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by Laurence Yep

Dragonwings Chapter 3 Summary

The Dragon Man (April, 1903)

  • Moon Shadow explains that Tang men can and do have multiple names throughout a lifetime.
  • Windrider shows Moon Shadow their room. It is filled with small machines that are foreign to Moon Shadow.
  • Windrider excitedly shows Moon Shadow each of the strange machines, including earphones, a crystal set, and electric light in a lightbulb.
  • Moon Shadow gets the heebie-jeebies from these electric devices. His father senses his fear and laments that he does not know how to be a father. The father and son pair promise to learn together.
  • Windrider decides to tell his son about his name. He goes into a sweeping narrative involving a Dragon King. His memory comes from the first night he spent in America. When he woke up, he was on a beach of jewels with a dragon about five hundred yards long on it.
  • Windrider tells of how he knew that the dragon was an Imperial Dragon because of its five claws, and how the dragon was quite old and badly injured.
  • Still in Windrider's memory, the Dragon King tells Windrider that he used to be a fine dragon, but was punished for immoral behavior by being transformed into a "softskin," or human (3.33). He was punished for trying to extinguish the sun with the force of his wings. Though he has no memory of it, as a dragon, Windrider was the "greatest physician of all the dragons" (3.37).
  • The Dragon King tells Windrider that his remaining power lies in his kite-making abilities. He requests that Windrider heal him, saying that the wisdom of how to do so lies in his hands (3.43).
  • Windrider requests the Dragon King reduce himself in size so his body can be worked on. The Dragon King shrinks to about twelve feet.
  • Windrider remembers how his hands knew how to heal the Dragon King. He does indeed fix him.
  • Windrider wishes to return to his natural state as a dragon, but the Dragon King says he needs to wait until his life as a softskin is over. He will be given a series of tests as a human he will need to pass to become dragon again.
  • The Dragon King has nearby soldiers affix wings onto Windrider so he can see how awesome the dragon kingdom is. Windrider uses his wings to fly.
  • The Dragon King takes off in flight, strutting his flying skills. He and Windrider race through the sky to Windrider's home.
  • Windrider remembers the Dragon King's throne and how amazing it was, full of gems and gold. On the back of the throne was a black stone with the word for sharing on it; the Dragon King used this to speak to whomever he wanted. Kind of sounds like Beauty and the Beast's magic mirror.
  • The Dragon King uses the throne device to contact each of his descendents for a banquet.
  • He then lets Windrider contact someone of his choosing. Windrider picks his wife, and he suddenly hears Mother singing a lullaby to a gurgling Moon Shadow. Windrider decides not to speak to her, as it would only bring a more intense sense of pain and longing.
  • The Dragon King loses a game of dominoes to Windrider and saves the winnings for his future return to the dragon world.
  • Windrider returns to the mortal world, and thus finishes telling his dream to Moon Shadow.
  • Windrider admits he has no proof that this memory ever happened. Moon Shadow assures his father that he believes in the memory as reality.
  • Uncle Bright Star throws a wooden carving of a monkey onto Moon Shadow's bed as an embarrassed gift. Moon Shadow keeps its creator a secret from the Company, figuring Uncle would want it that way. The little sculpture is really something, Moon Shadow reflects, impressed by Uncle's rheumatic hands.
  • Moon Shadow falls asleep with the Monkey beside him.

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