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January 11, 2012 / dragonscorner

Puff the Magic Dragon

Source: Moving by Peter, Paul, and Mary

“Puff the magic dragon lived by the sea / and frolicked in the autumn mist in a land called Honalee.” These lines open and close the story of Puff, who befriends the young boy Jackie Paper. The pair have numerous adventures in various fantastic kingdoms and on the high seas, but Jackie eventually loses interest in Honalee, leaving Puff alone in his cave. In some versions of the story, Puff eventually finds another young child to share in further adventures.

In the lyrics of the original song, Puff exhibits the typical draconic traits of majesty and ferocity only when interacting with Jackie. His story is therefore a particularly powerful example of the mutualistic dragon-human relationships that have become increasingly common in the 20th century. While Puff may be a dragon who is largely powered by imagination, we can be sure that his connection with Jackie was real.

Image: from the 1978 TV animation Puff the Magic Dragon, copyright Yarrow/Muller-My Company


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