Monthly Archives: January 2014
“Courage isn’t a matter of not being frightened, you know. It’s of being afraid and doing what you have to do anyway.” -the Third Doctor, “Doctor Who”
Courage is often incorrectly defined. We tend to think that in order to be courageous we have to be devoid of fear and charge into battle unabashedly. That ideal is simply false. Courage doesn’t work that way; it’s not fearlessness. Everybody is afraid of scary things, but it takes a courageous person to stand up in the face of that fear and do what must be done despite it. That is the true meaning of courage. Being downright terrified and not letting that get in your way.
“Say ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ even if you’re feeling grumpy.” -Snow White, “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs”
That quote right here is amazing. You know why? Common curtesy. That’s a thing that our society is rapidly losing, and here our first Disney princess has just summed it up in one sentence. No matter how you’re feeling, treat others kindly. As a biblical tie-in, consider that all people are made in God’s image, and they are all deserving of respect, even if you’re feeling grumpy.
“Remember, you’re the one who can fill the world with sunshine.” -Snow White
“Hiccup, come here,” said Valhallarama one morning about a week after the last dragon raid. Hiccup had mostly recovered from the scare, but occasionally he’d still have nightmares about it. He hated dragons. They were scary.
Hiccup half walked, half ran to the front room where his mother was calling him from her chair. “Yeah, Mom?”
“I have a surprise for you, love. Come here.” Hiccup crawled onto his mother’s lap. Val turned to the table next to her, which was completely cluttered with blue bits of cloth, scissors, needles, threads, and Val’s button box. She picked up the completed project from the table and held it in front of Hiccup.
Terrible images flashed through Hiccup’s mind. Scary things. The fires and the shouting and the smoke of the dragon raids. He hated dragons, and now there was one in his own house! It was small, but Dad said never to underestimate the small ones. It was going to kill them! Hiccup clung to his mother and buried his nose in her chest, shouting for her to kill it.
“Hiccup, my love! It’s nothing to be afraid of, look!” She forced him to turn away from her so that he could see it again. “It’s just a stuffed toy, love. It can’t hurt you.”
Hiccup wasn’t convinced. It looked like a dragon, and he wasn’t about to take any chances. He refused to take it. After a couple tries, Valhallarama set it back on the table. Maybe if he just got used to it…
That night, Valhallarama gave Hiccup a good night kiss and tucked him into bed. She left the room and shut the door, leaving it a little open so his room wasn’t in complete darkness. Hiccup didn’t like the dark. He’d completely forgotten about that dragon, and fell asleep.
He woke up in the middle of the night. He could hear Stoick’s snores from the other room, so he knew to stay quiet. He opened his eyes and turned over in bed.
And was face to face with the dragon. Hiccup opened his mouth to scream, but stopped when he remembered how Dad didn’t like to be woken up. Hiccup would have to deal with this dragon himself.
First, he held the covers up to just above his nose. That way, he could still see it, but could keep most of his body safe under the covers. He slowly inched to the other side of the bed, held in his breath, and rolled off the side of it. He collapsed with a thud on the floor.
There was a wooden toy sword on his floor under his bed. Hiccup grabbed that with one shaky hand and crawled under the bed. That way he could strike the beast from behind. He rose. The dragon’s back was still to him, and he positioned his sword to sweep it on the left. He swung.
The dragon flapped its wings menacingly as his blow struck right across his body. Because of his thick scales, the blow didn’t kill him and he landed on Hiccup’s floor. Was he dead? Or just faking? Summoning all his courage, Hiccup waited silently to see if the dragon would rise. He didn’t. Hiccup slowly approached it.
It didn’t look dead yet, so Hiccup stabbed it one more time. Now the dragon was facing belly up, and his legs were twisted every which way. He looked pretty dead. Hiccup prodded him with the tip of his sword. No response. Hiccup raised his sword above his head and rose his other hand above his head in a fist.
He’d done it! He’d killed a dragon all by himself, without even waking up Mom and Dad! Hiccup crawled back into bed and kept his sword in his hand, just in case any other dragons tried to come that night.
Next morning, Hiccup woke to blinding light hitting his eyes. Light from the crack left in the door was getting into his room. The solution to this problem was simple. Hiccup turned in bed. The light stopped hitting his eyes and he was free to relax again. Perfect. He was about to close his eyes again when he saw it.
The dragon. The memory of the previous night’s antics came rushing back, and Hiccup threw off his covers, grabbed his sword, and stood. It hadn’t moved since last night. He really had killed it. Even so, it was probably a good idea to hold onto the sword.
He swung open the door, letting it creak as loud as it wanted. He couldn’t hear any snoring, and he could hear a fire. Everybody was already up. Hiccup strode into the front room with his chest puffed out and his arms swinging by his sides proudly. He’d killed a dragon all by himself.
“Mom! Dad!” Hiccup shouted. They were going to be so happy when they heard about his dragon. Maybe Dad would even like him!
“What is it, love?” asked Valhallarama.
“I killed a dragon! All by myself!” This got Stoick’s attention. Hiccup, unlike most Viking toddlers, was not one to normally pretend to slay things in his playtime. Was it possible he was finally toughening up?
“Is that so? Where did you find this dragon?” Val asked.
“In my bed last night! I was going to wake you up so you could kill it, but then I remembered how Dad doesn’t like getting woken up. So I killed that nasty dragon myself!” Hiccup grabbed his mother’s hand and started pulling her to his room. “Look!” All three family members stood in Hiccup’s room, where he pointed proudly to his kill.
While Val recognized the toy dragon she’d made Hiccup the day before, she didn’t let on. Neither did Stoick. “Well, what d’ya know? A real dragon!”
“You did good, son,” added Stoick. Hiccup beamed bright, and inside he beamed brighter. He’d finally gotten Dad to like him! Finally! Hiccup continued to smile all through the day, and in fact, fell asleep that night still grinning.
That night, Hiccup stirred. He didn’t know why, but he felt as though something was watching him. Staring at him. He turned to see it. Again. Completely intact. On impulse, Hiccup grabbed his sword, which he had insisted on sleeping with. He’d done it before; he could do it again.
That happened every night for four nights. Hiccup would kill the dragon, but somehow every night it seemed to come alive again and try to kill him all over again. Each time, Hiccup grew more and more scared. How many times would that dragon wake up? He couldn’t sleep at night anymore. He would fall asleep, but then he’d always wake up to find it next to him in bed.
It seemed to him that there was only one way to get rid of it. For good. He made up a plan one night, after he’d killed it for that night but before he fell back to sleep. Dad always took him fishing in a boat on Thursdays. This Thursday, he’d secretly take the dead dragon with him. Then, without letting Dad see, he’d throw it into the water. Then it would be gone for good. Yes. That was a good plan.
Hiccup settled back to sleep calmly. He could deal with the dragon—for good—in the morning.
Return next Thursday at 6:00am Los Angeles time for The Adventures of Little Hiccup: Chapter Four!
“You don’t just give up. You don’t just let things happen. You make a stand! You say no! You’ve got the guts to do what’s right even when everyone else just runs away!” -Rose Tyler, “Doctor Who”
I really like this quote of Rose’s, from the Parting of the Ways. Doctor Who is a very worldly show, and a lot of the stuff that’s taught in it needs to be examined and tossed out by Christians. However, there are some quotes, like this one, that feed perfectly well into a Christian life. As Christians, we are surrounded by worldliness. Even our own flesh is against us! And when we’re tempted to blend in with a crowd that’s doing the wrong—the sinful—thing, we need to remember Rose Tyler and make a stand for our Savior.
It’d been a month since the incident of the trolls, and since then Hiccup had managed to stem the sock disappearance somewhat. At least, not too many more went missing. But that hardly mattered right at the moment.
Mom was coming home! Dad had said so, said so just yesterday to Gobber. “Val’s ship is due in port at dawn tomorrow. Odin knows it’s been a long time since she’s been home.”
Hiccup sat up in bed, fully awake, at least an hour before dawn. He knew there was no going back to sleep for him. He jumped out of bed and danced around his room, singing in the loudest whisper he dared, “Mom’s coming ho-ome! Mom’s coming ho-ome!” He twirled around in circles until he was so dizzy he fell on the plank flooring. While his vision was still recovering, he suddenly broke out in giggles. She’d be home in no time.
An hour later saw him and Stoick by the port along with pretty much the whole village. Hiccup tried to see his mother’s ship through the crowds, but he was simply too little. Suddenly, he was picked up by a pair of giant hands and placed on Stoick’s shoulders.
“Can you see now, Hiccup?” asked Stoick.
Hiccup squinted into the sun and saw a little ship far out near the horizon. “Yes! I can see it, Dad! Look!” He pointed.
“I see it. Val’s almost home.” They watched together as the ship drew into the harbor, and Hiccup could just make out a woman waving from the ship.
“Mom!” he called. He waved both of his arms wildly. Valhallarama waved once more before returning to the work of bringing in the ship. Not too long after she was stepping off the pier and heading for them. “Mom! You’re back!”
“I am at that,” replied Valhallarama. She picked Hiccup off of Stoick’s shoulders and gripped him tightly across her chest, leaving his legs to dangle. His boots almost fell off, but he didn’t care. He closed his eyes and savored every bit of that hug, from the salty smell to the cold metal armor his mom was wearing as it pressed against him. To Hiccup, she put him down all too soon.
“Val,” said Stoick. “Welcome home.” It was their turn now to hug, and Hiccup thought it best to turn away. Why’d his parents have to be all mushy sometimes? That ended none too soon. They walked home hand in hand with Valhallarama in the middle. Hiccup beamed brighter than he had in months.
They spent that day having fun together. Hiccup had never felt more happy than he felt just then. Everything was right. Mom was home, and even if Dad didn’t really like him, he wasn’t yelling at him.
There was an explosion from outside. Hiccup clutched his mother’s leg at the sound, and Stoick listened carefully for a second before shrugging. “Probably another experiment. New ways to kill dragons, you know?”
“I’ve been away a long time. What’s the news with the dragons? I can’t expect we’ve found the nest yet, eh Stoick?”
“No, we haven’t found their bloody nest yet. But we’re getting closer. I can feel it.” Just then there was another explosion, so loud that it rattled the foundation of their house. It was accompanied by shouts and the clanking of armor.
“That’s not experiments. That’s dragons!” Valhallarama’s eyes aquired an entirely new glint at the prospect. Stoick went to grab weapons and head out, but Hiccup still clung to Valhallarama.
“Don’t leave me Mom!’ he cried. Tears gathered in his eyes. He’d seen dragons before, and he didn’t want to meet one all alone. They were scary.
Val put a hand on his back and gently pryed him away from her, instead holding him in her arms. “You just wait right outside our door. You stay by the door and watch the battle. There’s nothing to be afraid of, my love.” She put him down, hefted her battle axe, still sharp from her last quest, and ran out the door with a shout. “For Berk!”
Hiccup hugged the doorframe and sank to the ground as he watched. He saw Valhallarama hit a dragon in his face, but he didn’t die. He saw fire coming from one of the dragon’s mouths, and smoke from it’s nostrils. It was scary. The most scary thing Hiccup had ever seen.
He started to cry. He tried his best to stop it; he knew it wasn’t manly to cry. Dad always said not to. But he couldn’t help it. There was fire and people running and giant killing monster dragons everywhere.
Pressing his forehead against the doorframe and hiding his head in his arms, Hiccup sobbed until the raid was over. It had been a successful fight; thanks to Valhallarama no food had been taken. But Hiccup didn’t care. He didn’t even notice the battle ending. He was too busy crying, and even if he had looked up, he wouldn’t have been able to make anything out of the blurry vision his puffy red eyes left him with.
This is it, he thought. I’m going to die and Mom is going to die and Dad is going to die and there’s nothing anyone can do about it. I hate dragons! I hope they all die! Hiccup cried until he could cry no more. And then he stayed there sniffling and shutting out the noise and hoping it would all go away.
“Hiccup, my love, what’s wrong?” Valhallarama pried him away from the door frame and held him in her arms. Hiccup threw his arms around her and refused to let go. “The dragons are gone now. We’ve fought them off. You’re safe now, love. You’re safe here.”
“Mom,” Hiccup whispered in a still-thick voice. That was all he could say.
“I’m here my love. I’m so proud of you for staying right where I told you to. You’re such a good son, Hiccup. I love you.”
Hiccup hiccuped. His voice quivered, but he could speak again. “I love you too, Mom.”
Return next Thursday for the Adventures of Little Hiccup: Chapter Three!