And you will too. It's very clever.

Here's an unbelievable dragon.

Flickr photo by e d d d d d d d i e
Believe it! It's a dragonfish.

And of course there's the beautiful shimmery dragonfly.

Flickr photo by hippobosca
Have you ever seen an insect any more beautiful?

And of course these are pretty too, especially when they dance.

Flickr photo by Dan Harrod Photography Blog
Mmm. Anybody for Chinese food tonight?
Something spicy! But not too much. I don't want to turn into a fire breathing dragon!

Do you have a favorite type of dragon? Snap? Fly?
I haven't even mentioned Puff.

Have a Wonder-full weekend, y'all!
Love, Becky


Paula Clare said...

My favorite dragon (and one appropriate for you at this phase in life) is Puff the Magic Dragon. It used to be my little boy's favorite song...I'd sing it to him and we'd read the book as a bedtime routine...

I wrote about the gut wrenching experience of sending him away to college...and what sparked MY trip down memory lane was a spinning dragon at a carnival!

Dragons...yes. Fierce. Fire breathing, but sweet reminders also!

Sarah said...

Wow what a crazy game! I don't think it would be too popular these days.

Great post mom!

dana said...

LOVE how you carried yesterday's raisin theme into today's post--you clever girl. That game of popping flaming raisins into one's mouth after fishing them out of an inferno sounds like a real fun parlor game for the children! I guess we have advanced in some ways! Sadly, what a waste of brandy! :-) Hope your girl is doing well---and I hope you are too. dana

lisa_bullard said...

If you like dragons, you might enjoy reading Eragon, by Christopher Paolini (a home schooled kid who graduated from high school at 15 and published this book at 19!) The third book in the series will come out next month. Recommended for middle school and above!

Rebecca Ramsey said...

Paula Clare, we think alike! Maybe that's scary for you, but we do! And I love Puff.

Sarah! My dear! My long lost daughter who's been off at college for an entire week counting today! Who I've loved talking to on the phone the last couple days! I love you my sweetie.

Hey Dana! Yes, fire, brandy, and children are not meant to go together. Hopefully this was just played by wacko adults!

Lisa, hey girl! I've heard of that book. In fact I think Ben has read it. I'll have to ask him. Thanks!

Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

I do love dragons--so cool that almost every culture has them. We just got that book, My Father's Dragon, this summer. Will read it tonight!

Rosemary said...

Wow Becky,
What a game! Who knew?
I like the scary dragon in Sleeping Beauty!
Have a great weekend,

Kathryn said...

Snap dragons are one of my favorite flowers. So pretty. :)

Michelle Moran said...

Oh... I love all things dragon, even snapdragons!

Susan Sandmore said...

I can't get over that cake!!

Suzie said...

Poo brown too funny :)

Anonymous said...

oooohhhh.....i like dragons. It FACSINATES me how a dragon represents SO MANY different things in different parts of the world. Luck, Charm, or Evil? So interesting.

Pamela Terry and Edward said...

My favorite dragon, apart from the one in The Hobbit, was the Komodo Dragon from the old Bob and Ray sketch. Makes me laugh every single time.

paris parfait said...

I have some dragon photos from Chinatown to add to your collection. My favourite dragon (that technically is a sea-serpent) is Cecil the Sea-sick Sea Serpent of cartoon fame. :) xo

adrienne said...

I had that same book when I was little! I'd forgotten all about Poo-poo and Horatio. It was a great resource for illustrations, too - we raided it all the time for school projects.

the Amateur Book Blogger said...

Such a coincidence. Yesterday looking for a gift for a one year old, I found a wooden toy dragon that you pull back and then it whizzes forward 'snapping' as he goes. I have a simple transparent bag and wanted to find a book about dragons or similar stories to add and put the two together - now I am inspired to see if I can find that, or similar. Thxs (Love the blog - Nathan B sent me over, after I read your post on his site on juggling writing and family. Thank you. I don't feel quite such a failure at both anymore. I am inspired once more!)

Jojo said...

Oh I think you have concocted the burning bourbon raisin game and Poop Poo Brown! It is all ridiculously funny! My middle son has always had a fascination with fire and burning things. Actually I think he might have enjoyed the burning raisins game.

Dragon flies were not on the list but I think they are flying faeries. Happy Weekend to You!

CC said...

Ha! That game sounds horrid!

and we just finished all 3 My Father's Dragon book. Approximately 30 min ago we were in the car re-listening to it on tape! Great story!

We love Chinese dragons around here and collect them too :)

Randy and Linda said...

When I was in High School in Chapel Hill in the 70's, PUFF the magic dragon was my favorite - in the sense of a certain smokable herb.
Now, just the other day I was pointing out to my wife - I think in a magazine article, a close-up of a snap dragon. I love those and used to make them snap when I was a little kid growing up in a beautiful small town in NY - we would come across these flowers occasionally - you squeeze the flower about 1/2 inch below the tip, and it instantly opens up like a dragon's mouth! I'm not sure my wife has ever seen one or done that in SC.
My grandmother's sister worked in China in the ambassador's office for a couple of decades - 40's & 50's. She sent many valuable chinese art works and furniture. One day we'll have some of that here at our home. If you knew how eclectic our collections already are, this will add more Asian to our collection. You should see some of the hand-painted dragons on various pieces.
Au Revoir, Randy

Randy and Linda said...
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Randy and Linda said...
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Randy and Linda said...

whoops! can you delete two of those - thanks Rebecca.

Anil P said...

I've always been thrilled by the sheer variety of dragonflies I've seen in India.

Terri and Bob said...

I like Puff, too!!

Cute post!

Susan said...

I agree with Sam, I am still giggling about Poo Poo Brown. Things were so different then. Loved how you connected the two posts, but I have come to expect nothing less from you. I used to read fantasy novels by Mercedes Lackey, and I hear she has a series on dragons. Your post makes me want to read her again. Thanks.

Barb said...

Poo Poo Brown! That is too funny.

Becky, I just love your posts. When I need a lift this is one place I head to. Great pics too.

Have a great weekend.


Penny @ Lavender Hill Studio said...

Love dragonflies....always have. Their color is so beautiful!

Pamela Terry and Edward said...

I'm so happy you liked the bit from the Mary Oliver poem enough to include it on your sidebar! Isn't she amazing. If you haven't read her work, you would absolutely love it. I find her so inspiring!

cindy said...

Wow ! I guess boredom would make one stick one's hand into a flaming bowl of brandied raisins. Sheesh. Maybe that was why someone invinted checkers? LOL.


a Tonggu Momma said...

Hey there! We love Chinese dragons around here... for obvious reasons... but they still rank second behind bears (of the panda variety, of course).

I love the premise of your blog - very clever!!!

the Amateur Book Blogger said...

Count me in on your shared wonders event on September 3. I'll send you a birthday toast, and celebrate the revamp of my blog (I hope) finally, after weeks, maybe, if it is done. I'll have a toast to you anyway, from Scotland. Or the Alps. Thinking hat on....

PS: Thanks for taking the time & stopping by yesterday.

Randy and Linda said...

How did I forget to mention that my favorite dragonfly left its wing imprint in a fossil I found in Nova Scotia! Ask hubby to tag along next time he has a business trip to one of the plants in either Pictou or Waterville. Although if he's into Earth Movers, I don't know that he could swing the trip to Nova Scotia. Anyway, on the NW part of the island there is a very small town called Joggins, and it has the best fossil finding opportunities of anywhere we've been to. You first have to wait until low tide, and the tides on the Bay of Fundy can be upwards of 50+ feet. So you only have about two hours of walking over the sand, rocks, and fossils, to find something. We each found about 10 - mostly parts of plants. But my favorite is a fossil of a dragonfly wing. At that site in Joggins, the dragon fly was considered one of the common finds. And if you go into the museum/souvenir shop, you'll see a lot of items using the dragonfly as the symbol for the dig site in joggins.
For every topic of interest you post I have a million words Rebecca, but I try to keep it to more like 100 or so. But I figure we all learn interesting things from each other, so what the heck! But if you say "Randy keep it under 100, I will"!

TattingChic said...

Love the dragon cake. Very cute! Oh, how I've missed reading your posts everyday! I've moved this week and haven't had internet access at home until today so I am just now getting caught up on all the new posts on my google reader. I loved the book "Flagon the dragon" when I was little. He was a sweet and cute dragon.

Sherry Martschink said...

This reminds me of the cute little item that has circulated on the web that says, "I'm a snapdragon. I've snapped, and now I'm draggin'."
Always love reading your stuff!!!

Gwen Buchanan said...

I love this post and your dragonfly is a beauty... I think we even have that book floating around here somewhere.. it reminds me to go have a look for it!!!

Anonymous said...

I love this post :D I'm really curious about Poo Poo and the Dragon.. LOL