Wednesday, October 3, 2012

An Apologia on Dragon Greed

I got asked the other day about the dragon hoarding instinct and if it wasn't really just a sin to want to acquire stuff.  (Not that I'm getting to do that much in my current situation, mind you, especially since SOME PEOPLE have yet to purchase my latest adventure, Live and Let Fly.  What's wrong with you? Why are you denying yourself hours of entertainment and me any my writer our piddly royalties?)
C'mon.  You know you want it.

What was I talking about again? Oh, yeah.  Greed.

Here's the short of it:  Dragons have a hoarding instinct.  We are built to want stuff--and not necessarily gold and jewels.  That, ironically enough, is a stereotype placed on us by humans.  I have a friend, Hrrowrssh, who had a fondness for joints.  You know--elbows, knees, hips.  He's got a collection stretching to the Paleolithic.  He actually had the dwarves carve out a mountain so he could display them.  I once spent fifteen years with him, just going through the collection.  My favorites were the ones of things he'd eaten himself.  My own tastes change.  I like relics--or things I suspect will make great relics someday.  I'm quite a connoisseur at it, actually.  I know a lot of you probably think any old piece of junk becomes a relic if it's old enough, but real relics have history, meaning, and significance.  Your singing fish plaque ain't gonna cut it, no matter how many thousands of years it survives.

Now you can blow off our desire to acquire as simple sin, but it has its uses.  For one, where are you going to find a better collection of joints in both universes.  (And you can laugh, but the paleontologist of your era have been drooling over my friend's odd habit.)  I have object (now priceless) that would have been erased from history by now, some for civilizations long forgotten.

"Well, what good is that, if you're the only one who has them?" you ask.  Three words:  Lance of Longinus--and if you don't get the significance, you will once Karina publishes "Greater Treasures."  next month, maybe.  Suffice to say, some relics should not be left to other species.  Dragons know how to hoard, protect...and leave well enough alone.  I'll tell you more about the lance some other time.

For that matter, it's a misconception that dragons greedily hang onto their wealth.  We have been known to display certain selections--if the visiting party can keep their paws off it.   Think of all the trouble tourists have caused with flash photography, greasy fingerprints, and "no one will miss this pretty rock."  We will also redistribute on occasion.  I sold an artifact I'd kept for 8000 years to a museum because it completed its collection.

Dragons have rules, just like humans have rules for gaining wealth.  We don't raze villages in order to get a sparkly.  However, if that village has come after one of us with the proverbial pitchforks and torches and we raze the village in self-defense, why not grab the sparkly?  Hrrowrssh never went around biting the elbows off interesting creatures, but if he certainly took them off his prey.  We are always glad to accept gifts, trade, grant favors for items, etc.--dragon commerce.  And yes, we have a stash of gold and jewels--but usually that's in case we see something we just have to have.

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