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Princess Hanna Learns to Fly
If Princess Hanna is going to learn how to fly she is also going to have to learn how to overcome her fears and manage her nerves.
The big day had arrived… Flying Day. Some dragons looked forward to it like it was the most important day of their lives. Others feared it like nothing else. Princess Hanna fell into that second category.
Flying Day came on the first day of summer and all ten-year-old dragons had to take part. It was the day when dragons would fly on their own for the very first time in their lives.
Hanna woke up on Flying Day exhausted and full of nerves. Her tummy felt all tangled and she couldn’t eat any breakfast, no matter how much her mother insisted.
Hanna had been awake all night lying in bed. Every time she closed her eyes she would feel a horrible falling sensation.
“I don’t want to be a flying dragon,” she had told her parents. “Who needs flying anyway? I can get around just fine on the ground, thank you very much.”
But her mum and dad could not be convinced.
“It’s part of life,” her dad had said. “Everyone has to go through Flying Day. You never know, you just might enjoy it. I loved my Flying Day.”
What a bunch of rubbish, Hanna thought.
Her brothers teased her. “What are you scared of? I thought you were meant to be tough.”
“I’m tougher than you,” she snapped back.
It was a long gruelling walk to school on the morning of Flying Day. She walked slowly, as if to savour those last moments before the pain began.
When Hanna finally got to school, her whole grade was standing around outside of the school castle, everyone talking among themselves excitedly.
“Over here, Hanna,” said Carrie.
Carrie was Hanna’s best friend. As Hanna walked over to her, Carrie had a massive smile on her face.
“Today’s the day,” said Carrie.
“Yeah, yeah, whatever,” said Hanna grumpily.
“It will all be fine,” said Carrie.
Mr Brooks shot a big ball of fire into the air to get everyone’s attention.
“Ok, everyone,” he said once there was quiet. “The day has arrived. It’s time to head to Lake Flight.”
Mr Brooks led the way and the twenty or so young dragons followed behind him. They walked out of Courage Town and followed a rough path through the forest until they got to the lake.
Lake Flight was enormous. The water was a beautiful crystal blue colour. All of the dragons gathered together on the shore of pebbles.
“Could everyone please form a line,” said Mr Brooks.
Immediately, a bunch of young dragons sprinted to be at the very front. Hanna watched on, frozen in place.
“Come on,” said Carrie. “We need to get in line.”
Carrie held Hanna’s claw and dragged her over to the very back of the line.
First up was Johnny.
“We’ve been studying and practicing for weeks,” said Mr Brooks. “Now it’s time to put all of that effort and knowledge into action. You all know what to do. Johnny, start us off.”
Johnny had a grin as wide as his wingspan.
Everyone watched in silence as he took a few last breaths of preparation. And then he went for it. He charged down the pebble shore towards the lake, flapping his wings quicker and quicker. Just as he was about to hit the water, he then jumped high into the air. Sure enough, off he went, soaring immediately into the air in a steep upwards arc.
The other dragons all cheered and called out. Johnny’s excited squeal could be heard fading away in the distance.
He flew in a big sweeping circle above the lake and only finally started to come back to shore once Mr Brooks blew some fire into the air to get his attention.
When Johnny finally landed he had a massive grin on his face. His mates all gathered around him, asking questions. He told them all about how incredible it felt.
Then, once things settled, it was time for the next dragon in line to take off into the air.
It was only now that things really began to get rolling. One dragon after another. The line in front of Hanna got shorter and shorter. She was going to be the very last one to go.
When it was Carrie’s turn, she turned towards Hanna and said, “I’ll be right back.”
She then ran up to the edge of the water and took off elegantly into the air like it was nothing. Off she went, soaring higher and higher.
As Carrie flew there was now no one between Hanna and the water. Her time had come. She was shaking.
Hanna watched on as Carrie glided above the lake and then came back down to land on the shore.
“Your turn, Princess Hanna,” said Mr Brooks. “Lucky last.”
Hanna stared at the cloudless sky above the lake. She couldn’t move.
“I can’t do it,” said Hanna.
The other dragons were all watching.
Carrie quickly made her way over to Hanna.
“Hanna, it’s ok to be scared. All feelings are ok. But they don’t have to control you. Just remember: you’re here right now at this lake. Focus on that. You’re alive. The sun is on your face. Focus on the feeling of your breath. That fear, it can stay. But it’s just an emotion. You still get to decide what you want to do.”
Hanna did as Carrie said and tried to focus in on her breath.
“That feeling of fear is just a feeling,” said Carrie. “You know you can do this.”
Hanna looked out at the water. Every muscle in her body wanted her to stay exactly where she was.
“Remember,” said Carrie. “You don’t have to listen to the fear.”
Hanna focused her mind to squeeze her claws into fists. I’m in control, she thought to herself. She then launched into a run down the shore towards the water’s edge. She started flapping her wings, getting ready for the big jump. Just before the water she leapt into the air. She closed her eyes, still flapping her wings with every ounce of power that she could manage. When she finally opened them again, she was soaring above the water. The fear had disappeared. She felt incredible. It was like nothing she had ever experienced. She felt like a ballerina, carving elegantly through the air.
Hanna flew right down by the lake and looked at her reflection in the water as she glided along. She then flew up high. She could see everything from up there -- the whole world, it felt like.
She looked over at Courage Town. Home. It looked so different from up here. It had been her whole world, but it looked so small in that moment.
That was when Mr Brooks blew a burst of fire into the air. It was time to land.
Hanna looked down at all the other dragons on the shore. They were so tiny!
Hanna started to glide back down. When she got to the shore she was grinning just like everyone else had been.
Carrie asked her right away, “How was it?”
“That was the best thing ever,” said Hanna. “And you were right. You don’t have to do what fear tells you.”
“Ok, everyone,” said Mr Brooks. “Let’s take a break.”
The dragons all relaxed on the shore.
Hanna was looking up at the sky. The next thing she knew she was running towards the water and then taking off into the air.
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