"Once upon a time there lived a ferocious dragon who had become really quite fed up of being so ferocious. And so he came down from his tall mountain, and off he went on his travels to look for a kinder, more simple life, which he was sure existed somewhere."
And so begins the story of Dragon, who travels to a forest and happens about animals who cannot spare any food for him to eat because rations are tight after a drought. So he decides to get them to help by borrowing a pot from a family of badgers and telling them in exchange he will give them some soup.
Word spreads fast and soon animals from all over the forest have brought things to put in the soup and in exchange get something to eat. The dragon then teaches them a lesson about how they should not give to someone in need only when they think they are going to receive something as great or greater in return. He shows the animals that by being stingy and selfish they each had very little, but by working together and sharing they had created something really wonderful and helpful for everyone.
I loved this story and it is such a timely message, too. In this economy we often think we do not have enough to give to the needy because we are barely getting by ourselves. Yet, if we each gave just a little it would turn into something huge. Billy Crystal said something similar on the 12-12-12 Benefit for Sandy Concert Wednesday night. He said 2 billion people are watching. If we each gave only $1, just $1, we would raise $2 billion dollars to help victims rebuild their lives.
The lesson Crystal was trying to impart is the same message Yu imparts in this book, alone we may not have much but together we can make something great.