Sam was on a hike through the mountains near his home when something colorful caught his eye under a large bush. He pushed aside the leaves and gasped – it was a giant egg, about the size of a soccer ball! The egg was speckled with reds, oranges and yellows, like flames.
“A dragon egg!” Sam said in awe. He knew from his books that dragons lived high in the mountains, though most people thought they were just legends. Sam carefully picked up the egg, which was still warm, and carried it home. “I’ll take care of you until you hatch,” he said to the egg.
Over the next few weeks, Sam kept the egg in a box by his bed. He made sure to keep it warm with a hot water bottle and gently turned it several times a day, just like he read dragons did in their nests. Sam was very excited but also nervous, hoping the baby dragon inside would like him.
One night, there was a loud CRACK sound. Sam sat up with a gasp – the egg was hatching! He watched in amazement as a tiny scaly claw poked through a crack in the eggshell. More cracks appeared as the baby dragon wriggled and pushed to get out. Finally, the top of the egg popped off and a little dragon’s head emerged, blinking in the lamplight.
It had crimson scales and golden eyes, with wisps of smoke curling from its nostrils as it sniffed the air. “Hello,” Sam said softly, holding out his hand. The dragon crawled fully out of the egg and stumbled over Sam’s palm, making cute squeaking noises. “I’ll call you Flame,” Sam decided, smiling as Flame crawled up his arm and curled up in his lap like a cat.
Over the next few months, Flame grew quickly on a diet of chopped meat, eggs and fish that Sam provided. Soon Flame was the size of a large dog, with leathery wings sprouting from his back and a long tail with a flame-colored tuft at the end. Sam taught Flame tricks like “sit”, “stay” and “come” using treats as rewards.
Flame could now breathe small bursts of fire which Sam helped him control. One day, Sam decided to try riding Flame. He fashioned a saddle and with some coaxing, Flame allowed Sam to climb onto his back. “Let’s fly!” Sam said excitedly. Flame flapped his powerful wings and they rose up into the sky. Sam had never felt so free and happy as they soared over the treetops.
Soon Sam and Flame were inseparable, with Flame following Sam everywhere – to school, to the park, even into town, though they had to be careful not to be seen. Flame grew to respect and love Sam like his mother. Sam loved Flame like a brother. They had many magical adventures together, from rescuing kittens from trees to discovering a hidden dragon’s cave.
One day, Sam spotted another dragon flying overhead – an adult female with shimmering purple scales. Flame roared happily and took off, circling around her. “I think Flame has found a girlfriend,” Sam laughed. He was sad to see his friend go but happy Flame would have a mate and maybe babies of his own one day. Sam knew that no matter how big Flame grew; they would always share a special bond as best friends.