At the Geelong Botanic Gardens we have an amazing Dragon's Blood Tree.
Far, far away, and long, long ago, when the world was already old and dragons were at the end of their time on earth…
… on an island thought to the top of the lost, sunken city of Atlantis, there lived a tree. Not just any tree, but a strange, old and mysterious tree called Dracaena.
There was little else on this island – just an enormous volcano, a peculiar bird and an assortment of dragons. There were no rivers or streams and to survive the Dracaena had become very wise.
It just so happened that the Dracaena flowers only once every ten years – producing hundreds of tiny white blooms which ripen into bright orange berries so loved by both dragons and that peculiar bird. But 10 years is a long time to wait for your favourite food!
Ages passed and the Dracaena tree, the dragons, the bird and the volcano all lived happily together. Then, from across the ocean, ships began to pass and people came to the island looking for food, water and things to trade.
The bird disappeared, along with the dragons, and the volcano and the tree were all that remained. All except for one young dragon called Draco.
Draco was lonely.
Being on your own and being the last of your kind is very hard.
To pass the lonely hours Draco would sit in the Dracaena tree looking out across the ocean and wonder sadly if there was anything out there at all. Draco wondered if the entire world was like his island – dry, covered by black rock and surrounded by an endless ocean.
Eventually, Draco drifted off into a deep sleep, and dreamed about lands where rivers flowed and fields grew with long grass waving in the wind.
How long a dragon sleeps, nobody knows – time is very different when you are a dragon.
A year can seem like the blink of an eye... centuries can slip by during a dragon’s sleep. Sitting up there amongst the sword-shaped leaves the little dragon slept, invisible to all.
And so when people arrived and dug up the Draceana to carry onto a ship and bring it to Geelong, Draco did not notice. He was fast asleep.
Off across the ocean the ship sailed. Day became night, night became day, the ship carried the Dracaena and the Dracaena carried Draco toward a land neither knew existed.
Time passed until one day the little dragon woke up, stretched, and took a look around. All he could see was ocean, endless and blue with white caps on the waves.
He looked and looked and all he could think was that his island had disappeared, his home and all he knew was gone. There was nothing else out there, only the sea water you could not drink.
He was heartbroken. Now dragons don’t often cry, but that is what Draco did. He cried, and cried and cried. He cried so much that the Dracaena took pity on him.
The tree wrapped its branches around Draco and cradled him. The little dragon continued to cry until Draco’s ruby red tears began to burn holes in the branches and trunk of the tree. But the tree did not let go.
At last, Draco could cry no more, he sobbed one last sob and went to sleep. But the Draceana did not let go – knowing that Draco could never go home, knowing that little dragon was the last of his kind.
The Draceana then did a beautiful thing. It took the little dragon into itself where his spirit would be at one with the tree as long as the tree lived. And as it did, a wonderful thing happened.
From each of the holes made by Draco’s ruby red tears, a dragonfly appeared.
The Dracaena had given the little dragon eyes to see wherever the dragonflies flew across our beautiful and rich land. Draco could dream happy dreams of a land where rivers flowed and long grass waved in the wind. And it had given us a reminder, every time we see a dragonfly, that far away and long, long ago the world was a very different place – with dragons.