Once upon a time, there was a mountain range called the Change range. It boasted the highest peaks in the world, and went all the way around the earth.
The people who lived on the slopes of Change were better adapted than anyone else in the world, because the mountain constantly rose and fell. They might go to bed at night in a deep valley and wake up the next morning on a high alpine ridge. As a result, the mountain people knew how to survive in any climate, at any altitude, and they were happy with their lot.
But then one day a terrible thing happened—the whole mountain range exploded! It spewed fire into the air, sending rivers of molten rock down to the valley. The earth quaked and split. Houses were torn apart and people were thrown off the mountain, hurled off ridges and swallowed up into the fiery abyss.
The survivors fled the roaring mountain, leaving everything behind. They ran across the plain, over rivers and through forests until they reached a place of safety. Then, as the sun set, they stood on a hill and looked back at the mountain.
They couldn’t believe their eyes, for the whole range was moving. It slithered and it wound from side to side like a snake. This was no mountain range, they realized. This was a dragon! It shook and it roared, sending tremors around the earth, casting off centuries of soil, growth and trees. In the light of the setting sun, the dragon’s green scales shimmered like malachite, and the high, craggy peaks of its spines shone like gold.
The people tried to make sense of what they saw. What did it mean? If the mountain range went around the earth, then the earth must belong, not to the people—but to the dragon. The dragon must have been sleeping, that would explain why the mountain shifted from time to time, and constantly rose and fell. But now it had awoken! Everything they had constructed—their buildings, their ideas, their science—collapsed with this new event.
“What is it doing here?” the people asked. But they had no answers. They only knew that nothing would ever be the same. The earth might be the dragon’s EGG for all they knew.
An old, old woman named Mrs. Chang sat on a rock and looked back at the faces of the people who stood all in a row on the hill, staring at the mountain. Some looked at the dragon