Rivka and her dragon from The Second Mango, drawn by Ceili Braidwood and inked by Jane Dominguez. On the day the book came out, Jane toasted me with “To little girls who grow up to love dragons.”
When I was a tiny child, I had multiple stuffed reptiles named after Fafner, the dragon from Wagner’s Ring. Even more beloved than gigantic stuffed snake my father had splurged on one Chanukah was Baby Fafner, a dragon plushie about the size of a cat, with huge sad eyes.
I wasn’t allowed to hang on to him when I grew up, because my father and stepmother believed that the stuffed animals at their house belonged to the kids in general, not individually. Still, I missed Baby Fafner. When my little brother and sister said they’d saved some stuff for me from the estate sale (Daddy and Stepmum having both passed away), I had a feeling Baby Fafner would not be there, but I hoped, anyway.
Well, he wasn’t there (although the stuff they did save for me was definitely of enormous sentimental value.) But as I thought about it, I realized—
Babies grow up, which means so do baby dragons.
Baby Fafner grew up and became the dragon in my book.